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Instant Pot

Chicken Biryani

4 Servings

1 hour 10 minutes 30 minutes active

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Made the traditional way, this classic Indian and Pakistani chicken and rice dish requires a long list of ingredients and time-intensive prep. Our simplified pressure-cooked version can be on the table with only about 30 minutes active work. And because we've pared back the ingredients, using only those that we felt essential, the flavors are lighter and brighter, yet still complex and balanced. If you like, offer yogurt on the side; its cooling qualities perfectly complement the spice-rich biryani.




Don't mix the rice into the chicken mixture after sprinkling the grains into the pot. Sitting on top of the layer of chicken, the rice steams gently so the grains cook up light and fluffy, not dense and sodden. Also, after opening the pot before allowing the rice to rest, don't forget to cover it with a kitchen towel. The towel absorbs moisture while preventing the rice from cooling too quickly.

1 hour 10 minutes

30 minutes active


  • 2

    teaspoons garam masala

  • teaspoons ground turmeric


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Cynthia G.
April 11, 2024
Very good
Made this tonight on an 8 quart InstaPot. After reading the reviews I used 11/4 tsp salt, an extra 1/4 cup of water and sprinkled the rinsed rice on top. It was perfectly cooked and we enjoyed it very much. Will definitely make it again.
Michelle M.
November 16, 2022
This is such a flavorful and uncomplicated dish to make. I didn't have garam masala so I used chat masala and some cumin. Brown rice worked well & I adjusted the water and cooking time. I'll be making this again I'm sure.
Wendy L.
September 12, 2022
So much easier than the traditional way, yet still very flavorful
This is now the family favorite. Thank you for showing us a way to make Biryani easily. Mine came out a bit watery. I will put more chicken and rice in next time for the same amount of liquid.
Jacqueline S.
August 31, 2022
Our go-to Biriyani recipe
This is so easy and quick to make, and it's oh-so flavorful. A favorite for sure!
Daniela M.
June 1, 2023
Delicious and simple
I made this exactly as the recipe stated, with the exception of using closer to 1.25 cups of rice. It was a tasty biryani and everything cooked perfectly. So simple! But 2 teaspoons of salt seems like it is a mistake. I ended up cooking an entire extra cup of rice and mixing that in to soak up some of the salt and it’s still too salty. I love salt, but I think the was meant to be 1 teaspoon of salt not 2 teaspoons as the recipe states.
Melissa V.

How do you do this without an Instant Pot? I have a rice cooker, slow cooker, pressure cooker, etc. — just not an Instant Pot.

Janelle C.

This is a great question. Would you post it in our Q&A Forum for Milk Street Insiders and Digital subscribers? It's currently free for all to use and we're sure others would love to hear the answer to this one.

The Milk Street Team

Sally S.

Where do i find the answer to this question?

Sally S.

Where do i find the answer to this question?

Jean R.

I would do all the sauteing in Step 1 in a large skillet on the stovetop, then if you have a pressure cooker, just transfer everything over to that before you add the water and rice and cook as directed in the pressure cooker. Or just leave it on the stovetop, maybe add a little more water, bring to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes or so (whatever your rice directions say). You'll probably need to check on it a few times just to make sure its progressing ok, but it should work.

Myrna A.

The recipe “curried chicken with rice and cranberries” is very similar. and it is cooked the regular way - not instant pot.....

Samuel S.

It turned out pretty good. I think the water to rice ratio is off. I ended up with soupy rice. Still tasted good. The other issue is I didn't cut up the thighs. My wife said it was really good. Just not the greatest looking with a full boneless chicken thigh.

elizabeth m.

This is the first Milk Street recipe that didn't turn out quite right for me. The flavors were wonderful and the chicken was perfectly cooked, but the rice was still uncooked. I followed the recipe exactly with one exception: When the instant pot beeped after 10 minutes, it took me about 10 minutes to open the pot and put the towel on. When I did open the pot, the rice was totally hard as if it hadn't cooked at all. I ended up adding another half cup of water and then cooking for an additional 7 minutes. After that, I put the towel on the instant pot for 10 minutes, however even in that instance the rice was still slightly undercooked. Any ideas what went wrong?

Marjorie V.

I made this in a mini pot with chicken breasts. Really tasty albeit a tad bit salty. I used the same amounts (it fit fine) and added one minute (10%) to the cook time. Just the tiniest bit soupy but then I scooped our dinner straight from the pot without bothering with a serving dish. It’s a keeper!

Paul M.

First, this was delicious as hell, but I will agree there was a bit too much liquid. That said, I also thought that there would be way too much meat to rice, so I doubled the rice (and the water) and thought it was just about right. Also, I used chicken stock instead of water. We all ate ourselves sick, and this is a keeper, for sure. Very easy and VERY tasty.

Peter G.

This recipe is the one that validated my having purchased an instant pot.

Gary G.

Wow, this was really good. A little too spicy for my wife but she cooled her plate down with some sour cream. I think making sure the the onions brown and the rice is washed are key steps. Will make again using only a half of jalapeño.

Laura F.

Absolutely loved this recipe—one of my favorites from Milk Street so far! Followed the directions carefully, and the rice turned out beautifully. It takes me about 2 minutes of rinsing rice in the sink with a colander to get the water clear enough.

Caprice S.

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Patrick B.

The flavors were all there, but my rice also turned out to be uncooked. I am using an 8 quart instant pot. Are there any recommended adjustments for using an 8 quart pot? I don't want a soupy Byriani. Any idea what went wrong?

April D.

Patrick - one possible issue is that, given the larger size of your 8-quart Instant Pot, there wasn't enough liquid evenly distributed under the rice to ensure each grain could be fully hydrated during the time under pressure. I hear you on not wanting a soupy biryani, but I think your best bet for a future attempt with the 8-quart size is to increase the liquid slightly - by 1/4 to 1/2 cup. If the idea of more moisture is a non-starter, try stirring the rice into the liquid in the pot before placing the chicken on top (rather than sprinkling the rice over the chicken ): that will make sure that each grain of rice is surrounded by moisture that will facilitate its cooking. - April D.

Marilyn B.

Patrick B., I took April’s advice and added an additional 1/4 cup of water and everything turned out perfectly.

Jonathan M.

Produced a gloppy mess of uncooked rice that doesn't remotely resemble biryani. Had to boil it for a while to not waste all the ingredients by just tossing it out.

Chris M.

I made this, used only one tsp of salt, the rice was mostly done, pushed down some crunchy bits into the sauce and covered. I did add 1/4c water. Was not fluffy rice when done, but tasty. Would do it again.

Jonathan M.

The rice on top of the chicken was severely undercooked. The rice that fell into the the water was cooked, and tasted better. Next time, despite the note that says not to do this, I'll mix the rice into the liquid before cooking.

Miles P.

I used a stovetop pressure cooker for this recipe and it turned out almost perfect. Texture of both the chicken and rice were spot on. Next time, I will add a pinch of salt to the chicken marinade and either reduce the amount of chicken or increase the amount of rice (and water). As it is, you may want some rice on the side so you're not overdoing the protein. Chicken broth might also be nice in place of the water & salt.

Janine W.

This recipe was awesome. We ate the whole pot up. My only modification is that there may be have been a little too much salt for us. It didn't taste too salty, but we were all reallllly thirsty after the meal. Definitely will make this again!

Peter Chris S.

Everything turned out fine (rice cooked through, not soupy), but cardamom was strong and it felt like it was missing a flavor (maybe golden raisins for sweetness?). It was OK at best-- none of us loved it. If I did make it again, I'd cut the cardamom in half.

Estelle B.

Followed the recipe exactly (except for halving the jalapeno) and it was excellent! Will definitely make again.