Here is a collection of my favorite Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian Biryani Recipes! These are all one-pot recipes, that can be made for weeknight dinners or for weekend gatherings. From The classic chicken biryani to vegetarian biryani to a low-carb biryani, there is a biryani you will fall in love with.
Biryani used to be a weekend-only affair as the process usually was complex involving multiple pots and pans. Then I tried making it in the Instant pot and it has been a game-changer since! Now I can make authentic tasting Chicken Biryani that tastes just like my mom's Biryani with less than an hour and the best part is that there is just one pot to clean!
In addition to all of my Instant Pot Biryani recipes, by popular request, I also have shared my low carb Biryani made with cauliflower rice. The flavors are amazing and it also is perfect for anyone in a low-carb or Keto Diet! Since cauliflower rice cooks so fast, I make it on the stovetop.
Before we get into How to make Biryani at home, I want to share that there are many different variations of it. This collection uses a modern approach to achieve authetic flavors in a fraction of a time mostly using Instant Pot. So whether it is your first time making Biryani or you want to learn a few new variations, I know you are going to find some new recipes to try on this list.
What Is Biryani?
In its simplest form, biryani is made with rice that is combined with either vegetables, chicken, or fish that has been marinated in yogurt and warm spices like turmeric, red chili powder, and garam masala.
Traditionally Biryani is slow-cooked by layering the marinated meat or vegetables over the rice. It is usually topped with caramelized onions, aromatic saffron, and fresh cilantro or mint. Biryani uses many variations in the spices, the marinades, and even the types of meat.
It is said that Biryani is originally a Persian dish that eventually made its way to South Asia. Since then there have been many regional variations of this majestic dish based on the cooking methods.
- Dum Biryani – Layers of meat and partially cooked rice are added to a heavy-bottomed pot which is sealed tightly with raw dough so the flavors and steam do not escape. It is then slow-cooked for hours. This is also how my mom made her Biryani on the stovetop.
- Kacchi Biryani – Raw meat is cooked by layering over rice and then slow-cooked.
- Pukka Biryani – Partially cooked meat and rice are layered and cooked.
There are lots of regional differences in how people prepare this traditional recipe. These are some of the most common types of biryani and where you will find it:
- Kacchi style Hyderabadi Dum Biryani
- Malabar Pukka Biryani from coastal India
- Calcutta Biryani with potatoes from eastern India
- Spicy Chettinad Biryani from the southern states
- Flavorful, tangy Sindhi Biryani from Sindh, Pakistan
Here are my general Biryani tips with the Ingredients and prep:
- Rinse the rice 2 times and then soak for 20 minutes. Drain the water after 20 minutes. This will remove some of the starch from the rice and will make the rice fluffy with longer grains after cooking.
- Pat dry the meat after you rinse it. This will reduce excess liquids in the Biryani. If you are using veggies make sure to pat dry them gently.
- Marinate the meat for at least 20 minutes so the flavors get into it.
- To make the Biryani less spicy, simply reduce the red chili powder and garam masala by half. And if you like to Spicy add extra whole spices like black pepper, sliced green chili just before you cook the proteins or veggies.
- For a dairy-free version substitute ghee with cooking oil and use dairy-free yogurt.
Instant Pot Biryani Tips
Here are a few tips specifically when cooking Biryani in the Instant Pot. These tips will help you get the perfect Biryani every single time:
- Deglaze the Instant Pot insert after caramelizing the onions. You can use 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to remove all the browning. That will avoid the dreaded BURN during the pressure cooking cycle. You can also caramelize onions in a non-stick pan ahead of time which will also make them crispy.
- After the Biryani is done pressure cooking, gently fluff the top layer of the rice with a fork or silicone spatula. Take the inner pot out and allow it to cool on a hot plate before serving on plates.
- When serving it’s best to use a silicone spatula to take most of the rice layer out first by gently reaching from the sides of the pot. Then carefully take out the bottom layer of the Biryani with the meat or vegetables and serve over rice.
- Be gentle when handling the hot rice, if you carefully take it out, the grains will not break and you will see long-grain rice just like my Biryani pictures 🙂
Side Dish Ideas
What do you serve with biryani? People traditionally serve it with cooling raita, which is basically cucumbers, yogurt, and cilantro. Here's how I make it:
- Peel 2 Persian cucumbers. Grate or finely dice.
- Whisk 1 cup of plain yogurt in a small bowl and a sprinkle of salt.
- Mix cucumbers with yogurt and garnish with fresh cilantro.
Check out this gorgeous beetroot raita recipe that also pairs up well with this flavorful dish.
If you like sweet and spicy combinations, the flavors of this dish pair perfectly with Spicy Mango Salad.
8 Best Biryani Recipes
These are my favorite biryani recipes of all time. Each recipe is an entire meal in one pot, with fragrant basmati rice (or brown rice), tender marinated meat or vegetables, and caramelized onions. You can cook all of them in less than an hour in the Instant Pot.
All of my recipes have detailed photos and even video so you can make them the same way that I did.
#1 Instant Pot Chicken Biryani
The very first recipe I'm sharing is my Instant Pot Chicken Biryani. This is one of the most popular recipes that I have ever shared. The marinated chicken is extremely tender and bursting with bright flavors. The sweet caramelized onions and zesty cilantro garnish compliment the earthy spices.
#2 Instant Pot Fish Biryani
Next, my Instant Pot Fish Biryani gives you tender, perfectly-cooked fished that is juicy and perfectly flaky. For the best results, I suggest using bone-in fish such as salmon, halibut, or king fish steaks.
#3 Low-Carb Cauliflower Rice Chicken Biryani
If you are on a low-carb diet, then you should try my Cauliflower Rice Chicken Biryani. It has the same spices as the recipe for my basmati rice-based one, but it's made with cauliflower rice. You'll also learn how to make cauliflower rice completely from scratch. It only has 11g net carbs in each serving. This is the only recipe in this collection that does not use Instant Pot.
#4 Egg Biryani
Another one of my most popular recipes is my Instant Pot Egg Biryani. Also called Anda Biryani, it is made with fragrant basmati rice, spiced hardboiled eggs, and features the same caramelized onions and tantalizing spices as the other recipes on this list.
#5 Chickpea Biryani
For vegetarians, I recommend this Instant Pot Chickpea Biryani. I share how to use either canned or fresh chickpeas. There are also tips in the recipe for how to make it with brown rice.
#6 Brown Rice Chicken Biryani
After receiving a lot of questions about how to make my original chicken recipe with brown rice, I created this Brown Rice Chicken Biryani recipe. Even though I was nervous at first, I learned that soaking the brown rice first really decreases the cooking time in the Instant Pot. If you prefer brown rice, then give this recipe a try.
#7 Instant Pot Shrimp Biryani
This Instant Pot Shrimp Biryani recipe is incredibly flavorful. You don't have to marinate the shrimp - I used frozen shrimp with perfect results. The potatoes really soak up the spices and each bite melts in your mouth.
#8 Instant Pot Vegetable & Paneer Biryani
Finally, my Vegetable and Paneer Biryani recipe was a labor of love. After a few failed attempts, I finally perfected it. The secret to fluffy rice and crispy vegetables is to cut the veggies a certain way (and use the right ones). If you are a vegetarian, you are going to adore this recipe.
That's it! I hope you find a recipe you love in this list. I could never pick a favorite, I love them all.
I recommend using extra long-grain white basmati rice for making Biryani dishes. I have been using Kohinoor extra long-grain basmati rice which when cooked makes fluffy long-grain rice with each grain being separate. Some other brands that I like are Laxmi, Tilda, and Daawat – just make sure to buy the extra long-grain variety for making Biryani and Pulao. Most Indian grocery stores will carry these brands and usually is the best place to buy basmati rice.
The yellow pigment in the dish comes from the turmeric and the other spices. Especially in case of Instant Pot since we cook the rice along with the proteins or veggies the color gets yellow instead of the traditional white rice layer that you get with stove top recipes.
Yes, turmeric is a very healthy spice. It has antioxidant properties that help with heart health.
If you don't like the taste of cilantro, you can leave it off. Or, you can add a few fresh parsley leaves as a substitute. Since they are from the same family, they have similar flavors.
I use my own combination of spices instead of special Biryani Masala. The most important thing is to use fresh spices and for me, homemade garam masala gives the most authentic taste. The recipe is easy and uses only 5 ingredients. In addition to these ground spices, you can also add whole spices such as star anise, cinnamon stick, and cloves along with the ghee.