Prawn biryani | Shrimp biryani

Updated: August 27, 2022, By Swasthi

Prawn biryani recipe – Aromatic basmati rice dum cooked with prawns, herbs & spice powders. Biryani is a delicious dish made by cooking fragrant basmati rice with meat, yogurt, spices & herbs. Chicken biryani & mutton biryani are the much popular versions loved by biryani lovers.

prawn biryani recipe

Prawn biryani is simply another variation made on the same lines just by replacing chicken & mutton with prawns or shrimps. Since the cook time for prawns is lesser the way I dum cook them in a biryani is different.

This prawn biryani recipe is the way I make for the foodies at home. It is much simpler to make than any other biryani varieties.

A simple salan or gravy, a raita or a bowl of fresh veggie salad goes well with this biryani. To keep the recipe simple, I have not used saffron, milk or even fried onions. So feel free to use all of them if you like the flavors of saffron & fried onions.

I have made this prawn biryani using fresh black tiger prawns. Any variety of fresh or frozen prawns or shrimps can be used.

If you are using frozen prawns or one that is not very fresh, i suggest soaking them in vinegar for a while and rinsing. To prepare the gravy i used little coconut milk. Packed or fresh homemade coconut milk can be used.

I do not like to use yogurt for prawn biryani, hence i have used coconut milk. Using coconut milk for sea food lends a good taste and flavor. This prawn biryani recipe works good with yogurt as well.

Photo Guide

Preparation for prawn biryani

1. Drain the water completely from prawns, add chili powder, turmeric, salt & masala powder.

addition of marination ingredients in prawn biryani recipe

2. Marinate and rub them gently for a while with the marinade. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. You can also do this the previous night and refrigerate.


3. Wash and soak rice for about 30 minutes. Drain off completely. Bring 3 to 4 cups of water to a boil with salt, a bay leaf, 4 green cardamoms, 1/2 tsp shahi jeera. Add rice to the pot and cook until fully done but al dente. It should remain grainy, firm and not mushy.

cooking rice

How to make prawn biryani

4. Heat oil in a pan, Add bay leaf, shahi jeera, cloves, cardamom, star anise and cinnamon. Use just an inch of cinnamon, i used ceylon cinnamon hence used a bit more.

This shrimp biryani needs a little more oil than the other non-veg biryani recipes since prawns do not release much fats when cooked. Stick on to the quantity mentioned in the recipe else biryani may turn dry.

seasoning spices for prawn biryani recipe

5. When they begin to splutter, add sliced onions. Separate the layers of onions before adding. Fry until brown or golden.

frying onions

6. Browned onions lend a good flavor, so don’t skip this. You can set aside a few for garnishing. Add ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes off.

frying ginger garlic paste

7. Add chopped tomatoes, mint and coriander leaves. Cook until the tomatoes turn soft.

addition of tomatoes

8. Next add turmeric, red chili powder, biryani masala powder . I also added a bit of coriander powder since my masala powder was very strong.

addition of spice powders for prawn biryani recipe

9. Cook until the oil begins to separate.

cooking onion tomato masala

10. Add marinated prawns.

addition of marinade in prawn biryani recipe

11. Fry just for a minute.

13. Let the flame remain low. Pour slightly thick coconut milk and stir. If you do not follow any food combining rules of compatibility you can use yogurt/curd as well instead of coconut milk.

addition of coconut milk

14. Cook until the gravy thickens & prawns are cooked through. Prawns take just 3 minutes to cook. They curl up to C shape when cooked through. Off the stove and set the pan aside. The color of the gravy is dark due to the brown onions.

thick masala gravy

Layering prawn biryani

15. Grease a pot for dum process / slow steam process. Layer half of the rice.

layering rice for shrimp biryani recipe

16. Next layer the gravy.

layering the gravy

17. Layer the rice. You can add 1/4 cup rice to the pan (used for cooking prawns), stir and add back the rice to the biryani pot. This makes the top layer colorful and flavorful without the use of saffron. Add coriander and mint leaves.

next layer of rice for shrimp biryani recipe

18. Cover with a foil or tight lid. Heat a griddle or tawa until hot enough. Place the biryani pot on the hot griddle / pan or tawa and dum / slow cook for 15 to 20 minutes on a very low flame.

Dum is a slow cooking method where steam is trapped in a pot by sealing the rim to prevent the steam from escaping. The food gets cooked due to trapped steam which makes the food flavorful and delicious.

dum cooking process

Allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes after the dum.

resting prepared shrimp biryani recipe

Serve prawn biryani with onion and lemon wedges.

prawn biryani

Tips to make prawn biryani

  1. Choose aged premium quality basmati rice as it cooks up to fluffy long grains.
  2. Soaking the rice & cooking in surplus water helps to get rid of starch and keep the grains non sticky.
  3. Overcooking prawns will make them hard. So just cook until they curl up to C shape.
  4. Layering the prawn masala over the rice is the key to the best texture of prawns.
  5. Avoid layering cooked prawns at the bottom of the pot as they continue to get cooked during the dum process.

Overcooked prawns often turn rubbery, chewy and hard.

You may like to check more prawn recipes
Prawn pakoda
Easy prawn curry
Prawn stir fry
Andhra style prawns

prawn biryani

Prawn biryani (shrimp biryani)

4.94 from 150 votes
Prawn biryani recipe made in dum style with basmati rice, spices and herbs. It turns out delicious and very flavorful. Serve prawn biryani with a raita or salan.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Marination30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

Ingredients for prawn biryani rice

  • cups basmati rice
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms
  • ½ teaspoon shahi jeera (optional)

marination ingredients

  • 250 grams shrimp or prawns (cleaned)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon biryani masala
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)

Biryani gravy ingredients

  • 2 to 3 tablespoon oil or ghee
  • 1 bay leaf or tej patta
  • 1 inch cinammon or dalchini
  • 1 small star anise
  • 2 green cardamoms or elaichi
  • 4 to 5 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon shahi jeera or cumin
  • 1 large onion sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 medium tomato deseeeded & chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon coriander leaves chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoon mint leaves or pudina chopped
  • 1 teaspoon biryani masala
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • salt as needed
  • ¼ cup curd (yogurt) or coconut milk at room temperature


Preparation for prawn biryani

  • Marinate prawns with ginger garlic paste, turmeric, biryani masala, red chilli powder & salt. 
  • Keep it aside for 30 minutes.
  • Wash rice a few times and soak it for 30 minutes. 
  • Bring 3 to 4 cups of water to a rolling boil along with bay leaf, cardamoms, shahi jeera, 1 tsp oil and salt. 
  • Drain water and add it to the boiling water. 
  • Cook it al dente but not mushy. It must be firm. Drain the rice to a colander.

Making graving for shrimp

  • Heat a pan with oil. Saute cloves, cinnamon, bayleaf, shahi jeera and star anise in hot oil. 
  • Fry onions until light golden brown stirring often. 
  • Next fry ginger garlic paste until the raw smell goes away. 
  • Saute tomatoes and mint, coriander leaves in the same pan.
  • When the tomatoes turn mushy, add chili powder, biryani masala, salt and turmeric. 
  • Cook until the oil begins to ooze out. Add the prawns and fry just for a minute for the ginger garlic paste to loose the raw flavor.
  • Pour curd or coconut milk and stir. Cook until the gravy thickens & the prawns cook fully. 
  • The prawns curl up to C shape when cooked. Do not over cook as they turn hard. 
  • Tiger prawns take only 3 mins to cook. Taste your gravy and add more salt if needed.

How to make prawn biryani

  • Grease a pot for making biryani, add half of the rice to the pot. Level it evenly
  • Add the prawn garvy and level it. Add the rest of the rice. 
  • Seal with a foil or tight lid and cook on a hot tawa or griddle for 20 minutes. 
  • Allow prawn biryani to rest for 15 minutes. Serve with a raita.


  1. Avoid adding prawn gravy at the bottom as it over cooks the prawns. 
  2. I have layered the gravy in the center and at the bottom to avoid overcooking the prawns.
  3. Avoid overcooking prawns as they turn hard & rubbery.
  4. Avoid using chilled coconut milk or yogurt. Bring it to room temperature and use.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Prawn biryani (shrimp biryani)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 585 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 210mg70%
Sodium 1063mg46%
Potassium 380mg11%
Carbohydrates 83g28%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 490IU10%
Vitamin C 16.9mg20%
Calcium 182mg18%
Iron 4.4mg24%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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© Swasthi’s Recipes

shrimp biryani

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
Very much yummy n tasty my children loved it very much

5 stars
Swasti I’ve made your Hyderabadi chicken biriani for years; and made this for the first time yesterday. for Eid. It was super; I just added some saffron to the top for personal preference. I also made the raita; and I really wanted to say thank you for such good and always reliable recipes 🙂

5 stars
Came out v hood. Thank u for the recipe

I am unable to send your recipes to my email as it does not have an email icon. Please add the icon to all of your recipes to save it. Thank you.

5 stars
Turn out great! Tasted authentic!

Hi Swasthi,
I’m hoping to try out this recipe and would like to know if I could add carrot and cooked green peas? If so, how and when should it be. Appreciate some advice as this is my first time making prawn biryani. Thanks in advance!

5 stars
Thank you for letting me know! I tried this adding carrot and green peas and it came out great! Your detailed steps made it really easy to nail this dish. Thank you!

5 stars
Can the prawn be cooked one day before and then added to freshly cooked rice next day in the same process.

5 stars
Hi Swasthi,

Tried this biryani today and it was awesome. Family days it’s the best biryani made by me so far. Thanks a lot for the detailed recipe. Only thing I did different was after making the gravy in a hard anodized kadhai, I removed the prawns pieces added the rice, mixed them, made a small well in between and added back the prawns and covered it with the rice and then dum cooked in the same kadhai. Even my 4yr old kid loved it this way(she doesn’t like the white rice biryani ?)

? yes… For my kid your recipes are proper spicy.. not too less, not too much.. Another reason why i love your recipes..

5 stars
Loved the simplicity of your recipe. Easy to make and so delicious. Made it with the Biryani masala suggested by you.
Thank you so much?

I can’t find the ingredient amounts

5 stars
Its so helpful.. I made a delicious shrimp biryani.. Thanks for this recipe.. Godbless and goodluck!

5 stars
Just made this today and it came out Fantastic! However wish I made 1.5 times gravy for a even better flavour. Also perhaps a half a lime/ lemon will be best for more of a tangy flavour if using coconut milk as it lacks tanginess if curd or yoghurt. Totally recommend this to anyone and my first buriyani was a success thanks to you!

5 stars
Absolutely delicious!! Thanks for the recipe. A must try!!

5 stars
My first ever biryani and it turned out unbelievably yummy. Thankyou so much.

5 stars
I came across this recipe yesterday and got my hand on it
I can’t believe it turned out to be so good ????? thankuuu swasthijiiiiii

5 stars
Hi swasthijji,
When it comes to non veg recipes, you are my first choice. Today m making this recipe for second time. Undoubtably it was a hit last time. One query, my family wants prawns in each bite ?, if I want to double the quantity of prawns and keep the rice quantity same then how should I follow this recipe??

Your prawn Biriyani recipe was awesome, prepared the same and the Biriyani was yum, keeping posting more recipes.

This was the first time I had made a biryani from scratch, without using a packet spice mix.
It was absolutely delicious! Lovely flavours and the right amount of heat. Really tasty with the coconut milk too.
I look forward to trying more recipes ?.

5 stars
Thanks a lot for this awesome recipe.. The Prawn Biryani turned out very well and we just loved it…

5 stars
Tried your recipe…turned out yummy. Definitely going to share your recipe with my friends..

I cooked biryani with prawns and later even cooked chicken biryani with this process ( increasing the cooking time of chicken more than prawns) Both turned out awesome.
In fact I had never used spice powder with pathar phool and so many star anise.
One mistake i made was to store my remaining spice in the kitchen so it became a bit week after 10 days.
Many thanks it was really very enjoyable.

Hii swathi mam ….I tried your recipe prawn biryani…it tastes superb my family members liked it much …feeling Happy…and finally u r giving tips ….by following these tips anyone can do the recipes without any idea…u r really great mam