Vegetable Biryani

Vegetable Biryani is an Indian rice dish bursting with flavor. With so many layers of delicious spiced vegetables and rice and so many levels of flavor, it is definitely a satisfying meal all by itself. Try this recipe for a very popular and widely recognized Indian dish.


For Rice:

Basmati Rice – 2 cups – washed, soaked for 1 hr and drained
Water – 8 cups
Bay Leaf – 1
Cloves – 5
Green Cardamom – 1
Cinnamon Stick – 1 inch piece
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1 tsp
Mint Leaves – few
Clarified Butter (Ghee) – 1 Tbsp
Saffron – 1/4 tsp soaked in 2 Tbsp water

For Biryani Masala:

Whole Dried Red Chilies – 6
Whole Cloves – 6
Whole Coriander Seeds – 2 Tbsp

For Vegetable Mixture:

Ginger/Garlic Paste – 2 Tbsp
Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Potatoes – 3 medium, peeled and cut into large pieces
Cauliflower – 1/2 medium, cut into big florets
Frozen Green Peas – 1 cup
Green Beans – 1 cup, cut into long pieces
Carrots – 1/2 cup, cut into big pieces
Green Chilies – 3 to 4 (or to taste), slit
Mint Leaves – handful
Dried Fenugreek Leaves – 2 Tbsp
Cilantro (Coriander Leaves) – small bunch, finely chopped
Tomato – 1 large, cut into big pieces
Yogurt – 1 cup, lightly beaten

Oil – 3 Tbsp
Whole Cashews – 1/4 cup
Walnuts – 1/4 cup
Paneer – 1 cup, cubed
Black Cumin Seeds (Shahi Jeera) – 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon Stick – 1 inch piece
Cloves – 4
Black Cardamom – 1
Bay Leaf – 1
Onion – 1 large, sliced
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp

For Garnishing: Store bought Fried Onions and chopped Cilantro.


1. Soak Saffron in 2 Tbsp of water and set aside for later use.
2. For the rice: Bring 8 cups of water to a rolling boil and add Cinnamon Stick, Bay Leaf, Whole Cloves, Green Cardamom, 1 tsp Oil, Salt, drained soaked rice and a few mint leaves.
3. Set a timer and cook rice for exactly 5 minutes. Immediately drain the water from the rice and add Clarified Butter (ghee) and mix gently making sure not to break the rice grains. Rice should be 3/4 cooked – not fully cooked.
4. For the Biryani Masala: In a skillet, add Whole Dried Red Chilies, Whole Cloves and Whole Coriander Seeds. Dry roast until the spices release a nice fragrance and have browned (do not burn).
5. Allow whole spices to cool before roughly grinding them (should not be a fine powder). Set aside.
6. For Vegetable Mixture: In a bowl, add Ginger/Garlic Paste, Coriander Powder, 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder, and Salt – mix well.
7. Add Potatoes, Cauliflower, Green Peas, Green Beans, Carrots, Green Chilies, Cilantro, chopped Mint Leaves, Dried Fenugreek Leaves – Mix well and allow to marinate while you work on the rest of the steps.
8. In a non-stick pan, heat 3 Tbsp Oil on medium heat.
9. Add Whole Cashews and Walnuts and saute until they are golden brown. Drain off all excess oil from them nuts and remove them onto a plate. Set aside.
10. In the same, add cubed Paneer and saute until golden brown. Drain excess oil from Paneer and remove onto a plate. Set aside.
11. In the same Oil, add Black Cumin Seeds and allow them to sizzle.
12. Add Cinnamon Stick, Bay Leaf, Whole Cloves and Black Cardamom.
13. Add Sliced Onions and brown lightly.
14. Add 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder, 1 Tbsp (or to taste) previously ground Biryani Masala, salt and mix well.
15. Add marinate vegetable mixture and additional salt, mix thoroughly, cover and cook until the veggies are 3/4 cooked. Do not overcook. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking/burning.
16. Switch off stove and add back in sauteed Paneer, Cashews and Walnuts.
17. Add Tomatoes and lightly beaten Yogurt and mix gently.
18. Coat bottom and sides of a baking dish with spray cooking oil.
19. Layer bottom of baking dish with 1/3 of cooked rice.
20. Sprinkle 1 tsp of Biryani Masala on the rice.
21. Layer 1/2 of the vegetable mixture over the rice and sprinkle Fried Onions on top.
22. Layer another 1/3 cooked rice over the veggies and sprinkle 1 tsp Biryani Masala.
23. Layer remaining vegetable mixture and sprinkle Fried Onions on top.
24. Layer remaining 1/3 cooked rice and sprinkle 1 tsp Biryani Masala.
25. Drizzle Saffron water over the rice, more Fried Onions and garnish with cilantro.
26. Cover and cook for 45 minutes in a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven.
27. Serve with Raita.
28. Serves 8.

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155 thoughts on “Vegetable Biryani

    1. Hi Indu,
      Yes, you can make biryani with basmati rice and coconut milk but it is a different procedure. Hopefully we will get to it one day 🙂

  1. dear hetal(i spelled ur name wrongly last time,sorry) and anu,i need ur reply urgently,pls tell me is the baking oven is farenheit oven?in my oven i ve only upto275 degrees,wat to do?i veto cook ur briyani tomorrow,pls reply immediatly.

    1. Hi Indu,

      Fahrenheit and Celsius are different ways to measure temperature. In America, we use Fahrenheit and in India and practically the rest of the world, Celsius is used. Microwave ovens do not use these two gauges for temperature. Your oven may be in Celsius, which is why it only goes to 275 degrees. You can use this website to help you convert your Celcius temperature to Fahrenheit:

  2. Ladies,
    I love your recipes and I think you gals rock! Thanks a bunch for inspiring us!
    Quick question: Where can I buy good quality saffron from? I live in TX.

  3. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    Awsome awsome recipe. I made it in an aluminium foil. But one mistake i made was i did not cook the veggies on gas that well. So after 45 minutes the potatoes still had a raw taste in them. I ended up putting it in oven for 30 more minutes. But the base rice was too hard. I dont think it was raw, but it was browned and hard. If i over bake it, i think it shud burn from below (and we like that rice too 🙂 ). But this was not burnt, just hard and brown.
    Please advice.

    Again, i appreciate all your work 🙂 thanks a bunch.

    1. Hi Newbee,
      Those aluminum foil trays are known to be atrocious for burning since they are so thin 🙁 . Think that was you problem! If you did everything as the recipe suggests then we suggest that you use a thicker (ceramic) dish for more even cooking (at the bottom).
      So you managed to come out a winner in all this – so you shd change your name from “Newbee” to “Pro” 😉

    1. Hi Madhavi,

      Saffron gives you a wonderful flavor along with a beautiful color. Some people prefer not to use artificial food coloring especially if you are cooking for everyday use. However, to answer your question, it would be ok. Restaurants do it all the time.

  4. Hi Hetal & Anuja,
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe. The final look of the Biriyani in your video is great. That is tempting me to try the same. I had two questions.
    a)Do I place the baking dish in the bottom most rack in the oven?
    b)If I decide to go for the stove top method you have suggested in one of your comments, do I still bake it for 45 mins on a medium flame?


    1. Hi Jyothi,

      If you use the oven, you can keep it on the middle rack. On the stove, you can use a double boiler method and keep the flame on low for 45 mins.

  5. hi Hetal n Anuja , i love to try different recipes but little scared in trying but d day i found ur site i was like …………….. Thanx a lot for wonderful recipes specifically VEGETARIAN

  6. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I have tried serveral different methods of the Briyani recipes -but yours stands out to be the best. I adapted one small change due to my kids’s request – I now dry roast and grind all the whole spices listed for the rice and veggies along with the ones listed for the briyani masala except for the bay leaves as bay leaves are easy to pick and discard. This makes my kids very happy and they enjoy this dish even more now.
    Happy cooking!


  7. Hi,
    I would like to thank both of you for first helping me to learn how to cook food with spices and mint. I come from a family where we never use mint or spices. N now I’m married I experimented this recipe and it turned out really good. It was not that good the first time..but dint give up and kept trying n it was fantastic. Also I use pressure cooker to make this recipe and I can still guarantee it was gr8. Thanks ladies! Also tried ur aloo gobi masala n it was also so tasty 🙂

  8. Hi,

    I found your vegetable birayani video on youtube and it looks amazing. I am definitely going to try it, bit nervous. Had question, I looked for the fried onions at several different stores, closest thing I found was French Fried Onions and Mccormics mixed onions, is there something specific or specific brand I should be looking for.

    Thank You


    1. Hi Kiran,

      We buy our fried onions from our local Indian grocery store. There is no particular brand. If you cannot find it, you can alway fry your own onions, though it takes some time. We’ve never tried the French Fried Onions so cannot comment on the taste…sorry.

  9. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I want to reduce the quantity u used to half, so should i even reduce the oven cooking time to half or not?

  10. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    Thank you so much for doing this. when ever i feel like preparing some dishes i used to google after i found your site i just search for recipes in you website. This is a great website. Thanks so much.


  11. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    Wonderful recipe. I make a similar biryani but with 2 layers, One of veggies and the other of rice (rice is 60-70% cooked). Except that I use a mixture of fried onions, yoghurt, raw veggies, mint, finely chopped chillies, cilantro, ginger garlic paste and ready shaan biryani masala. You dont need to add oil to this, there is enough in the fried onions. Layer this on the bottom of a heavy bottom pan and sprinkle some freid onions as u did. Then layer the rice and saffron and onions and 1 tsp ghee and cover with a lid and seal it with atta. Place this on top of a tawa and cook for about 30-40 mins. Makes a perfect biryani and lesser oil too. You can sprinkle the cilantro after opening the lid. I also use meat in a similar way to make fish/chicken/mutton biryani.


  12. Hi Hetal & Anuja,

    Luv ur reipes, videos, presentation style and tips. Which grinder have u used in this video? I would liek to buy one of those. Does it only grind dry masalas and does it come with other bigger jars? Thanks

  13. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    i was not able to find black or shahi jeera. can i substiute it with the normal jeera. How different are their tastes ?

    1. Hi Deepa,

      The taste is a little different, but you can definitely substitute the regular jeera if you can’t find it.

  14. Dear Hetal and Anuja,

    This is close to watching an artist at work.
    I have enjoyed watching the video for veg biryani.
    Your video recipe was the only one I could find easily that uses baking method in the end.

    I love biryani when the rice is very moist.
    I know that you answered a similar question (#30) but I am not sure if steaming will make it the way I wish.
    Is there any other modification I can make accordingly (such as draining less water from rice, etc.)?
    Thanks for your time.


    1. Hi Raj,

      You could try to add a little more yogurt to the veggie mixture. When you layer this mixture over the rice, the moisture from the yogurt “sauce” will get absorbed by the rice and make it moist. Alternately, you could just sprinkle some water over the rice.

      If you cook the rice any more than the required 3/4 way done, the biryani will be mushy (like khichadi). 🙂

      Good luck and let us know how it comes out!

  15. Hi Anuja & Hetal,

    First of all great presentation. I have been learning few recipes watching your videos & they have come out real good. Hats off to you both!

    I also tried veg biryani yesterday as given & it came out very good, flavorful. 🙂 Just one problem- after cooking in the oven finally, the top layer of the biryani which is the rice came out very crispy.. I was wondering if I overcooked it. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Swetha,

      The biryani does form a nice golden crust, but we wouldn’t call it “crispy” (unless you’re talking about the onions, in which case it would be ok). Did you cover the pan when you put it in the oven? The juices from the veggie mixture (when covered) should provide some steam to make the biryani moist.

      1. Hi Hetal,

        Thanks for the prompt reply.

        Yes I did cover the pan when I put it in the oven, guess I had less of fried onions garnished & also may be the veggie mixture that I made might have been quite dry. I shall try again today ensuring the veggie mixture is slightly liquidy (last time I put thick curd) & having less rice as the top layer this time. Hope it will help.. Otherwise it was great. Can’t wait to try it again!

        Thanks a lot. 🙂


        1. I tried this Biryani again (needless to say it was too good). This time after layering the biryani in the dish, before closing with the lid/foil, I covered the Biryani with a damp cloth/tissue and then covered the vessel with the foil. Baked it for 350F for 30-40 mins. So there was no drying up of rice on the top layer as mentioned before. So moist and flavorful! Problem solved 🙂

          Thanks ladies again!

  16. Hi,

    First off, a huge thank you to both of you! I got married 6 months ago after surviving my twenties without ever stepping into a kitchen. Thank god I found you guys and here I am today cooking and enjoying it (most of the time)

    Is there anyway to make this in a microwave?

    1. Thanks Snigdha! You could possibly do the last step (oven baking) in the microwave but you will not get the caramelization.

  17. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I came across your recipe for vegetable-Biryani through YouTube. Believe me, when I’ve seen videos (part 1 and 2) for the first time, I felt like I found some treasure for myself. Because, I’ve been wondering of what would chefs do inside the kitchen on this delicious recipe. Of course I’ve tried several times to mimic the same, but failed as many times as I did try. Well, after looking your video, it has become something like, now secrete is unravelled. I thought I must say thanks for all the work your are doing and keeping the Indian dishes living for all the times. In fact, you are keeping the art of cooking alive at least for about a couple of decades (may be more)? Amazing, thanks a lot, now the biggest treasure for me is, I no need to depend on the restaurants, I can cook the dishes “Independently”.

    A final question, for some reason video for vegetable Biryani Part 2 isn’t working. Is there any way that I can get it for my reference?

    1. Hi Swaroop,

      Thanks for the excellent feedback. It made our day!

      Regarding the part 2, we just tried it and it is working on our side. Please try again and let us know if it is not working.


    1. Hi Snehal,

      Bell peppers may not work very well in this recipe because they tend to cook much faster than all of the other veggies. By the time everything else is perfectly cooked, the peppers will have turned to mush.

  18. Hi Hetal & Anuja,

    I tried ur recipe of Vegetable Biriyani and it turned out very nice….awesome!….we enjoyed a lot…I followed ur other recipes too…really gr8 videos.

    Thank You.


  19. hey guys..!!!

    Thank you sooo….much for ur wonderful videos…I am a student and it really helps me alot if I follow you…I miss my mother…but I am definitely sure when I go back and make the vegetable biryani for her….she is gonna love it…and also she will be amazed…Thank you again for ur wonderful show…and I am looking forward for your other recipes too…thank you and ur doing a good job…u guys rock…

  20. Hi Hetal and Anuja

    I made this Veg. Biriyani (first time in the oven) with your masala .. and God …. I have no words .. it was suuuuuperb … My two year old son was also amazed looking at the baking pan .. it was so colourful .. filling and absolutely tasty … love your site .. keep up the good work ..

    Its evening and I am trying out the eggless cake .. keeping fingers crossed .. (I am not a good cook)..

    Thanks for your recipes .. they make my day .. almost everyday … have tried many of them before .. haven’t thanked you for all those .. So … Thanks …
    You Rock !!!



  21. Hello,
    Thank you very much for helping me so much ion my cooking.
    the best thing in your website is Vedio…..
    coz i am not a good cook but by watching your vedio i can make things right.
    my husband also likes my food.
    thank you very much.
    keep adding new receipes.
    everyday i check your website to see if anything new is there.
    thanks again.


  22. Hi Sanchitha,

    In a bind, you can use frozen veggies, but you will notice a big difference in the texture. The frozen veggies tend to be a little mushy when cooked. If you are making this for a party or guests, we’d recommend you use fresh.

  23. Hi Hetal and Anuja,
    I could not make more than tea till 4 weeks back. I had given up on cooking after a few botched attempts. Then I came across your site and believe it or not, I could make a decent Tadka Dal on the first go. After a few more items like Butter chicken(yummy) and Chicken Curry, yesterday I made Vegetable Biryani as a valentine gift for my wife. We live in a place in US where there is no decent Indian Resturant in a radius of 60 miles, so you can imagine my wife’s pleasure of being served a delicacy like Biryani without her cooking it. I have to thank you for making my wife feel so happy about the Biryani but also my new found ability to cook.
    Keep up the good work. Courtsey to both of you, a new cook is born.
    Vijay & Bindu

  24. Hi Praki,

    Wow! That’s innovative. We love Quinoa but have never used it in a Biryani. Now we will have to try it. 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing the idea with us.

  25. I adapted this recipe to use Quinoa instead of rice. I think the flavors of the spices and vegetables comes together very well. Thanks for the recipe.


  26. Hi Hetal and Anuja
    Thanks for sharing your recpies. Especially the veg. briyani. They came out so good. I have suggested to couple of my friends. Hip Hip Horray to you girls.

  27. Hey Hetal and Anuja,

    Great videos, great recipe, great presentation!!!

    Which grinder did you use to grind those spices? Is it a coffee grinder? Please suggest me a good one. Thanks in advance.

  28. Hi Both

    I have tried this recepie with a little modification…instead of making it in a oven i made the vegetable mixture to which i added the fully cooked rice as mentioned above as i was running short of time,however it was just wonderful…..absoulutely yummy… thanks a lot for this amazing receipe…

  29. I tried this and it was excellent….the combination of all the flavour really makes it ONE OF A KIND RICE DISH.. I did add raisins to give it a sweet touch and my kids loved it….All in all its a great dish and your presentaion is excellent…Thanks so much…

  30. Hi Hetal & Anuja,

    You all have really been great … It’s so good that you are giving a reason to try some thing new every day. And trust me I have been trying most of the things that you tell. The best part is you cook in a very homely style, and it does not look commercialised at all. I appreciate the effort that you put in finding new recipes and filming them for all of us.
    Thanks a lot for adding a pinch of spice in our lives 


  31. Hi Deepa,

    Baking allows all of the flavors from the vegetable mix and rice to combine into one great tasting dish.

    Following the same method but cooking in a pressure cooker will not work because you need to have some liquid in a pressure cooker (or things burn).

    Cooking everything (rice + veggies) together in a pressure cooker will give you more of a vegetable pullav.

    You could follow all the step but cook in a double boiler where you place a smaller covered pot of biryani in a larger pot of boiling water. This way, the biryani finishes cooking without burning at the bottom.

  32. Hi,

    Both of u r doing gr8 work…keep it up….
    By the way, I would like to know if i can follow the same recipe without baking …I mean, Is it possible to do it in a pressure cooker and yield the same result…

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