Traditional recipes

Best Chicken Biryani Recipes

Best Chicken Biryani Recipes

Chicken Biryani Shopping Tips

Buy whole chickens and ask the butcher to quarter them for you. You will save an average of $5 per pound, or more.

Chicken Biryani Cooking Tips

Make sure to cook chicken until the juices run clear; U.S. chicken supplies are host to salmonella.

Chicken Biryani

Indian cuisine is, without a shadow of doubt, one of the most popular ones in the world. I would say a top 5 for sure. The intense flavors, exotic aromas, and fantastic colors of Indian food attract many people. "If it's so popular, why you still don't have any Indian recipes on this blog?" you would ask me. I honestly don't know. Lately, I've been savoring Indian food in restaurants, rather than cooking it at home, I guess that's why. However, today I am going to fix this silly mistake! Meet Chicken Biryani - a classic Indian dish often served at various celebrations and weddings. After tasting it I can surely say that I would love to have it for my wedding too! Unfortunately, my ceremony took place 3 years ago. Oh well, we can still renew our vows in the future, so I have a chance!

Biryani is believed to have originated in the Indian subcontinent or Persia. Wikipedia says, that this dish is throughout Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia. So what exactly is biryani? It's a mixed dish made with rice, meat, veggies and spices. It actually reminds me of another popular Central Asian (this cuisine is quite popular in my former USSR country) dish - pilaf or pulao. I am pretty sure many of you know and even have tried it! My mom made pulao quite often in my childhood. It's also a mixed rice and meat dish. Biryani and pilaf are pretty similar, so I googled to find a difference between these two. In biryani, rice and meat are cooked separately, forming layers after that and cooking everything together. Pulao, though, is a one pot dish and everything is cooked together from the scratch. Another difference - biryani has stronger spices than pulao. I agree with this one and I felt it from the very first bite.

Biryani can be made using different kinds of meat, however the most popular ones are chicken biryani and mutton (or lamb) biryani. Every Indian has his own favorite. Sometimes, different versions of this dish even spark conflicts. Seriously. Few years ago one wedding in India was called off over the biryani! The groom’s family had demanded mutton biryani, but the bride's side sent them chicken biryani instead. It was enough to call the wedding off. Indians are serious about their food!

I decided to make a chicken version of this dish because it's more accessible and easier to make. The recipe is from the wonderful book Rick Stein's India. Love him and his TV shows! Now few words about the recipe itself. Saffron is optional. It's expensive and it's more like a fancy chicken biryani version if you are using it. Of course, if you have some spare saffron (it sound's strange - "spare saffron") you can use it. I am pretty sure it will only make the dish better. If not, don't worry, I made mine without saffron and it was crazily delicious. Oh and don't get intimidated by the recipe length. It's not more work than making a simple lasagna. I promise you.

To conclude just let me say that I loved chicken biryani. I made it for the first time (I tried few different recipes before finding the best one though) and I enjoyed everything about it. The spices are perfect in this one! There are so much of them in this recipe but when they all blend together. Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves. The final results is outstanding. The meat marinade works so well with the rice too. This dish has no flaws at all! As if it wouldn't be enough, toasted cashews and fried onions on top. Perfection. I highly recommend this one!

Ingredients of Chicken Reshmi Biryani

  • 1 Kg chicken (broiler, cut into 8 pieces)
  • 1 kg inions (uniformly), sliced
  • Oil (for frying)
  • 1 cup hara dhania (coriander leaves), finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp dhania (coriander seeds), powdered
  • 1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric)
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 cup dahi (yogurt)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • For the Rice:
  • 2 cups basmati (long grained rice)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Water
  • Dough (to seal the pan)

Reviews ( 22 )

I've made this a few times now and the family loves it - one of the only dishes with yogurt in it I can get my daughter to try. 1 serrano is enough for us. I use about 1.5 cups of yogurt. And I don't use all the rice to mix in but save some for a lunch the next day. Comfort food.

I made this recipe for my family today and it was liked a lot. I ll definitely add to my list of best recipes. Next time i ll either increase the amount of ingredients or reduce the amount of rice as i had extra rice left. I ll also increase the amount of spices in order to spice it up a little bit more and add more yogurt. Thanks for posting this recipe.

I spotted this dish while looking for something to spice up dinner time. I always check out the lower scored reviews for criticisms and nearly chose something more familiar to me, but went ahead to the grocery store to stock up. I followed several suggestions: more yogurt, reduced cardamom and ginger (ground), omitted the raisins, and kept the rice separate from the rest of the dish to allow for personal mixing preference. I will absolutely make this excellent dish again! Loved it!

I have made this recipe several times and with many different substitutions, and it comes out marvelous every time. My favorite spice house (begins with "P" - not sure if I'm allowed to say :-) ) has wonderful Indian spices and I have found that using half sweet curry and half Garam Masala made it taste more like it does in my favorite restaurant. I also use cardamom pods in the rice along with a couple of cloves and a small stick of "true" (Ceylon) cinnamon, and omit the cardamom from the spice mix with the meat. I up the meat to 1 1/4 lbs so that I get a better balance of rice to meat. I also use no-fat greek yogurt, and as long as it is mixed in when the heat is low, there's no curdling. The leftovers reheat beautifully, which is great since it makes 6 very generous servings. It's a wonderful dish for company, too. One of my all-time Cooking Light faves!


Chicken marinated in a spiced yoghurt is placed in a large pot, then layered with fried onions (cheeky easy sub below!), fresh coriander/cilantro, then par boiled lightly spiced rice.

The crowning glory is to finish it off with a drizzle of saffron infused water to give it the signature patches of bright yellow rice, as well as ghee (or melted butter) for buttery richness.

The pot is then covered and cooked over a low heat for about 25 minutes during which time the rice absorbs the aromas and flavours of the curry underneath, whilst still being beautifully fluffy.

That moment when you lift the lid and are greeted with this sight…

…. that moment is only second to this: when you dig deep into the pot, ensuring you get some of every layer, and the full force of the aroma from the curry buried deep under the rice hits you, and it takes every single bit of will power to gravitate that spoon towards a bowl instead of attempting to shove that entire giant scoop in your mouth….

OK wait. Did you almost lose control too?

I’m almost done. Bear with me – just want to show you a few more things before handing over the recipe!

Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1 1/2 in. pieces
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in 1 1/2 in. pieces
  • ¼ cup plain whole yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 ½ cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 4 teaspoons garam masala, divided
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tsp.)
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • ¼ cup warm whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint, divided
  • 1 red Fresno chile or jalapeño, sliced (optional)

Combine chicken breasts and thighs, yogurt, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric,cumin, and salt in a shallow dish or plastic bag to marinate. Chill while rice is prepared.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high. Stir in rice,cardamom, 2 teaspoons of the garam masala, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Boil 6 minutes drain,and discard cardamom pods. Set aside.

Heat oil in a shallow Dutch oven over medium. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally,until softened and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in ginger, garlic, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt,1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 2 teaspoons garam masala cook, stirring oftenuntil fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in serrano chile. Add tomatoes cook stirring occasionally,until tomatoes have softened and released their juices, 3 to 4 minutes.

Easy Recipe for Authentic Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani at Home

Indian royal dinners are never complete without a hot pot of aromatic and flavourful biryani. Although cooking biryani is nothing but a form of art, it is relatively easy to ace the authentic flavour and make a delightful chicken biryani. Finding the perfect recipe can be daunting, so to ease your trouble, we’ve got you a simple recipe. It doesn’t require much of an effort and also gives you the rich taste you’re looking for.

  • 3½ cups Water
  • 2⅓ cups long-grain Basmati rice
  • 4 Bay leaves
  • ½ cup Warm Milk
  • 1 pinch saffron strands
  • ¼ cup ghee
  • 2 onions thinly sliced
  • 2 Green Chillies chopped
  • 500 gms Chicken Thighs or Drumsticks
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint leaves
  • ½ tsp black cumin seeds
  • 1 cup Yoghurt
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 2 tsp Red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp biryani masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 3½ cups Water
  • 2⅓ cups long-grain Basmati rice
  • 4 Bay leaves
  • ½ cup Warm Milk
  • 1 pinch saffron strands
  • ¼ cup ghee
  • 2 onions thinly sliced
  • 2 Green Chillies chopped
  • 500 gms Chicken Thighs or Drumsticks
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint leaves
  • ½ tsp black cumin seeds
  • 1 cup Yoghurt
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 2 tsp Red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp biryani masala
  • Salt to taste

Recipe Tips

If you don’t prefer using ghee, you can substitute it with oil. Drizzle ¼ tsp oil on the boiled rice after draining it to avoid it from turning mushy.

Share your version of this recipe

What’s your version of Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani? We would like to try yours, so don’t forget to share your recipe version with us!

Frequently Asked Questions How can I make the biryani moist?

You can cook rice and chicken separately and then combine everything or set the layers.

How do I prevent my biryani from turning mushy?

Avoid overcooking the rice as it can ruin the biryani. Always slow-cook the biryani so that all flavours are combined well, and the biryani turns out to be perfect.

What can I use as a substitute for saffron milk?

Saffron step is entirely optional. However, this adds a pop of colour to your biryani. You can also add food colour instead of it.

Chicken breyani recipe South Africa

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South Africa is home to many classic traditional foods that have received praise due to the rich indigenous ingredients used. Briyani forms part of the many meals that South Africans enjoy dearly. Below are some of the easy chicken breyani recipes you ought to know.

1. Easy breyani recipe South Africa

Image:, @blrfoody_ht
Source: UGC

Below is how to go about an easy breyani recipe:


  • Two cups of rice (Basmati or that of your choice)
  • Two-three cinnamon sticks
  • Six pods of elachie and salt

For the chicken marinade you need:

  • One teaspoon of turmeric, ground fennel
  • Two tablespoons of masala, Kashmiri chilli powder, one tablespoon of garam masala
  • Three teaspoons of ground cumin, four teaspoons of ground coriander, one and a half teaspoon of ground elachie
  • One and a half cup yoghurt, 1.5 kg chicken (breasts, thighs or drumsticks)
  • Blanched tomatoes

Steps of preparation

  1. Get the drumsticks and dice them to your preferred size. Marinate them with all the ingredients above. Then leave it in the fridge overnight.
  2. Put your rice in a bowl and wash thoroughly. Add cinnamon and salt and cook as per the instructions. Add saffron or food colouring, and half the butter then cover.
  3. For the other spices, heat some butter on the pan then add some oil. The extra ingredients to add here include cinnamon, bay leaf, thyme, curry leaf, black cardamom, and onion. Fry till fragrant and golden brown.
  4. Put your drumstick in the mixture, and some salt and wait for five minutes. Then get some potatoes and add them, let cook till tender. Get more water if the mixture becomes dry. It is optional to put fried onions and extra butter after the serving is ready. This chicken breyani resep is very suitable for people who love potatoes and starch in their meals.

This butter chicken recipe is easy to prepare

READ ALSO: 10 easy mince recipes South Africa

2. Cape chicken breyani

Image:, @StreetsThatTalk
Source: UGC

Perfectly spiced cape chicken breyani is a South-African Indian dish and loved by all ages. A hearty meal requires a crunchy salad on the side.


To make your chicken breyani recipe style, here is what you need:

  • Fresh coriander, one onion, eight cardamon pods, salt.
  • One teaspoon of smoked chilli, cayenne pepper, fennel, cumin, garam masala.
  • Two tablespoons of Woolworth's ghee oil, brown sugar, coriander seeds.
  • One and a half ground turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon. Tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice.
  • Chicken thighs and legs, potatoes, two cups of chicken stock. Diced potatoes, rice.


  1. Heat the ghee, then add the onions till golden. Blend all spices. Later, add the spices on the fried onions and let it cook. Get your tomatoes and then leave to cook.
  2. Put in the garlic, salt, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Cook for five minutes.
  3. Put off the heat and pour in the chicken stock. Heat the oven to 170°C. Add all the items into a casserole then stir in the sauce. Bake for an hour then garnish with coriander. Serve hot.

Step-by-step recipe to make delicious beef curry

Additionally, you can cook chicken breyani with lentils using the above steps. You can use tinned lentils or pre-cook your dried brown lentils before preparation. Then add your chicken stock, cooked lentils, and chicken together with the rice. Also, the recipe is quite similar to the chicken breyani Fatima Sydow uses in her cooking. According to Fatima, you can leave the chicken in yoghurt (plain) or buttermilk overnight.

3. Chicken breyani recipe Durban

Image:, @indianrecipeinf
Source: UGC

According to the classic Durban style of preparation, you basically can use the ingredients in the above recipes. Boil the rice first and keep for later. Then include all the items to be fried in the pan and prepare them all. When ready, add and mix both the chicken pieces and rice. Get some water if sticky. Serve hot with coriander garnish.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you take a fistful of biryani and throw it on a plate, the rice should scatter as fluffy grainsand not clump together. The meat or chicken should be well done, juicy and falling off the bone.

It is best to use a wide and thick bottomed cooking pot over the stove. A dutch oven that is 5 to 6 quart will work well. Very deep and tall pots are not suitable.

If cooking on stove top, placing the cooking pot over a flat griddle or heat diffuser, will help prevent the rice in the bottom from getting burnt.

Choose highest quality aged long grain basmati rice from a popular brand. Most brands offer a variety of basmati rice, from standard to ultra special. For wide selection, check out larger Indian grocery stores or online.

If using the traditional boiling method (cooked like pasta), it will take between 4 to 5 minutes to for perfect doneness. Drain the rice on time.

For traditional method boil rice in lots of salted water, using a ratio of 3 cups of water with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 cup of rice. For rice cooker method test a ratio of 1¼ to 1½ cups water for 1 cup rice (differs with age of rice).

Rule of thumb is to use equal amounts of rice and chicken by weight, which is 1:1 (one pound rice to one pound chicken). If you want more chicken you can use a ratio of 1:1.5 or 1:2.

Use thinly sliced onions. Fry them in batches using fresh oil, until crisp and light golden brown. Don't let it turn soggy or dark brown. Drain on paper towels.

If using traditional method then cook rice in plenty of salted water just for 4 to 6 minutes until it is parboiled, making sure the grains don't get overcooked. Soak rice prior to cooking to make the grains stronger. Use optimal amount of water. And cook biryani in a wide cooking pot.

Use chicken on bone. Cook with enough yogurt and juices but don't overcook the meat. Use optimal amount of water for the rice. And if rice is undercooked before steaming, then sprinkle some water all over before placing the lid.

Any water that is collected over marinated chicken should be scooped out and discarded. Do not use too much yogurt. Excess juices can be cooked off by evaporating while stirring on high heat and without the lid. Do not overcook the rice, but if it get's overcooked then spread it on a large plate and aerate a bit before layering.

Biryani is prepared by layering parboiled basmati rice, marinated or cooked meat/chicken, fried onions, fresh herbs, lemon juice, saffron water, etc., and then steaming it together. The final dish will have fluffy rice grains in a variety of colors from the absorption of spices, juices and saffron.

Indian pulao (pilaf) is prepared as a one pot dish. Sauteed onions, spices, meat or chicken, herbs and measured amount of water or stock are all cooked together until well done. The rice grains will have a uniform color from the mixture of spices and juices.

The mouthfeel and taste of biryani and pulao are expected to be quite different.

This easy chicken biryani dish can be prepared with brown basmati rice, supplemented with quinoa and such.

Chicken Biryani Recipe - Secrets of Making a Perfect Biryani

Chicken Biryani is by far the most popular Indian rice recipe around the globe.

Biryani and Pulao are the two types of Indian rice recipes that form an integral part of any formal or even informal lunch or dinner. The main difference between the two is the cooking technique.

Biryani, is made from par boiled rice, which is then assembled with the other ingredients, sealed and put on "dum" (put on a very low heat, so that all the flavors inside the pot amalgamate well) for at least 45 minutes.

Pulao on the other hand, is made by tempering the rice in desi ghee (clarified butter) and spices. Exactly measured water is added to the rice. For 1 cup of rice 2 cups water is used. If using a pressure cooker, for every 1 cup of rice 1 and 1/4 of water is sufficient.

Use only good quality basmati rice for the best flavor and appearance. The key to making a good biryani lies in the way you par boil the rice. I cannot stress enough that never over cook the rice.

As far as the list of ingredients goes, please try to use all the ingredients. Each spice, contributes to the overall flavor. Most of the spices will be easily available at any supermarket or definitely at an Indian store.

Please don't get intimidated by the long list, most of them are spices used in a small amount. The onions have to be deep fried to a light brown color (this are called "barista"). Desi ghee (clarified butter) is also very essential.

There are two ways of making a chicken biryani, one is called Pakki biryani, in which you cook the meat separately and then layer it with the rice, seal and cook on a very low heat.

The other method is Kachi biryani, in which you marinate the meat, place it at the bottom of the pot and cover it up with par boiled rice, seal and cook on a very low heat.

This recipe is the layered chicken biryani in which chicken is cooked separately.

Making a chicken biryani is a lengthy process BUT totally worth it. Plus you make biryani only occasionally so do put your heart into making it and I promise it will turn out fabulous.

This recipe will easily serve 4-6.

The Ingredients required for a chicken biryani are

  • 7-8 Onions (very thinly sliced and deep fried until light brown)
  • 10-15 Cashews (fried in a little desi ghee/clarified butter)
  • 1 Kg Chicken on the bone cut into 12 pieces
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 Tsp Garlic paste
  • salt to taste
  • 500 gm Basmati Rice (washed and soaked in salted water for at least half an hour)
  • 3-4 Tbsp oil
  • Oil for frying the onions
  • 6-7 cloves
  • 2 (1 inch) Cinnamon
  • 4 green Cardamoms
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 1/4 Tsp Caraway seeds (shahi jeera/black cumin seeds)
  • 4 large Tomatoes (chopped finely)
  • 1/4 Tsp of mace powder
  • 1/4 Tsp of grated Nutmeg
  • 1 Tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 Tsp red Chili powder (to taste)
  • 1/2 Tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2-3 green Chilies (to taste, chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger (chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic (chopped)
  • 6-7 dried, pitted prunes
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • a few strands of Saffron (kesar)
  • 3-4 Tbsp Desi ghee (clarified butter)
  • 2 cups of fresh green Coriander (chopped)

Marinate the chicken pieces in 1 cup yogurt, 2 Tsp garlic paste and little salt, for a good 8 hours.

Making Barista (fried onions) for chicken biryani

Slice the onions very thinly (almost paper thin) using a sharp knife. Heat oil in a pan or kadai.
Separate the sliced onions using your finger tips. Put the onions in the oil and reduce the heat to medium-low.

Keep stirring the onions, so that they get evenly browned. The trick is to evenly and slowly brown the onions. If the flame is very high the onions will burn on the outside and remain watery on the inside.

Once a uniform color is obtained, drain on thick layer of kitchen paper, so that maximum oil is soaked. Keep these aside.
As they cool down, the onions will become crispy.

Boil the rice. For this take a BIG vessel (deep and wide), put lots of water in it, tip in the soaked rice along with 1 stick cinnamon, 3-4 cloves, 2 green cardamom, 1/4 tsp of Shahi jeera (caraway seeds) and more salt.

Remember that you should boil the rice in lots of water and salt (pretty much like a pasta). The rice should absorb the salt otherwise the biryani will be tasteless. Boil on a high flame and let the it boil vigorously on high flame for about 5-7 minutes.

You have to par cook the rice (meaning 3/4 cooked and rest will get cooked later). Do not over boil the rice. To check if the rice is done you can take a grain of rice out and press in between your thumb and forefinger. If the grain breaks into 3 parts, it means your rice is cooked just right. Now strain the rice and spread it out on a flat tray or surface, so that it cools faster.

Heat oil in a deep pan, add the remaining bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon and green cardamoms. When they crackle, add the ginger, garlic and chilies. Saute for a minute and add the marinated chicken, along with the marinade. Cook on a medium heat till all the water dries up (water from the chicken and yogurt).

Add the tomatoes, 1/3 of the fried onions, all the powdered spices, salt and cook till all the water from the tomatoes dries up. If the chicken is cooking too quickly then either cook on a high flame to fasten the evaporation or remove the chicken pieces aside.

The chicken should be just cooked and dry (because it will get
cooked further in the final step and if any water is left in it the rice will become soggy).

Once done, sneak a taste, adjust the seasoning. Mix in the dried prunes.

In 1/2 cup of warm milk crush a pinch of saffron strands and put some whole strands. Wait till it turns yellow. Keep on one side.

Final STEP Assembling the chicken biryani

Use a deep heavy bottom pan with a lid.

First spread some desi ghee at the bottom of the pan.
Second a layer of rice, followed by a layer of chicken. Now sprinkle a generous handful of chopped coriander and fried onions.

Repeat the layers with rice being the top most layer. Sprinkle the leftover onions and all the cashews.

Pour the milk and saffron on the top using a spoon, evenly covering the whole area.

Once all layers are set, take melted desi ghee and with a spoon pour it around the rim of the vessel and a little on the rice.
Close the lid and seal.

There are 2 ways to seal the lid in order to prevent the steam from escaping.

1) Take a large foil, cover the pot/vessel with it and place the lid on top.

2) Take some dough made from whole wheat flour. Roll it into a thin strip and stick it going around the rim of the pan half on the lid and half on the pan in order to seal the whole pan.

Keep this pot on a very low heat for 45 minutes. Place this pan on top of a cast iron tawa (on which chapatis are made) or another heavy bottom pan in order to prevent the bottom layer of rice from getting burnt.

After 45 minutes turn off the heat. Let it stand for 5 minutes and open.

Enjoy the delicious chicken biryani.

Note:- Please don't eat the bay leaves and the other whole spices. They are used to add flavor. You can remove them to one side.