Flatline view of chicken biryani with yogurt dip on a slate background.
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Easy Chicken Biryani Recipe

This chicken biryani can easily be made at home. All you need is a little patience and love. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Chicken Biryani
Servings: 4 people
Author: Paromita Datta


For the chicken marinade

  • 2/3 cup yogurt
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder or paprika
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 750 gm chicken thighs

For cooking the rice

For cooking the biryani

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 crisply fried onions plus
  • 2 onions chopped fine
  • 10-12 strands saffron soaked in warm milk
  • 1 cup coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg grated
  • 1/2 tsp mace powdered
  • 1 tsp garam masala


  • Begin by marinating the chicken. Just add all marinade ingredients to the chicken thighs, mix well, and keep it aside. 
  • Now cook the rice. For this, wash the rice thoroughly. Bring about 4 cups of water to boil, add the rice along with the aromatics. Check for doneness after a while. It should be al dente. Drain and keep aside. 
  • It's time to make the biryani. In a deep and wide pot, heat the oil. Add the chopped onions and fry till they soften. Add the marinated chicken along with the marinade and cook till you see the oil separating at the edges. 
  • Lower the heat, cover the pot with a lid, and cook for about half an hour or till the chicken is tender. You should have chicken with a thick spicy paste. 
  • Now comes assembling. For this, we will create two layers of chicken and rice. Remove half the chicken along with the paste. On top of the remaining cooked chicken, put half the cooked rice. Spread half the crisply fried onion along with half the coriander and 1 tbsp of ghee.  
  • On the surface of the rice, spread the rest of the chicken you had kept aside. Now comes the layer for the rest of the rice. Level the rice surface and spread over the aromatics. This will be the rest of the crisply fried onions and coriander. Pour over the soaked saffron along with 1 tbsp of ghee, mace, the nutmeg, and the garam masala. 
  • Cover the pan and place some kind of weight on it, such as a kettle full of water. It should be cooked under indirect heat. So if possible, place the pot over a big skillet. If you don't have one, place the pot directly on the stove. Cook over medium heat for around 30 minutes. 
  • Your biryani is ready! You will get a hit of the lovely aromatics the moment you open the lid. 
    Flatline view of chicken biryani


  • This recipe includes crisply fried onions. To make it, fry sliced onions till they are dark red and crisp. We recommend doing this over a frying pan as it would take less oil. You can also buy this readymade from Asian grocers. 
  • Aromatics like saffron, mace, and nutmeg give the biryani its lovely aroma. However, if you don't have these, omit them. But you will not get the same aroma. 
  • Biryani is traditionally served with raita. To make, add a little salt to the yogurt and whisk lightly. Add chopped onions and cucumbers. Alternatively, you can also use a yogurt dip.
  • If your pan is very wide, go with a single layer of chicken, topped with a single layer of rice. 
  • If you are doubling the quantity, be careful with the aromatics. Keep the quantity for garam masala, saffron, mace, and nutmeg the same.