Easy Instant Pot Chicken Biryani || Instant Pot Spicy Chicken Pulao

Jump to recipe

I have probably stated this before and I have no shame in saying it again. Biryani is my weakness. Especially Chicken Biryani.  There is something about how the different components of this dish come together that makes this so, so attractive to me.  It is just a harmonious confluence of flavors and textures.  The perfectly cooked rice grains layered with the soft, succulent ‘falling off the bone’ chicken pieces, the flavorful potatoes, the toasted nuts and the fresh cilantro.  And then there is the incredible aroma from all those spices and if you add saffron too, then it becomes just heavenly!

Being on a Paleo diet for more than a year now, I do miss my rice. But when someone talks about Biryani, I cannot stop drooling! Sine last month, I have been allowing myself a little bit of rice every now and then to see if it gets me a reaction or not. I seem to be doing ok as long as I have only a little.  So that’s the reason I decided to make this Instant Pot Biryani two weeks ago.

Now if you are thinking that you would need to labor a lot for making this exquisite dish, then I am going to make you happy. Although I have posted the traditional long version of Chicken Biryani before, this one that I am sharing today is a relatively easy version plus you can make it in the Instant Pot!  You could also follow the same steps and make it in a regular pot (with a  tight fitting lid) except you will need to cook it for longer. I have included some notes on this in my recipe below.  You can make your own biryani masala (I have included the recipe for that ) or buy store bought.Biryani masala. 

With this Instant pot version, you can make Chicken Biryani even on a weeknight! Oh gosh, it was so tasty and once I opened the lid of the Instant pot, the whole house smelled divine!  I ended up having some – yes I did have only a small helping 🙁  eating more of the chicken than the rice, but the kids and the Mr enjoyed it thoroughly!

If you try this recipe, do let me know in the comments below how you liked it. And don’t forget to come back and rate it too!

I made a video of this video too – Check it out !

Easy Instant Pot Chicken Biryani || Instant Pot Spicy Chicken Pulao
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
This is an easy Instant pot version of the elaborately prepared Chicken Biryani which is incredibly tasty and might become your new 'go to' version!
Marinating the Chicken:
  • 6 pieces of chicken drumsticks (legs) or about 6 large chicken thigh pieces (about 1½ lbs)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp kashmiri chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste (see notes)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
For the rest of the recipe:
  • 1½ cups of Basmati rice washed and soaked in water for 15 mins at least
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 3-4 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 one inch piece of cinnamon sticks
  • 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder (I use Kashmiri chilli powder)
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp Biryani masala (for homemade check recipe below or you can use store bought
  • 1 medium potato, cut into long slices
  • 4-6 strands of saffron (optional)
  • 2¼ cups water
For garnish/topping:
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup cashew nuts toasted in ghee or olive oil
For making homemade Biryani masala:
  • 4 cloves
  • 4-6 whole black pepper corns
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds (shahi jeera)
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4 whole green cardamom pods
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 1 two inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 mace
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 kalpaasi / dagad phool flowers /stone flower(optional)
For making homemade biryani masala:
  1. Add all the ingredients listed under biryani masala to a coffee grinder (spice grinder) and blend till fine. Store in air tight glass or metal container.
Making the Biryani:
  1. Wash the basmati rice 3-4 times and cover with water. Keep aside for at least 15 mins.
  2. Put the Instant Pot on and press Saute mode. Ad the olive oil or ghee. And then add all the whole spices - cloves, bay leaves, cardamom, black peppercorns and cinnamon. Stir for 30 secs and then add the onions. Stir fry for 2 mins. Add the salt and the spices and Cover with a lid and cook for 2 mins. Open lid and add the potato slices.
  3. Drain the water from the rice and add the rice to the Instant Pot. Add the saffron (if adding) and the measured quantity of water. Stir to mix and make sure all the rice and the potatoes and chicken are under the water level.
  4. Close the Instant pot lid and turn the valve to sealing position.
  5. Press Cancel to trun saute mode off.
  6. Press Pressure Cook and manually change time to 8 mins.
  7. Once the timer goes off (after 8 mins), press Cancel to turn heat off. Then manually release the pressure (Do this carefully covering the valve with a towel and using a wooden spoon to lift the valve)
  8. Open the lid but don't stir the rice now. Let the rice cool for about 10-15 mins before adding the toasted cashew nuts and cilantro. Serve warm.
For making ginger garlic paste, take equal quantities of fresh ginger and garlic cloves and blend in a small food processor jar with some extra virgin olive oil to get a paste
You can also use a regular pot or a pressure cooker to make this recipe. You would need to cook on low heat for anywhere between 10-14 mins.


(Visited 1,033 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Hi Indu,
    I made this recipe of yours today — Instant Pot chicken Biryani. I wanted to let you know that it turned out wonderful! Thank you SO SO much for the recipe and the video. It was so easy and a life saver for working moms! 🙂 I had one question. My rice turned out a little clumpy and soft. Do you need to add EXACTLY 2 1/4 cups water? If you add just a little bit more (like 2 1/3 or 2 1/2 cup instead of 2 1/4 cup), will that cause the rice to me too soft and clumpy? Should you cut the potatoes a little large so they do not get too soft? Also, once the 8 minutes is up on the Instant Pot pressure cooking, should you open it up IMMEDIATELY or wait for the pressure to completely vent? Thank you so much Indu. I really love and appreciate this recipe!
    Take Care and Be Safe,

    • SO GLAD TO HEAR THIS! Yes you need to add exactly the right amount of water or the rice will get overcooked. Yes cutting the potatoes in big pieces helps to prevent stickiness. Yes open immediately and let steam escape. I think i mentioned all these in my video. Hope you can follow these steps next time 🙂

  2. One more question — can you use chicken breast instead of chicken thighs? How much chicken breast would you use? Should you cut the chicken breast in larger pieces and make some slits in it to allow the spices to marinate them? Can you add coriander AND mint leaves at the end? Is there anywhere in this recipe where you can add sliced tomatoes too? Could you let the sliced tomatoes, coriander and mint leaves sit for 10 minutes on the Biryani at the end while you have a lid over it? Thank you so much!

    • Hello nan yes you can use chicken breast too. Yes definitely make large pieces and just make shallow cuts not deep as breast meat is tender and while pressure cooking it could break apart. Yes absolutely add coriander and mint at the end! You could definitely add tomato too either in the beginning with the onions or at the end. I do not eat tomatoes as it causes inflammation in my body unfortunately.

  3. Thank you so much for this recipe! I will try it. Thanks also for the video. Can you use 2 teaspoons of Shan Masala instead of biryani masala? Thanks!

    • Yes you can defintely use Shan masala too. Last time I checked it had maltodextrin in it so I don’t use it. But that may have changed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:  

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.