Instant Pot

Chicken Biryani for the Instant Pot

June 12, 2017
13 Ratings
Photo by Archana Deshmukh-Mundhe
Author Notes

Quite possibly the most well-known rice dish from India, biryani can be found throughout the country, though there are subtle variations from region to region. But one thing is consistent: the process to make it is long and complex. My family’s treasured recipe transforms biryani into a quick, accessible dish. This meal is made of fragrant basmati rice, tender spiced chicken, and carmelized onions, and it can be cooked in less than an hour while maintaining the same authentic flavor and texture of traditional versions. —Archana Deshmukh-Mundhe

  • Prep time 40 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, paste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, paste
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder, or any mild chili powder
  • 0.25 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 0.25 cups mint leaves, chopped
  • 0.50 cups cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 0.75 cups full-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 pounds chicken drumsticks (6 tp 8 pieces), skin removed and patted dry
  • 2 cups extra long grain Basmati rice
  • 4 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 cups yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon saffron, mixed with 1 tablespoon warm milk
  • 3 small green chiles, sliced (optional)
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, halved (optional)
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Make marinade by mixing garam masala, ginger paste, garlic paste, red chili powder, turmeric, mint leaves, half of the chopped cilantro, lemon juice, yogurt, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Add the pat dried chicken and coat evenly with the marinade. Keep in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  2. While the chicken is marinating, using a wire mesh strainer, rinse the rice. Combine the rinsed rice and 2 cups of water in a bowl and allow the rice to soak for 20 minutes. Using the wire mesh strainer, drain all the water from the rice and set aside.
  3. Turn Instant Pot to Sauté (Hi) mode and heat 2 tablespoons of ghee and add thinly sliced onions. Cook stirring frequently for 15 mins or until the onions are golden brown and caramelized. Take out half of the onion and keep aside for garnishing the biryani.
  4. Add remaining ghee to the Instant Pot with half of the caramelized onions already in the pot. For extra spicy biryani, add sliced green chiles. Add bay leaves and marinated chicken to the pot and stir to combine. Press the cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Stir well with a wooden spoon, nudging loose any browned bits from the pot bottom; this will help the Instant Pot come to pressure and prevent the biryani from burning.
  5. Close Instant pot and turn pressure valve to sealing. Select the Pressure Cook mode or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 4 mins at high pressure. After the cooking cycle completes, perform a quick release. Press the cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Open the pot and once again, stir well with a wooden spoon, nudging loose any browned bits from the pot bottom; if needed remove the chicken to a bowl to clear all the browning at the bottom of the pot.
  6. Add the rice, spreading it out so that it covers the chicken evenly. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt over the top and pour 2 cups of water. Scrape down the sides of the pot to make sure that most of the rice is submerged in the water.
  7. Close Instant pot and turn pressure valve to sealing. Select the Pressure Cook or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 6 minutes at high pressure.
  8. Perform a quick release. Press the cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Open the pot and gently fluff the rice with a fork or silicone spatula. It is okay if the top layer of the rice looks a bit undercooked; simply fluff the top layer, or secure the lid for 5 minutes as the rice continues to cook with the residual heat. Garnish with the remaining caramelized onions, saffron milk and remaining cilantro.
  9. Serve with Raita (onions and tomatoes mixed in yogurt), hard boiled egg, and lemon wedges on the side.
  10. Pro Tips for perfect Biryani: Tip #1: Although, Sauté function on the Instant Pot works great for true one pot cooking, you can also caramelize the onions, stove top in a non-stick pan. This will speed up the process and also will prevent the stainless steel Instant Pot insert getting scorched which may lead to “BURN” notice on the newer Instant Pot’s. Tip #2: If you are using small bone-in chicken pieces or boneless thighs, you can skip the initial 4 minutes of pressure cooking step and instead sauté the marinated chicken for 2 to 3 minutes. Then layer the soaked and drained rice and pressure cook for 6 minutes

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jaxmccaff
    Jaxmccaff
  • lastnightsdinner
    lastnightsdinner
  • Sonali Mody
    Sonali Mody
  • Karen Lee
    Karen Lee
  • Shital Lakhani
    Shital Lakhani

17 Reviews

Jaxmccaff January 17, 2021
Made this last night for dinner. What a fantastic recipe! So delicious and very easy to make. I really appreciated the Instant Pot tips at the end as they were very relevant for me. I served this with some green beans, raita and naan. Will be making this again.
 
lastnightsdinner August 11, 2020
FANTASTIC. We love this and are actually making it again tonight!
 
Sonali M. July 8, 2020
My whole family LOVES this recipe. Its a staple in our house. I always make a little extra so we can have lunch leftovers the next day. Its super delicious!
 
Sonali M. July 8, 2020
My whole family LOVES this recipe. Its a staple in our house. I always make a little extra so we can have lunch leftovers the next day. Its super delicious!
 
karynerb July 7, 2020
I have so many of Archana’s recipes from Ministry of Curry on repeat in my house. Chicken Biryani is one of my favorites!! Making it in the Instant Pot is so easy and delicious.
 
karynerb July 7, 2020
I have so many of Archana’s recipes from ministryofcurry.com on repeat in my house. Chicken Biryani is one of my favorites!! Making it in the Instant Pot is so easy and delicious.
 
Karen L. July 7, 2020
I make Archana's recipes from her cookbook and her website all the time so it was a pleasant surprise to find her recipes here! Love this Chicken Biryani recipe so much and it's a regular rotation at my house! So much easier in the Instant Pot!
 
jl321584 July 7, 2020
Love this recipe and authors blog ministryofcurry.com
 
Anju April 30, 2020
I tried this yesterday day and I like it, though I like Thalassery biryani recipes a bit more than other biriyanis.
 
Anju April 30, 2020
I tried this last night and I love this recipe, though I like Thalassery chicken biriyani a bit more than any other biryani recipes.
 
Lynda March 31, 2019
I loved this! Actually went to an Indian grocery to buy affordable saffron for it. It was even better the 2nd day. Followed the recipe exactly, except due to unforeseen circumstances, the chicken marinated 48 hrs. Had to look up on YouTube how to skin the chicken drumsticks, but otherwise the recipe was complete. This is my 2nd dish from Archana...I actually bought her cookbook I liked them so much.
 
Shawn February 4, 2019
It’s not clear to me from the recipe if I am supposed to cook the entire contents of the marinade into the dish, or discard the marinade and just keep the chicken. Maybe I’ll do 50-50 the first time around.
 
Shital L. January 6, 2018
Just made this today and it was DELISH!!!! I love how fragrant and flavorful the rice and chicken came out, and most importantly, how easy it was! Just like my moms but definitely not as much work as hers. I used less saffron and omitted eggs because I didn't have but I'm sure that would make it even better. I would love to see more complete Indian meal recipes like this!
 
Amy M. September 20, 2017
Made this last night and I was disappointed. The rice was mush. This recipe seems to deviate from the normal ratio of rice to water (way too much water given how much liquid the chicken gives up during the first pressure-cooking step) and the cooking time is too long.
 
Author Comment
Archana D. November 14, 2017
Hi Amy! Thank you for trying this recipe and your feedback. Was the chicken washed or wet when you added it to the marinade? I have edited the recipe to add a note that the chicken should be dry. I hope you will give it another try.
 
SSF July 10, 2017
Is this your recipe? http://ministryofcurry.com/chicken-biryani-instant-pot/
 
Author Comment
Archana D. July 10, 2017
Yes!