Chicken Biryani is a one-pot recipe that’s filling, flavorful, and delightfully easy to make! This traditional Indian dish features an array of bold ingredients like a homemade garam masala mix, creamy chicken marinade, mint leaves, jalapeños, and more. Trust me, it’s anything but bland!

A serving of chicken biryani is placed next to naan bread.

Chicken Biryani

There are two elements of this easy chicken biryani recipe that put it a step above the rest. For starters, we’re making our own garam masala mix! It’s a simple blend of bold spices that really create the very best flavor for this traditional Indian dish. The other element of this recipe that makes it undeniably good is the mouthwatering chicken marinade!

The marinade features ingredients like yogurt, garlic ginger, homemade garam masala and more. It really infuses the chicken with the most incredible flavor that’s certainly powerful, but still so complimentary to the rest of the dish! Speaking of the rest of the dish, you’ll enjoy tender bites of basmati rice, fragrant mint leaves, spicy jalapeños and more with every bite of your chicken.

The ingredients for chicken briyani are placed on a white surface.

How to Make Chicken Biryani

  1. Make the garam masala. Combine all of the spices in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Marinate the chicken. Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients until well combined. Add the chicken and toss to fully coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Prepare the rice. Rinse the basmati rice 3 times. Then, let it soak in water for 30 minutes before draining the water.
  4. Cook the onions. Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until light brown.
  5. Note – When the onions first begin to brown, that’s when you know it’s time to add the chicken. 
  6. Cook the chicken. Add the chicken to the pot. Cook 5 minutes on each side to get a good sear. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 18-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  7. Add the rest of the ingredients. Add the rest of the yogurt, half of the mint leaves, jalapeños, chili powder and garam masala to the pot. Mix well, then spread the rice all over the chicken. Pour in the water and sprinkle in the salt. Cover.
  8. Cook. Cover and cook over medium heat until the rice is fully cooked. This should just take about 20 minutes. Feel free to add a splash of water if you find that more is needed to cook the rice.
  9. Enjoy! Let the dish rest for about 10 minutes. Top with your fresh herbs and enjoy!
A wooden spoon is fluffing chicken and rice.

Can I use chicken breasts instead of thighs?

Yes! However, the cooking time might need to be reduced. Chicken breasts tend to dry out during cooking in this recipe more than chicken thighs.

Why do I have to wash the rice?

The main reason you’ll want to wash the rice before cooking is to remove excess starch. This helps the rice hold up during the cooking process and gives it a firmer texture, making it less likely to clump together.

A single serving of chicken biryani is placed next to a skillet.

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A single serving of chicken biryani is placed next to a skillet.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Biryani Recipe

A fragrant seasoned chicken and rice dish, conveniently made in one pot. Traditionally an Indian dish, this dinner can be served with your favorite vegetable and warmed Naan bread.
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For the Garam Masala Mix

  • .4 ounce Ground Cumin
  • .2 ounce Ground Coriander
  • .2 ounce .2 oz Ground Cardamom
  • .2 ounce Ground Black Pepper
  • .1 ounce Cinnamon
  • .05 ounce Ground Clove
  • .05 ounce Ground Nutmeg

For the Chicken

  • 2 lb chicken thighs, boneless skinless
  • ½ cup plain yogurt – 4oz
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 TBSP ginger, chopped fine
  • 2 TBSP garam masala, recipe above
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

For the Biryani

  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • 4 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
  • ½ cup mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeño, chopped with some seeds
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 4 ½ cups water*
  • 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro


  • 1 deep skillet or pot


  • In a small bowl mix all the spices together to make the garam masala. Set aside. These seasonings can last up to 2 months after being mixed.
  • In a bowl mix the marinade- yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, garam masala, paprika, turmeric and kosher salt. Mix this all together well.
  • Add the chicken and mix to coat. Cover and refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
  • Rinse the basmati rice 3 times and then soak for 30 minutes. Drain the water.
  • Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat then add the sliced onions and cook until beginning to caramelize but not burnt. (When the onions first start to caramelize, that’s when you know its ready for the chicken.)
  • Add the chicken and cook on each side for 5 minutes, this allows for a nice sear on both sides. Cover the pot and reduce to low heat and cook until the chicken is cooked through about 18-20 minutes.
  • Add the remaining yogurt, ½ the mint leaves, jalapeño, chili powder and garam masala to the pot and mix well. (if you want to make this less spicy, remove the seeds from the jalapeños before chopping. If you want it really spicy, leave the seeds in!)
  • Pour the drained rice over the chicken mixture and spread evenly.
  • Add the water and kosher salt, cover.
  • Cover and cook over medium heat until the rice is done, about 20 minutes. A bit more water might be needed to make sure the rice is cooked; this is added a ¼ cup at a time.
  • Let rest for about 10 minutes before topping with remaining chopped mint and chopped fresh cilantro.
  • Serve immediately.


Leftovers can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated up to 3 additional days after cooking.
Calories: 743kcal, Carbohydrates: 85g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 153mg, Sodium: 1037mg, Potassium: 681mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 718IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 157mg, Iron: 4mg