Best Chicken Biryani Recipe – How to make Chicken Biryani


Wondering how to make Chicken Biryani at home? With this best chicken biryani recipe, you get the perfect fluffy and fragrant authentic Indian restaurant-style chicken rice! 

Chicken Biryani with nuts and fresh cilantro on a white plate - Side view

This best Chicken Biryani recipe is a celebration of everything I love about Indian food! The spicy, fragrant aromas wafting through the kitchen, the vibrant warm colors, the fluffy perfectly cooked basmati rice and that kick of curry spices. 

What is Chicken Biryani?

Chicken Biryani is a classic Indian rice dish that is part of the Indian Mughlai culinary tradition. This dish traces its roots to central Asian cuisine with its potent flavors and unique cooking methods. 

Preparing biryani is like cooking a thick chicken curry under a mound of delicately spiced fluffy basmati rice. This authentic Indian dish is all made in one pot. The fluffy fragrant rice is steamed over low heat allowing it to absorb the flavors of the curry bubbling away underneath. A feast for eyes and belly! 

In most Indian households biryani is a special and somewhat luxurious weekend meal made on Sunday afternoons for lunch. And doesn’t it just look spectacular! Your guests will be super impressed once you put a bowl of this fragrant Indian chicken rice on the table.

Why this is the best Chicken Biryani Recipe: 

Trust me, you will fall in love with this crown jewel of Indian cuisine! Picture succulent chicken in layers of fluffy basmati rice seasoned with fragrant spices and caramelized onions.

Crunchy cashews and chewy tart dried cranberries make for a stunning presentation and lend this biryani a festive look. Wouldn’t it make the perfect dish to serve around the holidays!? 

This one-pot chicken biryani recipe is easier than most recipes without compromising on the authentic taste! 

Chicken Biryani ingredients:

  • basmati rice
  • chicken
  • ghee
  • cranberries and raisins
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • chili
  • homemade biryani spice mix and garam masala
  • cashews
  • coconut

a serving of homemade chicken biryani sprinkled with dried fruit, nuts and cilantro

Which spices go into chicken biryani? 

Chicken biryani uses many subtle flavorings for the rice and some more for the curry sauce.

  • ground coriander
  • ground cumin
  • cloves
  • cardamom
  • turmeric
  • cinnamon
  • garam masala spice mix 

There’s nothing really exotic here, and you can find all of these spices at your local supermarkets. Some chicken biryani recipes call for Asafoetida which is a uniquely Indian spice. I tried it with and without, and as I could not taste a difference, we don’t use it. 

How to make Chicken Biryani at home:

What sets apart biryani from other Indian rice dishes is the unique texture of the rice grains. They should be fluffy and separate, an scatter like pearls. Achieving that perfect texture is a challenge we can master with the help of this easy chicken biryani recipe. I will show you exactly how to get that perfect basmati rice grain – every single time!

close-up of a bowl of best one-pot chicken biryani rice served restaurant-style with chopped cilantro and nuts

What goes well with chicken biryani? 

The chicken biryani is pretty filling and really a meal in itself. I like to serve it with some homemade cucumber mint raita. If you want, you can also whip up some Indian gravy, like a salan. Here is a great collection of Indian gravy recipes. 

Pickled onions and cut cucumbers are other common accompaniments to any biryani. Sliced beets go really well too. The earthiness of the beet pairs nicely with the spices of the chicken biriyani recipe.

Want to cook a whole Indian feast? Whip up a nice curry! Since this chicken biryani recipe is on the milder side, perhaps go for a spicy curry, like my pork vindaloo, venison curry vindaloo, or a lamb rogan josh! A chickpea and onion salad on the side would complement the masala in chicken biryani perfectly.

overhead shot of a white bowl with homemade restaurant-style chicken biryani rice

Which is the best rice for making chicken biryani? 

While choosing rice for the biryani, make sure to get ‘basmati rice’, not long grain rice. While those two kinds may look similar at first,  basmati rice is more fragrant and has grains that are thin and long as opposed to long grain rice which has fatter grains and almost no flavor.

Recipe tips and variations: 

  • Garam Masala is an Indian spice mix that you’ll find it in the spices aisle at everyday supermarkets.
  •  For this recipe use fresh whole spices, not ground ones that have been sitting around in your pantry for years!
  • Basmati rice can be substituted with jasmine or long grain rice but be aware that the fragrance will be slightly different. 
  • Ghee is clarified butter, and you can make your own using this recipe. Otherwise, you’ll find ghee in the Indian/Asian section of your grocery store.
  • Make this Chicken Biryani with your protein of choice like goat, lamb, beef, rabbit– or try a vegetable biryani!
  • Leftover chicken biryani keeps well for 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Reheat it in the microwave. As the rice will not be quite as moist with leftovers, I recommend you serve it with homemade raita.
  • You can make the biryani spice paste ahead of time and marinate the chicken in it overnight. 

Did you make and love this chicken biryani recipe and did you enjoy learning how to make chicken biryani? Give this easy one-pot recipe your review below! And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram!

Chicken Biryani with nuts and fresh cilantro on a white plate - Side view
5 from 5 votes
Print

How to make Chicken Biryani | Best Chicken Biryani Recipe

Wondering how to make Chicken Biryani at home? With this best chicken biryani recipe, you get the perfect fluffy and fragrant authentic Indian restaurant-style chicken rice! 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword best chicken biryani recipe, how to make biryani, one pot chicken biryani
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 32 minutes
Soaking rice 20 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes
Servings 3
Author Kiki Johnson

Ingredients

  • 1 cup basmati rice 1 cup = 200 g
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb big piece ginger
  • 1 green chile
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods green
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 10 cashew nuts
  • 1/4 cups coconut flakes 30 g
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsps coconut oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 onion
  • 2 big chicken breasts or thighs about 300 g, boneless and skinless (2 breasts)
  • 2 tbsps ghee
  • 1 laurel leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 cup raisins I used golden
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 450 ml chicken broth 1,9 cups
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Basmati rice often has some fine starch powder on it. So, rinse the basmati rice 4 to 5 times in plenty of water until it runs clear. Drain the rice and soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Peel garlic and ginger and mince. Halve the chili and remove seeds. Chop the coriander and put some aside for decoration.
  3. Heat a small pan on medium heat and toast the cumin, coriander, cloves and 2 cardamom seeds for 2 minutes until fragrant. Remove from the pan and grind in your spice mill.
  4. Add ground spices, garlic, ginger, chili, chopped cilantro, tomato paste, nuts, garam masala, 2 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp coconut sugar to a food processor and pulse everything to a spice paste.
  5. Add a splash of water or some more coconut oil, if needed.
  6. Peel and slice the onion. Chop chicken into cubes or strips.
  7. Drain the rice very well in a sieve.
  8. Heat 2 tbsp ghee over medium heat and fry onion with laurel, cinnamon stick and remaining cardamom pods for about 10 minutes.
  9. Add turmeric, meat and the homemade spice paste and let everything saute for 3 minutes, stirring once in a while.
  10. Add rice along with raisins, cranberries, and broth. Turn up the heat and let everything heat up for 45 seconds. Put on the lid and reduce heat to medium and let cook for 10 minutes until liquid evaporates. Should the liquid evaporate too quickly, add a splash of water or broth and stir.
  11. Lift the lid and stir quickly, then cover the pot with a clean kitchen towel before putting the lid on again firmly. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and let the biryani cook another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let the biryani rest for 10 minutes. Now, all the liquid should be completely gone.
  12. Fluff up biryani with a fork and serve with chopped cilantro.

Recipe Notes

  • Garam Masala is an Indian spice mix that you'll find it in the spices aisle at everyday supermarkets.
  •  For this recipe use fresh whole spices, not ground ones that have been sitting around in your pantry for years!
  • Basmati rice can be substituted with jasmine or long grain rice but be aware that the fragrance will be slightly different. 
  • Ghee is clarified butter, and you can make your own using this recipe. Otherwise, you'll find ghee in the Indian/Asian section of your grocery store.
  • Make this Chicken Biryani with your protein of choice like goat, lamb, beef, rabbit– or try a vegetable biryani!
  • Leftover chicken biryani keeps well for 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Reheat it in the microwave. As the rice will not be quite as moist with leftovers, I recommend you serve it with homemade raita.


6 Comments


  1. The rice cooks perfectly using this method and I love that is is all cooked in one pot! The homemade spice paste is what takes this one to the next level! LOVE IT!


  2. I love the sound of this, such a delicious recipe!


  3. So perfect for a date night in! Looks amazing!


  4. I love all of the different flavors in this recipe! I haven’t had cranberries in a dish like this before – can’t wait to try it!


  5. This is such a flavorful dish, it’s sure to be gobbled up in no time in my home! I love that it’s all made in one pot for easy clean up too!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*