Easy Vegetable Biryani

6 Servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Vegetable Biryani is a bold and flavorful Indian rice dish with bell peppers, peas, carrots and potatoes in a spiced rice dish made with turmeric, garam masala and other warm spices.

We’re working through a list of our favorite Indian recipes including Indian Butter Chicken and Easy Chicken Tikka Masala and it felt only right the next recipe shared would be a biryani dish which is amazing served with Cucumber Raita.

Vegetable Biryani Easy Vegetable Biryani

Biryani has always been a recipe I’ve been intimidated to make even though it looks like it would be a recipe that’s easier to make than most Indian dishes. The rice is always so heavily flavored I worry about how long to cook it for and how the final combination of vegetables and rice will cook together so both are perfectly tender and soft at the same time.

When I started cooking with my family friend who is well versed in Indian cooking my first request was chicken biryani (coming soon). We discussed spices, I mentioned I’d only made biryani with a spice packet before, never mixing single spices together to put together that spicy, bold, flavorful rice on my own.

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 vegetable biryani:

Most Indian recipes work well together, this dish is a bit spicy so a yogurt raita would be great to cool it off a little. Naan would also be a delicious side option as would other vegetarian Indian dishes like saag paneer or vegetable korma.

vegetable biryani

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.

How do you make biryani rice?

The rice is traditionally made using ghee (clarified butter) along with onions, garlic and ginger. Once cooked vegetables are added in with spices and cooked until the spices bloom. Rice is added along with stock and cooked until fluffy.

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.

easy indian biryani rice

Tools used in the making of Vegetable 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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Easy Vegetable Biryani Recipe

Vegetable Biryani is a bold and flavorful Indian rice dish with bell peppers, peas, carrots and potatoes in a spiced rice dish made with turmeric, garam masala and other warm spices.
Yield 6 Servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or ghee if available
  • 1 yellow onion cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced
  • 1 roma tomato minced finely
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • carrot sliced into thin coins
  • 2 russet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced
  • 2 stalks celery thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 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 vegetable broth
  • 2 cups basmati rice rinsed and drained


  • Add olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add 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 10 minutes.
  • Add in the peas, carrot, potato, bell pepper, celery and cauliflower and stir well.
  • Add in the salt, cayenne, black pepper, garam masala, turmeric, cumin and cinnamon, stirring well.
  • Add in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
  • Rinse basmati rice.
  • 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.


Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1435mg | Potassium: 605mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2380IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 1.8mg
Vegetable Biryani with peas, potatoes and cauliflower
Easy Vegetable 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 cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, 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.

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  1. On the rare occasions we visit an Indian restaurant or have a takeaway, I always order a vegetable pilau rice to go with my curry and decided it was about time I tried to make one at home. This was the closest recipe I could find and I made it with the veg I had to hand – cauliflower, carrot, broccoli and peas. It was absolutely gorgeous and even my ‘plain pilau rice’ husband was raving about it. Thank you so much for posting this recipe, it’s going to be my go-to from now on.

    1. You’re welcome! We really enjoy Indian cuisine at our house. Check out the site for more Indian cuisine options when you get a chance. And thanks so much Judith, for the 5 star rating.

  2. This is so good! I swear it tastes like what we get in an Indian restaurant. I have made it three times already. I added green beans and 2x the veggies and it was perfect that way too! Highly recommend this recipe!

  3. I found this easy to make. Added cinnamon sticks and cumin seeds, whole cloves for a more authentic taste. Find it better to almost cook through the potatoes. If using brown basmati need to add much more time.

  4. This was a wonderful recipe – paired it with some curry spiced tofu and my family loved it, including both the 12 and 14 year old. I changed up the veggies to be green beans, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and peas. Next time, I will put in less cayenne to meet my other family members’ very Minnesotan taste buds! ? will definitely be making it again

      1. I think this is a sensible question because there are so many different kinds of tomato. We don’t have Roma tomatoes here so I too was wondering what weight of tomato. Sorry I couldn’t help you on this.

        1. Hi Alison and Kersey! Perhaps this list of Roma Tomato Substitutes will help?
          Fresh Substitutes for Roma Tomatoes
          San Marzano. …
          Amish Paste. …
          Big Mama. …
          Ropreco. …
          Cento San Marzano Organic Peeled Tomatoes. …
          Bianco DiNapoli Organic Whole Peeled Tomatoes. …
          Mutti Cherry Tomatoes. …
          Contadina Petite Cut Canned Diced Roma Style Tomatoes.

    1. This is a reasonable question. Roma are Italian tomatoes, smaller in size an typically oblong shaped – about 2″ long and about 1.5″ in diameter but can vary in size. Just google an image.

    1. This was my first time ever making biryani and it turned out perfectly! The recipe is simple, but the flavors are complex and amazing. It’s delicious! My Indian friend loved it too and complimented me. Excellent recipe! Thank you!!!

  5. This was absolutely delicious and very easy to make. Flavor was very similar to the rice at our favorite Indian restaurant. I would skip the cayenne next time if serving it as a side dish. I served it with spicy tandoori lamb kebobs. I did cut the amount of salt in half as I used sea salt, It is definitely a keeper and will become a go to recipe.

  6. I love veg biryani but the only way I’ve had is frozen. I’d like to try this but what spices do I reduce or eliminate so it’s not to spicy?

    1. The only thing that’s spicy in the recipe is the cayenne pepper, so just leave that out and you’ll still have an amazing dish!

  7. This was delicious! It made a lot more than I expected though so I froze half of it. Next time I would skip the salt because there was salt in the veggie broth and in the canned tomatoes. Doing think we would miss it especially with all the other tasty spices. I did find it a bit time consuming to make but worth it!

  8. This is one of my favourite recipes.
    Today we’re having it with Curried Honey Mustard Chicken.
    I often double this recipe so that I have leftovers ( great reheated).
    Thank-you for this awesomeness!??

  9. The flavor is incredible and everyone (even my children) eat this up. HOWEVER, I often have a hard time getting all of the rice to cook. Anyone else? I am following the directions exactly, cooking for 20 mins and letting set for five. There always seems to be a layer of undercooked rice on top. Help!

      1. Hi, I am not at high elevation, and I am using the 4 cups of broth called for. Does soaking the rice help with this?

  10. So relieved to find this recipe! All the other ones online require ingredients I don’t have at home, or more than one pot to clean!

  11. This was quick and delicious! I made a couple of changes due to what I had on hand – skipped the celery and potatoes and doubled the amount of cauliflower and peas. Also, tempered the spice by adding them before all the vegetables and letting them cook for a few minutes. Will definitely be making this again!

  12. Can this be done in a slow cooker? If so can I just throw everything in including the rice? Thank you 🙂

    1. Of course! Just make sure to cool it down to room temperature before placing it in an airtight container or storage bag. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

  13. Great recipe obviously you can substitute vegetables the methodology is spot on.It’s great to have recipes that you can slightly altered I E add chicken or any other cooked meat and still end up with a delicious dish. I am a very happy follower!

  14. I been trying different recipes for a long time but this one is the closest to restaurant taste i could find . I left out celery and put in chopped green beans. Basically do what you use to. I made enough to fill 2 small takeaway tubs by doing half the broth , 1 potato, one cup of rice ,3/4 tbsp ginger and 3/4 tbsp garlic .the rest i used the same measures. Thankyou so much this really has made my day .

  15. I don’t own a Dutch Oven but my large thick bottomed frying pan with lid worked perfectly. It makes quite a lot so there was plenty for leftovers. Really easy and tasty!