Chicken Biryani with Yellow Basmati Rice

This chicken biryani recipe is a simplified version of Hyderabadi biryani, still complete with a mix of marinated meat and spiced rice.
4 servings
2 Hrs
Active Time
1 Hr

Chicken biryani is everything we love about Indian cuisine—fluffy spiced rice, extra flavorful curried chicken, and lots and lots of aroma. It takes a bit of effort (and a lot of ingredients) to get the dish down. But the result is more than worth it, with flavor bomb after flavor bomb gracing your taste buds at every spoonful.

There are several variations of chicken biryani in the Indian subcontinent. This recipe follows the method of Hyderabadi biryani, which layers meat and par-boiled rice in a sealed pot cooked over low heat.

Fried Onions

  • neutral oil, for frying
  • 2 cups red onion, thinly sliced


  • 500g chicken thighs
  • 500g chicken drumsticks
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 1 ½ tbsp ginger paste or finely minced ginger
  • 1 ½ tbsp garlic paste or finely minced garlic
  • 1 ½ tsp–2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 handful cilantro or coriander
  • 1 handful fried red onions


  • 4 cups basmati rice
  • 6–7 cups water
  • 2 pcs bay leaf
  • 5 pcs whole cloves
  • 1 pc cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 ½ tbsp salt
  • 5 pcs green cardamom
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter


  • mint leaves
  • cilantro or coriander
  • ghee or clarified butter
  • garam masala

To make the fried onions, heat oil in a pot over high heat. Once oil is hot, fry onions in batches until slightly golden brown.


Lay fried onions on a paper towel-lined tray or plate to drain. Let cool and set aside.


In a bowl, add chicken thighs, chicken drumsticks, yogurt, ginger, garlic, chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, salt, ghee, lemon juice, cilantro, and fried onions.


Using your hands, mix everything and massage the marinade onto the chicken.


Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hrs up to overnight.


To prepare the rice, soak basmati rice in water for 10–15 mins. Strain.


In a pot, add 6–7 cups of water and the strained rice.


Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon sticks, caraway seeds, salt, cardamom, cilantro, mint leaves, and ghee.


Cook the rice for 5 minutes or until almost cooked.


Strain the rice and the spices. Set aside in a large bowl.


In a pot or wide pan, heat clarified butter, ghee, or oil over medium heat.


Add the marinated chicken and cook until tender. Transfer the chicken to a bowl or plate.


In a wide, thick-bottomed pan, add clarified butter or ghee.


Layer the pan with 1 ½–2 cups of basmati rice. Add a few pieces of chicken, then cover with another layer of basmati rice.


Add fried onions, mint, cilantro, and clarified butter, then sprinkle with garam masala.


Repeat the layering process until all ingredients are on the pan.


Wrap the pot with aluminum foil, then cover with a lid.


Cook chicken biryani over low-medium heat for 15 mins.


Let cool for a few minutes before serving.


You can also use store-bought fried onions as an alternative.

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