This stove top Chicken Biryani is a delicious 30 minute dinner! You could also call it Indian Chicken and Rice. It’s so easy to make and is a healthy weeknight dinner that everyone will love!  Originally published September 7, 2018.

chicken biryani shot from up close.
Table of Contents
  1. You will love this Biryani Chicken
  2. What is Chicken Biryani?
  3. Indian Chicken Biryani ingredients
  4. How to make Chicken Biryani
  5. Chicken Biryani Recipe variations
  6. Tips for this Indian Chicken Biryani Recipe
  7. What to serve with Indian Chicken and Rice
  8. How to store leftover Chicken Biryani
  9. Indian Chicken Biryani Recipe FAQs
  10. Indian Chicken Biryani Recipe Recipe

I had a dream I was vacuuming last night. Vacuuming! And I was doing a really good job too, like spring cleaning level vacuuming. Why can’t dreams always be something pleasant, like relaxing on a beach somewhere, or petting kittens? I fell asleep on purpose, so that I didn’t have to do anything, let alone chores. Come on now brain. Throw me a bone here.

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chicken biryani in a skillet.

Also, I was vacuuming my childhood bedroom. Go ahead and analyze that one for me.

woman with bangs.

In other news, I got my hair cut. Why do women get so excited about haircuts?? I’m no exception. It’s nice to have something new going on. I cut off about 7 inches. Hard to believe my hair was so long! (No one noticed, and I can’t blame them, because I have been rocking the mom-bun pretty much all summer. To Eric’s credit, he actually did notice. Better than my dad, who still to this day after 44 years of marriage can’t tell when my mom gets her hair done until he hugs her and smells the perm chemicals.)

chicken biryani on a white plate.

I am delivering on my promise of more easy weeknight recipes! If you’ve signed up for my emails, then you will have seen the question I ask on my first email, what’s your greatest challenge in the kitchen? And SO many of you respond telling me how there is just NO TIME. You’ve just gotten home from work, the kids have turned into ravenous animals, and you need dinner stat.

Indian chicken curry on a plate.

So here’s an Indian-inspired dish, which should only take about 30 minutes to throw together. Barring any arguments between kids, or homework meltdowns, or phone calls that need to be taken. Let’s be real here.

The funny thing is that as I was in the kitchen putting this recipe together, I kept having thoughts like, ooh, carrots would be good in this. Or, ooh, how about some cilantro and cashews at the end? And when I was finished I realized I had almost the exact same dish as this Sheet Pan Curry Chicken with Basmati Rice. Down to the garnishes. And I didn’t even realize it until I was done. I guess I just know what I like??

Chicken biryani in a skillet.

You will love this Biryani Chicken

The nice thing about today’s chicken biryani recipe is that it really is super quick, and it’s all done on the stovetop. Perfect for hot days when you don’t want to turn on the oven. (Are you guys still having hot days? California hasn’t gotten the memo about fall yet.)

What is Chicken Biryani?

Biryani is a traditional Indian dish of rice cooked with meat and veggies. As with most Indian dishes, there are supposed to be about 100 spices in it, but I wanted to keep this recipe very simple, so we are just using curry powder, which does a nice job of pulling together the flavors we’re going for. You could also try adding garam masala, if you have some. That would add even more layers of flavor.

Indian Chicken Biryani ingredients

Here’s a quick overview of everything you’ll need to make chicken biryani. Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for a complete list!

  • Chicken thighs or chicken breasts
  • Flour
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Yellow curry powder
  • Olive oil
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Powdered ginger
  • Basmati rice
  • Butter
  • Cilantro
  • Cashews

How to make Chicken Biryani

Here’s a quick overview of how to make this recipe. Make sure to scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for complete instructions!

Slice the chicken into strips, pat it dry, and dredge it in a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, and yellow curry powder.

slicing chicken and mixing together spices.

Pan-searing the chicken over medium heat. I love how electric yellow it is. Curry has turmeric in is, which is just so bright! Remove to a plate, and set aside.

sauteed chicken in turmeric and curry powder.

Cook the onions in the same pan. Then microwave some carrots while the onions cook. Yup, I said microwave. I really love being the food CHARLATAN sometimes, because that means I get to pull crap like throwing my veggies in the microwave instead of doing everything authentically the way I’m sure Indian grandmothers do it. Carrots take a long time to soften on the stovetop, and I don’t have time for that. So into the microwave they go, and then finish them in the saute pan. By the time the rice is done they are perfectly tender.

slicing carrots on a cutting board, adding rice to sauteed vegetables.

Add the garlic, curry powder, and ginger, cooking for just a couple minutes.

Stir in the rice, water, and salt, then add the chicken back into the pan. I used traditional basmati rice in this recipe, and I love the aroma and flavor so much, but you can use whatever kind of white rice you have on hand. My second choice would be jasmine rice, so go with that if you have it. But regular ol’ white rice will work great too! Brown rice is a whole different animal and needs to be cooked way longer, so you will have to do some experimenting with that one (hint: you won’t need to microwave your carrots).

chicken biryani cooking in a skillet.

Cover tightly with a lid and turn the heat up to high. When it starts to boil, turn the heat down to low and cook until the rice and carrots are tender and the chicken is cooked through. 

Add butter, chopped cilantro, and chopped cashews. Serve with plain yogurt and cucumbers.

adding cilantro and cashews to chicken biryani.

Chicken Biryani Recipe variations

I love this chicken biryani just the way it is, but here are a few ideas to make it your own!

  • Add golden raisins for little pops of sweetness
  • Sprinkle a little lemon juice on the finished dish for freshness
  • Substitute another protein of your choice for the chicken, like pork or tofu
  • Play with other spices, like bay leaves, a cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, coriander, cumin seeds, star anise, or even saffron. Whole spices have so much flavor!
  • Make the sheet pan version instead!
  • Omit the cilantro if you’re not a fan (I love it but I get it, not everyone does)
  • Add other veggies with the onions! Peas would be great, so would bell peppers. Clean out your fridge and put in whatever suits you.

Tips for this Indian Chicken Biryani Recipe

Here are my best tips for making this Indian rice dish.

  • Saute your chicken in batches. I know it’s tempting to just put it all in there at once, but if you want nicely seared chicken, don’t do it. It will steam, and the chicken will be pale and have a lot less flavor.
  • Steam your carrots before adding them to the rice. No one wants hard, crunchy carrots in their biryani! Steaming them first ensures they’re tender.
  • Toast the spices. It’s insane how big a difference this makes! Toasting the spices brings out their flavor and makes this biryani totally irresistible.

What to serve with Indian Chicken and Rice

Chicken Biryani is so good all by itself, but if you are looking for a side dish to jazz it up, make this Roti (Buttery Indian Flatbread). It is so soft and flavorful. You could also try making Homemade Naan, which is never a bad choice. Use lots of butter! You could also make Raita, which is quick Indian side dish made from cucumbers and yogurt and a few spices. It’s really delicious, but if you’re feeling lazy you could also just throw some sliced cucumbers and plain yogurt on the table for people to garnish however they want.

Indian chicken curry with carrots.

How to store leftover Chicken Biryani

Leftover chicken biryani can be stored in the fridge for up to five days. It also freezes well, so don’t be afraid to toss it in a ziplock or a tupperware and bring it out later for a quick dinner. Remember to label it!

Indian Chicken Biryani Recipe FAQs

What is special about chicken biryani?

Unlike Indian curries, which are usually served WITH rice, biryani IS rice: warming, toasty, spiced, aromatic rice with chicken, fried onions, and veggies mixed in. It’s really comforting food, like the Indian version of the chicken rice casserole your grandma always made.

How do you pronounce biryani?

Biryani is pronounced bee-ree-AH-nee, with the emphasis on the third syllable. Don’t stress about it! You can enjoy making it even if you’re not sure how to say it.

Is biryani a curry?

Nope! Curry is saucy, with meat or vegetables in it. Biryani isn’t saucy at all. It’s more like a rice pilaf, where you add small pieces of vegetables, meat, or both to make it a complete meal.

What does Indian biryani taste like?

Biryani tastes like a spiced rice pilaf. If you like the flavors of Indian curry, like garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, and turmeric, you’ll find the same flavors here.

More international dishes you are going to love!

Sheet Pan Curry Chicken and Carrots with Basmati Rice (Biryani) << here is today’s recipe twin. It’s cooked on a sheet pan instead of on the stove.

Slow Cooker Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce << I loooove making curry in the slow cooker

Indian Spiced Cauliflower Rice << a great low calorie side for any curry!

Baked Chinese Chicken and Rice from Spend with Pennies

One Pot Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole from Bless This Mess

Arroz Con Pollo: How to Make Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice from The Noshery

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Indian Chicken Biryani Recipe

5 from 9 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
This stove top Chicken Biryani is a delicious 30 minute dinner! You could also call it Indian Chicken and Rice. It’s so easy to make and is a healthy weeknight dinner that everyone will love!  


  • 1 pound chicken, cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 large carrots, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 2 tablespoons yellow curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 2 cups dry basmati rice
  • 3 & 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cashews, chopped


  • Start by slicing the chicken into strips. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
  • In a small bowl, combine flour, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder.
  • Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture to coat.
  • In a large, high sided skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat until it shimmers. 
  • Add the chicken to the pan one strip at a time, with about 1 inch in between each piece of chicken, to give it a good sear. Do this in at least 2 batches. If you crowd your chicken into the pan all at once, it will steam instead of sear, and you won’t get those tasty brown marks. 
  • Cook the chicken on the first side for about 1-3 minutes, until browned, then flip with tongs and sear on the other side for 1-2 minutes until browned. It’s okay if the chicken is still raw in the middle, in fact, that’s preferable. It will finish cooking with the rice. 
  • Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
  • Swirl another tablespoon of olive oil into the hot pan. 
  • Add the chopped onions and saute for 3-5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, chop the carrots (see photos) and place in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon of water. Microwave on high for about 3-5 minutes. The carrots should be softening at this point but still inflexible. 
  • Add the carrots (and liquid) to the pan with the onions. Continue cooking 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and saute 1 minute, until fragrant.
  • Add 2 tablespoons curry powder and 1 teaspoon ginger, and stir it all together so that the spices get nice and toasty. Continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes. 
  • Stir in the rice. Add the water and 2 teaspoons salt. Stir it together and add the chicken back into the pan. 
  • Cover tightly with a lid and turn the heat up to high. Keep an eye on it. When it starts to boil, turn the heat down to low. Cook on low for about 17 minutes. 
  • At this point, the rice should not be crunchy, the carrots tender, and the chicken cooked through all the way. Put the lid back on and keep cooking for another few minutes if it’s not done. 
  • Add 2 tablespoons of butter and stir it all together.
  • Stir in chopped cilantro and chopped cashews. You could also stir in golden raisins if you wanted, that would be delicious!
  • Serve with plain yogurt and cucumbers. You could also serve it with Roti (Buttery Indian Flatbread) or Homemade Naan.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 681kcal | Carbohydrates: 97g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 1897mg | Potassium: 701mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 15425IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Calories: 681
Keyword: 30 Minute Recipes, Biryani, chicken, rice
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. 5 stars
    I made this for family a few weeks ago. I normally stay away from curry powder but I loved this dish and it was done super quickly!

  2. 5 stars
    This dish is delicious! My kitchen smelled amazing, and it didn’t even take long to make! I served the Chicken Biryani with some toasted Naan Bread (which I smothered with plenty of butter). My sister enjoyed this dish as well, and got seconds! Thank you for sharing your recipe, Miss Karen! 😁

  3. This dish was delicious. Followed recipe to the T. It was 1 1/2 hours from the moment I took the chicken out of the fridge to the moment I was putting it in my mouth. I don’t care if the recipe was “authentic”, it was yummy and that was our end goal – trying new recipes and different foods for 2022. This is a keeper.

  4. ooooh…this is not chicken biryani — it’s not even indian.
    if you want an approachable quick biryani that can be done quickly please try Sohla El Waylly’s recipe.

    No Indian puts curry powder and carrots in biryani (ingredients overall are not correct). No Indian would make this dish with that technique either (technique is not correct)
    Sorry – please make and enjoy but this isn’t biryani if that was what you were seeking to make!

  5. This is wonderful!  I don’t care if it’s the original!  Just made it.  Didn’t have raisins, so used dried cranberries!

  6. This is really good! For an even easier cheat, I use the carrot matchsticks that I buy in the produce section and put them in after sautéing the onions. And I also add some broccoli florets (cut really small) and throw those in when I throw in the carrots. One dish meal! Winner! Big family favorite!

  7. This is fantastic! I don’t know what all the fuss is about whether it’s biryani or not. It is super tasty, easy, and fast! We love it! I didn’t have cashews or cilantro, and it was still tasty. SOOOO good! Do you think it would freeze well? We are recent empty nesters so this is a lot for 2 people. Also, just fyi…I steamed about a 1/3 of a head of cauliflower, cut into florets, and threw them in for extra veggies. Super good. Definitely in the regular rotation. Just curious if you think it will freeze well?
    By the way, we always love your recipes. Your turkey wild rice soup is the bomb!

    1. Thank you for such an awesome and quick dish…
      My family loved it…. Can’t wait to check out the rest of your recipes.

  8. This was really good, thanks for sharing! We did a slight variation on this and used tofu instead of chicken and added pistachios as we didn’t have cashews. Was really good 

  9. I was really excited to make this and it tasted great but my rice was so gloopy and everything stuck together. Next time I think I will just make rice separately and add in at the end after the veggies are cooked through.

  10. This is NOT Indian chicken biryani. This is called Pulao or Pulav or Polao. No vegetables (except potatoes eg in Kolkta style authentic Chicken Biryani in India) go into Chicken biryani & definitely NO carrots. 

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