Chicken biryani recipe made in pressure cooker or pot. Biryani is one of the most amazing royal delicacies introduced to Indians by the Mughals. Since then it has been much popular and is considered to be a luxurious treat to enjoy on special occasions. Making a chicken biryani in authentic dum style does take some time and needs little expertise.
Traditional chicken biryani is made by layering marinated chicken and then layered with parboiled rice, herbs,saffron milk & then ghee. I have shared that traditional hyderabadi biryani here.
The recipe shared here in this post details a short cut method to make a simple one pot delicious chicken biryani in a pressure cooker or a pot.
So what I have shared in this post is not a dum style biriyani yet it will surprise you with a good aroma and taste.
This recipe yields a chicken biryani that isn’t too oily, spicy, hot or pungent as it looks to be in the pics. However you can reduce the amount of red chili powder if you do not prefer the heat. You can enjoy this with a Raita, Shorba, lassi and papads.
What you need for a good biryani?
To make a good biryani, always use best quality ingredients. The choice of good quality basmati rice, whole spices, spice powders, chicken & ghee all contribute to the flavors of chicken biryani.
1.Basmati rice: There are so many kinds of basmati rice available in the market. For best results choose premium quality basmati rice that is labelled as AGED. This kind of rice is more firm & fluffs up well in chicken biryani without turning mushy. Aged rice is also more fragrant.
Though this biryani is made in a pressure cooker or pot, the texture of rice grains will come out right without getting mushy if made with aged rice.
I am also sharing the ingredients for an instant biriyani masala powder. If you do not have a ready made or store bought masala, you can make it in just few minutes.
3.Chicken: We usually use up the cut whole chicken to make the chicken biryani. However I always find chicken breast pieces dry out if not marinated well with yogurt. If you prefer soft, tender & succulent pieces of chicken in your biryani, then just use chicken thighs & drumsticks.
Always use bone-in chicken as it helps the dish to turn out more flavorful.
4.Ghee : Traditionally chicken biryani was made using ghee. Since this recipe does not follow the traditional method, you can also make it using oil. But ghee adds a unique aroma to the dish.
How to make the best chicken biryani?
- Marination: Marinating chicken with yogurt & spices is the first key step to make the best chicken biryani. Yogurt tenderizes the chicken & the spices enhance the flavors. Marinating and resting chicken makes it soft & succulent, so do not skip that. If you do not eat curd then can substitute it with coconut milk.
- Preparing rice : Basmati rice has to be rinsed very well a few times in ample amount of water to get rid of the starch. This prevents the rice grains from turning mushy. Soaking the rice helps to cook the rice grains to fluffy & long. So do not skip rinsing & soaking the rice well before using.
- Water : This recipe uses plain water to cook the chicken biryani. However it can be replaced with coconut milk or chicken stock. The quantity of water I have mentioned in the recipe card works well for me with Lalquilla old malai basmati rice. This ratio works pretty well with any aged basmati rice.
- Please do adjust the amount of heat in the recipe. My recipes are usually low on heat for the Indian taste buds. Since I have young kids at home., these levels work well for us.
You can also find the older version of this chicken biryani recipe towards the end of this post as recipe 2.
Chicken biryani recipe
Chicken biryani recipe | How to make chicken biryani
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
Marination ingredients for chicken biryani
- ½ kg chicken (or 1.l lbs)
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt (curd or dahi)
- 1 ¼ tablespoons ginger garlic paste or minced & crushed
- Salt as needed (I used about ½ tsp)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric or haldi
- ½ to 1 teaspoon red chilli powder (or paprika) (use less spicy variety)
- ½ to 1 tablespoon garam masala or biryani masala (Refer notes)
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice (optional)
Whole spices (skip if you don’t have any)
- 1 bay leaf or tej patta
- 4 green cardamoms or choti elaichi
- 4 to 6 cloves or lavang
- 1 inch Cinnamon or dalchini
- 1 Star anise or chakri phool
- ¾ teaspoon shahi jeera or caraway seeds (substitute with cumin)
- 1 strand mace or javitri
Other ingredients for chicken biryani
- 2 cups basmati rice (aged rice only)
- 2 tablespoon ghee or Oil
- 1 large onion sliced thinly
- ¼ to ½ cup mint (or pudina chopped – about 12 to 15 leaves)
- 1 green chili slit or chopped
- ¼ cup plain yogurt or curd or dahi
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder (optional, skip for kids)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala or biryani masala
- 3 cups water or coconut milk (3½ cups if making in pot)
- ¾ teaspoon salt to sprinkle in water
- 2 tablespoon fried onions (optional)
How to make the recipe
Preparation for chicken biryani
- To a bowl, add curd, ginger garlic paste, ½ tsp salt, biryani masala powder, turmeric & chili powder.
- Mix up well and taste the marinade. Add more salt and spice if needed.
- Make gashes on the chicken. Add it to the marinade & set aside for 1 hour.
- Rinse basmati rice thrice and soak for 30 mins. Drain to a colander after 30 mins.
How to make chicken biryani
- Heat ghee or oil in a cooker or pot.
- Saute whatever whole spices you have – bay leaf, cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, shahi jeera & mace for a minute.
- Fry onions evenly stirring often until light brown.
- Add marinated chicken & saute for 5 mins on a medium heat.
- Cover & cook on a low flame until the chicken is soft cooked or tender.
- Saute to evaporate any excess moisture in the pot.
- Add yogurt (curd), mint, green chili, red chili powder & 1 tsp garam masala.
Layering for chicken biryani
- Mix everything well and layer chicken evenly at the bottom.
- Spread rice in a layer over the chicken.
- Pour 3 cups water or thin coconut milk to a bowl. If cooking in a pot use 3 ½ cups water.
- Add ½ to ¾ tsp salt and mix. Taste the water. It must be slightly salty.
- Pour 2 cups of this water across the sides of the cooker or pot. Gently pour the rest on top of the rice.
- Level the rice if needed. Sprinkle mint & fried onions if using.
- Pot method – If cooking in a pot, cover and cook on a low flame until the chicken biryani is done to your liking. If the rice is still under cooked or hard, sprinkle some hot water and cook further.
- Cooker method – Set the flame to medium high. Cover & place the whistle. Cook for 1 whistle. Move the cooker away from the burner to stop cooking further.
- Rest until the pressure settles. Fluff up the chicken biryani with a fork.
- Serve from top to the bottom layer. Each serving gets biryani rice from top and chicken from the bottom layer.
Video of Chicken biryani recipe
NUTRITION (estimation only)
Notes on chicken biryani recipe
- Tomatoes: An authentic biryani never uses tomatoes, so I have not used in the recipe. It does not add any taste infact alters the flavor. If you still want to use you an follow the second recipe I have posted below.
- To make biryani masala or garam masala – Powder together very small piece of nutmeg, 5 cardamoms, ½ tsp pepper, 5 cloves, 1 to 2 inch cinnamon, ½ tsp fennel seeds, ½ tsp stone flower.
- Yogurt or curd: Do not use sour curd. If the curd is slightly sour then skip using lemon juice.
- Rice: I have used lalquilla basmati rice, old malai. Any other basmati rice may need less or more water. Make sure to use as needed.
If you are a beginner or new to Indian cooking, I highly suggest you to check the supporting step by step photos for best results. Step by step photos with description available below after the recipe card.
1. If using ready made biryani powder, skip this step. To make biryani masala powder, add nutmeg, cardamoms, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, fennel and stone flower to a mixer jar. Make a fine powder. Set this aside.
2. Make gashes on the chicken and add to a bowl. Also add 3 tbsps curd, ginger garlic paste, 1 tbsp biriyani masala powder, 1/2 tsp salt, red chili powder and turmeric. Reduce the amount of chili powder, if you have kids home.
3. Mix everything well and marinate the chicken. Cover and set this aside for 1 hour. You can also rest it overnight in the fridge.
4. Add basmati rice to a large pot and wash it at least thrice. Soak it for 30 mins. Drain to a colander after 30 mins.
6. Heat ghee or oil in a pot or pressure cooker. Make sure you use a large cooker for this. Saute spices for a minute.
7. Fry onions until light brown.
8. Add marinated chicken.
9. Saute the chicken on a medium heat for 5 mins. Lower the flame completely. Cover and cook until the chicken is soft and completely cooked.
10. Check if the chicken is cooked. At this stage there is no moisture left in the cooker.
11. Check the salt and add as needed. I added about 1/4 tsp at this stage. Also add 4 tbsps curd, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp chili powder (optional), green chili, mint and biryani masala. I deseeded the chilies and used. Skip if you have kids home.
How to make chicken biryani
12. Mix everything well. Spread it evenly in a single layer.
13. Layer the rice all over the chicken. Pour 3 cups water or coconut milk to a bowl and add salt. Stir and taste the water. It must be slightly salty. Pour 2 cups water across the sides of the cooker or pot. Pour 1 more cup of water over the rice gently.
14. Level the rice gently on top. Add some pudina and fried onions. If you have not added salt to water earlier, sprinkle it now as needed. I used about 3/4 tsp sea salt. Do not mix up everything, the taste of the biryani cooked in the shown method is different.
19. Finally set the flame to medium high on a regular burner. Cover and cook for 1 whistle. If cooking in a pot, cook until the rice is done completely. Remove the cooker from the hot burner to stop cooking further.
20. When the pressure goes down, open the lid. Gently fluff up with a fork.
Serve chicken biryani in layers – top layer with rice and bottom layer with chicken. Enjoy with raita or shorba.
This is the older version of the same chicken biryani many readers have been following since 2012. Upon getting several requests I have updated it here.
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml)
Whole spices to Temper
1 bay leaf / tej patta
3 green cardamoms / choti elaichi
4 to 6 cloves / lavang
1 Cinnamon stick / dalchini, Small
1 Star anise / chakri phool
½ tsp shahi jeera / caraway seeds
1 ½ tbsp curd / yogurt
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
Salt as needed
¼ tsp turmeric / haldi
¼ tsp red chilli powder / lal mirch powder
½ to ¾ tsp biryani masala or garam masala powder
½ kg chicken
2 cups basmati rice / chawal , aged
3 ¼ cups water or thin coconut milk(if using normal rice use little more water)
2 tbsp Oil
Salt as needed
1 tomato medium , (about half cup)
1 ½ tbsp curd / yogurt / dahi
12 mint leaves / pudina finely chopped
12 stems coriander leaves finely chopped
1 ½ tsp ginger garlic paste
2 green chilies / hari mirch sliced or chopped
1 onion large , sliced thinly
¼ tsp red chili powder
(or use 2 tsps readymade biryani masala or garam masala )
1 nutmeg / jaiphal piece , Very small
4 green cardamoms / choti elaichi
¼ to ½ tsp Pepper corn / kali mirch
5 cloves / lavang
1 cinnamon stick / dalchini, Small
½ tsp fennel seeds / saunf
½ tsp stone flower / dagad phool/ kalapasi (optional)
Preparation for the recipe
- Soak rice for at least 20 to 30 minutes. If using normal rice (not basmati) soak it for 30 minutes.
- Marinate chicken using ingredients under marination. Set this aside.
Making chicken biryani
- Add oil to a pot or pressure cooker and heat it. Next add the dry spices and saute till they begin to sizzle.
- Add onions and fry till they turn golden. Fry ginger garlic paste till the raw smell goes off.
- Next add chicken and fry till the color slightly changes to pale.
- Add chopped tomatoes, yogurt, red chili powder, corinader leaves and mint.
- Cook till the mixture turns thick and dry. By now the chicken should be almost cooked soft.
- Add the rest of the masala powder and fry till you get a nice smell.
- Mix together water or thin coconut milk and salt in a separate bowl. Check the salt , it must be slightly salty. Since salt is already added to marination, use little only. Pour this to a the chicken pot, bring it to a boil.
- Drain off the rice completely and add it to the pot or cooker.
- Cook till the water very little is left. Cover the pot or pressure cooker with a lid. Turn on the flame to very low. If using basmati rice, cook it for about 3 to 5 minutes, do not let it whistle. Or If using normal rice that is slightly on the harder side to cook allow it to whistle once. If cooking in pot, cook until the rice is done. Next if rice is under cooked, you can also sprinkle little water and cook further.
- Let the pressure go down. Fluff up the rice with a fork. Or transfer it immediately to a wide utensil to prevent turning mushy.
- If desired you can drizzle one spoon of ghee, coriander leaves and roasted boiled eggs.
- Serve pressure cooker chicken biryani with onion raita or biryani shorba or sherva.
Do not use thick coconut milk, it will look curdled in the biryani. You can dilute thick coconut milk and use it.