Instant Pot Sindhi Biryani – Chicken

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When you want a nice home cooked biryani like mom makes, but you don’t want to spend all day slaving over the stove!

I know this one is a good one for those who don’t want to spend ages in the kitchen because I made this while fasting during Ramadan, and I was not exhausted from cooking! Which on a normal day, is exactly how making biryani makes me feel! Don’t get me wrong, I love the taste of Mom’s Sindhi Biryani made the traditional way. But honestly it is a lot of work, and not something you can whip up any time, you know?

And as always I don’t use boxed seasoning mixes which I find are full of preservatives and fillers. Just using spices from your spice cupboard and the quintessential brown onions that are the hallmark of any good Sindhi curry. πŸ˜‰

For those of you that make biryani from scratch you will honestly kick yourself for not trying it in the instant pot sooner! I know I probably will never go back to the traditional way!

Sindhi Biryani in the Instant Pot

Sindhi biryani in the instant pot is amazing. I honestly don’t think I will make biryani the traditional way again, unless I need to make a huge batch for a crowd, that just won’t fit in my instant pot. But my 8-qt instant pot can make enough to last the two of us days. (about 6-8 servings depending on what else you are eating with it). And makes way less dishes to wash in the end!

I added a few time saving hacks to this to make it even quicker and easier to make:

  • Use boneless chicken – Yes biryani purists will gasp at this, but when you are using an IP the slow cooked flavour intensifies, and you honestly will not miss the bone-in flavour. Although, if you absolutely must use bone-in chicken, see my recipe notes. I have instructions for that version as well. Note that it will add a bit more time to the total cook time, since the bone-in chicken does take a bit longer to cook. Either version will work really well in this recipe.
  • Use pre-fried brown onions. Personally I am not a fan of store bought fried onions. The flavour is never quite right for me. Not to mention the additives and preservatives that are just not necessary. I prefer to make my own. But when I do, I make a huge batch and then refrigerate till I need them. They are useful to flavour all sorts of things like curries, or add to your rice when cooking for added flavour. Fried onions can keep in the fridge for months! So that is what I used here. Cutting a good 15-20 minutes of standing by the stove cooking time! Again you can brown the onions in the IP on saute mode before cooking your biryani. Just allow for a bit more cooking time for the onions.

Total cook time for this biryani is about 1 hour for start to finish if you use the time saving hacks. And you only stand by the IP cooking for about 20 minutes of that. Which is amazing for a biryani which is normally a whole day affair around our house!

And the smell when you release the pressure after it is done cooking! OMG! Be warned. Everyone will get hungry once you hit that quick release!

Instant Pot Sindhi Biryani It is quick (er), and easier than making a traditional Sindhi Biryani and it has all the delicious flavours!

I hope you give it a go!

Instant Pot Sindhi Biryani – Chicken

A spin on my mom's traditional sindhi biryani made in the instant pot for a quicker weeknight version. Or just when you don't want to spend a lot of time slaving over the stove! This version uses a few time saving hacks, like pre-fried brown onions and boneless chicken to keep the cook time shorter. See the recipe notes if you want the more traditional bone-in version.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: pakistani
Keyword: gluten free, sugar free
Servings: 6


For the Chicken Marinade

  • 2.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken cut into large chunks (dark or white meat works, or a mix, just based on your preference)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown onions (if you do not have prepared brown onions, see recipe notes below to make them in the IP)
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cinamon stick (approx. 2 inches long)
  • 2-3 whole cloves

For the Rice

  • 3 cups basmati rice (sella basmati is recommended)
  • 1 cinamon stick (approx. 2 inches long)
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 2-3 whole black peppercorn
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 slices fresh lime
  • 1-2 dried apricot

For the Biryani

  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 2-3 green chillies, sliced
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, sliced
  • 1-2 dried red chillies (I like to use kashmiri red chillies)
  • 1 lbs potatoes, cut into quarters (I prefer Yukon gold, but any good baking potato will work)
  • 1/2 cup raisins, (optional)
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds


Marinate the Chicken

  • In a large bowl mix all the chicken & marinade ingredients together until the chicken is well coated. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes (up to overnight in the fridge). If you do not have the prepared brown onions, see recipe notes below.

Wash and Soak the Rice

  • Rinse the rice a few times till the water starts to look less cloudy. Drain and then add 3 cups of water. Add the remaining rice ingredients and set aside to soak for at least 15-20 minutes.
  • If using, soak the raisins in a cup of water. Set aside. Drain the water off just before using.
  • In a separate small bowl, soak the saffron strands with 1/4 cup of water. Set aside.

Cook the Biryani

  • Set the IP to saute mode. Add 4 tbsp oil, green chillies, ginger slices and whole dried red chillies. Allow to saute for a minute or so till they get fragrant.
  • Add the marinated chicken along with all the marinade. Saute for 8-10 minutes, stirring often till the chicken is almost cooked through. Making sure to stir well so nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. (If you are using bone-in chicken see the recipe notes below). You will see the oil start to come to the surface of the curry when it is done.
  • Add the potatoes, stir well to coat the potatoes in the curry.
  • Gently pour the rice and water into the curry.
  • Add the raisins, if using, spreading them out in an even layer on top of the rice.
  • Cancel saute mode. Close the lid, set the vent to sealing, and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. Quick release the pressure.
  • Once the pressure is released, open the IP lid and gently fluff the rice and chicken with a silicone spatula a few times to mix the chicken and rice a bit and break up the flat surface of the rice on top. Make sure to get down to the bottom of the pan to get the chicken. Be gentle so as not to break up the rice.
  • Pour the saffron water over the rice in a circular motion to coat as much rice as possible. Sprinkle the top of the rice with the reserved brown onions, black pepper and cumin seeds. Cover again and allow to steam for 10 minutes in the residual heat before serving. Enjoy!


If you do not have prepared brown onions, skip this in the marination. You will make brown onions in the IP before cooking the chicken. Thinly slice about 2.5 lbs of onions. Set the instant pot to saute mode and add 1 cup of oil. Add the onions and saute, stirring often until golden brown. Should take about 15-20 minutes. Remember to remove a few tbsp of fried onions for the topping before moving on to cooking the chicken as in the above recipe.Β 
For bone-in chicken, you will need to cook it a bit longer. Saute the chicken as in the recipe above, then after about 10 minutes, cancel the saute. Close the lid, set the vent to sealing, and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Then quick release the pressure, switch back to saute mode, and continue with the recipe above. Making sure to stir well to make sure nothing is sticking at the bottom of the pan.

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