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Whole Chicken Ghee Rice Biryani | Show Stopper Biryani | Instant Pot Recipe

Show-stopping & delicious whole chicken ghee rice biryani…

If you’re looking for that special biryani you want to make for any special occasion or to treat your loved ones, this is the biryani you must try. Absolutely delectable & a crowd-pleaser. The perfectly marinated whole chicken was air-fried and combined with the onion-tomato masala. I’ve used the most aromatic & flavourful ghee rice for this biryani, pressure cooked in the Instant Pot.

Masala, ghee rice, whole chicken & all the biryani toppings were layered & dum cooked. When you open the biryani pot, the aroma that will spread from this biryani is just mesmerizing & you’ll be seen taking deep breaths in.



Cooking Video

Whole Chicken Ghee Rice Biryani | Show Stopper Biryani | Instant Pot Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
  • Whole Chicken- 1.5 kg or 3 lbs
For making marinade
  • Kashmiri chili powder- 2 tbsp (mild version)
  • Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
  • Coriander powder- 2 tbsp
  • Regular chili powder- 1 tsp (hot version)
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Ginger-garlic paste- 2 tbsp
  • Lemon juice- 2 tbsp
  • Ghee or oil- 1 tbsp
  • Water- 2 tbsp
  • Salt- 1½ tsp
For making onion masala
  • Oil- 3 tbsp
  • Ghee- 2 tbsp
  • Dried bay leaves- 2
  • Onions, sliced thin- 5 yellow onions
  • Ginger-garlic paste- 1 tbsp
  • Green chilies, chopped- 2 or 3
  • Tomatoes, chopped- 2
  • Chicken marinade- 1 tbsp
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder- ½ tbsp
  • Salt- 1 tsp
  • Yogurt- 3 tbsp
  • Cilantro, chopped- 2 tbsp
  • Mint leaves, chopped- 10 leaves
For making ghee rice
  • White basmati rice- 3 cups (soaked & rinsed)
  • Ghee- 3 tbsp
  • Dried bay leaves- 2
  • Garlic cloves- 3
  • Ginger- 2 inch slice
  • Green chilies, halved- 3
  • Whole cardamoms- 3
  • Whole cloves- 2
  • Whole cinnamon- 1 inch slice
  • Onion, sliced- 2
  • Salt- 1 tsp
  • Water- 3¼ cups (for Instant Pot pressure cooking)
For topping biryani
  • Ghee- 2 tbsp
  • Saffron strands- 30 strands soaked in water
  • Fried onions- 2 cups
  • Roasted cashew nuts- ½ cup
  • Roasted raisins- 2 tbsp
  • Cilantro, chopped- ¼ cup
  • Mint leaves, chopped- 2 tbsp
For making raita
  • Yogurt- 2 cups
  • Onion, minced- ¼ cup
  • Tomato, minced- ¼ cup
  • Green chilies, chopped- 1
  • Cilantro, chopped- 2 tbsp
  • Salt- ¼ tsp
  • Paprika- to garnish (optional)
For making salad
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Onions, sliced
  • Carrots, sliced
  • Lemon, sliced
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Paprika
  1. I've taken 1.5 kg or 3 lbs whole chicken, remove the skin & rinse it well under running water. If there are any internal organs, remove that as well.
  2. Using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, I cut through the backbone of the chicken, this is called butterfly the chicken. This way, we can spread the marinade inside the chicken as well. This step is optional, you can use whole chicken without cutting through the backbone.
Air frying whole chicken
  1. In a bowl, add all the ingredients 'for making the marinade'. Combine well make a smooth paste.
  2. This marinade can be made well in advance & stored in the refrigerator for a few days.
  3. Spread the marinade all over & inside the chicken.
  4. Save 1 tbsp marinade, will be added to the onion masala.
  5. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight keep it in the refrigerator.
  6. I've air fried the whole chicken in my Instant Pot duo crisp & air fryer.
  7. If you don't have an air fryer, roast in the oven at 400 F or 200 C for 35 to 40 minutes till the chicken has cooked well.
  8. In the Instant Pot, place the air fryer basket into the stainless steel pot.
  9. Grease the air fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray.
  10. Place the marinated whole chicken into the basket.
  11. Spray the chicken with non-stick cooking spray.
  12. Close with the air fryer lid.
  13. Select air fry, set temperature to 400 F, time to 30 minutes.
  14. Half way through, after 15 minutes open the lid & spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  15. Continue to air fry for the remaining 15 minutes.
  16. The whole chicken was cooked well after 30 minutes of air frying.
  17. Take the whole chicken out of the air fryer basket, keep it aside. Cover with aluminum foil so that it will stay warm.
Making masala for biryani
  1. I've used my Instant Pot for making the masala. You can cook it in a saucepan over stove top.
  2. Select saute setting on the Instant Pot. Temperature should be medium.
  3. Add oil & ghee to the stainless steel pot.
  4. Add dried bay leaves & sliced onions.
  5. Season with 1 tsp salt, add ginger-garlic paste & green chilies.
  6. Cook the onions till they turn light golden in color. Keep stirring otherwise the pot will turn brown.
  7. Add tomatoes, combine well.
  8. Close with a glass lid that fits the stainless steel pot & cook till tomatoes have mashed up.
  9. Now add 1 tbsp marinade that we used for marinating the whole chicken, combine well.
  10. Add garam masala, coriander powder & salt, combine well & cook for 2 minutes.
  11. Add yogurt, combine well & cook for 2 minutes.
  12. Add cilantro & mint leaves chopped, combine well.
  13. Masala is ready, place the whole chicken onto the masala.
  14. Close the pot with the lid & cook for 4 minutes.
  15. Remove the stainless steel pot from the main pot & keep it covered.
  16. Whole chciken & the masala can be made ahead of time & kept in the refrigerator for 2 days.
Making ghee rice
  1. I've used my Instant pot to cook ghee rice.
  2. Take basmati rice in a bowl, add some water & let soak for 15 minutes.
  3. To a blender jar: add garlic, ginger, green chilies, cardamom, cloves & cinnamon; grind to a coarse paste.
  4. After 15 minutes, pour the rice to a strainer & rinse under running water till clear.
  5. Select saute setting on the Instant Pot, temperature should be medium.
  6. Add ghee & dried bay leaves.
  7. Add the ground paste, saute for 2 minutes.
  8. Add onions, saute for 2 minutes.
  9. Add salt, combine well.
  10. Add water, combine well.
  11. In the Instant Pot, for 3 cups rice, 3¼ cups liquid has to be added for making soft rice.
  12. :1 ratio water rice will make the rice very crisp, so I tend to add ¼ cup more water for soft rice.
  13. Add the soaked & rinsed rice, combine well.
  14. Close the pot with the lid.
  15. Cancel saute setting.
  16. Select pressure cook setting, set time to 6 minutes at high pressure.
  17. After 6 minutes of pressure cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes & then do a quick pressure release.
  18. Open the lid, the aroma from the ghee rice will be just amazing.
  19. Fluff the rice, if the rice on the top is crisp, mix well, cover the pot & let rest for a few minutes, the rice will turn soft.
  20. If you don't have an Instant Pot, cook ghee rice in a saucepan over stove top for 20 minutes. For 3 cups rice add 5½ cups water.
Layering the biryani
  1. Before layering the biryani, have all the toppings ready.
  2. Fry 2 sliced onions in oil till golden brown.
  3. Roast cashew nuts in oil, roast raisins in oil.
  4. Soak saffron in ¼ cup water for 5 minutes.
  5. Have ghee, chopped cilantro & mint leaves ready.
  6. For dum cooking, have to use a large wide saucepan.
  7. Drizzle 1 tbsp ghee on the pan.
  8. Spread half of the onion masala as the first layer.
  9. Top with half of the ghee rice.
  10. Spread half of the fried onions, cashew nuts, raisins, saffron water, cilantro & mint.
  11. Spread the remaining onion masala.
  12. Spread ghee rice over it.
  13. Place the whole chicken on the rice.
  14. Add all the remaining toppings: fried onions, cashew nuts, raisins, saffron water, cilantro & mint.
  15. Drizzle 1 tbsp ghee.
  16. Cover the pot tightly with aluminum foil & then with the lid.
[/b]Dum cooking[/b]
  1. Dum cooking: place the biryani pot over low heat for 15 minutes.
  2. After 15 minutes, remove the pot from the heat & let rest for a few minutes.
  3. Open the lid, the most delicious whole chicken ghee rice biryani is ready to be enjoyed.
  4. Transfer the whole chicken to a platter, combine the ghee rice & masala, spread rice masala around the chicken.
  5. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for making raita.
  6. For making salad, on a plate, arrange all the sliced veggies, season with salt, ground black pepper, lemon juice & paprika.
  7. Enjoy biryani with raita, salad, pappad & pickle.
  8. Biryani tastes better the next day, any leftovers can be refrigerated for 3 days.



Thas is the author of Cooking with Thas, a popular food blog with recipes from Indian, American and Fusion Cuisines. She has been blogging since 2009 and been featured in several magazines. Read more...