Instant Pot chicken pulao is a delicious one-pot meal that combines tender chicken with fragrant rice and aromatic spices. Made with moist chicken pieces, this Indian-style chicken and rice casserole is a flavorful and satisfying dish that can be prepared in 20 minutes.
The rice is cooked to perfection, and the subtle flavors from the whole spices perfectly complement the tender chicken, making it a hit with the whole family.
Why you will love this chicken pulao recipe?
- This one-pot chicken pulao recipe is a great option for those looking for a simple and versatile meal that can be served for busy weeknights or special occasions.
- Made with basic and simple ingredients and spices, this
Instant Potchicken pulao recipe is easy to prepare and perfect for a quick and satisfying meal.
Ingredients and substitutes
Chicken: I use chicken legs or drumsticks to make the pulao. You can use any cut with either bone-in or boneless chicken.
Rice: Use Basmati rice to make this chicken rice.
Spices: The whole spices I use are bay leaves, green cardamom, black cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon. The powdered spices I use are garam masala, turmeric, and chili powder.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Yakhni pulao: Yakhni means broth, and yakhni pulao is a flavorful variation where the chicken is cooked in a broth made with a blend of whole spices and onions. The rice is then cooked in this chicken stock, resulting in a rich and aromatic pulao.
Keema Pulao: Chicken keema pulao is made with ground chicken (keema) instead of chicken pieces. The keema is cooked with spices, onions, and tomatoes, and then the rice is added and cooked until done.
Green chicken pulao: This variation uses a vibrant green masala made from cilantro, mint, green chilies, and spices. The chicken is cooked with this masala, giving the pulao a fresh and herbaceous flavor. You can find my recipe to make green vegetable pulao here.
Tomato chicken pulao: In this variation, the chicken is cooked in a tomato-based gravy along with spices and aromatics. The rice is then added and cooked together, resulting in a tangy and flavorful pulao.
Expert tips to make
Instant Pot chicken pulao
Wash the Basmati rice thoroughly in running water until the water runs clear. Then, soak it for 20-30 minutes. Soaking the rice is an important step while making any kind of pulao. Washing and soaking the rice will help to remove excess starch from it and achieve a non-sticky texture to the pulao.
The water-to-rice ratio for this
The whole spices are important to make the best-tasting pulao. You may skip the ones you don't have access to, but it will definitely change the taste of the final dish. You can also add one teaspoon of cumin seeds along with other spices.
Add green chilies along with onions to increase the heat. You can also add more red chili powder or cayenne to make a spicy pulao.
Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes. You can marinate the chicken for longer if you are planning ahead to make this dish. Place the marinated chicken in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight and then use it.
I use chicken legs or drumsticks to make the pulao. You can use any cut with either bone-in or boneless chicken. Adjust the saute time accordingly.
What to serve with chicken pulao?
Raita and salad: Raita is a yogurt-based side dish that helps balance the spices in the pulao. Cucumber raita, onion raita, and mint raita are great options. Make a simple kachumber salad or slice cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions and place them on a wide plate. Sprinkle salt and lemon juice and serve.
Papadums or Naan: Papadums (crispy lentil wafers) or naan bread are great options to serve alongside chicken pulao.
Green Chutney: Green chutney add a zesty and refreshing element to the meal. It can be served as a dip or drizzled over the pulao. Whisk it with a dollop of yogurt to make yogurt mint chutney.
Both biryani and pulao are rice-based dishes. The most important difference is in the assembly of the dish. In pulao, soaked rice is added along with vegetables/meat and cooked while in biryani, the rice is parboiled first and then layered with a gravy/curry made with vegetables/meat.
Basmati rice works best for this dish. Not only does Basmati rice have a great aroma, but it also has long grains that if cooked correctly, are separate, non-lumpy, and do not stick to each other.
Yes, a stovetop pressure cooker can be used. Follow this recipe and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Open the lid once the pressure goes down and mix the chicken and fluffy rice gently.
For a hands-off approach, you can prepare chicken pulao in a slow cooker. Sauté the ingredients and partially cook the chicken on the stovetop, then transfer them to a slow cooker along with the soaked rice and water. Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours until the rice and chicken are fully cooked.
More chicken recipes
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Instant Pot Chicken Pulao
For the marination:
Prep and marinate:
- Wash the Basmati rice thoroughly and soak it in water for 20-30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, add yogurt, ginger, garlic, turmeric, salt, and chili powder. Mix well.
- Add the chicken and mix well. Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes.
Make the pulao:
- Set the Instant Pot to saute mode and add ghee.
- Once it heats, add the whole spices (bay leaf, green cardamom, clove, black cardamom, and cinnamon). Saute for a few seconds.
- Add onions and fry until the onion is golden.
- Add the marinated chicken pieces and mix well. Cover and saute for 5 minutes.
- Drain the water from the soaked Basmati rice and add the rice.
- Add garam masala, salt, and one cup of water and mix well.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot and seal the vent. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook mode for 5 minutes.
- Do a quick release of the pressure. Open the lid and gently fluff up the rice. Garnish with cilantro (coriander leaves).
- Serve hot with raita.
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