Chicken Biryani

This style of Chicken Biryani is called the ‘Pakki-Biryani’, where the chicken and the rice are cooked separately and then combined in the final step. There are a lot of different ways of making Biryani and here is one simple, easy and yet incredibly delicious recipe that is just ‘too good’ and we had to pass it on. Do not get intimidated by the number of ingredients or the steps…just follow along step-by-step and WOW your family and friends! Also, check out the prefect accompaniment for this Biryani — Cilantro & Mint Raita We think they were made for each other…

Chicken with bones – 2 lbs, cut
Basmati Rice – 2 cups
Water – 8 cups
Yogurt (Curd) – 1.5 cups
Potatoes – 1, large (cubed) – optional
Oil – 3 tbsp
Clarified Butter (Ghee) – 2 tbsp
Garlic – 2 tsp (minced)
Ginger – 2 tsp (minced)
Green Chili – to taste
Cinnamon Stick – 2″piece
Bay Leaves – 2
Black Cardamom – 1
Mace – 3 pcs
Green Cardamoms – 4
Cloves – 4
Whole Peppercorns – to taste
Golden Raisins – 1 tbsp
Cashews – 1 tbsp (heaped)
Salt – to taste
Black Cumin – 1 tsp
Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Red Chili Powder – to taste
Saffron (Kesar) – 1/4 tsp
Mint Leaves – 2 handfuls (chopped)
Cilantro – 1/4 cup (chopped)
Fried Onions – 1 cup (divided)


1. Wash and soak the Rice for a minimum 1/2 hour.
2. In a pan, bring 8 cups of water to boil.
3. Once boiling, add Green Cardamoms (2), Bay Leaves (1), Salt and Oil (1tsp).
4. Add in the washed Rice to boiling water.
5. Once the Water starts boiling again, time and cook for 5 minutes (the Rice needs to be 3/4 way done).
6. Drain the water from the Rice and keep aside.
7. In a separate bowl, mix Saffron and Water (1 Tbsp), keep aside and allow it to soak.
8. Heat a pan on medium heat, add in the Oil and the Clarified Butter.
9. Once hot, add in the Cashews and Golden Raisins, fry for a couple of minutes till the cashews get a light golden color.
10.Remove from the Pan. Make sure you drain all the Oil. Keep aside.
11.Add in the balance of whole spices – Cinnamon Stick, Mace, Bay Leaf, Black & Green Cardamom, Peppercorns & Cloves.
12.Fry for under a minute.
13.Add in Black Cumin (use regular Cumin if Black is not available).
14.Allow them to sizzle.
15.Add in Ginger & Garlic, fry for another minute. Keep stirring.
16.Add in the washed, cleaned pieces of Chicken. Mix well.
17.Once the Chicken looks sealed, add in the following while stirring constantly – Yogurt, Fried Onion (1/2 cup), Cilantro (save some for garnish), Mint, Green Chili, Potatoes and the dry spices – Coriander, Cumin, Turmeric, Red Chili & Salt.
18.Mix very well. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes (the chicken should be 3/4 of the way done).
19. Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (approx 121 degrees C).
20.Coat an oven-proof dish with a little oil.
21.Start by layering the Chicken at the bottom of the dish along with a few pieces of Potatoes (saving the gravy for top layer).
22.Fluff up the Rice and add a layer of it on top of the Chicken with half of the Rice.
23.Layer the balance of the potatoes and all the gravy on the rice layer.
24.Next spread the balance of the Rice.
25.Layer the Cashews, Raisins, Fried Onions, Cilantro and Saffron.
26.Drizzle a little bit of Oil.
27.Cover with an air-tight lid or a foil and bake for 1 hour or till the potatoes are cooked.
28.Once out of the oven, take a ladle and mix it gently but well.
29.Allow it to sit for 5 minutes and serve with ‘Cilantro & Mint Raita’
30.Serves 8.

1. Chicken with bones works best for this recipe, but if you prefer boneless, then you will need to cook the chicken a little less.
2. Fresh Mint is sometimes not easily available. Substitute for dried, crushed Mint, available at Indian grocery stores.
3. You can also add in full boiled eggs along with the gravy…looks good and tastes very good.
4. For a stronger orange color to the biryani, add the Saffron before the Cashews and Raisins.
5. If you feel that the Biryani is overcooked, use the handle-end of the ladle to mix in without mushing up any more.

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How to make chicken biryani at home, easy biryani recipes, basmati rice, the best murg biryani recipe.

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138 thoughts on “Chicken Biryani

  1. Hi Hetal & Anuja,

    First of all, I wanted to say that I am simply in love with your website…The recipes which I tried turned out to be really good..Thanks for the effort you guys put in and keep up the good work. You both are wonderful.

    I would like to know from where you had purchased this “oven-safe dish” used for cooking biryani. Please reply whenever you get a chance. Thanks in advance 🙂

  2. Hi Hetal & Anuja,

    First of all, I wanted to say that I am simply in love with your website…The recipes which I tried out turned out to be really good..Thanks for the effort to put in and keep up the good work. You both are wonderful.

    I would like to know from where you had purchased this “oven-safe dish” used for cooking biryani. Please reply whenever you get a chance. Thanks in advance 🙂

  3. Hi,
    I just waned to ask you what will be the difference if i make this in a dutch oven,….esp the dum part of it. Will i just close the lid of the oven and let it simmer..for how long?

  4. Hello Hetal & Anuja,

    I am a follower of your delicious recipes. I am a vegetarian, so I tried this recipe. Just that, I substituted chicken with jackfruit/kathal. It was delicious. I also used the store bought Biryani masala additionally. Otherwise, I just followed this recipe. Everybody loved it, even my husband who is a non-vegetarian(He says real Biryani cannot be vegetarian.. biryani is meant to be non-veg).
    So, thank you and a big hug. 🙂

  5. Hi,
    I tried this recipe…just pure DELICIOUS!! 🙂 I was wondering if its a good idea to use this same recipe, the exact same ingredients but instead substitute the chicken with shrimp? Hmmmm…

  6. Hi Hetal and Anuja, Its a great Website and love the recipes. Could you please also work out on Chicken Fried Rice Video and Recipe. Thanks….Hope to see the recipe and video soon.

  7. hello anuja and hetal. i can’t tell you how much i am loving your website. authentic Indian food is one of my favorites. congratulations on a job well done :D. i would like to ask if you can do a video on chicken tikka masala, thanks 🙂

  8. Hi Guys,

    I tried this yesterday night, came out very nice. I am a vegeterian, but my husband is a non veg. At times I like to surprise him with non veg dishes. Your website is a great help! I served biryani with your another wonderful recipe ‘Cilantro & Mint Raita’. My hubby simply loved the combo. Thanks

  9. When do I add the other half of the fried onions? Unless I’m overlooking it, I don’t see a step in the recipe that calls for the second half???????????????


    Good things,

  10. This recipe is fab..but I have one suggestion to make. You could marinate the chicken for about 15 mins with the yogurt, mint, cilantro, powdered spices, green chillies and a little of the fried onions before putting them on the stove. This way the chicken will be as flavorful as the rice later!

  11. Hey, I’ve tried your sooji halwa, it was delicious. I watch your recipes on youtube. How in the world can I cook biryani for 40 people? Cook for 10 4 times or what? What about curry for 40?

    1. Cooking for a crowd is a challenge but not impossible. The most important thing is to have pots and pans that are large enough for the increased quantity. If you have them, you can simple double, triple, or quadruple the recipe. If your pots are not big enough, you may have to make the recipe in batches. The mistake people make is to overcrowd their pan…this causes uneven cooking and ruins the texture of some dishes.

  12. Hello there you wonderful ladies,
    Can you HELP ? What is the equivalent metric measure of 1 CUP ? For example, 1 cup of basmati rice is equal to … ? Thank you for all these wonderful recipes.

  13. Hi Hetal and Anuja!
    It is simply great to having come to know about your website.I must tell you that your recipe of Frankie chicken rolls was grea.My daughter did mention that it was just like the ones we had in bombay at Bandra.I always peeped to see how he made it,but it never turned like his.Thanks alot for sharing it with us.

  14. Hi Guys,

    You both are doing a terrific job….i have tried various receipes form your site and really find it so helpful…I ave tried this biryani and i was really surprised that it turned out so well…also i added fried onions first time and it was too good…but i find it so time consuming and i tried frying in the oil when cooking the chicken….but it tasted different and not so good…can u suggest some simple step instead of frying the onions?

    also i would like to prepare this for my son’s birthday for around 15-20 peopleso would you please tell me the exact measurements for feeding 15-20 people ASAP? Thank you…

  15. Hi Hetal/Anuja

    I have very delicious raita recipe goes grt with biryani

    lehsun?(4-5), hari mirch(2-3)+ jeera + dhaiyna pati–put in blender
    Add salt,finely chopped onion and tomato and serve

  16. franchise braed one -2 onion choppd
    green chilli chopped 2 and ginger garlic paste one tablespoons
    2 egg beaten and mock mutton grinded in a blender
    heat the sauce pan add in 4 tablespoons of babas curry powder add in two 30 ml of water take the bread dip in the mixture add in let it fry well using a knife cut in into serving size acoording to size predffrence.

  17. You guys are doing wonderful job.

    I am going to make large quantity (20 cup) of biryani for a party. Every time I try large quantity, the top part of rice will cook correct, but the bottom one will be over cooked. Do you have any tips to avoid this?

    Friend of mine said may be the top portion rice weight might make the bottom portion rice messy. Is it correct?

  18. One more tip from the pro (not me). Most recipes call for marinating the chicken/meat in yogurt. Before you do that. Line a strainer with a coffee filter/paper towel will do, drain the yogurt till it is thick and stops dripping. Then, marinate your chicken. You will be surprised that one large container of yogurt when drained will render only half a container of yogurt. This way, you will end up with a nice thick dry curry.

  19. Tip from a pro: I attended a demo by a renowned Indian Chef who owns a prestigious Indian restaurant here in Toronto. Here’s what he said: The liquid of the rice must contain some of the spices of the curry otherwise it’s just a blah boiled rice. For a professional Biryani, here’s what you can do: Boil the water, add a cube of stock or two depending on the quantity of the liquid (watch the salt you add unless it’s low sodium). Save the celantro and mint stocks that you use for the chicken/mutton curry. Add them to the broth/stock. Add an onion cut in huge chunks/quarters. A couple of slivers of ginger and garlic. Plus, a squirt of lemon. Give it a boil for 5 to 7 minutes. Strain and discard the mint and celantro stocks/onion. You now have a flavorful stock. The cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom are added when frying the rice. A little more trouble for a special occasion but it makes a world of difference. You’ve got to try this. Important: Measure liquid before you add it to rice.

  20. Zippity Doo Biryani

    Time is of the essence and everyone is always looking for a short cut. I can now say I am an expert at making microwave fried rice — of course, after trial and error. Here’s what I do.

    1. Wash and drain basmati. A chef friend of mine tells me that Lal Quila and Sila make the best biryani.
    2. This first step, I do on top of the stove in a corning ware pan — the corning ware pans these days cannot be used on the stove top — heat a little oil. Add the washed drained rice and fry with a few cardamom, cloves, and a stick or two of cinnamon, a handful of slivered almonds and raisons and saute till lightly colored.
    3. Use hot water (hot tap water will do). Depending on the quantity of rice (which I will include shortly) add a soup cube or two — vegetarian or chicken, or coconut milk. Give it a light stir.
    4. Transfer to the microwave and cook vented.
    5. Two or three minutes before removing add your favorite meat curry.
    6. Zap it for the remainder 2/3 minutes.
    Here’s the short cut.
    Cook a big batch of the curried chicken. Freeze in portions. When you want to make biryani just defrost the chicken.

    The recipe is based on a 650 Watt microwave oven. You will have to adjust accordingly.
    1 cup rice (1 1/2 cups of hot water) Cooking time: 8 min. High interrupt and add chicken curry) plus 2/3 minutes HIGH
    1 1/2 cups rice (2 1/4 cups of hot water/stock) Cooking time: 8 min. HIGH plus 2/3 minutes HIGH.
    2 cups of rice (3 cups of hot water/stock). Cooking time 8 mins. HIGH plus 6/7 minutes MEDIUM

    If I want to make 4 cups of rice, I do it twice. The microwave is very finicky when it comes to doubling recipes.

    Note: At the time you add the chicken, add the saffron diluted in a little milk and sprinkle on top of the biryani.

    If you are just making fried yellow pea rice, use coconut milk diluted with water and add the peas on top just before you zap it for the last 2/3 minutes.

    Note: Your chicken curry should be nice and dry. You can either use another dish. Layer the bottom with the chicken and top with the rice. When done, lightly toss to combine. Or, use the same dish and bury the chicken pieces here there and all over. Careful you aren’t looking for a hodge podge of tossed curry and rice. Maintain the colors.

  21. Hi ,

    First let me congratulate you guys for doing a fantastic job.
    i had a question regarding adding of yogurt in the chicken biryani.
    due to religious issues i cant put any milk item in a non vegetarian dish.
    can you suggest any alternative to yogurt
    please help

      1. Thanks a lot Anuja.Will try it with coconut milk ..i don’t know if we get soy yogurt here.and will replace the butter with olive oil.lets see how it turns out.will definitely let you know.

  22. Hi your recipe sounds great and will definetly be trying it as soon as I know what is yogurt curd is that just plain yogurt ? could u recommend a brand I could buy.I will let u know how it comes out after I have made it.Thx a bunch…..

    1. Hi Aicha,

      Yogurt and curd are the same thing…just plain yogurt. We make our own yogurt at home but Dannon or Stonyfield Farm makes a pretty good yogurt.

  23. Thanks for an awesome peek into Indian cooking. I was adopted from India as a child and have always wanted to learn more about authentic Indian cooking. So, thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes.

    I have one question, can I substitute the yogurt for creme fraiche? I hate it when the yogurt curdles.

    Thanks again and keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Angelica,
      Glad we could help 🙂

      Regarding the substitution – yogurt not only gives the dish a wonderful flavor but it also marinates and tenderizes the chicken. The creme will just coat the meat and then make the briyani a little oily (sometimes that can be a yummy thing).
      We suggest you try out the yogurt and maybe add a bit of cream in it, mix it really well so it does not separate 🙁
      Hope that helps 😉

  24. hi girls…love ur recipes and have learned a lot from u especially the tips are my favourite…
    i had made this biriyani but instead of the oven i used crack-pot(slow cooker)and cooked it on high for 45 minutes and it came out really well….
    pls can u show some slow cooker recipes….i m dying to use it regularly…thanx

    1. Hi Tasneem,
      That is a great option. We have used it for Biryani as well and love the convenience.
      We do want to do some crock-pot recipes but they take quite a while and we are always in a scrunch for time. We will try and work around it and see what we can do.
      Thanks for the feedback.

  25. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I love your website! I have found your videos and recipes easy to follow. Coming from someone who has never cooked in her life and has just recently gotten married, your website has been enormously helpful. I have made the chicken biriyani a few times and my husband and I love it. Thank you so much!

  26. I was just randomly searching for some nice indian receipes on the internet and came across your video on youtube and then on your site.
    I must say , I am so glad I found your site, the receipes that the both of you come up with are excellent. Keep up the good work. I will surely pass your site along to all my friends.


  27. made the chicken biryani and it was great except for the rice i think was overcooked and quite mushy, what did i do wrong? i followed the recipe to the letter.

    1. Hi Mike,

      Sorry to hear that. If you followed the recipe exactly, the culprit may be your rice. Depending on how old or new your rice is, it may absorb water differently. Next time, you can try to cook it a minute or two less and see if that helps.

  28. Can the chicken and rice be cooked individually (per the recipe) and then mixed, i.e not layering the two and cooking them together. Would this make any difference in the Biryani?


    1. Hi Upasana,

      Technically, yes you can cook the two individually but it would be like eating chicken and rice. However, when the two are layered and then cooked, the flavors have a chance to fuse together.

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