Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani
Hyderabadi biryani recipe – Making a good Hyderabadi biryani is very simple and this recipe is perfect for a home preparation. This is the easiest biryani since it needs no sautéing of spices or meat. Just marinate the meat with the spices & other ingredients. Layer partially cooked basmati rice over it. Cook on a slow dum process, trapping the steam to retain the aroma.
To get an authentic flavor and taste of Biryani, do use all the mentioned ingredients and if desired you can substitute ghee for oil.
This is one of the best hyderabadi biryani recipe I have made for years and has been a favorite among the readers of this blog. It is very easy and even a beginner can try without any troubles.
This is a kacchi hyderabadi biryani, meaning partially cooked rice is layered over the marinated raw meat.
To make the best out of this recipe, chicken needs a proper marination which mainly helps to tenderize it, resulting in juicy, flavorful, soft and tender chicken.
It can be marinated the previous night and refrigerated to make the best flavorful biryani.
You can serve hyderabadi biryani with any of these raitas I have shared earlier. Even lassi goes well in the meal.
You can also check
Chicken biryani in cooker
Chicken dum biryani
How to Make Hyderabadi Biryani (Stepwise Photos)
1. To a mixing bowl, add 2/3 cup (165 ml) yogurt, ¾ teaspoon salt, 1 to 1½ teaspoon red chili powder, 1 to 1½ teaspoon biryani masala, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, 2 slit green chilies, 1¼ tablespoons ginger garlic paste and ½ teaspoon cardamom powder. Do not use sour curd here.
2. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice. If your curd is even slightly sour, then just skip lemon juice.
3. Mix all of them and taste the marinade. Add more salt if needed. I had to add another half tsp.
4. Add the chicken and marinate. Cover the bowl and allow it to sit overnight in the fridge or for at least 2 hours.
5. Keeping overnight makes the chicken very soft & succulent once the biriyani is cooked. If you are marinating it just for 2 hours, I suggest keeping the pieces to small to medium and not very large.
6. Skip this step if using store bought fried onions. This can be done the previous night or just before you begin to make the biryani. Slice 1 large onion uniformly and thin. Separate the layers. Heat ¼ cup ghee in the same pot you intend to make the biryani.
When the ghee turns hot, add the onions and spread them well. Fry them uniformly until golden, crisp and aromatic. Keep stirring uniformly to fry them evenly without burning. When they brown, remove them and set aside. Do not over fry as they turn bitter quickly.
7. Soak a large pinch of saffron in 3 tablespoons hot milk. Do this just before you soak the rice.
8. Wash rice at least thrice. Do note that biryani turns out good only with aged premium quality basmati rice.
Cook Rice for Hyderabadi Biryani
9. Pour fresh water and soak for 30 to 40 mins. Refer to the rice pack for soaking time.
10. Drain after 30 to 40 mins. Set this aside.
11. Add all the whole spices and 1½ teaspoon salt to a large pot of boiling water. Also pour 1 tsp oil. Stir and check the salt, the water has to taste salty. If not add more salt to your liking.
You can add the whole spices to a muslin cloth and make a knot if you don’t like to get a bite of the spices. Allow the water to simmer for 5 mins. Then bring it to a rapid boil.
12. Add soaked drained basmati rice.
13. Cook on a medium high flame till rice is ¾ th cooked.
14. The rice must be grainy and you must get a bite into it, meaning it has to be slightly under cooked. If you are a beginner, please take a look at this detailed post on how to cook basmati rice for biryani.
15. Drain the rice to a colander.
Make Hyderabadi Biryani
16. While the water for rice boils, add the chicken marinade to the heavy bottom pot you used to fry the onions. I used my 6½ ltrs heavy bottom pressure cooker pan. Sprinkle half of the fried onions, 2 tablespoons coriander leaves and two tablespoons mint leaves. Add the ghee or oil (4 tbsps we used for frying onions).
17. Mix all of them and level the chicken to spread to a single uniform layer.
18. Layer half of the cooked rice over the chicken. The rice must be moist and not with dripping water. It should not be dry either. Add a few more fried onions retaining some more for later. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon mint and 1 tablespoon coriander leaves retaining a few more for later. Sprinkle little more biryani masala (about 2 to 4 pinches).
19. Layer the rest of the rice again.
20. Sprinkle the rest of the fried onions, mint and coriander leaves and biryani masala. Pour the saffron milk.
21. To finish off, pour 2 tablespoons ghee. Please don’t use oil here, you won’t get the real flavor.
22. Method 1 – You can use either moist cloth or foil to seal the rim of the biryani pot. The cloth has to be thick and moist. Spread it over the rim. Place a heavy lid and bring the edges of the cloth to the center. (refer video for details)
23. Method 2 – Use a foil to seal the rim completely. Or make dough and stick to the rim of the pot. Place a heavy lid.
24. Place a old tawa or griddle on the stove. The flame has to be medium high. Do not use a non stick pan or a dosa tawa. I used my lodge cast iron pan which doesn’t work for making dosa. The flame has to reach across the diameter of the pan.
25. Place the biryani pot on the tawa. Cook on a medium high flame for 15 to 20 mins. Then Lower the flame to very low and cook for another 15 minutes. Switch off the stove and let it rest for atleast 20 mins.
26. When done, there should be no excess moisture left in the hyderabadi biryani. If you see too much moisture, then cover back and cook until it is done. Fluff up the rice gently.
Serve hyderabadi biryani in layers with shorba or raita.
you can find raita recipes here
you can also find easy biryani gravy recipes. Hope you will like this hyderabadi biryani as much as we do.
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1 ½ cups basmati rice (aged)
- ½ kg chicken (preferably thighs & drumsticks)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon biryani masala (garam masala for layering)
- 1 large onions or ⅓ cup fried onions store bought
- 4 tablespoons coriander leaves (cilantro ,finely chopped, 2 tbsps + 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp divided)
- 4 tablespoons mint leaves (pudina, finely chopped, 2 tbsps + 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp divided)
- 4 tablespoons oil (or ghee)
- 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
- ¼ teaspoon saffron strands (kesar, soaked in 3 tbsps hot milk)
- 1¼ tablespoons ginger garlic paste
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 to 2 green chilies slit
- ⅔ cup yogurt (fresh curd) (or 165 ml or ½ cup + 3 tbsp)
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 to 1 ½ teaspoon red chili powder (paprika, adjust to taste)
- 1 to 1 ½ teaspoon biryani masala powder (or garam masala)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon green cardamom powder (or elaichi powder)
- ¾ teaspoon salt (I used 1 ¼ tsp pink salt)
Whole spices for rice
- 7 cups water
- 1 to 1¼ teaspoon salt (I used 1 ½ tsp pink salt)
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 bay leaf (tej patta)
- 3 inch cinnamon piece (dalchini)
- 6 cloves (laung)
- 4 green cardamom (elaichi)
- 1 star anise ( biryani flower)
- 1 black cardamom (optional)
- 2 strands mace (javitri) (optional)
- ½ tsp caraway seeds (shahi jeera) (optional)
Make fried onions for Hyderabadi biryani
- Slice onion thinly, separate the layers and set aside.
- Heat 4 tbsps oil or ghee in a deep pan.
- Fry the onions stirring often until deep golden to brown.
- Do not burn else they turn bitter. Remove them from oil & set aside.
- Cool & pour this oil to the marinade later.
- Add yogurt, salt, turmeric, chili powder, biryani or garam masala powder, cardamom powder, green chilli, ginger garlic paste & lemon juice to a mixing bowl.
- Mix well & taste this. If needed add more salt or spice.
- Next add in chicken & marinate for 2 hours to overnight for best results.
- Overnight marination in fridge yields best soft succulent chicken.
- Wash rice till the water runs clear. Soak for 30 minutes. Drain & set aside.
- Heat 6 to 7 cups water in a pot. Add 1 tsp oil, whole spices & salt.
- Taste this. The water has to be slightly salty.
- Boil water rapidly for 5 mins to release the aroma of spices.
- Add rice & cook till it is ¾ or 75% done.
- The center of the rice must be still slightly uncooked.
- Do not make the rice mushy. Drain off to a colander.
How to make Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani
- While the rice cooks, transfer marinated chicken to a heavy bottom casserole or non-stick pan.
- Add oil, ½ of the fried onions, mint & coriander leaves. Mix & spread chicken in a single even layer.
- Layer the cooked rice evenly, sprinkle fried onions, mint & coriander leaves over the chicken.
- Sprinkle ¼ tsp masala powder. Pour the saffron milk all over & then ghee.
- Cover the pot with a foil to trap the steam or dum. Then cover with a tight & heavy lid.
To bake Biryani in Oven
- Bake for 30 to 40 mins at 200 C in a preheated oven. The timings will slightly vary depending on the depth of the casserole/pot used. Once done, if the chicken is too moist then bake for another 10 mins.
To dum cook on stovetop
- Place this over a thick hot griddle or tawa. Set the flame to medium high such that the flame reaches all over the diameter of the casserole. Cook this way for exactly 20 mins.
- Reduce the flame to lowest. Cook for exactly 15 mins. Off the flame. Rest for 20 to 30 mins.
- Garnish hyderabadi biryani with fresh chopped coriander leaves & serve with raita.
- If you do not like to bite in the spices, then tie up all the whole spices for rice in a muslin cloth. Add this to the rice pot.
- Do not use sour curd or flavored yogurt.
- To Brown the chicken – The last 5 mins cook the biryani on a medium high flame. This gives browned chicken. To prevent charring you can check the chicken at the bottom before you do this.
- If you do not like to use a cloth for trapping the steam or dum, you can use dough to seal the lid of the utensil. But cleaning up the mess is difficult. An aluminium foil too works.
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. More about me
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I love your recipe, I made this few times by oven. You had instruction for cooking by oven. I could not find it today. Only I remember temperature 180c and cooking time 45 minutes. I do not have a tawa to cook on stove. Can I cook it in oven too. Did you remove the instruction for oven. Is there any reason to remove it. I only made Biryani with your recipe. It came very good with oven. Is it okay to try with oven again. I used my cast iron dutch oven for it. Please advice me.
Thank you so much! That was a glitch with the recipe plugin, that section was not visible for readers. I fixed it. Please refresh the page. I have not changed the recipe. It is the same as it was originally published. You can use the same recipe to make in the oven.
I made this today and it was absolutely divine … thank you for the sub on the biryani spice mix I now have enough for many batches to come… always will be a favourite in this house
Glad to know Cristina. Thank you so much!
How can you put uncooked chicken like that with almost cooked rice? We used frozen chicken n if we cook like this, it will be a mush…lot of water will come out of the chicken!!
I have never cooked frozen chicken so I have no idea. I use fresh cut chicken so I cannot comment on that part.
I made it with frozen chicken 1st u want to keep chicken for loosing under running warm water for 15 min after that marinate it for 20 min and then cook it till chicken get soft like 70 percent cooked and then follow her steps it will be great
Thanks Sum for sharing your tips.
First time making this chicken Biryani. OMG, the flavors and aromas are amazing. I enjoyed making it although it’s a labor of love. The results will impress you and those with whom you desire to share the dish with. Highly recommend for a party! I used the Dum method with saffron, however I think it is perfectly ok to do without the saffron. Chef Jose
Thank you Jose for trying. glad you like it. Yes it is absolutely okay to make it without saffron.
Insanely good! And I feel it will only get better as I perfect the technique. Your super specific instructions are very helpful
Happy to know Julia.
Yes I agree! It will get better with experience. Thank you!
Curious if you would ever add sultanas and/or cashews? Is that regional? I am in love with biryani, and your recipe looks amazing.
Thank you! Yes You can add sultanas and cashews. Fry them in ghee at the beginning and reserve them for garnish. When you layer the herbs & fried onions on top, add the nuts and raisins as well. You may also check this vegetable dum biryani with raisins and cashews. Hope you enjoy!
Thanks for the recipe. I am a vegetarian but did this recipe for my family for the first time and everyone liked very much.
Glad to know John,
That’s absolutely awesome!
Best one I’ve done so far! We have it now every week hahahaha! Thanks so much !
That’s Awesome! Glad to know! Thank you
This was a fabulous recipr.i followef every step and every body loved it.👍
This turned out great! So tasty. Best biryani I have ever made
Hey… how would you substitute yoghurt and milk to make this dairy free?
I haven’t tried so no idea
Bhavin, you can consider using coconut yoghurt, I suppose?
First I want to say I love your website, I’ve been preparing so many meals from is. The recipes are usually perfect! But this one: I don’t understand how this works.. the rice is 75% cooked but still has to steam for 20 minutes? Isn’t that too long? And too short for the chicken? For me the rice was way overcooked and the chicken still raw..
Thank you. You either overcooked the rice or used the wrong kind of basmati. This recipe requires aged rice, if it is not it can turn mushy. This recipe requires some practice and it won’t turn out right the first time you try.
Swasthi, 100%! I am use to buying store bought biryani, but the instructions on the box are horrible for someone who has no clue on the exact steps. I was using soft browned fried onions, my masala gravy was too watery when I added the parboiled rice, my laying was all kinds of messed up. I must have watched 20+ YouTube videos that explained a lot of what I was doing wrong. I made your biryani masala, and it is the bomb!!!! I kept having to go back and forth to my local Indo/ Paki grocer to keep getting more spices and whatnot. Was surprised they had stone flower/ dagad phool👍. My rice ain’t perfect (yet), but like anything, ya just gotta keep doing to get it right.
Excellent choice on spices for the rice. I added a little boiling water to them, and let them steep overnight.
Hi, i do not understand cooking on a Tawa. 15-20 minutes directly on a radiant stove seem too hot. Would cooking in the stove be ok?
Cooking on a tawa prevents the biryani from burning at the bottom. FYI – A tawa is just a griddle. Take a look at the video to understand the process.
Yes 15 to 20 mins on a radiant stove top will burn the biryani. This recipe won’t work without a tawa. I would try this chicken dum biryani instead. Hope this helps
Hi thanks for the recipe. I noticed that the yogurt curdled slightly. Is there a way to avoid this please? The taste was great.
Using thicker yogurt with less whey should help.
Thanks for the fast response. My grocery only sells Greek yogurt. Can you provide an example? I live in the uk
Yes you can use store bought greek yogurt. I use homemade yogurt made from full fat milk.
Can I use normal rice if I don’t have basmati?
Manju, yes you can use aged sona masuri or kaima rice.
Hello Ma’am! You’re my guru when it comes to getting any recipe done authentically! I have tried your pakki dum Biryani recipe a couple of times before and they’ve always turned out perfect and amazing. I’m trying the kachhi style for the first time and I had a doubt as of how much should the cooking time vary if I’m doubling the quantity to serve like 16 people?
Thank you so much! Glad to know the recipe worked well. I think I am late in replying. For best results, use a wider utensil such that the meat is in a single layer at the bottom, so it will get done in almost the same time. Hope this helps.
I used the big biryani utensil in my house and it took just almost the same amount of time, and it turned even more amazing than the pakki biryani!! Now this is going to be my quick fix for biryanis as this recipe saves much more time!
Thank you so much ma’am for your brilliant recipes!
Glad to know it turned out good.
Thank you for leaving a comment here.
Hi Swasthi. Nice feedbacks on your recipe. I will definitely try this but I am quite stressed re: the safron milk. I cannot find safron in my local grocery. Can I skip this ingredient? Will this greatly affect the flavor of the dish?
Yes feel free to skip saffron. The biryani still tastes good. Hope this helps
Thank you Swasthi. I read that Turmeric will also work in place of saffron. I will try it as well to get that yellow tint on the biryani.
Yes give it a try.
Hi! Can I substitute caraway seeds with fennel? Thank you!
A lot of people don’t like whole fennel seeds in their rice. You may skip it or use the same amount of cumin seeds.
I tried this chicken biriyani recipe and it came very well. I marinated chicken bbreast peices night before and they very soft in biriyani dish. I used cast oven dutch oven to make my final cooking for 40 minutes. Everything came very well and thanks for the good recipe .
Glad to know it turned out good. Thank you so much!
Thank you thank you so much., I started cooking recently and wanted to try out the most delicious dish of all that is dum biryani., I came across your recipe which is absolutely perfect amazing awesome. and just the simplicity and accurate instructions with tips helped me cook the best biryani I’ve ever tasted so far ,. Writing this review is the first thing I did after I finished eating this biryani ., you are awesome ! 🙏🏽💯
Glad your biryani turned out delicious. Thank you so much for leaving a comment.
Hi, Want to try this recipe, can i make it directly on an induction stove top if i don’t have a cast iron pan? will timings change if i need to do that?