One-pot Fish Biryani with aromatic long-grain basmati rice cooked over perfectly spiced fish marinated in warm spices, topped with caramelized onions and cilantro.
I am a huge fan of tasty one-pot meals. Starting with my popular Chicken Biryani, comforting Lentils and Vegetable Khichdi, hearty Chicken Enchilada Quinoa, and Coconut Curry Noodle Soup all easily made for weeknight meals using smart pressure cookers. All of this without compromising the taste and authentic flavors.
Instant Pot Biryani
Here are a few reason why I love making Fish Biryani in the Instant Pot:
- Makes a true one-pot meal as you can start with caramelizing onions on saute mode, then saute dill and finish up by layering fish and rice over in the same pot
- Perfectly cooked rice with each grain separate and fluffy
- Tender and moist fish without the fear of over or undercooking
- Keeps warm until you are ready to serve and I always serve it right out of the Instant Pot. No need to wash a separate serving dish
- The biggest advantage of all - no fishy smell in your kitchen
What is the best rice for making Biryani?
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 Royal, 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.
What is the best Fish for Biryani?
- Bone-in fish steaks hold up really well in Biryani dishes. I like to use salmon, halibut, or kingfish steaks. Ask the fishmonger for 1 to 1.5 inch thick steaks that are about the same size.
- If you do not like bone-in fish, use thick fish fillet of salmon, halibut, or kingfish. Firm white fish will work well without overcooking or breaking apart.
- Frozen fish will also work well for this recipe. Follow the same cook times. The fish will mostly thaw during marination.
What flavors does Dill add?
Lemony sweet flavors of fresh dill complement seafood dishes and add rich flavors to this Biryani. Dill has many nutritional benefits - it is a good source of vitamin A, calcium, minerals and is packed with dietary fiber. Fresh dill is widely used in India and my favorite recipes using dill are Garlic Dill Lentils and Dill Dhokli. Although I highly recommend adding dill, you can also skip it if you do not have it.
How to make perfect Biryani every single time?
- 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 fish after washing. This will reduce excess liquids in the Biryani.
- Marinate fish for at least 20 minutes so the flavors get into the fish.
- To make the Biryani less spicy, simply reduce the red chili powder and garam masala by half.
- For a dairy-free version substitute ghee with cooking oil and skip the yogurt.
- 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. Tip - Onions can be either be caramelized in a non-stick pan ahead of time or air fried.
- 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 fish 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 🙂
Here is how to make fish biryani step by step:
- Make the marinade by mixing ginger, garlic, red chili powder, ground coriander, turmeric, garam masala, fenugreek leaves, salt, mint leaves, cilantro, lemon juice, and yogurt. Evenly coat both sides of the fish with the marinade. Keep in the refrigerator while preparing the rest of the ingredients (steps 1 - 2).
- Rinse and soak basmati rice for 20 minutes. Drain and reserve (steps 3 - 4).
- Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode and heat 2 tablespoons of ghee. Add thinly sliced onions and cook stirring frequently for 8 to 10 minutes or until the onions are caramelized. Take out half of the onion and keep aside for garnishing the Biryani (steps 5 - 6).
- Next, add 2 tablespoons of ghee to the Instant Pot with half of the caramelized onions already in the pot. Then, add dill and mix well deglazing the pot. Afterward, add marinated fish and jalapeño (if using). Next, add rice, 1.5 teaspoon salt, and water. Gently push all the rice under the liquids with a spatula (steps 7 - 10).
- Close the Instant Pot and turn the pressure valve to sealing. Set Instant Pot to Manual/Pressure Cook mode and adjust the time to 5 minutes. Follow with Quick release. Garnish with the remaining caramelized onions and cilantro.
Serve hot Biryani with Raita and lemon wedges.
Love the warm comforting flavors of this hearty meal? Try some of my other popular Biryani recipes:
- Chicken Biryani
- Vegetable & Paneer Biryani
- Shrimp Biryani
- Brown Rice Chicken Biryani
- Chickpea Biryani
- Cauliflower Rice Chicken Biryani
Instant Pot Fish Biryani
- 1 tablespoon ginger grated
- 1 tablespoon garlic pressed
- 1 tablespoon kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 to 2 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 10-12 mint leaves roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- 2 pounds bone-in halibut or Salmon cut into 1 inch steaks
- 2 cups Basmati rice
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- ¼ cup ghee divided
- 1 cup chopped fresh dill leaves
- ½ jalapeno sliced into 4 wedges optional
- 1½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped for garnish
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 1 red onion finely diced
- 2 tomatoes diced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon cilantro chopped
- Make Marinade by mixing ginger, garlic, red chili powder, ground coriander, garam masala, turmeric, fenugreek leaves, salt, mint leaves, cilantro, lemon juice and yogurt. Add fish and coat evenly with the marinade. Keep in the refrigerator while preparing rest of the ingredients.
- Rinse and soak basmati rice for 20 mins. Drain and reserve.
- Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode and heat 2 tablespoons of ghee. Add thinly sliced onions and cook stirring frequently for 8 to 10 mins or until the onions are caramelized. Take out half of the onion and keep it aside for garnishing the biryani.
- Add 2 tablespoons of ghee to the Instant Pot with half of the caramelized onions already in the pot. Add dill and mix well deglazing the pot. Add marinated fish and jalapeño (if using). Add rice, 1.5 teaspoon salt and water. Gently push all the rice under the liquids with a spatula.
- Close the Instant Pot and turn pressure valve to sealing. Set Instant Pot to Manual/Pressure Cook mode and adjust the time to 5 mins. Follow with Quick release.
- Garnish with the remaining caramelized onions and cilantro. Serve with Raita (Onions and tomatoes mixed in yogurt), and lime wedges.
- To make the raita, whisk the yogurt in a medium bowl. Add onions, tomatoes, salt and mix well. Garnish with cilantro.
- If you have an air fryer you can use it for perfectly golden fried onions. This is a good alternative to caramelizing them in the Instant Pot.
- This recipe makes medium spicy Biryani. For extra spicy add more spicy green chili, red chili powder, and garam masala
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Shilpa Paradkar says
Tried your fish Biryani recipe today, it turned out so so good in no time. Perfectly cooked rice gives biryani a different level and this recipe did reach that level. My daughter and husband loved it.
Thank you so much for this lovely recipe
Your recipe is wonderful. We had it last night, and we and our children enjoyed it so much. Perfectly explained, well-balanced flavours and ingredients, ready very quickly.
I’ll be looking at your other recipes now too!
I made this recipe, not all the ingredients but my family was happy with, they enjoy and Love it!!,
Thank you for your recipes, your recipes are so good, with your tutorial i already learn to use my instant pot without fear jejejeje.
Thank You, a Latin mom trying to cook Indian food!!!
Thank you so much!!
I'm hoping to make this dish for Christmas, unfortunately, I couldn't find Dried Fenugreek Leaves at the grocery store and my Amazon order isn't coming until next Tuesday :(. Is there a substitute I can use for it?
You can skip dried fenugreek leaves as there is no good substitute for it.
I just wanted to let you know that I made this Biryani for Christmas, and everyone loved it! I used a Biryani mix instead of Garam Masala for the fish marinade, and I mixed some of it with the water. I also didn't have Dried Fenugreek Leaves, so I used Maple Syrup as a substitute (I looked up substitutes on the internet for Dried Fenugreek Leaves, and Maple Syrup came up). I also used 3 cups of rice instead of two, and I let it cook for 8 minutes instead of 5. For some reason, I've never been able to get good rice in the Instant Pot for 4-5 minutes. It's never cooked properly. So this worked out perfectly! We had a lot of leftovers which was a bonus! Thanks for this wonderful recipe! I'm definitely going to try and make your other Biryani dishes!
Thank you for this lovely feedback!
First time making this Instant Pot Fish Biryani. My husband, kids, and I love it! Recipe was easy to follow and it tastes delicious. I used salmon, but I didn't have enough so I also added tilapia and both tasted great.
Thank you for the lovely feedback!
Vanessa Naik says
excellent recipe, one of my favorites. If you wanted to do this with basmati brown rice, what guidance would you suggest on cook time, etc.?
I would not recommend Brown Basmati as the fish will overcook. Brown BAsmati needs 20 mins of pressure cooking time which is too long for fish.