Soft, fragrant Basmati rice is cooked under pressure with marinated chicken, cardamom, cloves, allspice, bay leaves, cilantro, mint, and saffron milk. Topped with fresh herbs, this Instant Pot Indian chicken biriyani is your new favorite one pot dinner that cooks in less than 15 minutes.
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Instant Pot Chicken Biriyani
Biriyani is my husbands favorite meal from our time living in the Middle East. You should know…the food game in the Middle East is out of control in the best way. You can get anything you want, the most authentic Indian, Middle Eastern, Thai (and so much more [ haaay Dairy Queen by the pool!] ) delivered straight to your door by a man on a dangerous looking motorbike. We miss the food, and the man on the motorbike, and the Dairy Queen by the pool so much.
Before you order Indian takeout, try to make it!
Good news though! Biriyani can easily be made in an Instant Pot here at home, no delivery needed. It does take a few special spices that you can find at your local International Market or online. Once you have them though, you can make chicken biriyani any time. And you will…because it’s that good.
This is definitely the Indian/Middle Eastern version of our chicken and rice casseroles here at home, total comfort food. And I’m all about that comfort food life right now.
HERE ARE A FEW INSTANT POT INDIAN CHICKEN BIRIYANI RULES:
- Marinate the chicken for at least 8 hours, but if you can pull it together the night before that is best.
- Don’t skip the saffron milk. Let me tell you my secret way of making it: I use a cheap baby bottle warmer (this bottle warmer) from Walmart. A bottle warmer steams a bottle to warm up the milk without scalding it. Perfect for steeping saffron milk. But wait…also melting chocolate and anything else you need a tiny double boiler for. I use a mason jar instead of a bottle.
- I didn’t soak the Basmati rice. Traditionally it’s soaked for a couple of hours. I don’t like al dente Basmati so I skipped that. I also wasn’t sure how it would affect the cooking time in the Instant Pot.
- Before you put the chicken in the bottom of the Instant Pot, pour in a tiny bit of water to keep it from burning on the bottom.
- You can use chicken pieces but bone-in chicken thighs (mostly) and legs make it so much better.
WHAT GOES IN INDIAN CHICKEN BIRIYANI?
- Chicken: Bone-in chicken gives the best flavor.
- Grapeseed Oil & Onions: High temp oil that won’t burn. Sweet caramelized flavor adds depth.
- Ginger & Garlic: Me + these two = love triangle
- Ghee: Clarified Butter, you can substitute regular butter if needed.
- Whole Spices: Bay, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns.
- Fresh Herbs: Cilantro & mint. In the marinade, in the finished dish and garnish.
- Saffron: Floral and sweet notes
- Red Chili Powder: spicy, spicy, spicy
- Yogurt: Important for the chicken marinade, tenderizes the meat.
- Dried Spices: Coriander & garam masala, must have.
- Salt: Flavor-flave
- Lime: In the chicken marinade, helps all that flavor penetrate the chicken.
- Basmati rice: Long slender grained aromatic rice.
HOW DO YOU MAKE CHICKEN BIRIYANI IN THE INSTANT POT?
- Caramelize the onions. These onions are about to be so good both in the marinade for the chicken and in the rice.
- Those onions though.
- Marinate the chicken for at least 8 hours but overnight would be best. You will combine: yogurt,
- Gather your herbs and whole spices, these will get mixed in with the rice in the Instant Pot.
- Get your saffron milk ready. You can go ahead and warm up the milk and add the saffron threads, let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Longer doesn’t hurt.
- Layer the marinated chicken in the bottom of the Instant Pot (add a tiny bit of the water to the bottom to keep the marinade from burning.
- Add the uncooked rice on top.
- Pour in water, salt, ghee, fresh herbs, and whole spices. Give it a swirl.
- Cook on Manual for 13 minutes. Remove the chicken and fluff the rice with a fork, slightly mixing it to get all of the flavors mixed up. Serve with chicken on top, sprinkled with fresh cilantro and mint leaves.
THIS GOES GREAT WITH:
- Indian Shrimp Tikka Masala
- Fennel and Apple Salad With Orange Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
- Hold tight! We have 5 Indian recipes coming up this week!
Hey- you’ve made it this far, and now we’re BFF’s. If you make this recipe, I would love for you to give it a star rating below (scroll to the comments). Make sure you follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook too!Print
4 pieces of chicken, bone-in, skin removed (I used 2 legs and 2 thighs)
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
3 sweet onions
FOR THE MARINADE:
1/3 cup yogurt
1 Tbsp ginger, peeled & chopped
1 Tbsp garlic
1 tsp red chili powder, optional
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lime or 1 lemon
Reserve 2 Tbsp oil from frying onions
Handful cilantro and mint leaves, chopped
WHOLE HERBS AND SPICES:
3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
7 green cardamom pods
7 black peppercorns
3 Tbsp Ghee
1/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp saffron threads
Cilantro & Mint leaves
2 cups white basmati rice
2 cups water
- Start by frying the onions in Grapeseed oil until deeply caramelized. Medium heat for 25 minutes.
- Make the marinade for the chicken: Combine garlic, ginger, and 1 Tbsp water in a blender (I use magic bullet) to make a paste. Combine the paste with half of the fried onions, yogurt, red chili powder*, cinnamon, coriander, garam masala, salt, lime juice, onion oil, cilantro, and mint. Let sit for at least 8 hours, but best overnight.
- Prepare the saffron milk by warming milk and adding saffron threads. Allow to sit for 30 minutes or more.
- Layer marinated chicken in the bottom of the Instant Pot, then rice and water. Add the fresh herbs, whole spices, saffron milk, other half of the onions, and ghee.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot and push the toggle on top toward “sealing”. Press Manual and select 13 minutes using the + – control
- Release the pressure immediately by pushing the toggle on top toward “venting”*.
- Remove the chicken and fluff the rice with the fork, stirring gently to combine all of the flavors.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and mint leaves
*Red Chili Powder: This is a spicy chili powder (not American chili powder) it is very spicy so use as much as you like. 1 tsp makes it medium spicy.
* Venting the Instant Pot: I use a long handled wooden spoon to release the steam, keeping my hands away from the toggle.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: Indian
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