Chicken Biryani

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

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.
Yield 6 Servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 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

Instructions

  • Add olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides.
  • Add in the onion, and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and ½ cup water.
  • Bring to a simmer, and cook until the water has evaporated, about 20 minutes.
  • Add in the bell pepper, salt, cayenne, black pepper, garam masala, coriander, turmeric, cumin and cinnamon, stirring well.
  • Add in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add in the basmati rice, reduce to low heat and cook (covered) for 18-20 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for five minutes before opening and serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 483kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 1414mg | Potassium: 467mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 340IU | Vitamin C: 31.5mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1.8mg
Keyword: Chicken Biryani
Quick chicken biryani
authentic chicken biryani

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. I have made this recipe several times for my husband and I and we love it. Lots for leftovers. Making it for guests and want to cook it mid afternoon and then reheat a few hours later. Should I save some of the chicken stock to add when reheating? Just don’t want it to be dry. Would appreciate your advice. Thanks, Heather

    1. I would cook the recipe with the recommended amount of chicken broth. Have some extra chicken broth on hand in case you need it when reheating.

  2. I made this dish for seniors and they LOVED IT!! I used chicken breast instead of thighs, I had to sub five spice as I couldn’t find the other one and I had to back off on the cayenne pepper as it would have been to spicy for them, I used yellow rice instead. They absolutely loved it!!! The only thing is there are a lot of ingredients and its time consuming, but well worth it!!! We are doing an “Olympic theme” for two weeks, and this is one of the best!!! Thank you!!! I adjusted the recipe for 30 servings, and it came out great.

  3. I make this recipe at least once a month love the flavors I have made a few of your Indian style recipes and they have all been winners thanks for the great recipes

  4. Just found your recipe n so excited, we had biryani at restaurant and liked it. My hubby says your recipe is perfect! It was delicious!!

  5. Thank you, Sabrina, for all your hard work. Please ignore the negative comments,
    we all cook differently. We are all different. People forget sometimes it cost nothing just to say thank you.

    We are all unique in our own way. Your recipes are great!!

    Thank you.

    Brenda.

  6. For someone who has grown up eating biryani almost every week, this is not a biryani. Whole concept of biryani is wrong here.
    Biryani is not supposed to be all yellow its mixture of 60% brown colored spicy rice, 30% Plain white rice, and 10% yellow rice (traditionally colored with saffron).
    Also plenty of ingredients are missing like black cardamom, green cardamom, cinnamon sticks, bay leaf, nutmeg, mace, and kewra essence.
    And please use potato for vegetables instead of bell pepper.

  7. My family loves this recipe. I make it at least one a month. The only thing I do differently is use bone in skin on thighs and sprinkle in a pinch of saffron and it is amazing!

  8. First attempt at this kind of dish, this recipe was a good intro to this kind of cooking. It had good flavor and the recipe was easy to follow.

  9. This recipe is AMAZING. We make it at least once a month.
    Something we learned: a can of crushed or diced tomatoes substitutes beautifully in place of the romas. This also saves prep time.
    If you opt for fresh tomatoes, do NOT grate them. We chop them and then puree them in the blender. This is so much easier than grating and results in a similar effect.
    Wonderful recipe though:)

  10. I made it it was the best ever. I used corridor seed and Cummin seed too I didn’t grate the tomato I cut into large piece. And the rice I cooked separate and covered the chicken with then i kept on low heat for half an hour. It was delicious.

  11. What other vegetables would be good to add to this dish along with the green bell pepper? Or should I just add chicken to your Vegetable Biryani recipe? 🙂 Thank you!

  12. Tasty, but a far cry from a biryani. After following the recipe, the comment I got from the family was that this was just a chicken and rice pot with an Indian flavour. It lacks the depts we’re used to from a propper biryani. And a propper biryani taket hardley any longer time to make.
    Sorry.

  13. I reduced the rice to 1 1/3 cup, broth to 2 2/3 cup, and salt to 1 1/3 tsp but kept everything else the same as per the comment about it being a little diluted, since I like very strongly spiced foods. The water evaporated way quicker than expected for me, after like 3-4 minutes max so I had to scramble a bit to be ready for the next step but it turned out fine so no big deal.

    It was incredible and I would have changed nothing about it, I did not want to stop eating.

  14. Wow! I’ve never had biryani before, but this looks so good! I’m planning to make it this week, but I know that my partner will want more vegetables to go with it — he’s a major vegetable eater. Can you suggest something that would go well? Maybe just steamed carrots or something? What do you think? Thank you!

    1. It really is a meal by itself but steamed carrots sounds like a great addition. Pickled onions and sliced cucumbers work well too. Enjoy!

  15. Fantastic!! I doubled the recipe because I have a large family that loves Indian food. The only thing we changed was no green pepper. Even my 9yr old cleaned his plate. Is there a pressure cooker version?

    1. I’m so glad you all enjoyed it! I haven’t tested it using an instant pot but if you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!

  16. My boyfriend is always intimated when reheating rice dishes, he has had issues with the rice drying out. Do you have a preferred method? I am making ahead of time and he will have it tomorrow.

    P.S. Your orange chicken recipe is a staple In our house! So so good, can’t wait to try another.

    1. I’m so glad you guys are loving the recipes so much! I always give the dish a small splash of water or chicken broth to help keep it from drying out when I’m reheating it. Hope this helps!

  17. We have made this many times and it is amazing!! It is so easy and my whole family loves it. Flavors remind me of my favorite Central American dish (Tamales).

  18. I make this often and it is excellent every time! It makes a ton of food and is even better leftover. When I don’t have fresh tomatoes I just use canned peeled whole tomatoes and mash them with a potato masher before adding to the pot. Thank you for a great recipe!

  19. Hi there,

    For the coriander, do you mean ground coriander or the coriander leaves? I am thinking the leaves but just wanted to double check haha

      1. Thanks! I made it last night. It was good although it didn’t turn out as yellow as it is pictured here and I did use the same amount of turmeric powder asked in the recipe. Do you know what might be the reason?

  20. I often end up with excess meat – chicken, beef, pork, etc. and am always looking for recipes that allow me to easily add the previously cooked meat into the recipe – this recipe is perfect for chicken leftovers.

  21. hi i have home knowledge test tomorrow you had to decide what food you wanted to cook and i decided buryani i took your recipe but could you write a little in detail how to do in the beginning would be so grateful

    1. I’m not sure what you are asking for, but you can email me directily at contact @ dinnerthendessert .com and let me know what you are asking.

  22. Coriander in the ingredients is missing in the instructions.

    I plan to try this using chickpeas and tofu instead of chicken with brown basmati rice.

  23. ? for someone who hates cooking I just made it so easy my friend version she puts a lot canola of oil. I like this version same taste. Wish there is a button to upload photo. (Double the recipe was a big hit)

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed it! I’d love to see a photo. You can always post it on Instagram and use the hashtag #dinnerthendessert

    2. Could you explain how you doubled the recipe? Everything exactly doubled? Any cook time adjustments? Thank you!

    1. Slice a thin round off the bottom of each tomato. Starting at cut end, grate tomatoes on the largest holes of a grater over a medium bowl until all that’s left is the flattened tomato skin and stem. Hope this helps!

  24. This is so good! My kids LOVE this dish. I make this once a week and it goes fast. This says a lot with two very different children and one that is very picky. Thank you for this recipe!

    1. I know how hard it is at times to find a recipe that the whole family enjoys! Thanks for taking the time to come back and let me know.

  25. I made this with chicken breast, the flavors were good but somewhat diluted. I spiced up with a (home made) Kasundi chutney on the side to spice it up.
    Felt there was way, way, way too much rice. The next time I would use only one cup of rice, two cups of stock. The spice mixture is good, but too diluted through the rice.

  26. I love this dish and the simplicity of it! My resident Indians/Pakistanis (fiancé and his mother) have informed me that this isn’t actually Biryani though. It’s called Ukni or Plow, depending on which language you’re speaking in. Traditional Biryani has the rice cooked separately from the protein/other ingredients. Then it’s layered in the pot, alternating rice & protein/other ingredients. Finally, the top layer of rice is topped with a few drops of yellow food coloring (I think that’s weird, but that’s what they do!). Biryani is also dryer than this dish. Anyway, I really like this and when I make this what they tease me as “white girl Biryani,” everyone gobbles it up! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  27. It would very cool and useful to list an approximate cost to make this dish. I rarely see that anywhere. I for one disdain to find out that I cannot afford the ingredients after going to whole foods the entire drive with my mouth watering! Just a thought! Now I’m hungry, darn take out again! Thanks for all you do! Namasté ??REV.PAX•LISI, PhD. M. D.

    1. Shopping at “Whole Paycheck” might be the problem. 😉 This dish is very inexpensive; rice is super cheap as are chicken thighs. If you have an International store as a shopping option nearby, or anything other than WF, then that would be a more economical bet. House of Spices (hosIndia.com) has 7oz bags of these spices for $2 a bag. They seem to last forever even if you do a lot of Indian cooking like I do. I calculated this recipe and come up with less than $9 for the pot, a little cheaper if you use EVOO instead of ghee. But you can expect to double or triple that if you shop at WF. The $9 estimate is also with these adjustments: 4 cloves of garlic, 1 inch of ginger, 1 greenhouse tomato, and only 1/4 teaspoon garam masala (most recipes call for this amount, but this one is very heavy in this spice), and no cinnamon (it’s already in the garam masala; don’t need more). Tip: toss the garlic, ginger, and tomato in a mini food processor to save time and gadgets. This really makes a ton of food; my family of 4 eats it, and then I usually freeze half of it and pull it out a few months later for another dinner. Don’t forget to make some red onion Raita to go with it!

  28. Made this at the weekend absolutely beautiful, will be making it again. Do you know if it would be OK to freeze and reheat at a later date.

  29. I made this last night. Great easy recipe, but I felt that the cinnamon was quite strong for me personally, I would go with 1/4th tsp next time and I also thought it was a little bit bland (but I personally like it to be spicy) so I added a pinch more of each spice and it turned out very nicely.

    Added some fresh chopped cilantro in the last phase.

  30. 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.

  31. 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…

    1. I’m still waiting to eat this dinner… the rice takes WAY longer than 20 min to cook. Count on 45 min to cook OR parboil the rice first

  32. 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!

  33. 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!

  34. 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!

  35. 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?

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

  36. What is a good substitute for green peppers? My husband can’t eat them, but we love Indian food.

    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!

  37. 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. Hi! We made this and it was so good! Only issue is that the rice was still really wet and kinda soggy. Any advice?

        1. I’m so glad you enjoy it so much! I’m thinking if the rice is still wet, the temperature might have been too low. Also, make sure the chicken is fully thawed and even pat it dry to ensure to extra moisture is added to the dish. I hope this helps for next time.

  38. Since I’m always trying to get more turmeric into my diet, this is a wonderful recipe for me to try. Thanks.