Instant Pot Paneer Biryani

Paneer Biryani made in the Instant Pot – this one pot meal has basmati rice cooked with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and fragrant spices.

Makes a comforting and hearty one-pot meal. Serve with a side of raita or yogurt.

a plate full of rice and paneer, garnished with cilantro and pomegranate arils with a bowl of yogurt place on one side and a plate of spices placed on the other side

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We obviously eat a lot of rice. Have I told you guys my nana ji (maternal grandfather) was a farmer and had rice farms. Growing up, we never purchased rice from the market. It always came from the village.

It was the same for mangoes, we never purchased them, how I wish to go back to that time!

Anyway, because rice was grown so much in that area (eastern Uttar Pradesh) and also because nana ji had so many farms, my family ate rice every meal of the day, 365 days a year.

In simple words, there was no meal in my house without rice on the table. Needless to say, I grew up on rice but I was never very fond of it.

I liked it, but I could do without it. In fact even today it’s so surprising that Sarvesh likes rice more than me even though he didn’t really grow up eating it for all his meals like me.

So, the other day when I made this Paneer Biryani, guess who was more excited and who ate most of it? Yes, you guessed it right- it was him!

This Paneer Biryani has paneer (of course) and some beautiful spices making it extremely fragrant.

Let’s see what all ingredients make this paneer biryani recipe special!

✔ Rice: So, I have used basmati rice here. That is what is traditionally used in making biryani.

The long grain fragrant basmati rice is what you need here. You can either find basmati rice online or at any grocery store. Most Indian stores have a big bag of it.

✔ Paneer: The main ingredient of this biryani is paneer, the Indian cottage cheese.

I have used store bought paneer here. I always soak my paneer in warm water for 20 minutes before using in the recipe.

That makes it really soft. For this recipe, I marinated the paneer with some yogurt and spices, let it sit it the refrigerator for 30 minutes and then used in the recipe.

The marination gives the paneer cubes more flavor.

plate full of rice and paneer, garnished with cilantro and browned onions

✔ Spices: The flavor of the biryani comes from all the wonderful spices that are used in it.

Biryani masala- this is a blend of spices that you can find at Indian grocery stores. If you don’t have biryani masala, you can use garam masala.

Note: the biryani masala that I have linked here might say that it’s for chicken or other meat biryani, but the masala itself is vegetarian. It’s only spices!

Saffron– this not only gives the biryani color but also a wonderful aroma.

Rose water or kewra water– either of these give biryani a wonderful aroma and I highly recommend using one of them in the recipe.

Other than these, the recipe also uses some whole spices like cardamom, bay leaf, peppercorn, cloves etc.

✔ Fried Onion: now, I love fried onion in my biryani. I sauteed them first in the Instant Pot until they were brown and then used half while pressure cooking the rice and half of it to garnish before serving.

If your Instant Pot gives BURN message frequently, please do this step of sauteing the onion in a separate pan. 

✔ Fresh herbs: I have used cilantro here to garnish the biryani. You can also use fresh mint. In fact, you can even add herbs while pressure cooking the biryani.

Nuts: I also use some cashews for the crunch. You can even use almonds. Or some raisins if you want to add some sweetness to the biryani.

Hope you guys give this biryani recipe a try!

Method

1- To a large bowl add yogurt and whisk it until smooth. Then add ginger-garlic paste, coriander powder, biryani masala, paprika, red chili powder, salt, chopped cilantro. Mix it well.

2- Then add the paneer cubes.

3- Mix until all paneer cubes are coated with the marinade. Cover and chill the bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

4- Meanwhile rinse the rice until water turns clear and then soak it in 2 cups (16 oz) water for 30 minutes. Drain the water after 30 minutes using a colander and set the rice aside.

step by step picture collage of making paneer biryani in instant pot

5- Add pinch of saffron strands to 1 tablespoon of warm milk and set aside.

6- Press the saute button on the Instant Pot. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon ghee. Add sliced onion to it.

7- Saute for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring often until onions are browned. Once the onions are browned, remove them from the pot.

Please note if your IP is prone to BURN message, do this step on a pan and not in the IP.

8- Then add the remaining tablespoon of ghee in the pot. Add the whole spices (bay leaf, cloves, green cardamom, peppercorns & shahi jeera) and let them sizzle.

step by step picture collage of making paneer biryani in instant pot

9- Then add the chopped ginger, garlic and cashews. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until garlic, ginger and cashews start changing color.

10- Stir in the marinated paneer and toss.

11- Add 1/4 cup (2 oz)  water and deglaze the pot by scraping the bottom of the pot with a spatula. Make sure there’s nothing stuck at the bottom of the pot.

12- Then add  remaining 1 cup (8 oz) water and rice.

step by step picture collage of making paneer biryani in instant pot

13- Add the biryani masala and salt.

14- Add 1/2 of the fried onion and the prepared saffron milk on top.

15- Also add the rose or kewra water.

16- Close the pot with the lid. Press the manual or pressure cook button. Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and then do a quick pressure release.

step by step picture collage of making paneer biryani in instant pot

Open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.

Place paneer biryani on a serving plate, top with cilantro and remaining half of the fried onion. You may also add some pomegranate arils on top.

Serve with a side raita or yogurt.

a plate full of rice and paneer, garnished with cilantro and pomegranate arils with a bowl of yogurt place on one side and a plate of spices placed on the other side

If you’ve tried this Instant Pot Paneer Biryani Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Paneer Biryani

a plate full of rice and paneer, garnished with cilantro and pomegranate arils with a bowl of yogurt place on one side and a plate of spices placed on the other side
Manali
Flavorful Paneer Biryani made in the Instant Pot! This fragrant biryani has basmati rice cooked with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and aromatic spices. Best enjoyed with a side of raita (yogurt dip).
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3
Calories 595 kcal

Ingredients
  

Paneer Marinade

  • 3 tablespoons whole milk yogurt use thick yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon biryani masala or use garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 225 grams paneer cut into cubes, around 1.5 cups cubed paneer

Rice

  • 1 cup basmati rice 200 grams, soaked 30 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon milk with pinch of saffron strands (for saffron milk)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee divided
  • 1 medium red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 4 green cardamom
  • 5-6 black peppercorns
  • 3/4 teaspoon shahi jeera or use cumin seeds
  • 1.5 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 1.5 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoons broken cashews
  • 1.25 cups water 10 oz, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon biryani masala or use garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon rose water or kewra water
  • chopped cilantro to garnish
  • pomegranate arils to garnish

Instructions
 

  • To a large bowl add yogurt and whisk it until smooth. Then add ginger-garlic paste, coriander powder, biryani masala, paprika, red chili powder, salt, chopped cilantro. Mix it well.
  • Then add the paneer cubes. Mix until all paneer cubes are coated with the marinade. Cover and chill the bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile rinse the rice until water turns clear and then soak it in 2 cups (16 oz) water for 30 minutes. Drain the water after 30 minutes using a colander and set the rice aside.
  • Add pinch of saffron strands to 1 tablespoon of warm milk and set aside.
  • Start with the process of making the biryani after the paneer has been marinated for 30 minutes and rice has been soaked for 30 minutes. You can start sauteing the onions before the 30 minute mark.
  • Press the saute button on the Instant Pot. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon ghee. Add sliced onion to it. Saute for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring often until onions are browned. Once the onions are browned, remove them from the pot.
    Please note if your IP is prone to BURN message, do this step on a pan and not in the IP.
  • Then add the remaining tablespoon of ghee in the pot. Add the whole spices (bay leaf, cloves, green cardamom, peppercorns & shahi jeera) and let them sizzle.
  • Then add the chopped ginger, garlic and cashews. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until garlic, ginger and cashews start changing color.
  • Stir in the marinated paneer and toss. Add 1/4 cup (2 oz)  water and deglaze the pot by scraping the bottom of the pot with a spatula. Make sure there's nothing stuck at the bottom of the pot.
  • Then add  remaining 1 cup (8 oz) water and rice.
  • Add the biryani masala, salt, 1/2 of the fried onion and the prepared saffron milk on top.
    Also add the rose or kewra water. 
  • Close the pot with the lid. Press the manual or pressure cook button. Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes with the pressure valve in the sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and then do a quick pressure release.
  • Open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Place paneer biryani on a serving plate, top with cilantro and remaining half of the fried onion. You may also add some pomegranate arils on top.
    Serve with a side raita or yogurt.

Notes

  1. Remember to soak the store bought paneer in warm water for 20 minutes, then pat dry, cut into cubes and then marinade it. 
  2. If you Instant Pot gives BURN message, do the step of frying the onions in a pan on stove-top. Do rest of the steps as it is on the Instant Pot.

Nutrition

Calories: 595kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 17gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 628mgPotassium: 207mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 233IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 431mgIron: 2mg
Keyword paneer biryani
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8 thoughts on “Instant Pot Paneer Biryani

    1. maybe? does it cook in this much time in IP usually? If yes then go for it. Sorry I don’t eat any fake meat so I have never cooked it and don’t have an idea about it.

  1. Just tried making this last night and the taste was SO good. However, the paneer got really rubbery out of the IP. I soaked it in warm water and it was nice and soft in the marinade. The cooking just completely changed the texture though!

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