Chickpea Biryani is a wholesome one-pot vegetarian dish with protein-rich chickpeas cooked in caramelized onions and spices over fragrant basmati rice. Paired with cooling cucumber raita and a squeeze of fresh lime, this biryani makes a hearty gluten-free meal.
This chickpea biryani recipe is inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Annika. I love that she uses very few spices that are easy to find: fresh ginger and garlic, turmeric, Kashmiri red chili powder, and garam masala.
I am excited to share my version of the Chickpea Biryani using the Instant Pot pressure cooker and a few of my favorite whole spices. This versatile recipe can be easily modified to use the ingredients you have on hand and to your taste preference.
- Chickpeas - Dry chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans or "Kabuli Chana / Chole") are a pantry staple and a good source of plant-based protein. Soak them in warm water overnight and then pressure cook them in the Instant Pot. You can also use canned chickpeas if you are short on time. I have included the reduced pressure cook time and water ratio in the notes section of the recipe card.
- Basmati Rice - white basmati rice has a beautiful aroma and a short cooking time; the grains get long and fluffy when soaked in water before cooking. I have also included how to make chickpea biryani using brown rice in the recipe card notes.
- Spices - This recipe uses basic Indian spices - bay leaves, cumin seeds, whole black peppercorns, turmeric, red chili powder, and garam masala. You can always more spices such as whole cloves, star anise, and cardamom if you like.
How to Make Chickpea(Chana) Biryani
- Turn the Instant Pot to Saute (more) mode and heat 2 tablespoons of ghee. Add onions and saute for 10 mins, frequently stirring until the onions are caramelized. Take out half of the onion and reserve for garnishing the biryani (photos 1 - 2).
- Wash and soak the rice for 20 minutes. Drain after 20 mins and keep aside (photos 3 - 4).
- Add the remaining ghee to the Instant Pot with half of the caramelized onions already in the pot. Add bay leaves, cumin, and black pepper, and saute for 30 seconds. Add drained chickpeas, ginger, garlic, chilies, turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala, salt, and water. Mix well (photos 5 - 6).
- Pressure Cook for 20 minutes followed by quick release. Stir the chickpeas well. Spread the chopped mint and cilantro evenly over the chickpeas. Add drained rice, remaining salt, and water. Ensure all the rice is under the water (photos 7 - 10).
- Close the Instant Pot lid with the pressure valve to sealing. Pressure Cook for 6 mins. Allow 5 mins natural pressure release. Open the Instant Pot and garnish with the reserved caramelized onions and cilantro. Gently fluff the rice.
Serve with cucumber raita or beetroot raita and a lime wedge. Drizzle over a spoonful of ghee if you like!
Leftover biryani can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days. As with many Indian foods, the flavors will continue to develop overnight making it a great make-ahead dish. You can also freeze chickpea biryani for up to 2 months.
- Add 1 to 2 diced tomatoes with the chickpeas for a tangy flavor.
- Substitute ghee with oil for a Vegan Chickpea Biryani.
- If using canned chickpeas, rinse and drain the chickpeas and skip the initial pressure cooking step. Add only half a cup of water along with the chickpeas. Layer over soaked white rice and pressure cook for 6 minutes.
- To make chickpea biryani with brown rice, layer rinsed brown rice over the soaked and uncooked chickpeas. Increase the pressure cook time to 25 minutes. The same water proportions will work. Also, no need to soak the brown rice since 25 minutes is a good time for brown rice to cook.
- Instead of caramelizing the onions in the Instant Pot, use the air fryer to make golden-fried onions.
Instant Pot Chickpea Biryani
- 1 cup dry chickpeas soaked overnight in warm water and drained (will be 2 cups soaked)
- 3 tablespoons ghee divided
- 1 large yellow onion thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- 1 teaspoon garlic grated
- 2 green chillies slit into half (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder or any mild red chili powder
- 1½ cups water to pressure cook chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 cups long grain basmati rice
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup mint leaves chopped
- ½ cup cilantro chopped + ¼ cup for garnish
- Turn the Instant Pot to Saute mode and heat half of the ghee.
- Add onions and saute for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions are caramelized. Take out half of the onion and reserve for garnishing the biryani. Note: You can also use the air fryer for this step to make golden fried onions.
- Add the remaining ghee to the Instant Pot with half of the caramelized onions already in the pot. Add bay leaves, cumin seeds, and black pepper, and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add drained chickpeas, ginger, garlic, chilies, turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala, salt, and water. Mix well.
- Close the Instant pot and turn the pressure valve to sealing. Pressure Cook for 20 minutes.
- Wash and soak the rice for 20 minutes. Drain after 20 minutes and keep aside.
- Quick release the pressure after the pressure cooking cycle completes.
- Open the Instant Pot and stir the chickpeas well. Spread the chopped mint and cilantro evenly over the chickpeas.
- Add drained rice, salt, and water. Gently push all the rice under the water. Close the Instant Pot lid with the pressure valve to sealing. Pressure Cook for 6 minutes. Allow 5 minutes of natural pressure release.
- Open the Instant Pot and garnish with the reserved caramelized onions and cilantro. Gently fluff the rice.
- Serve with cucumber raita and lime wedges.
- Add 1 to 2 diced tomatoes along with the chickpeas for a tangy flavor.
- Substitute ghee with oil for a Vegan Chickpea Biryani.
- If using canned chickpeas, rinse and drain the chickpeas and skip the initial pressure cooking step. Add only ½ cup of water along with the chickpeas. Layer over soaked white rice and pressure cook for 6 minutes.
- To make chickpea biryani with brown rice, simply layer rinsed brown rice over the soaked and uncooked chickpeas. Increase the pressure cook time to 25 minutes. The same water proportions will work. Also, no need to soak the brown rice since 25 minutes is a good time for brown rice to cook.
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Update Notes: This recipe was originally posted in March 2018, and was updated in March 2023 with a new video and variations.
Wow. Looks absolutely yummy Archana 🙂
Thank you Malini!
Love Chicken Biryani so much! My favourite dish when ever I go to an Indian restaurant 🙂
Thank you! I agree, Biryani is my favorite Indian food too.
This was delicious!! I also added in green beans (like your veggie biryani recipe) and made it on the stovetop instead of with an IP, but it turned out perfect 🙂 I'm looking forward to eating leftovers for lunch this week!
For anyone else who doesn't have an Instant Pot: I just followed the first few instructions above, used canned chickpeas, and followed the rice directions on how long to cook it! (20 minutes usually works well for me.)
Hi Becky, Thank you for your feedback. So glad you enjoyed it. The flavors only get better, the leftovers are going to be yummy!! Thank you for the details to help our readers without Instant Pot!
Sharmaine Cheleden says
This looks amazing! How would I modify to make with brown basmati rice? Thank you!
Even easier with Brown Basmati rice! Add soaked brown basmati along with the chickpeas. Cook everything together for 20 mins and follow with NPR.
Thank you so much! Can’t wait to try!
You are welcome! Let me know how you like it.
Crystal Che Williams says
How long do you soak the brown rice for?
Are you trying to make this recipe with Brie rice? You can soak for 20 mins and you will have to increase cook time to 15 mins
Divya Dubey says
What rice brand do you use?
Kohinoor extra long basmati rice.
What a pleasant surprise!! You are so sweet. I'm sure your Instant Pot fans will love your version of this recipe. Thank you my sweetheart.
You are welcome. Took me a while to post the recipe and yes, all my Instant Pot followers are loving it. It is such a hearty dish and makes weeknight meals so easy.
wonderful biryani with chickpeas! looks awesome!!
Hi! Could I use canned chickpeas instead? And if so, I’m assuming the cooking time could go down to about 7 minutes?
Yes you can use canned chickpeas. You do not have to pressure cook them separately. Add rice along with the chickpeas. Also you will need less water for the chickpeas.
Nidhi Sehgal says
If I'm using double quantity for above recipe-does IP cooking time change?
Hi Nidhi, Same pressure cooking time for doubling the recipe. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Penny Edwards says
The cup of rice measurement, is it a cup or the rice cup that comes with the IP?
I used regular rice cul
Penny Edwards says
regular rice cup just for the rice (180ml) or for everything? 1 cup = 240ml
I use the same cup to measure all ingredients in this recipe.
Penny Edwards says
Thank you. It was amazing, loved the flavours. Will be making this again, thank you!
Thank you Penny! I am so glad you enjoyed this.
High pressure or low pressure when cooking the chickpeas?
Linda Dawson says
Unfortunately the burn notice came on as soon as the pot came to pressure. Did QR & rice was overcooked and mushy, stuck to the bottom of the pot. Followed recipe with tinned chick peas.
Hi Linda, I am so sorry that you got the burn message. Was the bottom of the pot deglazed well before closing the lid? Also what time did you se it for with canned chickpeas?
If I use brown basmati rice and canned chicpeas, do I put rice and chicpeas at same time in IP and how long do I cook for? Thanks.
Brown Basmati needs 22 minutes of pressure cook time. To reduce the cook time, rinse and drain the brown basmati rice thoroughly 2 times. Add 2 cups of warm water and soak the rice for 3 hours. Then you can cook both canned chickpeas and soaked brown basmati rice for 10 minutes and allow 10 minute of natural pressure release before opening the Instant Pot. Let me know if you have any other questions.
I would like to make this recipe with canned chickpeas, but was wondering if any of the 1/2 cup of water needs to be cooked down before adding the rice and additional 2 cups of water? Thanks! I tried your chicken biryani and it was absolutely delicious. Can’t wait to try this one!
Hi Andrew, You can make this dish with canned chickpeas. You can skip the initial pressure cooking of just chickpeas. Cook the canned chickpeas along with the rice. No need to cook down the 1/2 cup of water added with the chickpeas. Just makes sure to drain the canned chickpeas well.
If I am doubling the recipe, do I double the water quantities?
Hi! This is my first time visiting your blog. I just made this recipe for dinner, following your detailed instructions (using soaked chana) and it came out perfectly! I worried it wouldn't be as flavorful without the standard dry spices like cloves, cardamom, etc but I was wrong. Thank you for sharing such a tasty and easy recipe! It's a family favorite!
Thank you for your lovely feedback!
Purbasha C says
Hi Archana, Made this tonight with canned chick peas in IP. Came out delicious, family loved it. This recipe is going in my recipe collection.
Hi, I was wondering for the chickpeas, soaked do I add 1/2 cup water or 1 and 1/2 cups? Also if I wanted to cook using soaked chickpeas and unsoaked brown rice, how would i go about adding other veggies? Like carrot, bell peppers?
For soaked chickpeas add 1.5 cups of water. Add vegetables along with brown rice. Hope this helps!
Hi Archana, I do not own an instant pot. Can make the same recipe using a traditional pressure cooker ?
Your 1 cup is 8oz or 6oz?
Yes 1 cup is 8 oz