Instant Pot Chicken Biryani

This delicious chicken biryani is full of warm spices,tender chicken, and fragrant rice. This instant pot recipe is a one-pot meal and an easy recipe perfect for special occasions or everyday dinner.

Do you love using your Instant Pot? Try my Instant Pot Lentil Curry for a fast, easy, and flavorful dish!

Chicken Biryani made in the instant pot.

Biryani has always been a personal favorite of mine. The traditional way of making biryani is on the stove top with the rice cooking separately from the chicken. The final step is to layer the aromatic rice with the cooked chicken.

In effect, biryani is steaming the rice in those gorgeous spices. This take a long time to do.

chicken biryani made in the instant pot

The Instant Pot uses pressure cooking to infuse the rice with all those yummy spices in a short period of time. You don’t lose any of the delicious flavor, can keep everything in one pot, AND don’t heat up your house. Win!

ingredients for chicken biryani

Key Ingredients:

  • Chicken. I recommend using chicken drumsticks or chicken thighs, but chicken breasts are tasty as well. They won’t be as moist and flavorful as the drumsticks, however. But if you are anti-dark meat go ahead and opt for the breasts.
  • Long Grain Basmati Rice. Basmati rice is a bit nuttier and firmer than other rices. It holds up perfectly in Biryani.
  • Garam Masala. You can find this in the spice section quite easily. A must have for many Indian dishes.
  • Bay leaves. Whole bay leaf added to the pressure cooker are a must.
  • Cinnamon. I like to use a fresh piece of cinnamon stick that I throw in whole. Opt for ground cinnamon if you don’t have the whole.
  • Lime juice. You need the acid to help balance this dish. Use lemon juice if you don’t have lime.
  • Mint leaves. Freshly chopped fresh mint leaves are a must for the best results and flavor. Save the rest of the mint for mojitos :).
  • Saffron Milk. This one is going to be unusual for most people but cannot be skipped! Saffron is a key ingredient in basmati, soaking it in warm milk before putting it in the biryani helps release all the yummy flavor. Saffron is expensive so be sure to do this step to get the most from it!

Tools you’ll need:

  • Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker

Notes about ingredients:

There are alot of ingredients in biryani that many of us don’t use on a daily basis and don’t keep in stock. I’ve given you the ingredients and kept them as close to spices we usually have in our pantries. However, here are some changes to make for the most authentic flavor you can get.

  • Cardamom pods. Using whole green cardamoms and black cardamom and reducing the cloves to 1 teaspoon will give you great, authentic flavor!
  • Whole spices. Pro tip: wherever possible, use the whole spices and grind them yourself. This gives the most authentic flavor to your biryani. Plus, it’s extra special!
  • Kewra water is really hard to find. Sub rose water if you can find it. If you can’t find it, skip it.
  • Ginger Garlic Paste. A common ingredient in alot of Indian food, you can make a substitute by using equal parts minced garlic and minced ginger.
  • Dried fruits. This biryani recipe doesn’t call for any dried fruits but I often add raisins, apricots, or dried cranberries to the rice. You’ll find that many good biryani recipes use dried fruit. So tasty!
  • Saffron. Saffron is an expensive ingredient. However, if saffron is stored in a cool, dry place it lasts up to 2 years!

How to make Instant Pot biryani:

  • In a bowl or Ziplock back, marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  • Meanwhile, rinse the rice until the water runs clear and then soak it.
  • Set the instant pot on the sauté mode. Melt the butter and add spices and onions. Sauté until you have caramelized onions.
  • Add in the marinated chicken and saute the chicken pieces until the chicken is golden brown on the outside.
  • Add chopped mint, cilantro, and the soaked rice. Mix well.
  • Add 1 1/4 cups water along with salt, saffron soaked milk, and Kewra water.
  • Turn it to pressure cook mode on high pressure for 6 minutes of cooking time.
  • Once the pressure-cooking cycle is over, quick release the pressure.
  • Open the lid carefully and give it a final gentle mix with a spatula.
  • Serve hot and enjoy the Chicken Biryani.

Tips for successful biryani:

  • Pat dry chicken before marinating to avoid excess liquids in your rice.
  • Drain the rice completely after soaking.
  • Ensure that all the rice is under liquid before closing the Instant Pot.
  • Always use long grain basmati rice for Biryani.
  • Kewra water or Rose water gives Chicken Biryani its characteristic rich flavour and aroma. Keep your eye out for it and use it, if you can find it.
  • Saffron milk acts as a natural coloring agent which along with other spices helps to give Biryani its signature brownish-red color. Plus, it also imparts a pleasant aroma to the dish. Just a small amount goes a very long way.
plate of chicken biryani


You can store the Chicken Biryani in an air-tight container for 3 days in the refrigerator or around 3 months in the freezer.

Is soaking rice necessary? What happens if you don’t rinse rice?

Soaking the rice helps it start absorbing rice before it even hits the pot and makes it cook faster. Rinsing the rice removes the film of starch on the grains of rice so they don’t stick together. Short answer…yes, soak and rinse your rice!

What to serve with Chicken Biryani?

Honestly, chicken biryani is a complete meal. If you like, serve it alongside a warm piece of naan bread or a cup of fruit.


| 4 servings
Prep Time | 10 minutes
Cook Time | 20 minutes
Releasing time | 1 hour
Total Time | 1 hour 30 minutes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
A hearty and comforting meal made with marinated chicken, cooked with aromatic rice, selected spices, herbs, and saffron; Chicken Biryani is relished by people of all age groups around the world.


  • 1 pound chicken drumsticks

Chicken Marinade

  • 3 tablespoons yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder or use 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste optional, 1.5 tablespoons minced garlic & 1.5 tablespoons freshly minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Paprika
  • 2 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice use lemon juice if you don't have the lime.
  • 1 teaspoon salt

The rest :):

  • 1 ¼ cups basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 1 cup sliced onions
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tab cloves
  • 2 tsp cinnamon or 2 inch of a piece of whole cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon saffron soaked in 2 tablespoons of warm milk see notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kewra see notes
Check out our Kitchen Reference Guide for help with unfamiliar terms.


  • In a bowl marinate chicken with yogurt, coriander powder, ginger garlic paste, red paprika powder, Garam Masala, lime juice, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix properly and let the chicken marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  • Rinse the rice 3-4 times or until the water runs clear. Soak them completely immersed in water for 15 minutes.
  • Set the instant pot on the SAUTE function. Add butter, let it melt. Add bay leaves, pepper, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and cumin. Add the sliced onions and sauté it for 5-6 minutes until the onions are caramelized.
  • Add in the marinated chicken and saute until the chicken is golden brown on the outside.
  • Add chopped mint, cilantro, and the soaked rice. Mix well.
  • Add water along with 1 teaspoon salt, saffron soaked milk, and Kewra water.
  • CANCEL the SAUTE button. Select the PRESSURE COOK button on HIGH PRESSURE for 6 minutes. (Make sure the valve is in the SEALING position).
  • Once the pressure-cooking cycle is over. Quick-release pressure by manually moving the valve from SEALING to VENTING position.
  • Open the lid carefully and select the CANCEL button.
  • Give it a final gentle mix with a spatula.
  • Serve hot and enjoy the Chicken Biryani.


A little goes a very long way…use sparingly and add more, if needed.


Calories: 1712kcalCarbohydrates: 216gProtein: 77gFat: 58gSaturated Fat: 24gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 348mgSodium: 5252mgPotassium: 1539mgFiber: 14gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 2936IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 334mgIron: 8mg

Other Instant Pot Dishes:

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