Biryani Masala Powder Recipe
Biryani Masala is an aromatic spice blend used in the preparation of Biryani, a layered rice & meat/veggie dish. This recipe helps you make Biryani Masala that is super flavorful and is quick to make. Nothing beats the aroma of fresh ground spices & you won’t get the same quality and flavor from the store bought Biryani Masala.
About Biryani Masala
This biryani masala can be used to make biryanis of all kinds – meat, egg and vegetarian. Apart from that you can use it in your korma dishes, meat pilafs and curries. Using even a small amount of this ground spice blend is going to elevate the flavors of your dish.
You may love the convenience of store bought biryani masala but a lot of them do have plenty of additives and artificial flavorings. Some of them even include unnecessary ingredients like fried onions which actually makes the spice blend smell rancid etc.
Artificial kewra flavoring, biryani essence, msg and even citric acid are some of the commonly found additives in a store bought biryani masala.
Homemade biryani masala lets you adjust the flavors to your taste and you know what goes into it. You also have the option to choose organic spices.
I use this Biryani Masala to make all my biryanis like
Biryani Masala vs Garam Masala
If you are wondering how this biryani masala is different from the Garam masala, biryani masala is much stronger in flavor than garam masala.
The combination of spices used to make both these spice blends is different. Biryani masala has some key ingredients like shahi jeera (caraway seeds) and dagad phool (stone flower, kalpasi) which are not used to make garam masala.
Here is a picture of the caraway seeds. They look similar to cumin but these are thinner, darker and longer than the cumin seeds.
Also the quantity of coriander seeds is higher in garam masala to tone down the pungent flavors.
A lot of people do not use spices like nutmeg, mace, fennel seeds and star anise in garam masala but they do exist in a Biriyani masala powder.
If you intend to try my recipe, I highly suggest you to read the Ingredients & Substitutes section so you know what can be substituted and is it worth.
My recipe does not use dried red chilies & cumin seeds. Usually store bought spice blends have dried red chilies in higher quantities as a cheap filler since other aromatic spices are expensive than the dried chilies.
You can leave out the dagad phool if it is not available. It is a key ingredient in the Hyderabadi biryani and South Indian meat masala recipes.
Here is a picture of the spice. It is not easily available in Singapore for the past 2 years. So I have not used it in the stepwise pictures. It is also known as kalpasi & pathar phool in Indian languages.
This homemade biryani masala keeps good for a year in the freezer and for 6 months in the refrigerator. You can also store it at room temperature for 2 months. Store it in an air tight freezer safe jar if freezing. Any regular glass container is best for other storage methods.
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How to make Biryani Masala (Stepwise Photos)
1. Measure and clean all the following spices. Discard any stones & chaffs from them.
- 1 to 3 bay leaf
- 2 to 3 star anise (4 grams biryani flower, chakri phool)
- 15 Green cardamom (3 grams, elaichi)
- 2 to 3 Black cardamom (3 grams masala elaichi, badi elaichi)
- 5 to 6 Ceylon cinnamon pieces (2 inch each, 5 grams dalchini)
- 1 tablespoon cloves (6 to 7 grams lavang)
- 1½ tablespoon fennel seeds (12 grams saunf, can reduce to 1 ½ tsp if you don’t like the flavor)
- 1 teaspoon Pepper corn (3 grams kali mirch)
- ¼ cup Coriander seeds (18 grams sabut daniya)
- 2 tablespoons shahi jeera (16 grams caraway seeds)
- 1 Mace (2 grams javitri, membrane covering 1 nutmeg, refer notes)
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg (grated or crushed, 1½ to 2 grams jaiphal)
- 3 stone flowers (or kalpaasi or dagad phool – medium sized, optional)
2. Here is a close up shot of the cinnamon. You will break them to 2 inch pieces and clean with a kitchen tissue to ensure there is no dust or other pesky things. Make sure you use Ceylon cinnamon also known as True cinnamon. Do not use cassia as the flavor would be much different.
Roast the Spices
We will dry roast some of the spices individually as the roasting time is different for each. Some larger spices are roasted together.
3. On a medium heat, dry roast coriander seeds until crunchy, light brown but not burnt. Keep stirring as you want to roast them evenly. Transfer to a large tray placed over a cooking rack. This ensures your spices or the tray won’t sweat while they cool.
4. Break the nutmeg to 2 portions with a nutcracker or a mortar pestle. Add half (1.5 to 2 grams) of it to the pan along with cinnamon, mace, star anise, black cardamoms and bay leaf. Dry roast on a medium heat until the spices begin to smell aromatic. This takes me about 3 mins. Transfer to the tray.
5. Add cloves, black pepper and green cardamoms. Dry roast until they begin to smell good, for 2 to 3 mins. Transfer them to the tray.
6. Dry roast the fennel seeds until you begin to get a floral smell for 3 mins. Transfer to a tray.
7. Dry roast caraway seeds on a low to medium heat until fragrant. Be careful with this spice as they can burn faster. Transfer to the tray.
8. If you are using other spices like dried red chilies or dagad phool, dry roast them until they begin to smell pungent. Cool all the roasted spices completely.
Make Biryani Masala
9. Add them to a grinder jar.
10. Grind to a fine powder (as fine as possible). I do it thrice in intervals, letting the grinder rest for a few minutes in between. Do not let your grinder become hot.
11. I prefer to sieve the biryani masala and it is up to you. Add it to a sieve or a fine strainer. I don’t use the floor sieve as we don’t need it super fine. A fine strainer works well for me.
12. You will get some coarse particles (I get about 12 grams) which you may grind again. Sometimes I just store separately and add half a teaspoon to my chai while boiling. It is mostly the fennel coriander and star anise grits which are actually good to discard.
13. You will notice the difference after sieving. It is finer.
Store this in an air tight glass jar.
Use as needed in your biryani and meat dishes.
Ingredients & Substitutes
Bay Leaf: I don’t use a lot of bay leaf in my recipe and prefer to add a leaf to the biryani and rice while cooking. It is just a filler. So you are making it for commercial purpose, you may add up to 12 to 15 leaves.
Red Chilies: I do not use red chilies and prefer to use only while cooking the dish. It is again a filler, if you want it for commercial purpose use up to 12 to 18 dried red chilies.
Fennel seeds add a mild floral aroma to your dish without overpowering. It is highly recommended to balance out the pungent flavors of black cardamoms, cloves, black pepper and mace. It also helps in digestion.
Cinnamon: Use only Ceylon cinnamon and not cassia. You can easily identify and differentiate between the 2. Ceylon cinnamon is thinner and cassia is thicker. Apart from that you feel the flavor of Ceylon cinnamon is milder as opposed to the stronger aroma of cassia. It is okay to use whole cassia for flavoring but when you grind, it is better to use Ceylon Cinnamon.
Shahi Jeera imparts a smoky, pungent and earthy flavor that is unique to itself. There is no substitute and I would suggest not to make biryani masala without that. Though you can use cumin as a substitute, your biryani masala will be similar to the garam masala and you don’t need to make a batch of this. Instead use garam masala.
Biryani Masala Recipe (Biryani Masala Powder)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1 to 3 bay leaf (tej patta)
- 15 green cardamom (3 grams, elaichi)
- 2 to 3 black cardamom (3 grams, badi elaichi, masala elaichi)
- 2 to 3 star anise (4 grams, biryani flower, chakri phool)
- 1½ tablespoons fennel seeds (12 grams, saunf, refer notes)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper corn (3 grams, kali mirch)
- 5 to 6 pieces cinnamon (2 inch each, 5 grams, dalchini)
- 1 tablespoon cloves (6 to 7 grams, lavang)
- ¼ cup coriander seeds (18 grams, sabut daniya)
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds (16 grams, shahi jeera)
- 1 mace (2 grams, membrane covering 1 nutmeg, javitri, refer notes)
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg (1½ to 2 grams, grated or crushed, jaiphal)
- 3 stone flowers (optional, kalpaasi or dagad phool – medium sized)
- Clean up the spices one after the other to pick and discard stones and debris, chaffs etc. Wipe clean bay leaf and cinnamon pieces with a tissue. Break the nutmeg to 2 portions with a nutcracker or a mortar pestle.
- You can skip roasting and just sun dry the spices for several hours until crisp. Cool them completely.
- On a medium flame dry roast coriander seeds until aromatic, crunchy and light brown. Transfer to a wide tray placed over a cooling rack. This way your roasted spices & the tray won't sweat.
- Add half of the nutmeg (about 1.5 to 2 grams) to the pan along with cinnamon, mace, star anise, black cardamoms and bay leaf.
- Dry roast them on a medium flame until the spices begin to smell aromatic. Keep stirring so the spices roast evenly. Transfer to the cooling tray.
- Add cloves, black pepper corn and green cardamoms (with the shell). Dry roast until they begin to smell good, for 2 to 3 mins. Transfer them to the same tray.
- Dry roast caraway seeds on a low to medium heat until fragrant. This spice can burn faster so be attentive. Transfer to the tray.
- Dry roast the fennel seeds until you begin to get a floral smell for 3 mins. Transfer to a tray.
How to make Biryani Masala
- When all the spices cool down, add them to a grinder jar or spice jar. Grind to a fine powder. The spices can also be milled to a fine powder in a mill.
- Sieve and store biryani masala powder in an airtight glass jar. You can use the coarse particles to make masala tea. Biryani masala can also be freezed for an year without losing the flavor.
- Use biryani masala powder as needed while making any kind of biryani. To make chicken masala curry, use as needed based on the recipe.
- Nutrition values are per gram of the Biryani masala.
- Left over coarse powder after sieving can be used for curries or for making masala tea. Do not use coarse masala for making biryani as it totally spoils your dish.
- Roasting and sun drying are done to bring out the aroma of the spices and to prevent the masala powder from getting worms or going rancid.
- Saunf or fennel seeds can be reduced if you do not like the flavor. But it is essential to balance the pungent flavor of other spices.
- Mace is the outer membrane or aril surrounding the nutmeg. This recipe needs 1 full mace with several strands. Nutmeg usually comes with the shell. Do not mistake the shell of the nutmeg to be mace.
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)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
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.
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Very good birayani masala powder, I made it today birayani was very very tasty, thank u for receipe
Glad to know Nagarathna.
Thank you so much!
Thank you for your biryani masala recipe. I had missed out some of the spices but now I will try with your recipe. God bless.
Yes do try out
I love your recipes. I have made many of them and they all come out great. I’m getting ready to make dum biryani so I tried this recipe, but it seemed very heavy on cinnamon when I made it.
5 two inch pieces came out to be about two of the common quills i buy.
Is it possible to provide a weight of the cinnamon? I’m afraid I’ve made a mistake or am just not used to fresh ground spices.
Thank you for all your awesome recipes!
Thank you! You went wrong with the quantity of cinnamon. I have provided the quantity of cinnamon in the pictures. Yes I can update the quantity in grams. I also think the biryani masala you made will ruin the biryani. For now please use garam masala. I will let you know if the powder can be salvaged. Please check back later
Thank you greatly. Looking at the picture i can clearly see the difference in what I used.
Thank you for clarifying.
I love your recipes!
I tried in prawns biryani and it turned amazing. Can we use the same masala for chicken biryani also?
Yes Yogita. You can use it. Glad to know it turned out good.
Tried in prawns biryani and it turned amazing. Everyone loved it.
Can we use same masala for chicken biryani also?
Do you mind sharing what brand and name of the spice grinder you have? I need one but I haven’t found a good one.
Hi Kiran, I use grinders from Ultra, National Panasonic & Preeti (steel). I also use one very small spice grinder from philips.
Preethi is good I am using since 2009
Do i shell the cardamoms’ or use them whole?
Use them whole
What kind of saunf do I use? The thick one,which is usually used in pickles or the fine one which is eaten as a mouth freshener?
Use the larger one. I haven’t tested this with smaller saunf
also is that 1 tablespoon of laung? or should it be one teaspoon?
yes it is 1 tablespoon. Regarding your queries below:
I haven’t weighted it in grams to tell you exactly. It will be the same as the whole spices you use.
How much to use depends on the recipe you will follow to make your biryani or curry. This one is made for the recipes on this blog. Start with 1.25 teaspoons for 1 lb along with 1 tsp coriander powder. Adjust after your first trial
how much masala in gms does it make and for how much chicken in lbs/kgs the masala is?
Can I replace shah jeera with plain jeera
The flavor will be different with jeera. You can use 1 tbsp jeera
Biryani turned out awesome with the homemade masala.
Glad to know Michelle
Thank you Swathi for being so generous and sharing your super detailed recipes with us. I love the way you give the reader the confidence in following your recipes and the alternatives you offer and the Instant pot methods as well. You don’t realise how you’ve made life easier for a lot of women who want to learn traditional recipes in an easy way. Once again, thank you so much. Bless you my dear.
You are welcome! So happy to read your comment! Thank you so much for leaving a note.
Great home made masala powder. I use it for vegetarian and non vegetarian curries.
Thank you Samantha
This looks great! I was just about to make another batch of my old biryani masala recipe and saw yours. Your addition of kalpasi and anise should really be tasty.
QUESTION about the star anise: Two WHOLE STARS or just two fingers?
Thank you! It is 2 whole star anise. I have the picture of the same in the post.
Question: Is it fine to make biryani and garam masala without jaiphal(nutmeg) and is it okay to not add stone flower
Yes it is fine to skip both of them for garam masala.
But for biryani masala it does make a difference. Stone flower is the main spice for meat biryani. However it is still fine to make it without them.
Helpful tips and easy to follow recipe
I made the biryani masala and have been using for biryanis. You have recommended using it for chicken curry too. So if I use this masala in chicken curry do I also add garam masala as per my usual method? How much biryani masala should be added to 1 kg of chicken? Thanks
I use it in place of garam masala. How much to use depends on the kind of curry you are making. I mean it depends on the recipe. I use about 1.5 to 2 tsps for 1 kg chicken to make a normal chicken curry like this. Just to let you know, my family felt chicken curry and chicken biryani flavors were the same when I used this. Use it if you don’t have any other garam masala. Hope this helps.
Perfect blend of spices and aroma. Made paneer biriyani and was just perfect!
I have a recipe for chicken biryani I want to try but it calls for biryani masala paste. I would prefer to make myself and like your recipe for biryani masala powder – but how do I convert/measure as a paste?
Biryani masala paste usually has onions, garlic, ginger,herbs and spices. I have a recipe of chicken biryani that uses homemade biryani masala paste. You may check it here – muslim biryani