Easy Indian Chicken Biryani made in just one pot or skillet. This delicious flavorful meal is perfect for a lovely evening in and is awesome as a meal prep recipe. While traditional biryani is made marinating the chicken in yogurt, I keep it dairy-free using coconut milk for those of us who are allergic or intolerant to dairy.
Have you ever tried Biryani?
Biryani is a classic Indian dish, which includes aromatic basmati rice studded with raisins, pine nuts, and/or almonds. It typically includes some form of animal protein, such as lamb, chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp. Said animal protein is marinated in a spiced aromatic yogurt sauce prior to cooking the dish.
I make a few changes from the authentic approach to biryani (because it’s my blog site, and I’ll get creative if I want to 😉
To keep it dairy free for myself and those who are allergic or intolerant to dairy, I use coconut milk instead of yogurt in order to marinate the chicken. If you tolerate dairy, simply replace the coconut milk with plain yogurt!
As an additional change up to the traditional version, I make everything in one pot and it cooks together. This way there is minimal cleanup and the process of preparing the dish is goof-proof. If you’d like to check out a more authentic approach to biryani, I encourage you to do so!
While it may seem like a complex dish, making chicken biryani at home is a cinch! It requires a long list of ingredients, most of which are spices, but don’t let that fool you. There is nothing complicated about preparing the meal, and all you need is one large skillet.
In fact, I posted a One-Pot Chicken Biryani recipe years ago, but have since modified it to be even easier with fewer ingredients.
The dish is often served with a yogurt raita sauce, which I absolutely adore! I don’t often make raita myself, because – again – it contains dairy. BUT just know you can absolutely whip some up for your own adventure.
The end result is a flavorful rice dish with a nice protein infusion, which you can either treat as a main dish or a side dish. It makes for a lovely evening in for those times you’re craving takeout.
Let’s make Chicken Biryani!
How to Make Chicken Biryani:
Transfer the raw chicken pieces to a large bowl (or a zip lock bag) with the coconut milk and sea salt. Stir everything well until the chicken is well-coated in coconut milk and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.
Note: You can skip the marinating process entirely and go straight to cooking if you’re in a rush. If this is the case, omit the coconut milk from the recipe entirely.
Heat the oil in a large skillet (you’ll need a deep skillet with a lid that can hold liquid) or Dutch oven.
Place the marinated bone-in chicken pieces on the hot skillet and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until chicken has browned. Flip and cook on the other side another 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet. Continue cooking the chicken for 3 minutes.
Remove chicken from skillet and set aside on a plate.
Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients, including the browned chicken and the coconut milk from the marinade, and stir well.
Increase heat and bring to a full boil. Cook for 3 minutes at a full boil. While the mixture is boiling, stir the contents of the skillet around to ensure the rice is evenly distributed so that it cooks evenly.
Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and allow skillet to sit an additional 20 minutes, or until rice has absorbed all of the liquid. Stir well and serve with sliced almonds and fresh parsley or cilantro.
Can I use Chicken Breasts or Thighs?
You can absolutely replace the bone-in chicken pieces with chopped chicken breasts or thighs. If you go this route, you won’t need to cook the dish as long, as boneless pieces cook faster. Simply replace the bone-in chicken drums with 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast (chopped) or 1 pound chicken thighs (chopped). Brown the chopped chicken for a couple of minutes before following the rest of the recipe as normal.
- If you don’t own a large skillet that comes with a lid, use a stock pot (or dutch oven) to prepare this recipe.
- Omit the onion and garlic to make Low-FODMAP.
- Replace chicken with boneless chicken breasts or thighs, lamb, or shrimp.
- Serve it up with a homemade raita sauce from My Food Story.
Also try my Indian Shrimp Biryani recipe for a shrimp version!
More Indian Recipes:
- Instant Pot Indian Lamb Curry
- Quick and Easy Chana Saag
- Indian Eggplant Curry
- Easy Lamb Curry
- Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
- Indian Chickpea Stew
I hope you love this chicken biryani as much as I do!
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If you make this Chicken Biryani, please feel free to share a photo and tag @The.Roasted.Root on Instagram!
Indian Chicken Biryani
Chicken Biryani with aromatic basmati rice, sliced almonds and golden raisins
- 2 to 3 pounds bone-in chicken pieces or 1.5 pounds boneless chicken thighs
- 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk, well stirred*
- 1 tsp sea salt, to taste
- 2 Tbsp avocado oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped**
- 4 cloves garlic, minced**
- 1 2/3 cups white basmati rice
- 3.5 cups chicken bone broth
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp dried cumin
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Transfer the raw chicken pieces to a large bowl (or a zip lock bag) with the coconut milk and sea salt. Stir everything well until the chicken is well-coated in coconut milk and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet (you’ll need a deep skillet with a lid that can hold liquid) or Dutch oven.
- Place the marinated bone-in chicken pieces on the hot skillet and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until chicken has browned. Flip and cook on the other side another 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet. Continue cooking the chicken for 3 minutes.
- Remove chicken from skillet and set aside on a plate.
- Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, including the browned chicken and the coconut milk from the marinade, and stir well. Increase heat and bring to a full boil. Cook for 3 minutes at a full boil. While the mixture is boiling, stir the contents of the skillet around to ensure the rice is evenly distributed so that it cooks evenly.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and allow skillet to sit an additional 20 minutes, or until rice has absorbed all of the liquid. Stir well and serve with sliced almonds and fresh parsley or cilantro.
**If your canned coconut milk is separated (the thick white flesh is separate from the water beneath), stir it well until it's combined. You can also heat up the coconut milk in a jar in the microwave for about 20 seconds to get it to blend together.
*Omit the onions and garlic if you follow a Low-FODMAP diet.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1 of 6
Amount Per Serving Calories 324Total Fat 7gUnsaturated Fat 0gCarbohydrates 21gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 31g
Wednesday 23rd of March 2022
Hello, I have some questions about the recipe:
1) cinnamon stick: I've never cooked with this. does it stay solid and then need to be removed before serving?
2) you mentioned subbing coconut milk for dairy, but i don't see coconut milk in the recipe ingredients. can i substitute some of the broth for coconut milk?
Thursday 24th of March 2022
The cinnamon stick will stay whole, so you remove it from the pot once the dish has finished cooking and throw it away. In terms of the coconut milk - WOW, I neglected to include the marinating instructions for the chicken! I'm not sure how I missed that, and my sincere apologies! Essentially, you marinate the chicken in coconut milk and sea salt prior to cooking it. I made all of the necessary changes to the recipe, but let me know if anything is unclear. The recipe still works as it was written before (without the coconut milk marinade), so if you wanted to skip that part, you're welcome to and it will still turn out great. Again, I'm so sorry for the confusion and I hope you love the dish! xoxo
Sunday 17th of January 2021
This... isn’t biryani. Stop trying to pass off your poor attempts at ethnic food as something they’re not. You could’ve literally just called it a rice dish instead of falsely claiming its biryani.
Thursday 30th of September 2021
@Nidhi, wow, lighten up, she’s already expressed it’s not authentic. Read reviews first, then comment if you still feel you must.
Saturday 12th of December 2020
This is a great recipe! Its very easy, doesn’t get too many dishes dirty and I can make it in less than an hour. I have made it several times and my family loves it. I served it with raita once and it was amazing. Usually I am lazy and serve it with easy veggies side.
Monday 14th of December 2020
I'm so happy you like it! Thanks for sharing! xoxo
Friday 15th of May 2020
This is not an authentic biriyani recipe, call it what you wish but not biryani. I'm sorry to disappoint you but this is nowhere near the actual stuff !!
Sunday 17th of May 2020
Hi Carol - Yes, I should have been more clear in the post that this is not the authentic version, but rather the version I have developed to make in my own home. I added the appropriate verbiage to the post to indicate so. xoxo
Friday 7th of February 2020
I appreciate that this is easy and quick to make. I cut the cumin to 1/4 tsp because for me, a little cumin is usually just enough! Then, I served it on a bed of spinach and topped it with cucumber raita. Turned out great! I really enjoyed it.
Friday 7th of February 2020
I'm so thrilled you like it, Kimberly! Love the idea of serving on spinach with raita! :D