Vegetable and Paneer Biryani – Instant Pot

Vegetable and Paneer Biryani – A classic Indian one pot meal that is full of flavors and aromas from whole spices, garam masala and the long grain basmati rice.

I have been trying to perfect my vegetable biryani in the Instant Pot for months now. After the success of my InstaPot Chicken Biryani recipe in just a few tries, I was surprised to see how much different it was to cook vegetable Biryani in the Instant Pot. Although I was using the same rice and similar spices, it took many failed attempts (mushy rice, undercooked rice, mushy veggies etc) before I got the technique right. The key was to choose the right kind of vegetables and also more importantly cut them right so they all cook within 6 mins of pressure cooking time.

vegetable and paneer biryani

This Biryani recipe is inspired from my mom’s famous vegetable pulav recipe. She cuts her veggies in a certain size and shape, which I thought was to make the dish look gorgeous! But now I understand that it also helps them cook to perfectly each time. The same trick  of cutting the veggies and choosing the right ones, helped me with this easy vegetable biryani recipe. Then my talented cousin gave me an idea of adding Paneer to this dish which really took the Biryani to a whole new level.

Start with some good homemade ghee, choose the right vegetables, long grain basmati rice and let the garam masala do its magic to add beautiful aromas and bring this delectable recipe together!

I have tried to explain the sizes of the veggies but do see the video so you get a better idea!


Vegetable and Paneer Biryani - Instant Pot
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
Vegetable and Paneer Biryani - A classic Indian one pot meal that is full of flavors and aromas from whole spices, garam masala and the long grain basmati rice.
  • 3 tbsp ghee, divided
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 whole green cardamom
  • 4 cloves
  • 8-10 whole black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped lengthwise into 1 inch x ¼ inch strips
  • 1 cup green beans, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, halved
  • ½ cup red pepper, chopped into 1 inch x ½ inch strips
  • ½ cup corn
  • 1 cup paneer, cubed into ½ inch cubes
  • ½ tbsp ginger
  • ½ tbsp garlic
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3 tsp salt, divided
  • ½ cup fresh mint chopped
  • 2 cups long grain basmati rice
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  1. Rinse and soak the Rice in 2 cups of water for 20 mins.
  2. Set Instant Pot to Saute(More) mode. Once the ‘hot’ sign displays, add 1 tbsp ghee and sliced onions. Cook for 5-7 mins until the onions are lightly caramelized.
  3. Take half of the onions out and reserve for garnish.
  4. Add remaining ghee, cumin seeds, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, bay leaves. Cook for 30 seconds. Add all the veggies (carrots, green beans, mushrooms, red pepper, corn, paneer). Add ginger , garlic, turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala and 1 tsp of salt. mix well. Add mint, rice(drain most of the water before adding) and 2 tsp salt. Add 2 cups of water. Mix well, making sure most of the rice is under water.
  5. Close Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing. Cook on Manual(Hi) for 6 mins. Quick release. Open IP. Garnish with caramelized onions and cilantro.
  6. Enjoy hot with Raita!
  7. Note: You can make this recipe Vegan by using coconut oil instead of ghee and extra firm tofu instead of paneer


36 thoughts on “Vegetable and Paneer Biryani – Instant Pot

  1. Hi Archana, thanks for the recipe. I just had a quick question. When I use the IP in sauté mode especially when frying onions, garlic etc, after few minutes there’s a lot of heat and smoke that I can barely see what’s cooking. I saw in the video that it’s not so for you. Is it because you keep stirring or you switch off in between? Is there a fault in my IP ? It’s only been a month since I got it.

    1. Hi Sharan, I do also have a lot of smoke coming out and I do keep stirring. You can try to change the sauté mode to normal which does not heat up as much but will take longer time to saute.

  2. Archana, This vegetable biryani recipe is good and makes for a delicious entree. I paired it with spinach dal and raita making for a complete nutritious meal with the rice pudding as dessert.
    I am always looking for short cuts and I used frozen vegetables for the biryani-beans, broccoli, green-red pepper medley, spiraled carrots, corn and lima beans.
    Browsing through your blog does take away from the stress of planning for meals.

    1. So happy that you enjoyed the vegetable biryani. I agree that adding frozen vegetables is an excellent time saving idea. And the Biryani goes so well with some cooling raita. Did you make the spinach daal in instant pot also? You are a PRO at Instant Pot cooking. Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement.

  3. I am following your instapot recipes!
    I made the spinach dal in the instapot but varied the method a bit by 1st cooking the dal in the instapot using it like a pressure cooker and then adding it to sauteed spinach-tomato. So like a 2 step process. Because my husband thinks if we cook dal in the 1 step/1 utensil process the dal loses texture completely and becomes powdery/mushy.

    1. Thank you Kalyani! If you do not like the daal too mushy you can try to reduce the cook time? So if it is toor daal cook it for only 4 mins and do not mash it after? Although of the 2-step process works for you then may be stick with that!

  4. Made this yesterdayand it was great. Could you easily double all the quantities, keeping pressure times the same?

    1. Hi Preeti! So glad you enjoyed this Biryani. You can double the quantities and the pressure time will still be the same!

  5. I made this in my brand new IP last night, never used one before. Clear instructions, perfect results, and absolutely delicious. Thank you

    1. Hi Yvette! I am SO happy to hear that this was one your first IP recipe. I have a bunch of other recipes for IP that you may want to try. Thank you for letting me know. It makes me SO happy to see such comments. Thank you and Happy IP cooking. If you have any questions along the way, please let me know.

  6. Hi Archana, I want to make this recipe just for 2-3 ppl so if I halve it will the cooking time remain the same?

      1. It came out so perfect and delicious, I followed recipe exactly except added a bit more water. Every grain of rice was separate and cooked properly, I used store bought paneer and it wasn’t chewy at all. Loved the recipe, sure shot keeper!!!

        1. Hi Tiwnkle! Awesome!! So glad you enjoyed this recipe. Check out my Masoor Khichdi recipe too. It makes an easy and delish weeknight dinner 🙂 Thank you for the detailed feedback, makes me SO happy!

  7. Could I replace water with coconut milk? Would I need the same quantity or do I need to increase the quantity of liquid when using coconut milk? Thanks

    1. Hi Protima, I would do half water and half coconut milk. It will not cook well with just coconut milk. Let me know how it works for you. Thanks.

  8. I want to make 1 cup rice (instead of 2 cups), since its just me and my husband. How much water should I use – is 1.25 cups okay? When making 1 cup of white rice PIP in the IP, I usually do 1.25 cups of water. This looks delicious!

    1. For 1 cup rice I would put 1 cup water. There is also water that comes from veggies like cauliflower, mushrooms and peppers. Hope you enjoy this! Let me know.

  9. I made this today. It came out really well.
    Thanks for this recipe. My 14 months baby loved it too.
    So you know if it is a hit with baby it will be made more often.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Aswini, Your comment makes me so happy!! I love when children enjoy the foods we make for them. Thank you for taking time for this lovely feedback.

      1. You are welcome!
        I made is again today. Left out all spices.
        Only veggies and rice.
        It was a massive hit again.

        1. Thank you for your comments! I am SO happy you found a recipe you can repeat with variations and enjoy it every time! This Biryani is actually adapted from from mom’s Pulav recipe which has very little spices so I can image how yummy yours must have been.

  10. I want to try this! Can I use frozen veggies? I can’t seem to find fresh green beans anywhere! Would I have to adjust cooking time if so? Thanks!

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