Vegetable biryani - a delicious Indian rice dish made with an assortment of vegetables, blend of aromatic spices, yogurt, saffron, and basmati rice. This instant pot vegetable biryani typically involves cooking marinated vegetables and rice in one pot.
The traditional method of cooking biryani involves layering marinated vegetables and partially cooked rice, which is a bit of a time-consuming process. The lengthy process and extensive list of ingredients can be challenging for budding cooks and those unfamiliar to Indian cuisine but still wanting to try this well-known dish.
An ideal option without sacrificing texture and flavours is this instant pot vegetable biryani. Veggie biryani can be prepared quickly and conveniently with an instant pot, which not only speeds up preparation time but also significantly reduces cooking time, making it the best option.
I made this easy vegetable biryani recipe with a 6-quart instant pot. One fascinating aspect of the instant pot is that the timer remains constant, no matter how much food is being cooked. The IP takes time to create pressure based on the pot’s contents before starting the timer countdown.
This instant pot pressure cooker biryani is a complete meal itself, but raita, onion salad, or pickles can be served with it for more flavour and variety on weekdays. It's an excellent option for weekend feasts, potlucks, parties, and special events.
Why you will love instant pot biryani?
Ideal dish for beginners
No pre cooking rice required
Easy and quick
What is biryani?
This delicious rice dish is made with whole spices, saffron, fried onions, herbs, rice, and meat or vegetables, and it has an aromatic and spicy flavour. The traditional way of cooking involves layering rice with marinated veggies or meat, then cooking it over low heat with a sealed pot to keep the smoke from escaping.
- Whole Spices: Shahi jeera, cloves, green cardamom, cassia (dalchini), mace, saffron strands, star anise and bay leaf.
- Dry Spices: red chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder and aromatic homemade biryani masala.
- Vegetables: Onion, ginger garlic paste, carrots, fine beans, potatoes and green peas. I have used all fresh but frozen green peas but feel free to use fresh peas.
- Dairy: Ghee (clarified butter) to impart a lovely flavour and yogurt to marinate the vegetables and spices. Milk to soak saffron.
- Rice: I have used fragrant extra long grain basmati rice but regular basmati rice works as well.
- Liquid: Water to cook biryani. Ensure to use right water to rice ratio.
- Oil: I have used sunflower oil but you could switch to any neutral cooking oil.
- Herbs: Fresh mint and coriander leaves are essential to make this biryani flavourful.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make instant pot vegetable biryani?
Place the rice in a deep-bottomed bowl and rinse it with cold tap water 2-3 times until the water runs clear.
Soak the rice in fresh water for 15 minutes.
Soak the saffron strands in 2 tablespoons of milk in a small bowl.
In the meantime, assemble the chopped vegetables and remaining ingredients on the kitchen counter.
Combine biryani masala, turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, ginger garlic paste, mint, coriander leaves, salt, yogurt, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.
Now add chopped vegetables, stir until vegetables are coated with spiced yogurt mixture.
Close the bowl with a plate or clingwrap and marinate for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, plug in the instant pot pressure cooker, turn the sauté mode ON and add oil.
Fry sliced onions until they turn brown for about 10-12 minutes. Prevent them from sticking to the pot's base by stirring regularly.
Remove the fried onions from the steel pot and transfer them onto a kitchen towel-covered plate.
Add ghee to the steel pot now.
After melting the ghee, add bay leaves, cassia, cloves, mace, star anise, green and black cardamom and fry until they release their aroma.
Add the shahi jeera and let it splutter for half a minute.
Add the green chillies and sauté for a minute.
Mix marinated veggies, fried onions, remaining mint, coriander leaves and stir thoroughly.
Drain the water from the soaked basmati rice while the vegetables are cooking.
Now press the CANCEL button.
Gently stir together soaked rice, water, coriander, mint, and saffron milk. Taste it and add more salt if needed.
Place the lid on the pot and secure it, then set the pressure valve to SEALING.
Set the timer for 4 minutes after pressing the PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL button.
Initially, the instant pot shows ON and starts the timer countdown once the pressure is built up.
After the timer goes off, wait for 10 minutes to let the pressure release naturally.
Turn the pressure valve to VENT position after 10 minutes, wait until the pressure is released completely and the small knob located next to the pressure valve goes down.
Take the lid off the pot, wait for 5 minutes and then fluff the rice with a fork.
Serve instant pot vegetable biryani steaming hot alongside cucumber raita, pickle or a side dish of your choice.
What is the difference between pulao and biryani?
The list of ingredients used, cooking technique, and time consumption are the primary differences between them.
1. Pulao is cooked in one pot using the absorption method - rice, vegetables and spices are sauteed and cooked together and the liquid is completely absorbed while cooking. The correct rice to liquid (water/stock/coconut milk) ratio is essential. An incorrect ratio leads to uncooked or overcooked rice! To cook biryani in a traditional way, the rice is parboiled in one pot using a draining method, while the vegetables, spices, and yogurt are marinated and then cooked separately in another pot. Later, the parboiled rice and vegetables are layered and slowly cooked until done.
2. Veg pulao takes less time to prepare than the biryani. Making pulao is simple and straightforward, but biryani can be challenging and overwhelming for beginners.
3. The spices used in biryani are significantly higher than the pulao rice.
Variations and Substitutions
Ginger garlic: You could use freshly grated/minced ginger and garlic as a substitute for pre-made ginger garlic paste.
Fried onions: If you're pressed for time, go for store-bought fried onions.
Vegan: To make vegan biryani, substitute dairy yogurt with plant-based yogurt, milk with almond or coconut milk and ghee with vegan butter or increase the use of oil.
Vegetables: Feel free to use vegetables more vegetables such as cauliflower or capsicum (bell pepper). Even mushrooms and paneer makes a great addition.
Fridge: Leftover one pot vegetable biryani can be stored for 2-3 days in the fridge if kept in an airtight container.
Reheat: Place the rice in a microwave-safe bowl to reheat it in the microwave until it's piping hot. Pause at intervals, remove the bowl from the microwave, and stir the rice using a spoon for even heating.
Tips and Tricks
Wash: Rinse and wash the rice under cold running water at least 3-4 times until the water runs clear.
Ratio: The ratio of rice to water may change depending on the quality and age of the rice. Follow the instructions on the packet for the rice-to-water ratio. To cook the extra long grain basmati rice, I added 1.5 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice (so 4.5 cups water for 3 cups basmati rice).
Soaking: Soak the rice for 15 minutes before prepping vegetables to reduce pressure cooking time and save time. In case you soak the rice for more than 30 minutes, make sure to reduce the liquid slightly to avoid it turning mushy.
Frying onion: Keep stirring the onions while frying to prevent them from sticking to the pot. Stirring is necessary for even browning and to avoid charring.
Whole spices: Make sure to remove the whole spices before serving as they are used for infusing delicious flavour and aroma. These spices have a strong taste that leaves an unpleasant aftertaste when bitten.
Onion: Ensure the onion is sliced uniformly and thinly.
Chopping Vegetables: Ensure to cut vegetables into large pieces to prevent them from getting mushy.
Stirring: Stir rice gently to ensure not to break the grains while combining with water and vegetable mixture.
For a weekend feast or for special occasions serve it with starters such as aloo 65 or gobi 65, salan or simple medium spiced curry such as lauki kofta curry, capsicum curry or green peas curry, raita, salad or south Indian salad such as cucumber kosambari
The shape of Jeera is oblong and it's larger and fatter than shahi jeera. These have a yellowish-brown color and are more widely used than other types.
Shahi jeera's is more bitter than other varieties. It is popularly called kala jeera or Kashmiri jeera in India.
Yes, vegetable biryani can be made in advance and reheated. Refrigerate it in an airtight container to keep it fresh for 2-3 days. Reheat with little water in a microwave to preserve moisture.
Biryani is typically spicy. However, you can adjust the spiciness of vegetable biryani to your liking. You can remove green chilies and reduce red chili powder from the recipe to make it less spicy.
Don't worry if you don't have biryani masala, you can still make vegetable biryani using other Indian spice blends such as garam masala or curry powder. Adjust the spice levels to your liking.
Rinse basmati rice well before cooking to prevent it from becoming mushy. Avoid overcooking and use the right water-to-rice ratio. Parboil the rice if you’re not using a pressure cooker or instant pot.
As it has no meat, vegetable biryani is typically a vegetarian dish. But it is not a vegan dish as it use ghee (clarified butter) and yogurt.
However, it can be made vegan by replacing ghee with any cooking oil and dairy yogurt with plant based yogurt.
Of course you can. But ensure not to overcook the rice rather cook over medium low heat and for only 2 whistles. Let pressure release naturally before opening the lid.
More Instant Pot Recipes
Jeera Rice: Cumin-flavoured aromatic rice dish made with whole cumin seeds, fragrant spices and basmati rice.
Ven Pongal: Classic south Indian special dish prepared with rice, moong dal, a few essential spices and ghee.
Vegetable Pulao: Delightful gluten-free and vegan one-pot rice recipe prepared with assorted vegetables, spices, herbs and rice.
Dal Khichdi: One-pot delicious meal made with lentils, rice and a few spices.
Kashmiri Pulao: Delicious and aromatic rice dish from Kashmiri cuisine. With the perfect combination of fresh and dried fruits and aromatic spices, it creates a delightful blend of sweet and savoury flavours and textures.
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📖 Recipe Card
Instant Pot Vegetable Biryani
- 1 Instant Pot duo 7 in 1 electric cooker
- 1 Spoon
1 Cup = 250ml ; 1 Tablespoon = 15ml ; 1 Teaspoon = 5ml
- 3 Tablespoons Yogurt
- 1 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 1.5 Teaspoons Red Chilli Powder
- 2 Teaspoons Coriander Powder
- Salt as required
- 45 gms (or) 3 Carrots wash, peel and cut each into half length wise and then cut each half into an inch pieces.
- 70 gms (or) 12 Green Beans wash, trim edges and cut into an inch pieces
- 250 gms (or) 5 small Potatoes wash, peel and cut each half length wise and then cut each again half length wise into 2-3 pieces and then each into big chunks.
- 125 gms (or) ¾ cup Frozen Green Peas thaw in water
- Half a bunch Fresh Coriander Leaves wash and chop finely
- Half a bunch Fresh Mint Leaves wash and chop finely
- Juice from 1 Lemon
- 2 Teaspoons Ginger Garlic Paste
- 3 Tablespoons Oil
- 2 Teaspoons Ghee
- 200 gms (or) 2 medium Onions peel and slice thinly
- 10 Cashews
- 2 Green Chillies slit each into two
- 670 gms (or) 3 cups Long Grain Basmati Rice
- 6-7 Saffron Strands
- 2 Tablespoons Milk
- Half bunch Fresh Coriander Leaves wash and chop finely
- Half bunch Fresh Mint Leaves wash and chop finely
- 1.5 Teaspoons Shahi Jeera
- 3 Green Cardamom
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 5 Cloves
- 1 Mace
- 1.5 inch Cassia (Dalchini)
- 1 Star Anise
- 4.5 cups Water
- Salt as required
- Place the rice in a deep-bottomed bowl and rinse it with cold tap water 2-3 times until the water runs clear.670 gms (or) 3 cups Long Grain Basmati Rice
- Soak the rice in fresh water for 15 minutes.
- Soak the saffron strands in 2 tablespoons of milk in a small bowl.6-7 Saffron Strands, 2 Tablespoons Milk
- In the meantime, assemble the chopped vegetables and remaining ingredients on the kitchen counter.
- Combine biryani masala, turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, ginger garlic paste, mint, coriander leaves, salt, yogurt, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.3 Tablespoons Yogurt, 1 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder, 1.5 Teaspoons Red Chilli Powder, 2 Teaspoons Coriander Powder, Half a bunch Fresh Coriander Leaves, Half a bunch Fresh Mint Leaves, Juice from 1 Lemon, 2 Teaspoons Ginger Garlic Paste, Salt
- Now add chopped vegetables, stir until vegetables are coated with spiced yogurt mixture.45 gms (or) 3 Carrots, 70 gms (or) 12 Green Beans, 250 gms (or) 5 small Potatoes, 125 gms (or) ¾ cup Frozen Green Peas
- Close the bowl with a plate or clingwrap and marinate for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, plug in the instant pot pressure cooker, turn the sauté mode ON and add oil.3 Tablespoons Oil
- Fry sliced onions until they turn brown for about 10-12 minutes. Prevent them from sticking to the pot's base by stirring regularly.200 gms (or) 2 medium Onions
- Remove the fried onions from the steel pot and transfer them onto a kitchen towel-covered plate.
- Add ghee to the steel pot now.2 Teaspoons Ghee
- After melting the ghee, add bay leaves, cassia, cloves, mace, star anise, green cardamom and fry until they release their aroma.1 Bay Leaf, 5 Cloves, 1 Mace, 1.5 inch Cassia (Dalchini), 1 Star Anise, 3 Green Cardamom
- Add the shahi jeera and let it splutter for half a minute.1.5 Teaspoons Shahi Jeera
- Add the cashews, green chillies and sauté for a minute.2 Green Chillies, 10 Cashews
- Mix marinated veggies, fried onions and stir thoroughly.
- Drain the water from the soaked basmati rice while the vegetables are cooking
- Now press the CANCEL button.
- Gently stir together soaked rice, water, coriander, mint, and saffron milk. Taste it and add more salt if needed.Half bunch Fresh Coriander Leaves, Half bunch Fresh Mint Leaves, 4.5 cups Water, Salt
- Place the lid on the pot and secure it, then set the pressure valve to SEALING.
- Set the timer for 4 minutes after pressing the PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL button.
- Initially, the instant pot shows ON and starts the timer countdown once the pressure is built up.
- After the timer goes off, wait for 10 minutes to let the pressure release naturally.
- Turn the pressure valve to VENT position after 10 minutes, wait until the pressure is released completely and the small knob located next to the pressure valve goes down.
- Take the lid off the pot, wait for 5 minutes and then fluff the rice with a fork.
- Serve instant pot vegetable biryani steaming hot alongside cucumber raita or a side dish of your choice.
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