Instant Pot paneer biryani step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
About this recipe
Paneer biryani is an Indian-style layered casserole dish made with Basmati rice and Indian cottage cheese. This wholesome one-pot dish is great not just for weeknights but also for gathering and potlucks. Aromatic and flavorful, this dish is a delight for paneer lovers. And if you don't like paneer or don't use it in your cooking, this dish is the perfect way to include it in your diet.
Biryani is made with long-grain rice (mostly Basmati rice) and meat or vegetables that are cooked in whole spices. It is usually made by layering rice and vegetables/meat and slow-cooking in low heat.
Making it in the Instant Pot is easy and fuss-free, and it gets done in less than 30 minutes. I am doing the layering of paneer and rice in the Instant Pot itself and then pressure cooking it. The result is absolutely delicious, yet a very easy-to-make biryani.
I have earlier shared how to make easy vegetable biryani in Instant Pot. Here is my version of easy paneer biryani. Read on for ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and useful tips to make this wholesome and delicious restaurant-style biryani at home.
Paneer: You can use either store-bought or homemade paneer.
Rice: Use Basmati rice to make biryani.
Yogurt: Use plain yogurt, preferably with a very slight tang.
Spices: I have only used powdered spices here - garam masala, ground cardamom, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. You can replace them with store-bought biryani masala powder.
Onion, ginger, and garlic: They form the base of the gravy.
Ghee: I make this biryani with ghee; however, you may replace it with any cooking oil of your choice.
Other ingredients: Mint leaves, coriander leaves, saffron, and milk.
Heat ghee in the Instant Pot and fry onions until they are golden. Add ginger, and garlic and saute for one more minute (steps 1,2).
Add whisked yogurt, powdered spices (garam masala, ground cardamom, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground turmeric, and chili powder), and salt. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes (steps 3,4).
Drain the water from the paneer and add it to the pot. Mix gently and saute for one minute. Spread the paneer to cover the IP. After this stage, do not mix (steps 5,6).
Add the cilantro and mint leaves. Spread them over the paneer (step 7).
Drain water from the soaked rice and add to the IP. Spread evenly (step 8).
Add saffron milk. Add 2 cups of water gradually. It is important not to add all the water in one go as this may mix up the layering (step 9).
Close the IP lid and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook mode and cook for 5 minutes (step 10).
Do a quick release of the pressure. Serve hot with sides of your choice (steps 11,12).
I have used garam masala, ground cardamom, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg in this recipe. You may replace these ground spices with store-bought biryani masala.
Use Basmati rice. It has a great aroma and long grains that when cooked correctly, are separate, non-lumpy, and do not stick to each other.
Wash the Basmati rice thoroughly in running water, till the water is clear.
When adding water, make sure you add it gradually and slowly. We do not want to mix up the layering.
Do a quick release of the pressure once the Instant Pot beeps. Doing a natural release will lead to the rice getting overcooked.
To make this biryani vegan, replace ghee with oil, paneer with extra firm tofu, and yogurt with any plant-based yogurt.
This dish is:
- easy one-pot meal perfect for weeknights, parties, and gatherings,
- tasty and delicious just like authentic biryani,
- wholesome protein-rich dish.
Paneer Biryani in Instant Pot
- 2 cup basmati rice
- 2 cups paneer
- 3 tablespoon ghee
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 inch ginger finely chopped
- ½ cup yogurt whisked
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- ½ cup mint leaves chopped
- 2-3 tablespoon milk
- ¼ teaspoon saffron
Powdered spices (see notes)
- 2 teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder or as per taste
- Wash the rice thoroughly and soak in sufficient water for 30 minutes.
- Soak the saffron strands in warm milk. Set aside.
- Cut the paneer into small cubes. Soak it in warm water for 10-15 minutes.
- Set Instant Pot in saute mode and add ghee.
- Add onions and saute until golden brown.
- Add ginger, garlic and saute for 1 minute.
- Add whisked yogurt, powdered spices, and salt. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes.
- Drain the water from the paneer and add it to the pot.
- Mix gently and saute for one minute.
- Spread the paneer to cover the IP. After this stage, do not mix.
- Add the cilantro and mint leaves. Spread them over the paneer.
- Drain water from the soaked rice and add to the IP. Spread evenly.
- Add saffron milk.
- Add 2 cups of water gradually. It is important not to add all the water in one go as this may mix up the layering.
- Close the IP lid and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook mode and cook for 5 minutes.
- Do a quick release of the pressure.
- Paneer biryani is ready to be served.