Chicken Biryani

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Chicken Biryani is a bold and flavorful Indian dish with crazy tender bites of chicken with bell peppers in a deliciously spiced and fragrant rice.

Vegetable Biryani was the first Indian rice dish on the menu and now we’re making all of our favorite Indian recipes including Indian Butter Chicken and Easy Chicken Tikka Masala.

Chicken Biryani on plate  Easy Chicken Biryani Recipe

This easy Chicken Biryani recipe is a dish I actually have fumbled with a few times. The mixture of chicken that’s been browned in the skillet before cooking down with the liquids until it is meltingly soft. You’ll find your rice is fluffy and soft with tender bites of chicken throughout.

This biryani is easier than most, no whole spices being toasted and ground. No red curry paste or ginger garlic pastes are needed. The resulting flavors are incredibly delicious and addicting.

What to serve with chicken biryani:

We love serving this with Indian Raita, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, naan and Easy Tandoori Chicken.

What kind of rice is used in vegetable biryani:

A classic biryani is made using basmati rice. This rice is thinner and longer than a traditional long grain rice.

easy chicken biryani

How do you make chicken biryani?

First you brown the chicken and onions. Then some grated tomato is added to the chicken and liquids before cooking down until soft and fluffy. The rice is traditionally made using ghee (clarified butter) along with onions, garlic and ginger.

Why is biryani rice yellow?

The yellow coloring in the rice comes from the use of turmeric along with other spices. These spices are added into the dish before the uncooked rice is mixed in.

The best way to reheat chicken and rice dishes:

Add the mixture to a microwave safe bowl and cover with an almost dripping wet paper towel draped over the bowl or plate.  Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes.

the best biryani with chicken

Tools used in the making of Chicken Biryani:
Basmati Rice: The perfect rice for the biryani, do not substitute long grain rice.
Cast Iron Dutch Oven: I used to fry in my cast iron skillet, but this dutch oven is perfect for cooking the vegetables and rice, maintaining heat without any hot spots that may burn the food.


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Chicken Biryani Recipe

  • Yield: 6 Servings
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Indian
Chicken Biryani is a bold and flavorful Indian dish with crazy tender bites of chicken with bell peppers in a deliciously spiced and fragrant rice.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or ghee if available
  • 4 chicken thighs boneless and skinless, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 yellow onion cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced
  • 2 roma tomatoes grated
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups basmati rice rinsed and drained


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Add olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides.
  3. Add in the onion, and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.

  4. Stir in garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup water.
  5. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the water has evaporated, about 20 minutes.

  6. Add in the bell pepper, salt, cayenne, black pepper, garam masala, turmeric, cumin and cinnamon, stirring well.
  7. Add in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  8. Add in the basmati rice, reduce to low heat and cook (covered) for 18-20 minutes.

  9. Turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for five minutes before opening and serving.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 6 Servings, Amount per serving: 463 calories, Serving Size: 1 , Calories: 463g

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Quick chicken biryani
authentic chicken biryani

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Chicken Indian Food Main Dishes Recipe

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  1. Having a husband who can no longer eat tomatoes I’m trying to find tasty recipes I can adapt. I noticed  this doesn’t have a lot of tomato so, to help me replace the tomato, are you able to tell me the purpose of the tomato. Eg, is it there for colour or to provide a bit of sweet & sour taste etc. 

    1. The tomatoes add moisture to the recipe and it’s really an important part of flavoring as well. I’m not sure what to use as a substitution without completely changing the recipe. I’ve never tested it so I’m not comfortable giving a recommendation. So sorry.

    1. You can just leave them out if you’d like otherwise I would suggest using a poblano pepper, though the flavor will change a bit with using that substitution. Enjoy!

    1. It’s a blend of ground spices. You should be able to find it in your grocery store in the spice aisle. 🙂

  2. Thank you for this delicious recipe. I noticed that the ingredients say 1/2 cup water, but the instructions say 1 cup water. Which is correct?

    Rating: 5
  3. We love Indian food. We made this tonight exactly according to the recipe. It was amazing! Great flavor and nice spiciness.This one goes in the make it again file.Thank You!

    Rating: 5
  4. I made this today; I didn’t have any bell peppers or coriander on hand, so I just left them out. Also, I pre-seasoned my chicken thigh pieces with a bit of onion powder and granulated garlic. Delicious!

  5. I grew up eating biryani, but never made it myself before. This recipe hits the spot! The only thing I slightly altered was that I used low-sodium chicken broth in place of regular broth, and the dish was still full of the flavors of my childhood. Thanks for the wonderful recipe, Sabrina!

    Rating: 5
  6. I’d like to try this but I’m curious, is the basmati rice you add to the pot precooked? I notice that once you add it you only cook for an additional 18-20 minutes but basmati takes 45 minutes to make properly…

  7. Can I use Jasmine rice instead of Basmati? I live in a very rural area and my local store has Jasmine rice but not Basmati.