This Instant Pot Chicken Biryani has fragrant rice cooked with tender, juicy chicken along with lots of warming spices and caramelized onions. This Indian chicken and rice dish is popular all over the world. This one-pot version made in a pressure cooker is easy to make even on busy weeknights in less than an hour.

Chicken Biryani served in a plate garnished with onions, lime along with a side of raita
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This biryani has been on repeat in my house. My older daughter absolutely loves it. If you ask anyone to make biryani, all that would come to their mind is – first, the best, most flavorful rice dish, and then, it takes a long time to make and involves multiple steps.

This recipe is different than the traditional biryani. It is made as a one-pot dish in the pressure cooker, similar to my vegetable biryani. Yes, that’s right, I use just one pot to cook this biryani and one bowl to marinate the chicken. The biryani is just as flavorful with the complex flavors from mixing the rice, marinated chicken, caramelized onions, spices, and saffron!

What is Biryani?

Biryani is one of the most popular Indian dishes that is made with rice, meat and/or vegetables, and spices. Traditionally, biryani has layers of meat and rice that are slow-cooked in a heavy-bottomed pot on the stovetop or in the oven, unlike pulao. This is called Dum Biryani.

It is believed that Biryani originated in Persia and was brought to India by the Mughals, just like Mughlai Chicken Zaafrani. There are many variations of biryani in different regions of India. Hyderabadi, Chettinad, Malabar, and Sindhi are a few of the variations you might hear about.

Why you will love this Instant Pot Biryani?

  • One-pot: This biryani made in the instant pot does not require cooking chicken and rice separately and then layer it together. This means we make it all in one pot, which means less mess and dishes. But mind you, it is just as flavorful as the authentic dum biryani.
  • Takes less than an hour to make: This includes marination and pressure cooking time. So it is just 30 minutes of active effort to make this one-pot meal!
Chicken Biryani served in a platter

How to make Chicken Biryani in Instant Pot?

When I think of biryani, layers of meat and rice topped with lots of caramelized or fried onions come to my mind. And I did not want that to change even if I was making this one-pot version of my Chicken Biryani. So let me show you how I achieve that in the instant pot!

Let’s start with getting the ingredients ready for the biryani.   

ingredients for chicken biryani

Onions: In this recipe, I caramelize the onions by sautéing in the pot before adding the other ingredients. Traditionally, fried onions are also added to biryani. However, remember that store-bought fried onions are not gluten-free. So feel free to fry them separately at home if you like. You can add some fried onions when marinating the chicken and some on top after cooking the biryani.

Chicken: I used boneless chicken thighs in this recipe. You can also use bone-in chicken when making biryani. Just pressure cook for 4 minutes before layering the rice. More details in notes.

Marinating the Chicken

We will marinate the chicken as that makes it much more tender and flavorful. Add the yogurt, spices, ginger, garlic paste, lime juice, mint, and cilantro leaves. Mix all well and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Marinating the chicken for biryani with yogurt, spices, and mint, cilantro leaves

At the same time, rinse the rice with water and soak it. I always use long grain basmati rice for biryani. The final dish looks amazing with the extra long-cooked rice.

When you are ready to start cooking, soak the saffron strands in warm milk.

Caramelize the Onions

Start the instant pot on sauté mode and let it heat. Add ghee and then the cashews and raisins and saute them for about a minute until they are lightly golden. Take out and reserve for later.

Then add in sliced onions and caramelize them.  This is the cooking step that takes some active effort, as you need to stir the onions frequently as they caramelize. Once caramelized, remove and keep aside half the onions. We will use these to garnish at the end.

Add the whole spices and saute for 30 seconds to release their aroma. Add in the marinated chicken and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Steps to make biryani in the instant pot

Pressure Cook the Biryani

Make sure to deglaze the pot as you sauté the chicken. This is important to avoid the bur message. Then, spread the chicken at the bottom of the pot.

Add in the rice and spread it over the chicken. Spread the saffron soaked in milk.

Then add the water and pressure cook the biryani.

Chicken Biryani being made in the instant pot step by step

After pressure cooking, the rice should be well-cooked and fluffy. They should not be mushy.

Garnish with the reserved caramelized onions, cashews, and raisins. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

Do not overmix the biryani in the pot.  When you scoop out the biryani from the pot, do it from the bottom of the pot so you get both chicken and rice with each scoop.

Chicken Biryani served in a platter garnished with onions and limes

Enjoy this tasty Chicken Biryani with raita.

Check here for 15 side dish recipes to serve with biryani!

Tips to Make Perfect Chicken Biryani

  • Prep the ingredients: It helps to have all the ingredients ready before you start to cook biryani.
  • Marinate the Chicken for at least 20 minutes. It helps to make the chicken tender and flavorful.
  • Deglaze: Make sure to deglaze the pot well so that you don’t get a burn message.
  • Use high-quality spices. If possible, make Garam Masala at home for the extra bold flavor. Here is my mom’s Garam Masala recipe.
  • Use ghee to get the real flavor of biryani. I like to make ghee at home in the instant pot.
  • Enjoy this biryani with a cooling raita such as this Cucumber Raita. And serve Sheer Khurma as a dessert.

Hope you enjoy this easy one-pot biryani. Do share how it turned out in the comments, or share a photo on Instagram with #pipingpotcurry.

More Indian Recipes You’ll Love

4.88 from 116 votes

Instant Pot Chicken Biryani

This Instant Pot Chicken Biryani has fragrant rice cooked with tender juicy chicken along with lots of warming spices and caramelized onions. This Indian chicken and rice dish is popular all over the world. This one-pot version made in a pressure cooker is easy to make even on busy weeknights in less than an hour.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4


  • 1 lb Chicken, boneless cut into 1.5" inch pieces
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice, washed and soaked for 20 minutes
  • 2 tablespoon Ghee
  • 10 Cashews
  • 12 Raisins
  • 1 Onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon Milk, warm
  • 10 strands Saffron (Kesar)
  • 1 cup Water

For marination

Whole Spices


Marinate the chicken:

  • Add chicken in a bowl with all the marinate ingredients. Mix well and refrigerate it for 30 minutes (or up to 8 hours).

Preparing the biryani:

  • Add the milk to a small bowl and warm it in the microwave. Add the saffron strands to it. Keep aside.
  • Start the instant pot on sauté mode and heat it. Add ghee, and then the cashews, raisins and saute them for about a minute until they are lightly golden. Take out and reserve for later.
  • Add in the sliced onions. Cook them for about 10-12 minutes until onions caramelize. Stir frequently, so they don't stick to the bottom. Take out half of the caramelized onions.
  • Add the whole spices and saute for 30 seconds. Add the marinated chicken. Mix well and saute for about 3 minutes minutes. Make sure to deglaze the pot well. Then spread the chicken evenly on the base of the pot.
  • Spread the rice evenly over the chicken. Spread the saffron soaked in milk on top of the rice. Then add the 1 cup of water to the pot. Close the lid with vent in sealing position.
  • Change the instant pot setting to manual or pressure cook mode at high pressure for 4 minutes. When the instant pot beeps, do a 10 minute NPR. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then quick release the pressure manually.
  • Garnish with the reserved caramelized onions, cashews and raisins. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves. Serve chicken biryani with raita.



Chicken: I used chicken thighs to prepare this biryani; you can also use chicken breasts or legs. If using chicken legs, sauté as in the recipe, then pressure cook for 4 minutes before adding the rice and continuing the next steps. 
Spice level: This recipe is for medium-spiced biryani. Add or reduce the spice to your taste.
How to avoid burn? The newer instant pot versions are more sensitive and prone to give a burn message for rice dishes. Make sure to deglaze the pot after sautéing the chicken. If you still face an issue, consider sautéing the onions in a separate pan on the stovetop. 
Stovetop Pressure Cooker Method: Pressure cook on high flame for 3 whistles in the stovetop cooker. Then, let the pressure release naturally. 


Calories: 453kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 31gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 752mgPotassium: 736mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 371IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 112mgIron: 2mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten-free
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi Meeta

    We had this for dinner tonight and it was delicious. I love a Biryani and this was so easy a quick to cook. loved the raita too.
    In Scotland if we order a Biryani in an Indian restaurant it is always served with quite a thin vegetable curry. What curry would you recommend? Thank you.

    1. Hi Marilyn – Glad you enjoyed the biryani. Usually, biryani is served with mirchi ka salan. Sorry, I don’t yet have a recipe shared for it.

    1. Hello – Cilantro is green coriander leaves. PR is the terminology used for electric pressure cookers; it just means pressure release. I have explained how to do it in the recipe steps.

    1. Hi Millie – Sorry to hear that the rice became a bit mushy. Depending on rice and chicken sometimes you might need a little less water. I would suggest to add 1/4 cup less water next time. Glad you enjoyed the flavors!

  2. We were introduced to biryani in Oenang, Malaysia a few years ago. We kept seeing signs in restaurants but unfortunately didn’t try it until almost our last day. We get it occasionally at our local Indian restaurant but they make it way too spicy. This was my first attempt at making it myself. The recipe was great, aromatic with a little bit but not enough to take away from the spices. My husband loved it…you get his top compliment…this is a keeper!

  3. hi, I want to make this with 2 cups of basmati rice..will the water added be 1 or 2 cups and does the cooking time remain the same?

    1. Hi Erika – I would suggest doubling the amount of water when doubling the amount of rice in this recipe. The cooking time will remain the same.

  4. Hello mam,
    Tried this recipe , it turned out good. Rice was cooked well , easy methods to follow, onion part took sometime, rest all was done in few minutes.
    Thank you mam 🙂

  5. A super tasty recipe of biryani and will definitely be making it again.
    Like all your recipes and I try to make and enjoy and share the recipe.

    😊 thanks

    1. Hi Rajinder – Thank you for your kind words! I’m delighted to hear that you enjoy the recipes and share them. Happy cooking and sharing! 😊

  6. This looks amazing! I would love to make this, but I don’t have an instapot. Could you help me navigate the recipe? Thank you!

  7. Turned out pretty much perfect! Way better than other instant pot biryani recipes I’ve tried! I soaked the rice for 10 minutes instead of 20, and increased the marinade by 25%