Chicken Biryani: Easy Recipe, Nutritional Benefits, and Cooking Tips

Chicken biryani is a traditional South Asian dish combining basmati rice, marinated chicken, and a blend of spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric. It’s known for its layers of flavors and aromatic herbs, including saffron, mint, and cilantro. Each bite offers a complex mix of textures and tastes, from tender chicken and fragrant rice to crispy fried onions. This dish often accompanies raita (yogurt sauce) or a simple salad.

Why Use an Instant Pot?

Using an Instant Pot simplifies the process of cooking chicken biryani. This advanced kitchen appliance condenses cooking steps, from sautéing onions and spices to pressure-cooking rice and chicken. It reduces cooking time drastically compared to traditional stovetop or oven methods. With the Instant Pot, you achieve consistent results because it maintains precise temperature control and pressure settings. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, the Instant Pot delivers a flavorful biryani with minimal oversight and effort.

Ingredients and Preparation

Key Ingredients for Chicken Biryani

For authentic chicken biryani, gather these essential ingredients:

  1. Basmati Rice: 2 cups, long grain basmati rice
  2. Chicken: 1 pound, bone-in chicken pieces
  3. Onions: 2 large, thinly sliced
  4. Tomatoes: 2 medium, chopped
  5. Yogurt: 1/2 cup, plain yogurt
  6. Spices and Herbs: 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon garam masala, 2 bay leaves, 4 cloves, 4 cardamom pods, and 1 cinnamon stick
  7. Ginger-Garlic Paste: 2 tablespoons, freshly made
  8. Green Chilies: 3-4, slit lengthwise
  9. Fresh Herbs: 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves and 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  10. Saffron: A few strands soaked in 1/4 cup warm milk
  11. Oil: 3 tablespoons, vegetable or canola oil
  12. Ghee: 1 tablespoon, for added richness (optional)
  13. Water: 2 cups, for cooking rice
  1. Marinate Chicken: Combine chicken pieces with yogurt, turmeric powder, garam masala, and salt. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Sauté Ingredients: Using the Instant Pot’s sauté function, heat the oil and ghee. Add cumin seeds, bay leaves, cloves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon stick. Stir until aromatic.
  3. Cook Onions and Tomatoes: Add thinly sliced onions and cook until golden brown. Mix in ginger-garlic paste, green chilies, and chopped tomatoes. Sauté until tomatoes soften.
  4. Add Marinated Chicken: Incorporate marinated chicken into the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes until the chicken starts to brown.
  5. Layer Rice and Herbs: Spread soaked and drained basmati rice evenly over the chicken. Sprinkle chopped mint leaves and cilantro on top. Pour 2 cups of water and saffron milk over the mixture.
  6. Pressure Cook: Seal the Instant Pot lid. Set to high pressure for 6 minutes. After cooking, allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes before quick releasing any remaining pressure.
  7. Fluff and Serve: Open the lid, gently fluff the biryani with a fork to mix layers. Serve hot, garnished with additional cilantro or fried onions if desired.

Nutritional Benefits

Health Benefits of Chicken Biryani

Chicken biryani offers several health benefits due to its diverse ingredients. The dish includes chicken, providing a lean source of protein that’s essential for muscle repair and growth. Spices like turmeric and ginger add anti-inflammatory properties, supporting overall health. Basmati rice, a low-glycemic index carbohydrate, supplies sustained energy without spiking blood sugar levels. Vegetables such as peas add dietary fiber, aiding digestion. Incorporating whole ingredients ensures nutrient density and balance in every serving.

Calories and Macros

Chicken biryani’s caloric content and macronutrient profile depend on portion sizes and ingredients. On average:

ComponentQuantity (per serving)CaloriesProteinCarbsFat
Chicken3 oz15024g0g4g
Basmati rice1 cup2054g45g0.5g
Vegetables0.5 cup201g4g0g

The typical serving of chicken biryani provides around 455 calories, with balanced macros ensuring steady energy and fullness. High protein contributes to muscle maintenance, while balanced carbs support daily activities.

Cooking Tips and Variations

Tips for Perfect Instant Pot Chicken Biryani

Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh chicken, spices, and vegetables ensure optimal flavor and aroma. Stale ingredients can diminish the richness of the biryani.

Soak Rice: Soak basmati rice for at least 30 minutes. This ensures even cooking and prevents the rice from becoming mushy.

Layer Ingredients: Create layers with chicken, rice, and vegetables. This layering not only cooks each component evenly but also infuses the dish with a rich blend of flavors.

Deglaze the Pot: After sautéing onions and other initial ingredients, deglaze the pot with a bit of water or broth. This step avoids burn warnings and ensures proper pressure buildup.

Pressure Release: Use natural pressure release (NPR) for 10 minutes, then quick release (QR). This balanced approach prevents overcooking while maintaining grain texture.

Variations to Suit Different Tastes

Using Different Meats: Substitute chicken with lamb, beef, or shrimp. Adjust cooking times according to the protein’s tenderness requirements.

Vegetarian Version: Replace meat with mixed vegetables like carrots, beans, peas, and potatoes. Enhance flavor with paneer or tofu for added protein.

Spice Level: Modify the heat by adjusting the quantity of green chilies and red chili powder. Removing seeds from chilies can also reduce spiciness.

Rice Varieties: Though basmati is traditional, experiment with jasmine or brown rice. Keep in mind that brown rice requires a longer cooking time and more liquid.

Flavor Tweaks: Add different garam masala blends for unique takes on biryani. Rose water or saffron can introduce subtle floral notes and enhance aroma.


Mastering Instant Pot chicken biryani can elevate your culinary skills while offering a nutritious and delicious meal for you and your family. With its blend of spices, tender chicken, and fragrant rice, this dish is both satisfying and wholesome. The Instant Pot simplifies the process, making it accessible for both beginners and seasoned cooks. By experimenting with ingredients and following the provided tips, you can customize your biryani to suit any preference. Enjoy the rich flavors and health benefits of this classic dish, and make it a staple in your kitchen.

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