Chicken Biryani is the ultimate all-in-one-pot dinner. Learn how to create the perfect biryani every time – with tender meat, beautifully spiced and topped with fluffy, fragrant rice.

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Chicken Biryani

Many people are afraid of the biryani – fearing it too difficult to cook at themselves. In fact, it’s the perfect dish to cook at home! Not as challenging as you’d think. A few steps maybe, but a few easy steps! Learn just how easy with my delicious Chicken Biryani recipe.

Biryani, the jewel in India’s crown

Words cannot describe how fabulous this Indian chicken biryani recipe is. I took inspiration from the best biryani I ever tasted – in the Keralan city of Ernakulam near Kochin in the South. I was told it was cooked by a famous chef, known across India for his mastery of the Hyderabadi chicken biryani.

It didn’t disappoint – the chicken was so moist, packed full of flavour and the unusual rice fluffy and separated. It was one of those places with only one thing on the menu. No choice, you sat down and within 30 seconds a plate of food was in front of you. MY kind of eating experience. (The fact that I got sick eating this particular biryani it is completely irrelevant, I would have eaten it the next day if I could have gotten out of bed!) 😂

A good biryani will have lots of flavour from the meat (in this case, chicken), cooked til meltingly tender – permeated with all the flavour and fragrance from the yoghurt and spice. The rice will be light and fragranced from the meat below. On top will be a sweet, caramalised onion garnish to perfectly balance the dish. Done right, biryani is quite literally one of the finest Indian dishes there is.

Chicken Biryani |

What’s the right rice to use for Biryani?

Basmati Rice. It starts with buying the best quality Indian or Persian Basmati you can afford.

Cheap basmati rice generally has more starch and can easily make your biryani soggy. Supermarket basmati is the bottom of the barrel I’m afraid. It’s fine if that’s all you can get, but the best stuff isn’t sold in regular supermarkets. You should pay a visit to an Indian market or buy it online. To achieve the fluffiest, most amazing rice buy the best. I’ve eaten Baghlan Brand amongst others – this stuff is great.

Super authentic rice for biryani (for the die hards amongst us)

The version I ate in Kerala used a different rice called Jeerakasala – it’s a premium short grain rice with a distinctive fragrant aroma and flavour. It’s very different to Basmati. It’s used in the Thallasery biryani – much like this recipe. You can pick this type of rice up at some Indian supermarkets and online in the US here – it makes for a really splendid version of biryani.

Preparing basmati rice

With basmati rice, another essential point is to soak it first. I soak mine for 1 hour in cold water then rinse it ’til the water runs almost clear. This will help achieve nice separate rice grains. Mushy rice is a no no, that’s why you need to invest money, time and attention to getting it right! But it’s not hard!

Once you learn how to make biryani at home, you’ll not only see how easy it it, you won’t believe how tasty it is! There’ll likely be leftovers – fear not, it freezes excellently and reheats in the microwave from frozen like a dream!

More delicious rice recipes

Love rice? Try more of my rice dishes from around the world!

How to make my Chicken Biryani

Chicken Biryani

Chicken Biryani

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Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Resting time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 40 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 8
Calories (per serving) | 753



Other Ingredients

  • 1 onion (halved and thinly sliced)
  • cups basmati rice (soaked for 30 minutes in cold water)
  • 2 tbsp coriander (fresh, chopped)
  • 15 saffron threads
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp salt


  • Heat a frying pan with half the oil and fry the onion over a medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until dark medium brown and crisp. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. 
  • Mix the chicken with all the marinade ingredients. Stir in half the onions and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, pour 4 tablespoons of boiling water over the saffron and leave for 15 minutes.
  • Bring a large pan of water to a rolling boil and add the remaining oil and the salt. Drain the rice of its soaking water then tip into the pan and cook until HALF cooked (about 5-6 minutes). Drain the rice again and set aside.
  • Tip the chicken into a large, deep pan and flatten out. Cover with the rice then scatter over the remaining onion. Sprinkle with the saffron water and coriander. Place a tight fitting lid on top and cook over a medium/high heat for 10 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium/low and cook for a further 10 minutes. Reduce the heat again to very low and cook for a final 20 minutes. Do not stir the mix at any time. Remove from the heat completely and leave (covered) for 20 minutes before serving.
  • Either serve direct from the pan or portion onto plates or a platter. Serve with onion and chilli raita and/or some tamarind pulp and a hot and sour lime pickle.


Nutrition Facts
Chicken Biryani
Amount Per Serving
Calories 753 Calories from Fat 459
% Daily Value*
Fat 51g78%
Saturated Fat 28g175%
Cholesterol 149mg50%
Sodium 1054mg46%
Potassium 1239mg35%
Carbohydrates 46g15%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 1390IU28%
Vitamin C 106mg128%
Calcium 357mg36%
Iron 9mg50%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course | Main Course
Cuisine | Indian, Pakistani
Keyword | Chicken, Rice

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