Awadhi chicken biryani recipe | Lucknowi chicken biryani

By Swasthi on August 1, 2022, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Awadhi chicken biryani recipe – Foods from Awadhi cuisine are said to have been widely influenced by the Nawabs of Awadh, who were of the Persian origin. Their royal dishes were aromatic and delicious, flavored with spices, herbs, nuts, plant extracts and saffron. The city of Lucknow is popular for the Awadhi foods like Seekh kabab, Shami kabab, Murgh musallam, Shahi korma and Biryani.

awadhi chicken biryani

This Lucknowi biryani recipe is a generic one that can be used to make either a chicken or mutton biryani. The recipe would not change other than the cooking time of meat.

Awadhi biryani is different from the Hyderabadi biryani in terms of taste and flavors. While most hyderabadi biryani recipes call for ground spices or biryani masala , awadhi biryani is made with whole spices alone. There is no pudina or mint leaves used, but I have used it since I found some popular chefs using it in youtube.

Yellow chili powder is used to make Lucknowi biryani. Though it is available in Singapore, guessing most readers may not be able to find it I made this with very little amount of red chili powder for the color which can be skipped.

This awadhi chicken biryani recipe is roughly adapted from my own biryani recipes on the blog. After numerous trials, I arrived at these quantities that really worked well for me. This came very close to the taste and flavor of Lucknowi biryani that we get in one of the North Indian restaurants here, which specializes in serving authentic North Indian foods in Singapore.

If you are looking for a flavorful and aromatic chicken biryani using whole spices then this may be for you. It can be served with raita or side gravy. You can find raita recipes here.

I have made this with 1 kg chicken, this recipe can be halved, but not doubled. The following are the adjustments you can do to the recipe, but do not make all:

The quantity of Rice can be increased by another half cup if you are using 1 kg chicken.
The quantity of chicken can be reduced by 250 grams for the quantity of rice mentioned in the recipe card.
Use meeta attar or biryani attar only if you find organic one. Else just skip it.
Do not skip kewra or rose water, as these are the ingredients that bring in that unique aroma. If you do not like the flavors then just try this kachi hyderabadi chicken biryani or pakki chicken dum biryani.

If you are a beginner then you can also check this easy Chicken biryani in cooker.

How to make awadhi chicken biryani

1. Add chicken to a bowl. I have used large pieces of chicken. You can use any size.

Add chicken

2. This step is optional, but I highly recommend it as the meat absorbs flavors of the spices and also turns tender. Just 2 hours of marination is sufficient if you are using tender meat. For the marination add yogurt, this has to be a semi thick like the regular homemade curd made with full fat milk. Add bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, mace, cardamom, cardamom powder, chilli powder, rose water, kewra water and salt. Do not judge the quantity of cinnamon by looking into the pictures. I have mentioned it as 1.5 grams, stick on to it. I have used ceylon cinnamon, so they look like quite a lot.

Add bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, mace, cardamom

3. Mix everything well and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Mix everything well

4. Wash basmati rice well until the water runs clear. Soak it for at least 30 to 40 mins. Drain the water and set aside. Add 1 tbsp hot water to a small bowl, soak a pinch of saffron.

5. Bring water to a boil in large pot, add 1 tsp oil, shahi jeera and salt. You can also add spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom etc. If you like to use then, cut down from the marination and add them here.

Add oil, shahi jeera and salt

6. Add the drained rice.

Add the drained rice

7. You can also add little lemon juice to the pot. This is optional. Cook until 90% done on a medium flame. The rice will be al dente at this stage and you will feel the bite if eaten but almost cooked.

add lemon juice to the pot

8. When done drain it to a colander.


9. I suggest to make the fried onions, while the rice is till soaking. You can skip these steps if using store bough fried onions. Add 4 tbsps ghee to a pot and heat it. Add thinly sliced onions.

fried onions

10. Keep stirring and fry until the onions turn evenly brown. Set these aside.

the onions turn evenly brown

11. This was the left over ghee after frying onions. Heat it and saute the rest of the dry spices. 1 small bay leaf, shahi jeera, cardmoms and cloves. Make sure you use a heavy bottom pot that is wide enough.

add bay leaf, shahi jeera, cardmoms and cloves

12. Add the marinated chicken along with green chilies and half of the fried onions. Saute it on a medium heat for about 3 to 4 mins.

Add the marinated chicken

13. Pudina is not used in awadhi biryani, you can skip it. But I have added it. Continue to cook on a medium to low heat until the chicken is fully done and soft.


14. After you see the chicken is soft cooked, then continue to cook on a medium high heat until the moisture is almost evaporated and a thick gravy is left. In this recipe there is no spice powder used like biryani masala, so the gravy will be less. You will see a good layer of ghee separated at this stage. This is the crucial step, under cooking at this step may make your biryani mushy.

chicken is soft cooked

15. Layer the rice, sprinkle some mint leaves, fried onions, biryani attar if using.

Layer the rice

16. Add 1/2 tsp kewra water.

Add kewra water

17. Add 4 tbsps of cream to the saffron water and mix. Pour this over the rice. I used homemade malai / cream. I just blended a bit in a mini blender and used.

add cream to the saffron water and mix

18. Pour this over the rice.

Pour this over the rice

19. I used a heavy cast iron lid, so did not have to seal the pot. You can refer this hyderabadi mutton biryani post for sealing the traditional way. Alternately you can also use a foil or moist kitchen cloth to seal, place a lid and then a heavy object over it. Cook this on a medium heat for 10 minutes and then on a low heat for 5 to 10 mins. You can insert a skewer or a long spoon to the base and check if it is still very moist, you must get the grease and not moisture. If you see it is still very moist , seal it and put back on the stove for few more minutes.

Seal back and allow to rest for another 10 mins.

cover and cook

Serve awadhi chicken biryani with raita.

lucknowi biryani recipe
Lucknowi chicken biryani recipe

Related Recipes

Awadhi chicken biryani

Dum Pukht awadhi chicken biryani is popular in Lucknow and other norther parts of India. Mild, flavorful and aromatic biryani rice dum cooked with chicken.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 420 grams basmati rice (2 ½ cups) (aged rice)
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced about 1 heaped cup (or handful of fried onions)
  • ¼ cup ghee
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf , small, / tej patta
  • 4 green cardamoms / elaichi
  • 1 to 2 cinnamon sticks / dalchini
  • ½ shahi jeera / caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp kewra water
  • 2 drops meeta attar (optional) (prefer organic)
  • 3 to 4 green chilies
  • 1 Pinch saffron , soaked in 1 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp cream
  • 1 ½ cup mint (pudina chopped) (not used in authentic awadhi biryani, but some places they are used)

To Marinate

  • 1 kg chicken or lamb meat (bone-in)
  • 1 ½ gram cinnamon / dalchini
  • 6 green cardamoms / elaichi
  • ½ tsp cloves / lavang
  • 2 bay leaves / tej patta
  • ¾ tsp salt or as needed
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder / eliachi powder
  • 150 grams curd , or ¾ cup, / yogurt (semi thick) (do not use sour)
  • 1 ½ tbsp ginger garlic paste or ginger juliennes
  • ½ tsp Yellow chili powder , ( Substitute with Red chilli powder)
  • 1 pinch mace powder , or substitute with 2 to 3 strands of mace / javitri
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • ½ tsp kewra water

For cooking rice

  • ½ tsp shahi jeera
  • 1 to 2 bay leaf (optional)
  • 2 to 4 green cardamoms / elaichi (optional)
  • Cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt or as needed


  • Please follow the instructions from the step by step photo instructions.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Awadhi chicken biryani
Amount Per Serving
Calories 821 Calories from Fat 351
% Daily Value*
Fat 39g60%
Saturated Fat 14g88%
Cholesterol 157mg52%
Sodium 812mg35%
Potassium 546mg16%
Carbohydrates 73g24%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 40g80%
Vitamin A 860IU17%
Vitamin C 9.2mg11%
Calcium 124mg12%
Iron 3.5mg19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

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About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
Hi I want to knw how to make a perfect soft rice with fragrance of ghee because I m getting problem over cooking rice plz help me on this

Look this recipe, make it all the time. Do you have any suggestions if I were to make it to serve 8 people instead of 6 in the recipe card. Basically, just want to make more for a larger group. Thanks 🙂

Can I refrigerate for only 1 hour ?

Hi Swasthi,
I’ve been making your biryani recipe for a couple years now and every time it’s delicious. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!!!
I’m going to try again today but this time with long grain brown rice instead of white. Have you ever tried that? Will probably have to adjust the water for the cooking but hopefully everything else should stay the same. I’m hoping that the nutty flavors of the brown rice will mix well with the other masalas and this way it’s healthy too 🙂
What do you think?

5 stars
Thanks Swasthi….after failure of several time atlast your recipe make me successful….and it tastes superb…thanks again

Hi Swasthi,
I tried this biryani today and it turned out well. There is a small discrepancy I needed to clarify for the future.Your measurement for rice in the recipe is two and a half cups or 500gms. I happened to weigh my rice which turned out to be 420 gms for 2 and1/2 cups. On further checking I found 1 measuring cup of rice weighs 170 gms. Which of the two measures is more accurate as it is a difference of 80gm of uncooked rice?Thanks.

5 stars
Thanks so much Swashti, I’m an ex-pat Indian living in Italy. I would give anthing to eat an authentic biryani. Will try your recipe
Thanks again.

5 stars
Hi Swasti! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. I want to ask, is there any reason why my biryani color turns light brown (like chicken pulao) when I mix instead of having some white grains? I stirred the pot very lightly but everything turned into one color. Totally fine as the flavor and aroma is AMAZING but I would love to know if there is some secret to getting the restaurant style color you have in the photo. Thank you!!

5 stars
Thank you so much for this response! I made the biryani again in double portion for eid and it was a hit. I did it without stirring and the color didn’t mix and looked and tasted like the kind we get in India. This will be my go-to biryani recipe from now on!

5 stars
Thank you for this recipe Swathi!! This biryani is a great replication of the biryani I get to have in India when I visit and nothing ever loves up. Glad I can treat myself with authentic biryani whenever I want now!

Excellent Swasthi
I have accidentally landed on your blog/site. I have tried your Awadh Biryani recipe and it has turned so good . Will be following avidly to continue to improve the recipe. I am Dr by profession and for this new bug of cooking over last 1 year or so.
Really your recipe are very stepwise and it is good to see the photographs and follow them easily.
Carry on Swasthiji and keep increasing your fan base.
BK, London

5 stars
Amazing recipe..
I’ve used this recipe twice now and both times the results were amazing.
Although the first time by mistake we used the same amount of masala for 1/2kg of chicken, but still it turned out quite nice, much like what we get in restaurants. The second time we made it as per the recipe, and was much to our taste with half the chillies.

5 stars
Cooked this today and everyone loved it! I cooked my first full meal with your Hyderabadi Dum Biryani recipie and it was awesome.
Just a small question, the Awadhi biryani had less spice in it and a lot of floral flavour. Is it the right taste or should I add more chilli powder the next time?

5 stars
Superb recipe Swasthi. It came out so so well, thank you for sharing!

3 stars

5 stars
Mam thanks for sharing this awesome recipe for us but mam one doubt we should use tspns or drops of biryani essence, mittha ittar,rose water,kewra water all the 4 essences

4 stars
Hello Swasthi,

I recently tried out the Awadhi Biryani in mutton. It came out quite well for the first attempt. Thanks for sharing such an awesome recipe with articulate details!

5 stars
Hi swasthi garu..

I tried this awadhi biryani and hyderabad biryani 3,4 times… all time taste turns awesome,… my family memebrs liked it but one thing not satisfying me, always my chicken dries after cooking, how can i get like gravy masala coated like in restaurents… any suggestions pls…. I am cooking the same time as u mentioned

Thanks swasthi garu..

Thanks for the immediate reply.ya.. i followed the same measurments as you mentioned. even a pinch not differs because i dont want to miss the taste. Coming to the bowl I used prestige nonstick bowl. i will try to get more thicker than that and will try again with your modifications and will post the outcome.

Thanks again for posting all our food reciepes with pictures. Your reciepes are inspiring viewers to cook.

5 stars
from where i get yogurt which is not sour,should i use normal mithai shop’s sour yogurt?

New dish ap upload krte h to kese pta chalega itni sari recipi h ki smj nhi aati

Mam ap ki cooking bst h masterchef me participate kyu nhi krti ?

Mutton se kese bnae and don’t like podina