A hearty and comforting one-pot dish, traditional biryani is made with fresh tender shrimp, aromatic basmati rice, and selected spices and herbs. This Instant Pot Shrimp Biryani is spicy and full of complex flavors.
Using the Instant Pot, you can make this one-pot meal in less than 30 minutes. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal, meal prep or freezing for later.
What's In This Article
What is Biryani?
Biryani is a type of curry that is commonly made with chicken and in this case, shrimp. All of the protein and spices are simmered with the rice, so it soaks up all of the flavors.
It was traditionally cooked over an open flame in a leather pot or kettle.
Instant Pot Shrimp Biryani Ingredients
One of the major elements of Indian recipes is spice. Bold, full-bodied and unique spice blends like red chili powder, coriander leaves and certain spice powders like masala powder are what make these dishes so magical.
So yes, the ingredient list is lengthy, but most of it will come from your spice cabinet. If you don’t have one or two, no worries, there are enough other flavors to make up for it.
- Basmati rice – A slender, long-grained type of rice, it is used in Indian cuisine. Because of the starch content, it has been the perfect texture for biryani recipes and is sometimes even referred to as biryani rice. You could use brown rice or jasmine rice if you prefer, but you won’t get that fragrant basmati effect.
- Unsalted butter – Ghee can also be used. I like using unsalted so I can control the saltiness in the dish
- Spice Blend- whole cumin seeds, dried bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon stick, star anise, black peppercorns, chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, coriander powder
- Green cardamom & Black Cardamom – Common indian spices, green and black cardamom are processed very differently and thus have vastly flavor profiles.
- White onion – Or yellow. Caramelized onions really add another flavor dimension to this one-pot biryani.
- Ginger garlic paste – This is a paste from grated ginger and garlic. If you can’t find them mixed, feel free to use the same amount of minced garlic and freshly shredded ginger. Fresh herbs are great, but not necessary for this instant pot recipe.
- Tomato- Feel free to chop up a large tomato, juices and all, into bite-size pieces. A 12-ounce can of diced tomatoes (drained) can also be used.
- Coarse kosher salt – I’ve separated this out because using salt depends highly on if you used salted butter and what type of broth is used.
- Plain Greek Yogurt – To add the signature creaminess. Sour cream can be used in a pinch. I do prefer Greek yogurt because it is strained longer and thus thicker. You could also use coconut milk, but it will make for a much thinner consistency.
- Fresh Mint & Cilantro – Cilantro can be left out if you don’t care for it.
- Large Shrimp – Really any mixture of seafood can be used as long as it is the right weight and similar sizes so they cook at the same rate. Using frozen seafood rather than fresh shrimp helps the cook time not disintegrate it into oblivion.
- Low-Sodium Seafood or Chicken Broth or Water – A broth will infuse even more flavor into the rice and the shrimp, but a couple cups of water can also be used. If the broth isn’t low-sodium, omit additional salt
How to Make Instant Pot Shrimp Biryani
It only takes 10 minutes to get all of these ingredients into the pot.
- Rinse rice. Rinse the rice 3-4 times or until the water runs clear. Cover with water and soak for 15 minutes; drain and set aside. Rinsing rice helps to remove any debris or excess starch, leaving you with plump, clean grains of rice.
- Add seasonings. Set the instant pot on the saute function, melt the butter and add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, black and green cardamom, cinnamon, black peppercorns, cloves, and star anise, saute until fragrant. These are all of the hard and whole spices that need more time to soften and release flavor.
- Add rest of ingredients. Stir in the onion and sauté for and additional 4 minutes or until softened, then the ginger garlic paste and sauté until fragrant. Next, add the tomato, salt, chili powder, turmeric powder, Garam Masala, plain yogurt, mint, cilantro, rice, shrimp and liquid of choice.
- Cook. Cover with the lid and lock it into place, shutting the vent. Switch from saute to manual low pressure for 6 minutes. Use the quick-release pressure function.
- Fluff and serve. Open the lid and fluff the biryani using a fork, removing the cinnamon stick and star anise. Don’t stir too much, or the rice will start to get mushy. Serve immediately with fresh lime wedges.
What to Serve with Biryani
Authentic biryani is often served with hot raita, a dish made with dahi and vegetables and pickled onions and cucumbers.
Naan is also quite popular, as is roti, another type of Indian bread.
I like to serve traditional biryani recipes with a lemon wedge for the most flavorful biryani.
Storage & Leftovers
Leftovers: Store leftover shrimp biryani in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add a tablespoon of liquid to revamp the rice.
Freezing: I do not recommend freezing this dish.
More Shrimp Recipes
Instant Pot Shrimp Biryani Recipe
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 black cardamom pod
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 2 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 large white onion sliced
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- 1 large tomato chopped
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves , chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro , leaves only
- 1 pound large frozen shrimp , peeled
- 2 cups low-sodium seafood , chicken or vegetable broth , or water
- lime wedges , for garnish
- Rinse the rice 3-4 times or until the water runs clear. Cover with water and soak for 15 minutes; drain and set aside.
- Set the instant pot on the sauté function. Add the butter and let it melt. Add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, black and green cardamom, cinnamon, black peppercorns, cloves, and star anise. Allow to sauté for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Stir in the onion and sauté for and additional 4 minutes or until softened.
- Stir in the ginger garlic paste and sauté until fragrant. Next, add the tomato, salt, chili powder, turmeric powder, Garam Masala, plain yogurt, mint, cilantro, rice, shrimp and liquid of choice.
- Cover with the lid and lock it into place, shutting the vent. Switch from sauté to manual low pressure for 6 minutes.
- Use the quick-release pressure function.
- Open the lid and fluff the biryani, removing the cinnamon stick and star anise, then serve immediately with fresh lime wedges.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.
This is lovely! So fragrant and so so flavorful. Absolutely making this again!
So into these spices. Plus I can use the IP? Yes!
This was such a yummy shrimp recipe. My kids enjoyed the flavor!
I made this last night and it was just perfect! The shrimp was lovely and tender and the spices were just delicious!
This is a super shrimp biryani recipe and despite all long list of spices (as you mentioned), it’s so quick and easy to make!