This Chicken Pulao is the easiest Indian style Chicken and rice recipe that you’ll ever make in an Instant Pot with minimal efforts and fewer ingredients. You’ll have juicy tender boneless chicken and fluffy rice with subtle flavors.
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Instant Pot Chicken Pulao
A perfect Chicken Pulao begins with nailing the rice : liquid ratio + the pressure cooking time.
These 3 factors can easily make or break the recipe!
It’s very important to get the rice : liquid ratio right to end up with fluffy rice that’s cooked to the right consistency.
Instant Pot Chicken Pulao or pressure cooker chicken pulao is a tricky recipe. But, not anymore!
I’ve the perfect Pulao recipe for you that’ll give you the best results only if you follow the recipe to the T 😀
No more sticky, over cooked, lumpy or burnt Pulao rice. No more Chicken Pulao that tastes meh and the rice looks like a porridge 😀
Fluffy Pulao rice with intense flavors and extremely tender juicy chicken guaranteed every single time.
To make this Chicken Pulao even easier and quicker I used boneless chicken thighs and store bought crispy onions.
If you want you may prepare your own deep fried onions know as Birista and make the recipe with chicken on the bones. In that case, I’ll recommend to increase the chicken cooking time to 4 mins.
Unlike Chicken Biriyani this recipe calls for fewer ingredients, lesser cooking steps and you’ll crave for more always.
Hence, you can cook it any night, be it a lazy one or a busy one.
Honestly, guys it took me a while to get this Chicken Pulao recipe right in the Instant Pot.
Several experiments and practice sessions and here I am with the perfect Easy Chicken Pulao recipe just to ease off the burden of your weeknight dinner menu!
Just grab the Instant Pot and rustle up this delicious, easy, economical and versatile Pulao in less than an hour.
What is Chicken Pulao?
Chicken Pulao is an Indian Chicken and rice dish that’s mildly flavored with spices. Unlike Biriyani it’s a one-pot recipe where rice and chicken are cooked together with a few spices and some amount of liquid.
It is a great economical recipe that’s easy to make & perfect to feed a large family or crowd.
Ingredients Chicken Pulao Instant Pot
Note: Spices Set – For marinating the chicken. Spices Set 2 – Used while cooking the chicken.
- Chicken: Boneless Chicken Thighs or breasts cut into 2.5″ chunks.
- Basmati Rice: Aged Basmati works best but it’s not mandatory. Use whatever variety you own.
- Store Bought crispy onion or homemade fried onion know as Birista.
- Dry Spices: Star anise powder, garam masala powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder.
- Whole Spices: Black peppercorns, green cardamom, black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon.
- Bay leaf.
Pro Tip: Cut short the cooking time, use store bought crispy onions available in stores like Walmart and Kroger in the U.S.A. If you want to make your own homemade deep fried onions read the Recipe notes mentioned on the recipe card below.
Easy Chicken Pulao – Tips & Tricks
Though a pulao recipe is tricky to nail yet it’s not impossible. Follow the below tips to nail this Instant Pot Chicken Pulao recipe at the first go!
- Wash the rice multiple times: This is so important. You need to wash the rice under running tap water until clear water runs through. The multiple washing technique will drain away the starch from the rice and will make it non sticky.
- Soak the Basmati rice not more than 30 mins: Soaking the rice will make it fluffy and light once cooked.
- Do not skip the yogurt: This will keep the chicken tender and juicy. Yogurt will also balance the flavors of the spices and maximize the taste of the Pulao.
- Star anise powder is the secret Ingredient, don’t skip it: Add star anise powder to boost the flavors of todays pulao recipe. It’s that ingredient that’ll make your guests beg for the recipe. The woody, floral aroma and the subtle flavor of star anise powder is hard to pass.
- Don’t skip the whole garam masalas: This will add tons of great flavors to the recipe which you’ll love.
- Used aged Basmati for best results: Aged Basmati rice will lead to a fluffy, light Pulao. The cooked rice grains won’t stick to each other. I didn’t manage to stock on aged Basmati rice for this recipe and used just the regular variety.
- Wait for natural pressure release for 10 mins, it’s a must: The residual heat will cook the rice to the right consistency.
- Fluff the cooked Pulao gently with the help of a fork: The gentle stroke of the fork will allow the trapped heat to escape fast & will help to fluff up the rice.
How to make Chicken Pulao?
Steps in words below pics
Time needed: 25 minutes.
How to make Chicken Pulao in Instant Pot?
- Flash marinate the chicken & prep the rice
Coat the washed & dried chicken pieces with the dry spices and flash marinate them. In the meantime, wash the rice several time and soak it for 30 mins.
- Sizzle the whole garam masalas
In the Instant Pot sizzle the whole garam masalas in hot ghee on Saute at Normal.
- Saute the marinated Chicken
Add the chicken pieces and saute in ghee until the chicken begins to become opaque.
- Add yogurt, spices to the Chicken
After adding the yogurt, spices & the crispy onions to the chicken, mix well and saute for few mins more.
- Pressure cook the chicken
Add water, mix well and pressure cook the chicken on High for 1 min. Do a quick pressure release.
- Strain the Chicken & measure the stock
You need to add exactly 530 ml of chicken stock. Strain the chicken and measure the stock, add water to the stock if needed.
- Add the basmatic rice
Next, add back the chicken & stock to the pot. Also add the soaked and strained basmati rice. Mix gently.
- Pressure cook the Pulao
Pressure cook on HIGH for 4 mins. Wait for 10 mins natural pressure release than release the rest of the pressure.
- Fluff, Rest and serve
Fluff the cooked pulao with the help of a fork. Allow the Pulao to rest for 10-15 mins. Serve.
What to eat with Chicken Pulao?
We love the Pulao as such or enjoy munching some crunchy sliced onions with it for a quick meal.
However, when I have some extra time on hand I quickly whip up a bowl of raita.
What is the difference between Chicken Pulao and Chicken Biriyani?
The major difference between Chicken Pulao and Chicken Biriyani is the way they are cooked.
However, the subtle difference also lies in the cooking time and the number of ingredients.
Chicken Biriyani is labor intensive and time consuming, requires a bit of planning. Whereas, a Chicken Pulao is easier, quicker and involves lesser effort.
Chicken Biriyani is never made in a single pot. Rice is partially cooked in a separate pot and chicken is cooked in a different pot. They are than layered together and cooked again “Dum Style” over low heat.
Whereas, Chicken Pulao is an easy one-pot meal where the chicken and rice are always cooked together.
Summary: To make a Chicken Biriyani you should never cook the rice and chicken together in a single pot. Biriyani involves a layering and Dum style cooking technique. Whereas, to make a Chicken Pulao recipe always cook the chicken and rice together in a single pot.
What goes well with Chicken Pulao?
A simple salad and a bowl of raita (Indian spiced yogurt) goes well with Chicken Pulao.
This Indian Chicken and rice dish is a healthy and filling one pot meal all by itself. You can enjoy it as such without any sides whatsoever.
Is Chicken Pulao healthy?
Yes, Chicken Pulao is a healthy one-pot meal that happens to be economical as well.
This Pulao is also Kids friendly and a perfect recipe for busy weeknights.
Love Rice? Try this Easy Mutton Biriyani cooked the authentic way.
Chicken PulaoPrint Recipe Pin Rate
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- 2 cups Basmati Rice
- 800 gms boneless chicken thighs or breasts cut into 2.5″ chunks (1.77 pounds)
- 1/4 cup yogurt whisked
- 1/4 cup store bought crispy onions or Barista (Read NOTES below)
- 3 tbsp Ghee
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 cup water for cooking chicken
- Salt (to taste)
Dry spices for Flash Marinating Chicken
Cooked Chicken Stock
- 530 ml Which is 2 cups + additional 50 ml (Here, 1 CUP = 240 ML)
Prepping the Basmati Rice for Chicken Pulao Recipe
- Begin by washing the Basmati rice several times under running tap water until clear water runs through. This process will wash away the stach and hence, prevent the rice from becoming starchy or sticky. Do not SKIP this step ever.
- Soak the washed Basmati rice with enough room temperature water for not more than 30 minutes.
Prepping the Chicken for Pulao
- Begin by washing the boneless chicken fillets very well under running tap water. Pat them dry with the help of a kitchen towel.
- Dice the boneless chicken thighs or breasts into 2.5″ long chunks.
- Add all the spices mentioned above in the “Dry spices for flash marinating chicken” . Add salt according to taste. Coat the chicken pieces very well with the masalas. Set aside.
Pressure Cooking the Chicken first in the Instant Pot
- Set the Instant Pot on SAUTE and keep it on NORMAL.
- Add ghee, when the ghee becomes moderately hot add the whole garam masalas along with the bay leaf and allow them to siizzle for few seconds or until aromatic.
- Next, add the flash marinated chicken and saute until the chicken begins to change color and becomes opaque from outside.
- Lower the heat from NORMAL to LOW. Add the crispy onions, the dry spices (garam masala & star anise powder) and the whisked yogurt.
- Give everything a very good mix and saute just for 1-2 mins.
- Now, add 1 cup warm or hot water. This helps to build the pressure fast inside the Instant Pot.
- Cover the lid of the Instant Pot. CANCEL the SAUTE. Seal the Valve and PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for just 1 min.
- After 1 min when the Instant Pot begins to beep immediately do a quick pressure release by moving the valve from the SEALING to the VENTING position.
- Now, strain the cooked Chicken to separate the stock. We’ll need exactly 530 ml cooked chicken stock to cook the Chicken Pulao.
- Measure the cooked stock and if you find it less than 530 ml add additional water to make it 530 ml in total.
How to cook Chicken Pulao in Instant Pot?
- Now, add back the cooked chicken along with 530 ml of cooked chicken stock to the inner pot of the Instant Pot.
- Strain the soaked rice completely so that there’s no trace of excess water at all.
- Add the strained soaked rice to the Instant Pot and mix gently with the chicken and stock with the help of a spatula or laddle.
- Close the lid of the Pot. Seal the valve to the SEALING position and PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for 4 minutes.
- After 4 minutes when the Instant Pot begins to beep. Do not do a quick pressure release instead wait for the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes and than release the rest of the pressure manually by moving the valve from the SEALING to the VENTING position.
- Open the lid, gently fluffy the pulao with the help of a fork. If you do not use AGED BASMATI RICE you may find the regular basmati rice a little sticky at this state but that’s quite normal. Allow the pulao to rest for 10-15 mins and than serve for that fluffy Chicken Pulao experience. You may even transfer it to a large bowl or plate and allow the pulao to rest for jus 10-15 mins more.
- Measuring Units used, 1 cup = 240 ml & 1 teaspoon = 5 ml.
- Instant Pot Used: 6 quart DUO
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Measure the cooked chicken stock accurately. It should be 530 ml in total which is 2 cups + additional 50 ml. Here, 1 cup = 240 ml.
- NOTE: If the cooked chicken stock measures less than 530 ml, add water with the stock to make it that exact amount.
- Chicken Thighs will remain more juicy in this Pulao recipe.
- If using chicken on the bones (cut into 2″ chunks): Cook the chicken for 6 mins on HIGH PRESSURE followed by a quick pressure release.
- How to make Birista (homemade deep fried onion)? Thinly slice onions. Separate out the pieces by gently rubbing them with your fingers. Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan over medium heat. Deep fry the onions in batches until lightly golden brown in color. Keep them aside on a kitchen towel or a metal sieve. This will help to drain the excess oil.
- You can increase or decrease the amount of spice level in this Chicken Pulao recipe.
- The rice to water ratio is very critical. Hence, follow the recipe to the T.
- Wait for 10 mins before opening the lid of the Instant Pot. Gently fluff the rice with a fork. Allow the pulao to rest for 10-15 mins before serving. You can even transfer it in a large bowl or plate.
- If you use aged Basmati Rice you’ll get excellent results. I used regular Basmati from the supermarket in the USA.
- SUPER IMPORTANT: Washing the rice until clear water runs through is mandatory and soaking the rice for not more than 30 mins is extremely important.
- Use only BASMATI RICE.
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