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Chicken Biryani Recipe

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The Perfect Chicken Biryani Recipe: A Culinary Delight


Chicken Biryani, a beloved Indian dish, is a tantalizing blend of aromatic spices, succulent chicken, and fragrant basmati rice. In this article, we will take you on a culinary journey through the preparation of this delectable dish. From marinating the chicken to achieving the perfect rice texture, we will cover every detail to ensure your Chicken Biryani turns out to be a masterpiece.

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The Essence of Biryani

Before diving into the recipe, it’s essential to understand what makes Chicken Biryani so special. This dish originated in India and has since captured the hearts (and taste buds) of food enthusiasts worldwide. The magic lies in the combination of spices, slow-cooked meat, and the fragrant rice, which creates a symphony of flavors.


For Marinating Chicken:

  • 500g chicken pieces
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste

For Rice:

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 4-5 cups water
  • 2-3 green cardamom pods
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt to taste

Whole Spices:

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 green cardamom pods
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf

The Cooking Process

Marinating the Chicken

  1. Start by marinating the chicken. In a bowl, mix yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, red chili powder, turmeric powder, and salt.
  2. Add chicken pieces to the marinade and let them soak in the flavors for at least 30 minutes.

Preparing the Rice

  1. Wash the basmati rice thoroughly and soak it in water for about 30 minutes.
  2. In a large pot, bring 4-5 cups of water to a boil. Add the soaked rice along with green cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaf, and salt.
  3. Cook the rice until it’s 70-80% done. Drain and set it aside.

Assembling the Biryani

  1. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the whole spices – cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves, and bay leaf.
  2. Add the marinated chicken and cook until it turns tender and slightly browned.
  3. Layer the partially cooked rice over the chicken.
  4. Sprinkle saffron milk over the rice to enhance the aroma and color.
  5. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and let it simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes.

Serving Your Chicken Biryani

  1. Gently fluff the biryani with a fork to mix the layers.
  2. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and fried onions for that extra flavor and crunch.


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Congratulations! You’ve just created a sumptuous Chicken Biryani that’s sure to impress your family and friends. The harmony of spices and perfectly cooked chicken and rice make this dish a true culinary masterpiece. So, what are you waiting for? Dive into the world of Chicken Biryani and savor every bite!


  1. Can I use boneless chicken for this recipe?
    • Yes, boneless chicken works well. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure it’s fully cooked.
  2. What if I don’t have saffron for saffron milk?
    • You can skip saffron or use a pinch of turmeric for a similar color.
  3. Can I make Chicken Biryani in an Instant Pot?
    • Absolutely! Follow the same marination and layering process, then pressure cook for about 10-12 minutes.
  4. What side dishes go well with Chicken Biryani?
    • Raita (yogurt sauce), cucumber salad, and naan bread complement Chicken Biryani perfectly.
  5. How long does it take to marinate the chicken?
    • A minimum of 30 minutes is recommended, but marinating for a couple of hours yields even better results.
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Source: kitchensanctuary.com

Chicken Biryani Recipe

Chicken Biryani Recipe

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Chicken Biryani, a beloved Indian dish, is a tantalizing blend of aromatic spices, succulent chicken, and fragrant basmati rice. In this article, we will take you on a culinary journey through the preparation of this delectable dish. From marinating the chicken to achieving the perfect rice texture, we will cover every detail to ensure your Chicken Biryani turns out to be a masterpiece.


Chicken and Marinade

  • 575 g (1 ¼ lbs) chicken thigh fillets - chopped in half
  • 180 ml (¾ cup) natural yoghurt - full fat
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground fenugreek
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin

Chicken and Marinade More:

  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp mild chilli powder - go for medium or hot if you like it really spicy
  • 2 mild green chillies - roughly chopped
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Par-boiled rice:

  • 1.5 litres water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 450 g 2 ¼ cups white basmati rice

Crispy fried onions:

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions - peeled and sliced


  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped coriander - cilantro
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped mint leaves
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp ghee - melted (or use unsalted butter)
  • 2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds

To Serve:

  • Natural Yogurt
  • Freshly chopped coriander - cilantro


  • Place the chicken in a bowl with the all of the marinade ingredients.

  • Stir together to coat, then cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

  • For the rice, heat the water in a saucepan along with the salt, cloves, cumin seeds, bay leaves and cardamom pods until boiling.

  • Add the rice, stir once, bring back to the boil and simmer (no lid) for 5 minutes.

  • Drain the rice in a sieve.

  • Now make the fried onions. Heat the 4 tbsp oil over a medium heat in a large cast iron pan.

  • Add the sliced onions, and cook for around 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dark brown. Be careful not to burn them, as they will taste bitter. Note - we're going to be using the same cast iron pan to cook the biryani, so if you're worried the onions are catching on the pan (which may effect the taste of the biryani), you can fry them in a separate frying pan if you prefer.
  • Scoop the onions out of the pan using a slotted spoon and place in a bowl for later.
  • Now take the marinated chicken out of the refrigerator and add to the pan with the oil from the onions. Stir in 3 tbsp of water.

  • Cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring a couple of times, to just very lightly seal the chicken.

  • Now place the 3 tbsp of chopped coriander (cilantro) and 1 tbsp of chopped mint on top of the chicken.

  • Next spoon the rice on top of the chicken and flatten it out slightly.

  • Mix together the saffron and milk and let it sit for a minute, then drizzle the mixture over the rice, followed by the melted ghee.

  • Spoon on the fried onions and toasted almonds.

  • Place a lid on the pan, but allow just a tiny gap.

  • As soon as you see steam coming from the gap, place the lid on fully and turn the heat down to low and cook for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

  • Top with a little more fresh coriander if desired and serve.



Asafoetida also known as hing, is a spice used in some Indian dishes. It adds a deeper savoury flavour, like onion or garlic to a dish. You only need a little (too much is overpowering). If you can't get hold of any, or if you're unlikely to use it for anything else, then don't worry, it can be left out. There are plenty of spices already in the dish to give it a fantastic flavour.

Can I make it ahead?

It tastes best eaten right away, but you can reheat leftovers in the microwave.

Be sure to cool any leftovers quickly, then cover and refrigerate for up to a day. Reheat until piping hot.

If you want to prep some of the stages ahead, you can marinate the chicken, fry the onions and par-cook the rice in the morning, then put it all together and cook in the evening.

Can I freeze it?

Yes, you can freeze leftovers. Cool quickly, then cover and freeze. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in the microwave until piping hot throughout.

Recipe inspiration:

Recipe is inspired by Nagi from Recipe Tin Eats. I make mine a little differently (different cut of meat, different/additional spices and a few extra ingredients in mine), but I LOVE her version too. 

Did you make this recipe?

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