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.

4.88 from 97 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.


YouTube video


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. 


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

Hi..I’m Meeta. I am a former product specialist by profession, and a foodie at heart. I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need some inspiration to explore the ingredients and create great food. I share simple step-by-step recipes made using instant pot and other gadgets in the modern kitchen. I primarily cook Indian food, but I also love to cook global cuisines such as Italian, Thai, Mexican and more. Enjoy the world of awesome food!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Followed the recipe to a T and it was perfect. Served with raita, mint and coconut chutney and boiled eggs.
    Question – do you double the water if you d’où le thé rice?

    1. Hi Sharmini – So happy to hear you enjoyed the biryani. Yes I wood double the amount of water if doubling the rice in this recipe.

  2. I really liked this Biryani recipe. I skipped the cashews and raisins as I’ve never had a biryani that had them. I also chose to cook the onions in my air fryer (toaster-oven style). Sliced ultra thin and tossed with some cooking oil, each large onion took about 30 minutes to caramelize and dry to crispy.

    I served it with the raita (linked on this page) and some mini-naan that I toasted in a very hot dry pan. It was a hit with my wife who doesn’t tolerate much spice and our friend who liked Indian cuisine.

  3. This came out amazing! I never had biryani with raisins or cashews so I didn’t add that in. But I’ve attempted Biryani three times and so far this is the best recipe that I’ve ever made! Thank you so much!

  4. Hi.

    I made this recipe as is and it was great. The next time I added bell peppers (to get in some veggies) and I came out mushy. Any idea how to modify the recipe to add a couple of bell peppers?


    1. Hi Reena – Bell peppers cook very quickly, hence they can get too soft when pressure cooked. You can add them after pressure cooking if you want to retain the crunch or you can add them on top just before pressure cooking, but not mix with the rice and water. Glad you enjoyed the biryani.

    1. Hi Sonia – I have not tried, but 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.

      1. Thank you Meeta – will try it. I find the regular long grains of basmati rice that are closest to the chicken in the pot absorb too much moisture and do not maintain their separate, fluffy integrity. The rice on top is fine and can be easily fluffed with a fork. It’s for this reason that I wondered if the brown basmati may maintain its integrity better

        I will try it and let you know.

  5. Made this once before and it’s so good! Question: I’m planning to make this a day ahead for a friend’s birthday. How do you recommend reheating it? Should I put it in the oven? Thanks so much for all your wonderful recipes!

    1. Hi Christine – Glad you have enjoyed the biryani. You can reheat the biryani in the microwave.

  6. Made this for the first time tonight and it was delicious! It was a simpler version… no cashews, raisins or saffron, but was still a huge hit with the family. Thank you for your recipes and instructions!

  7. Hi! Instead of 1 cup of basmati rice, if I were to increase it to 2 or 3 cups, how would the amount of the ingredients change?

    1. Hi George – I would increase all the ingredients proportionally if you add more rice. The pressure cooking time will remain the same.

      1. Hi Meeta – thanks so much for your reply! So I’m guessing the same would be true, generally speaking, if I was to alter the amount of the chicken as well, right?

        Thank you so much for your website, all of your recipes are amazing!!

      2. Hi George – You can add more chicken to the biryani if you prefer. The pressure cooking time and the liquid amount won’t change if you add more chicken. So Glad that you are enjoying the recipes 🙏

  8. It looks great. Question – you always hear not to put dairy in the instant pot but this has yogurt, milk and ghee. Has anyone had any problems with this?