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!

If you want to make biryani on the stovetop, here is my authentic chicken biryani, egg biryani, shrimp biryani, and mutton biryani recipe.

Watch How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Biryani

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 117 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

Notes

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. 

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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4.88 from 117 votes (79 ratings without comment)

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122 Comments

  1. I’d love to try this with brown basmati rice. Do you have any advice about how to change up your white basmati recipes? I realize that the end results will be a bit different texture-wise, but would appreciate knowing how to do this for this recipe and to know the formula for others. Increase cooking time, more liquid? Thanks.

  2. If I am cooking for someone who does not tolerate milk, can I substitute coconut milk or just leave the milk out?

    1. Hi Ruth – You can use water in place of milk to soak the saffron. Replace yogurt with vegan yogurt as well if you want to make this dish dairy-free.

  3. This was super tasty!! However, I think 1 cup of water for 1 cup of soaked rice and chicken with marinate is too much. Rice was a bit too mushy, any way to make it more fluffy?

    1. I used Kirkland Signature Basmati rice and cooked it for 10min, no soaking. So maybe that was too long. Next time I will try 20min soaking and 4 min manual setting.

      1. Thanks for the details, Becky. You can also reduce the water just a little (about 2 tablespoons) so that the rice is not mushy. Happy to hear you enjoyed the taste of the biryani!

    1. Hi Nabila – Sure, you can add potatoes to the biryani. Cut them into 1.5-2 inch pieces. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. Great recipe! Followed directions exactly other than sauté my onions in the lower setting half way through & using canola oil instead of ghee. I would probably want to make it a bit more spicer next time around. The results made me feel confident about cooking. Appreciate your detailed and accurate instructions!

  5. Thanks for sharing this recipe. From your notes it clear that we need to pressure cook for 4 minutes If using chicken with bone . But do we need to add some water at this step. First time using chicken in instant pot and not sure if water is needed. Please advise

    1. Hello – Great question. You can add 1/2 cup of water at this point with the chicken. Then reduce the water you add later with the rice by 1/2 cup. Hope you enjoy the biryani!

      1. Hi Jyoti – The same measurements would work for a stovetop pressure cooker too. Pressure cook for 2 whistles and then let the pressure release naturally.

  6. I made this today and it turned out great! My Desi husband will be so thrilled! (I am not Desi.) I ended up emptying out the IP after sauteeing the raisins/nuts as there was too much residual “nut crumbs” and I didn’t want them to burn when doing the onions. Also, the onions started to burn for me on Normal sauté heat so WHEN I make this again, I will set the sauté feature to “low” instead. I didn’t have cashews so I used slivered almonds instead and it was perfect. The flavors were great and just enough heat for me. My husband will probably want to add a little bit more heat though. I used about a 2″ stick of cinnamon and that was the perfect amount. I want to double this recipe for next time as the portion was small for our family of five. I’m wondering how much longer I should cook for once I get to the pressure cooking part. Any advice?

    1. Hi Sarah – So glad that you enjoyed the biryani. The pressure cooking time will remain the same even if you double the quantity in the recipe.

    1. Hi Kunal – I have included details in notes. You will need to precook a little for bone-in chicken. Use the same time as chicken legs. Hope you enjoy the biryani!

    1. Hi Sheena – Glad you enjoyed the biryani. I have included details in notes. You will need to precook a little for bone-in chicken. Use the same time as chicken legs.