Chicken Biryani

Chicken biryani has got to be one of the best chicken and rice dishes to ever exist. It is a Pakistan dish that incorporates layers and layers of flavor together. One of my favorite parts of this dish is how you can make it for a large group of people. It is also relatively inexpensive to make and is sure to please anyone who loves traditional Indian flavors.

How to make crispy shallots

Crispy shallots are extremely easy to make and can immediately elevate a dish whether through garnish or seasoning. For the most even cuts and cooking, I would recommend using a mandolin to cut the shallots.

  1. Thinly slice shallots using a mandolin.
  2. Heat up a shallow pot of oil until 300F,
  3. Place sliced shallots into the pot of oil and continue stirring to make sure it cooks evenly.
  4. Once the shallots reach a golden color, remove from the oil and let it drain over a paper towel.

How to make rice for chicken biryani

Back to the point of layering on flavors, even the rice itself has layers of aromatics layers into the cooking process. This is also a very easy method to make perfect rice.

  1. Wash and soak 2 cups basmati rice in cold water for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat up a pot of boiling water, then add your aromatics (star anise, cardamom, bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves) and salt
  3. Once the water is boiling, strain your soaked rice and drop it into the pot of boiling water.
  4. Keep the pot on high heat for 3-4 minutes MAX. The rice should be about 75% cooked.

Cut of meat to use in chicken biryani

You can really use any cut of chicken for this recipe, but I would highly recommend some sort of dark meat like chicken drumsticks or chicken thighs. Chicken breast would be far too dry after cooking.

Process of cooking the chicken

The end result of cooking the chicken should be moist and fall off the bone meat texture surrounded by a thick amount of sauce created from the yoghurt and tomatoes. It is not uncommon that the tomatoes release too much water and in this case, you will want to continue cooking it without a lid until thickened.

Chicken Biryani

Chicken Biryani is one of the most flavorful chicken and rice dishes I have ever had.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani


Chicken ingredients

  • 10 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • ½ tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • ½ cup Greek yoghurt
  • 3 tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 green chili

Rice ingredients

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 clove
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp salt

Saffron water

  • 3 tbsp hot water
  • ¼ tsp saffron

Crispy shallots

  • 3 large shallots
  • 1 cup oil


  • cilantro


Crispy shallots

  • Thinly slice your shallots using a mandolin.
    3 large shallots
  • Heat up oil over medium heat until reaches about 300F.
    1 cup oil
  • Place shallots into the oil and continue stirring until golden brown.
  • Remove from oil and strain over paper towel.

Saffron water

  • Soak saffron in boiling water and set aside while you prepare the rest of the steps.
    3 tbsp hot water, ¼ tsp saffron

Chicken and rice

  • Wash and soak basmati rice in cold water for 30 minutes.
    2 cups basmati rice
  • While you wait for the rice, season chicken drumsticks with garam masala, chili powder, salt, cumin, turmeric powder, minced garlic, minced ginger, and greek yoghurt.
    10 chicken drumsticks, 1 tbsp garam masala, 1 tbsp kashmiri chili powder, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp cumin, ½ tbsp turmeric powder, 1 tbsp minced ginger, 1 tbsp minced garlic, ½ cup Greek yoghurt
  • Place chicken into a hot pan with oil along with your diced tomatoes and green chili.
    3 tomatoes, 1 green chili
  • Cover pot with a lid and keep over medium for 25 minutes. Remove the lid afterwards and let it simmer uncovered for another 5-10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and is no longer watery.
  • Into a large pot, add water and bring it up to a boil.
  • Add all the aromatics and salt.
    1 cinnamon stick, 2 star anise, 1 clove, 2 cardamom pods, 2 bay leaves, 1 tbsp salt
  • Strain the soaked rice and drop it into the boiling water. Keeping it at high heat for 3-4 minutes MAX. we want the rice to be 75% cooked only.
  • Remove half of the chicken and sauce from our pot then layer with rice, cilantro, and crispy shallots.
  • Repeat once more by adding the rest of the chicken, more rice, cilantro, and crispy shallots.
  • Pour over your saffron water, then cover with a lid and place over med-low heat for another 15 minutes.
Keyword biryani, chicken, indian, rice, saffron

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  1. 5 stars
    I made this for my South Indian fiancé and he was very impressed. I had to sub some things (didn’t have the k chili powder or saffron) and I didn’t attempt the shallots this time. Thank you, this was super simple to follow and it tastes great!

  2. 5 stars
    This was such an amazing recipe. The flavours melded together beautifully. The rice was flavourful, the chicken was so tender and delicious. It had the perfect amount of ‘kick’ of spiciness for me.

    It took me longer than an hr, but that’s mainly because it took longer for the sauce to thicken due to the water from the tomatoes. I had to really watch the last 15 minutes due to the extra cooking time for the sauce to ensure that the sauce didn’t burn.

    Make this recipe. It’s definitely worth the effort!

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