This Instant Pot Chicken Biryani is a delicious Indian-inspired rice dish filled with spices, basmati rice and frozen veggies then topped with yogurt.
Ingredients in chicken biryani
- Coconut oil
- Yellow onion
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Fresh ginger
- Spices – garam masala, turmeric, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper
- Basmati rice
- Chicken broth – or stock
- Frozen veggies – use your favorite mixed veggie blend
What is garam masala?
Garam masala is a spice blend used in a lot of Indian dishes. Each batch is made fresh from ground whole spices. Unlike curry powder, the spices are more fragrant and include some sweet spices as well.
Overall the flavor is a balance of spicy and sweet, and it has a very strong aroma.
You should be able to find it in the spice aisle at your grocery store, but if not, you can make a homemade version in a pinch.
Mix together the following spices and store in an airtight container for up to a year:
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1.5 teaspoons each: ground coriander, ground cardamom, black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon each: ground cloves, ground nutmeg
How to make biryani in the Instant Pot
- Add all of the ingredients except for the frozen veggies and toppings to the Instant Pot. So that everything cooks properly, add the ingredients in the order shown in the recipe card.
- Place the lid on Instant Pot and make sure the valve is set to “seal”. Pressure cook on high power for 5 minutes.
- While the meal cooks, you should microwave your frozen veggies and prepare any toppings you’ll want to serve with the dish. When the cook time ends, do a quick release of the pressure on the Instant Pot.
- Stir in the veggies.
- Add the biryani to individual bowls and garnish with toppings of choice.
What does chicken biryani taste like?
This dish has a variety of flavors from the meat, vegetables, and spices used. The result is layers of flavour that are savory, mildly spicy, and just a little bit sweet.
Traditionally, it is cooked low and slow over a fire. This cooking method allows all of the flavors to combine together for an amazing and flavourful meal!
Because of this, it was originally a dish suited just for special occasions.
Luckily, we can use a pressure cooker to accomplish the same thing in a fraction of the time! As a result, you can enjoy this delicious Instant Pot meal any night of the week.
- Coconut oil – Replace with ghee or a neutral oil like olive, vegetable, or avocado
- Chicken – Any type of boneless, skinless chicken works well. If you like dark meat, you can use boneless, skinless thighs
- Garlic – Use 2 teaspoons minced garlic in place of the fresh cloves
- Ginger – substitute ginger paste in the same amount
- Broth – Good substitutes for chicken broth are chicken stock or even vegetable broth or stock
While it may be possible to use different varieties of long-grain rice or brown rice, the recipe will need adjustment. This is because the cooking times and liquid ratios are different for each type of rice.
Feel free to experiment with varieties, but make sure both the chicken and rice are completely cooked.
How to make it vegetarian
Make the following substitutions to make this dish meat-free:
- Chicken – replace with extra-firm tofu or paneer, or add some lentils or chickpeas
- Chicken broth – use vegetable broth or stock instead
You can also steam or sauté fresh vegetables instead of frozen to make this a vegetable biryani. Nuts are also a great way to add some protein. Here are some other ideas:
- Green beans
- Green peas
- Sliced almonds
What to serve with biryani
Because chicken biryani is such a complete meal, all you need to go with it is some fresh naan and maybe a few samosas.
You can also add extra flavor using any of these topping ideas:
- Chopped cilantro
- Cucumber raita – This is an Indian condiment made with cucumbers, yogurt, herbs, and spices. It’s similar to Greek tzatziki, but the yogurt base is thinner than Greek yogurt and it contains mint to cool any hint of spice.
- Greek yogurt
- Crispy shallots or onions
- Lime wedges
Storing and reheating
Store leftovers in airtight containers and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 or 5 days.
If you are storing a large portion or using this recipe for meal prep, store in individual portions to make reheating easier.
To reheat, sprinkle some water over the top to add moisture, then microwave the biryani for 2-3 minutes or until heated all the way through. You may want to stir halfway through to get even heating. You can also reheat in a pan on the stove.
Freezing chicken biryani
This meal will last in the freezer for up to 1 month. After that, the rice will lose its moisture and the overall texture of the dish will change.
Let the food cool completely, then transfer to airtight containers or freezer bags.
When you’re ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight and then reheat the same way as you would when reheating leftovers that were never frozen.
More Instant Pot rice dishes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Order some garam masala online if you’re having trouble finding it in stores
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning this rice into your weekly lunches
- I get all my free-range chicken from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months
Instant Pot Chicken Biryani
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 lb chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp gingerroot, minced
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup mixed frozen veggies
- Cilantro, chopped
- Cucumber raita or Greek yogurt
- Crispy shallots/onions
- Lime wedges
- Add all ingredients to Instant Pot in the order in which they are listed, except for frozen veggies and toppings.
- Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure valve is set to seal. Press the pressure cook button and set to high, then cook for 5 minutes. Instant Pot will take about 5-10 minutes to come to pressure then pressure cook for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, microwave frozen veggies for 1-2 minutes until defrosted and prepare any toppings of choice.
- Do a quick release of the pressure on the Instant Pot by flicking the switch at the top with a spoon. Open the lid when pressure gauge has dropped and the lid opens easily.
- Once lid is safe to open, stir in veggies, then add to bowls and garnish with toppings of choice. Serve and enjoy!