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

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. And the biryani is just as flavorful with the complex flavors from mixing the rice, marinated chicken, caramelized onions, spices and saffron!

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What is Biryani?

Biryani is one of the most popular Indian dish 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 bottom pot on the stovetop or in the oven. This is called Dum Biryani.

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

Why you will love this Instant Pot Biryani?

  • One-pot: This biryani made in the instant does not require to cook 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 is including 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 am caramelizing the onions by sautéing in the pot before adding the other ingredients. Traditionally, fried onions are also added to biryani. However remember that store-bough 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 and mint, cilantro leaves. Mix all well and refrigerator 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, 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 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.

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 comments or share a photo on instagram with #pipingpotcurry.

4.89 from 104 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

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

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.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Chicken: I used chicken thighs to prepare this biryani, you can use chicken breasts or legs too. 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 versions of instant pot are more sensitive and are 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 stovetop. 

Nutrition

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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112 Comments

  1. For some reason my rice kept being mushy, would u know why that is? I followed directions exactly how its stated on the recipe

    1. Hi Joseph – Sorry to hear the rice did not turn out perfectly. Which rice did you use? I like to use extra long grain basmati rice (royal brand) for making biryani.

  2. Thank you for sharing. This recipe is so simple. I do not have an Instant Pot, but I will prepare this biryani in my Rice cooker. I am sure it will turn out perfect.
    Warm regards.

  3. I made this for my family for dinner and it was absolutely delicious and easy! I made the recipe using 1.5 cups of long grain rice and set the InstantPot to 6 minutes instead of 4 minutes. I also used more mint and cilantro for the chicken marinade and added one green chili. I really appreciated your recipe and will be adding this to my dinner rotation.

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  5. Hi, thank you so much for this recipe. What is the rice to water ratio for biryani? I have to make this for 10 people. The chicken releases water when cooking, so if I use 2.5 cups of rice, how much water do you recommend? I tried another IP Biryani recipe and the rice turned out mushy. Thanks so much!! Anjalika

    1. Hi Anjalika – I usually cook basmati rice with a ratio of 1 cup rice to 1.25 cup water. However here taking into account that the chicken released liquid, I have reduced the water down to 1 cup. So I feel that this ratio of 1:1 will work well even if you double the quantity of rice. Would love to hear how it turns out!

    1. Hi Rainer – Goat typically takes longer to cook. I would suggest to cook it with brown basmati rice if you have. Cook on high pressure for 22 minutes. Would love to hear how it turns out.

  6. Hi Meeta,
    I love biryani, and the Instant Pot makes it sooo much easier. I would like to use brown basmati rice but am worried it would overcook the chicken. What are your thoughts.
    Your recipe looks great!

    1. Hi Ren – You are right, if you use brown rice in this recipe as is, that would not work well. I would suggest to soak brown rice in hot water for 3 hours, then use it in this recipe. Cook on rice mode (low pressure for 12 minutes). Would love to hear how it turns out.

  7. This is so tasty! Thanks for posting. I’m slightly annoyed at myself for not doubling or tripling the recipe.

  8. Fabulous! Empty plates and smiling faces. I used 1.5 lbs chicken thighs, 1.5 cups of basmati, and scaled all species, herbs, and liquids to match. Finished dish had perfect texture and taste. No adjustments needed. Thank you very much for this recipe.

      1. My husband made this chicken biryani yesterday. The recipe is really simple, and most of the stuff is available at home other than saffron. came out so good in ip. Love all of recipes. Please tell me how do I register to ur mailing lists.