Instant Pot Chicken Biryani (Mild)

I love one-pot dishes, and this chicken biryani is one of the most flavorful things I’ve ever eaten. Don’t be afraid of the long ingredients list. Each spice adds something to this dish that makes it absolutely heavenly.

The Rice: to Soak or Not to Soak?

I’ve tried chicken biryani with and without soaking the rice. The main difference is that the rice grains get a little fluffier and longer with soaking. Since I often forget this step, I plan to use 2 c. basmati rice with 3 c. water. If you remember to soak the rice first, drain it well and use 2 c. of water for cooking.

The Chicken Marinade

Mix all of the following together and marinate for at least 30 minutes:

1 1/2 – 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped

2 t. coriander powder

1/4 t. black pepper

2 t. paprika

1/4 t. cumin

2 t. salt

2 t. garam masala

1/4 t. turmeric

3/4 c. plain yogurt

The Whole Spices

Heat the Instant Pot on saute until it says “Hot” and toast until fragrant:

2 T. ghee or oil (Regular butter will burn.)

10 cardamom pods

8 whole cloves

4 bay leaves

a cinnamon stick

1 t. cumin seeds

1 t. fennel seeds

Remove the spices and tie them into a bouquet garni. I use a piece of cheesecloth and a string. This makes it easier to remove the whole spices later, especially the smaller seeds, while still getting all the yummy flavor from them.

Cooking the Chicken Biryani

The Instant Pot should still be hot at this point. Saute until starting to brown:

4 T. ghee or butter (With a lot of stirring, the butter won’t get hot enough to burn at this point. Ghee is traditional, but more expensive.)

2 onions, sliced

Add and saute for another minute:

2 T. minced garlic

4 t. minced ginger

Add and stir for a few minutes, making sure the scrape the bottom of the pot:

the chicken and marinade

Add the remaining ingredients to the top of the chicken, but do not stir:

the bouquet garni of whole spices

2 c. basmati rice

3 c. water (2 c. if you soaked and drained the rice)     

1/2 c. chopped cilantro

Pressure cook the chicken biryani for 6 minutes at high pressure, then natural release for 10 minutes. Discard the bouquet garni and gently stir the biryani before serving.

chicken biryani


Serve chicken biryani with any of the following:

boiled eggs



golden raisins

plain yogurt

Find more heavenly, international dishes here.

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