Biryani is a rice-based dish that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It 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. Vegetable biryani is a popular and flavorful rice dish that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It is a vegetarian version of the traditional biryani, which is typically made with meat, such as chicken, mutton, or fish.
The recipe I am sharing here is an easy version of the vegetable biryani and is made in an Instant Pot. I am doing the layering of vegetables and rice in the Instant Pot itself and then pressure cooking it. The result is absolutely delicious, yet a very easy-to-make vegetable biryani. This vegetable biryani is perfect not only great for special occasions but also for weeknight dinners.
With this method, we can still create the lovely variation of texture, color, and flavor that we get in authentic Hyderabadi biryani. Read on for ingredients, useful tips, and FAQs to make this easy one-pot veg biryani in an Instant Pot. Also, check out this easy recipe to make Instant Pot paneer biryani.
Why you will love this recipe?
- Convenience: This vegetable biryani recipe is made in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker, which allows for efficient and time-saving cooking. It simplifies the traditional biryani-making process by utilizing the Instant Pot.
- One-pot preparation: With this recipe, you can prepare the entire vegetable biryani in a single pot. The layering of rice and vegetables is done directly in the Instant Pot, minimizing the need for additional pans or dishes.
- Flavors and textures: Despite its simplified approach, this easy veg biryani recipe retains the authentic flavors and textures of traditional biryani. The rice and vegetables are infused with aromatic spices, resulting in a delicious and well-balanced dish.
- Leftover-friendly: Biryani tends to taste even better the next day as the flavors continue to develop. The Instant Pot vegetable biryani recipe yields generous portions, making it a great option for meal prep or leftovers that can be enjoyed for subsequent meals.
Vegetables: I have used potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, and peas.
Rice: Use Basmati rice to make biryani.
Yogurt: Use plain yogurt, preferably with a very slight tang.
Spices: There are a variety of aromatic whole spices used - black cumin seeds, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, star anise, and black cardamom. These spices are easily available in Indian grocery stores.
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, cilantro, saffron, and milk.
Step 1: Set the Instant Pot pressure cooker in saute mode and add ghee. Add whole spices (black cumin, clove, green cardamom, black cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves, pepper, star anise, and bay leaf) and saute for a few seconds (images 1 and 2).
Step 2: Next, add sliced onions and saute until golden brown (images 3 and 4).
Step 3: Once the onions are brown, add ginger garlic paste. Saute for one more minute until the raw smell goes (image 5).
Step 4: Add cashew, almonds, salt, turmeric, and red chili powder (image 6). Mix well and add the vegetables (images 7 and 8).
Step 5: Saute the vegetables for 1-2 minutes (image 9).
Step 6: Add whisked yogurt. Mix well and deglaze the pot. Spread the vegetables to cover the IP. After this stage, do not mix (images 10 and 11).
Step 7: Add coriander leaves and mint leaves. Spread them over the vegetables (image 12).
Step 8: Drain water from the soaked rice and add the drained rice to the IP. Spread evenly (image 13). Next, add saffron milk. Add 2 cups of water gradually (image 14).
Step 9: Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook mode and cook for 5 minutes on high pressure. Do a quick release of the pressure (images 15 and 16).
Use long grain 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.
Rinse and soak the rice: Before using the rice, rinse it well under running water to remove excess starch. This will help prevent the rice from becoming sticky when cooked. Soaking the rice for about 20-30 minutes before cooking can help the grains cook more evenly and result in fluffier rice in this pressure cooker biryani. If you have the time, consider soaking the rice for improved texture.
Spices: Black cumin, also called shah jeera, add a beautiful flavor to this dish. However, if you are unable to find it, replace it with regular cumin seeds. For an authentic tasting biryani, use all the spices I used in this recipe. But if you do not have access to any of the spices, you may skip them. You can also sprinkle garam masala or biryani masala when layering the vegetables for added flavor.
Layering technique: When layering the rice and vegetables in the Instant Pot, make sure to distribute them evenly. Avoid mixing them together. This will help ensure that the rice cooks properly and remains fluffy. When adding water, make sure you add it gradually and slowly. We do not want to mix up the layering.
Resting time: After the veg biryani is cooked, let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This resting time allows the flavors to meld together and enhances the overall taste of the dish.
Garnish generously: Garnish the vegetable biryani with fried onions, fresh herbs like cilantro or mint, and nuts like cashews or almonds. This not only adds visual appeal but also adds extra flavor and texture to the dish.
Serve this delicious biryani with Instant Pot chicken leg quarters for a protein-balanced meal.
Click here for more one-pot meals recipes.
What to serve with vegetable biryani?
Instant Pot vegetable biryani is often served with a variety of accompaniments that complement its flavors. Here are some popular options:
Raita: Raita is a yogurt-based side dish that helps balance the spiciness of this Instant Pot vegetable biryani. It is made by whisking yogurt with finely chopped vegetables and herbs.
Salan: Salan is a spicy curry often served alongside vegetable biryani. It is made with a variety of vegetables or meat, such as mirchi ka salan (made with chili peppers), bagara baingan (made with eggplant), or chicken salan. These curries add an extra layer of flavor and moisture to the veg biryani.
Pappadums: Pappadums, also known as papads or poppadoms, are thin, crisp lentil-based wafers. They can be roasted or fried and served as a crunchy accompaniment to veg biryani.
Salad: A simple salad of sliced cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes with a sprinkle of lemon juice and chaat masala provides a refreshing contrast to the richness of this Instant Pot vegetable biryani.
Mango chutney: Sweet and tangy mango chutney can be served as a condiment alongside biryani. It adds a delightful contrast to the flavors of the dish.
While fragrant Basmati rice is commonly used for biryani due to its long-grain and aromatic nature, you can use other types of long-grain rice as well. Just keep in mind that the cooking time and water ratios may vary slightly depending on the rice variety.
Potato, carrots, green beans, green peas, and cauliflower florets are some of the common vegetables used. You can also add mushrooms, corn, bell pepper, zucchini, etc. too. Regardless of the vegetables used, make sure not to skip potatoes.
Yes, you can use frozen vegetables in the Instant Pot vegetable biryani recipe. Frozen vegetables work well and are convenient, as they cook quickly in the Instant Pot. Just ensure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Yes, biryani can be made ahead of time. You can prepare it a few hours in advance and reheat it before serving. The flavors often deepen and meld together when the biryani is allowed to sit for some time, making it even more delicious.
If you liked this recipe, please don't forget to give a 5-star rating and leave a comment below.
Instant Pot Vegetable Biryani
- 2 cup basmati rice
- 3 tablespoon ghee
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 2-3 cloves garlic grated or ½ tablespoon garlic paste
- 2 inch ginger grated or 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- ½ cup yogurt whisked
- 2 tablespoon cashew optional
- 1 tablespoon almond optional
- 1-1½ teaspoon salt adjust as per taste
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- ½ cup mint leaves chopped
- 2-3 tablespoon milk
- ¼ teaspoon saffron
- 1 small potato chopped
- 1 small carrot chopped
- 6-8 green beans cut into 1 inch pieces
- ¼ cup peas
- 8-10 florets cauliflower
- 1 teaspoon black cumin shah jeera
- 6 green cardamom
- 2 small pieces cinnamon
- 6 cloves
- 2 bay leaf
- 1 star anise
- 1 black cardamom optional
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 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.
- Set Instant Pot in saute mode and add ghee.
- Add whole spices (black cumin, clove, green cardamom, black cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, star anise, and bay leaf) and saute for a few seconds.
- Add onions and saute until golden brown.
- Add ginger, garlic and saute for 1 minute.
- Add cashew and almond and mix well.
- Add salt, turmeric, and chili powder and mix well.
- Add chopped vegetables and saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Add whisked yogurt. Mix well.
- Spread the vegetables to cover the IP. After this stage, do not mix.
- Add cilantro and mint leaves. Spread them over the vegetables.
- Drain water from the soaked rice and add to the IP. Spread evenly. Next, add the 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 seal the vent. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook mode and cook for 5 minutes. Do a quick release of the pressure
- Veg biryani is ready to be served.
I loved your recipe. It was delicious! I paired it with an eggplant curry and it was heaven!
Kayla DiMaggio says
This instant pot biryani was so delicious! I loved all the flavor of the rice and my whole family devoured the dish!
We loved this biryani dish. Your instructions were so helpful and clear that it was a complete success. My family loved it and I'll definitely be making it again. Thank you.
Wow, who'd have thought you could cook biryani so quickly? How fabulous.