Mughlai Biryani Indian Recipe

Mughlai Biryani Recipe

The Spruce 

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
799 Calories
53g Fat
35g Carbs
46g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 799
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 53g 68%
Saturated Fat 23g 113%
Cholesterol 183mg 61%
Sodium 410mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 46g
Vitamin C 9mg 45%
Calcium 183mg 14%
Iron 5mg 28%
Potassium 938mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This regal dish, Mughlai biryani is fit for a king and was probably eaten by many too. This recipe combines ingredients typical in the Mughlai style of cooking—it's a perfect one-dish meal for when you have company.


  • 1/2 cup almonds

  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste

  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste

  • 2 cups basmati rice

  • Salt, as needed

  • 6 tablespoons ghee, canola, or sunflower oil, more as needed

  • 4 large thinly sliced onions, divided

  • 1-inch cinnamon stick

  • 8 whole peppercorns

  • 5 whole cloves

  • 3 cardamom pods

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, optional

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • 2 pounds lamb, chicken breasts, or thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 cup plain yogurt

  • 3 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 cup chicken or beef stock

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves

  • 3 drops each orange and green food coloring, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. 

    Mighlai biryani ingredients.
  2. Put the almonds in a bowl of hot water (enough to cover them) and set aside for 10 minutes.

    Add almonds to bowl with water
    The Spruce
  3. After 10 minutes, remove the skins from all the almonds by pressing each one between your thumb and forefinger. The almonds will slip out of their skins.

    Remove skin from almonds
    The Spruce
  4. Mix the garlic and ginger pastes and the peeled almonds and grind the mixture into a smooth paste in a food processor.

    Grind almonds, garlic, and ginger
    The Spruce
  5. Wash the rice in a sieve and add enough water to fully cover the rice—at least 4 inches over the surface of the rice. Add salt to taste.

    Wash rice with water
    The Spruce
  6. Boil the rice until it is almost done. To determine when the rice has reached that stage, remove a few grains from the pot and press them between your thumb and forefinger. The rice should mostly mash but will have a firm, white core. Turn off the burner.

    Boil rice until done
    The Spruce
  7. Strain the rice through a colander and set it aside.

    Strain rice and set aside
    The Spruce
  8. Heat 3 tablespoons of ghee or oil in a pan and fry half the onions until they are caramelized and golden brown. Drain and set the onions aside on paper towels.

    Caramelize onions in skillet
    The Spruce
  9. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of ghee or oil in another pan and add the whole spices—cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom. Fry the mixture until the spices turn a little darker.

    Add spices to skillet
    The Spruce
  10. Add the remaining onions and fry them until they are translucent.

    Add onions and fry
    The Spruce
  11. Add the ginger-garlic-almond paste and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

    Add almond paste to onions and spices
    The Spruce 
  12. Add all the spice powders—coriander, cumin, and garam masala—and mix well.

    Add spice powders to mixture
    The Spruce
  13. Fry the mixture until the oil begins to separate from the masala and then add the lamb or chicken. Continue frying until the meat is fully coated in the mixture and becomes opaque and loses its pink color.

    Add chicken or lamb to mixture
    The Spruce
  14. Add the yogurt, lime juice, stock, coriander and mint leaves, and salt to taste (if needed). Mix well.

    Add the yogurt, lime juice, stock, coriander and mint leaves and salt
    The Spruce  
  15. Cover the pot and allow the dish to cook until the meat is tender.

    Cover and cook until meat is tender
    The Spruce
  16. If you are using food coloring, divide the rice into 3 equal portions and put each portion into a separate dish. Add the orange food coloring to 1 portion of the rice and the green food coloring to another portion. Leave the third portion white.

    Add food coloring to different portions of rice
    The Spruce
  17. With each portion, mix the rice until all the grains are well colored.

    Mix rice with food coloring
    The Spruce
  18. Set the rice aside for 10 minutes and then mix the 3 portions in a bowl.

    Mix portions of rice in bowl
    The Spruce
  19. Grease a deep baking dish and evenly layer the cooked rice and meat (and its gravy) to form at least 2 sets of layers—rice-meat-rice-meat-rice. Garnish with the previously caramelized onions.

    Layer rice and meat in cooking dish
    The Spruce
  20. Cover the dish tightly. If the dish does not have a cover, use 2 layers of aluminum foil with the shiny side of both layers pointing down toward the rice, and secure the foil to the dish with baking string.

    Cover dish with aluminum foil
    The Spruce
  21. Put the dish in a preheated oven set at 350 F. Bake for 20 minutes.

  22. Turn off the oven and let the dish sit in the oven until you are ready to eat. Remove the foil only when you are ready to eat.

    Cooked mughlai biryani
    The Spruce
  23. Serve and enjoy.


  • To serve Biryani, gently dig in with a spoon so that you get through the layers.
  • While Mughlai biryani tastes great by itself, add a raita-like chatpata channa raita (chickpeas in hot-sour yogurt) to really perk up the flavor.

Recipe Tags: