Chicken Tikka Biryani Recipe

Chicken tikka biryani is a combination of aromatic basmati rice with succulent pieces of marinated chicken. It’s hearty and delicious.

Chicken tikka biryani.

This chicken tikka biryani is made with chicken marinated in aromatic spices and grilled to perfection before cooking with basmati rice. It’s a delicious recipe to enjoy homemade tikka on another level.

What is chicken tikka biryani?

This delicious chicken tikka biryani is all about succulent grilled chicken and aromatic fluffy rice cooked in well-balanced spices. It’s another level to enjoy the infamous chicken tikka and biryani rice at the same time.  

Chicken tikka biryani with chicken tikka and yogurt mint chutney on the side.

Hearty, delicious, and full of aromatic flavor are best to describe this type of chicken biryani. It’s definitely a one-rice dish you want to serve for that special occasion. Because this dish is like a labor of love as it takes a bit more cooking process than the other chicken biryani recipes.

As the name implies, this rice dish does use a type of tandoori chicken before cooking it with rice. Though I don’t cook it in a proper tandoori – which is a clay oven – like in the olden days. But in principle, it’s the same. It’s grilled chicken skewers which I do in the oven.  

So technically, this style of biryani has a combination of a delicious chicken tikka with aromatic fluffy rice in one dish. 

What is the difference between chicken tikka biryani and chicken biryani?

It lies in how you cook the rice and chicken.

To make chicken tikka biryani, you have to cook the chicken tikka first and make the biryani masala separately. When the chicken is cooked, you place the chicken in the masala to make the chicken tikka masala. 

While ordinary chicken biryani, you cook the chicken pieces in the masala as if you make chicken curry. 

Once the masala is ready, both biryanis will need the half-cooked rice to prepare before layering the biryani rice with biryani masala.

Also, you have to marinate the chicken in chicken tikka masala before making the tikka. 

A plate of biryani rice, a bowl of yogurt chutney and skewers of chicken tikkas with overlay text.

Various biryani rice recipes

As you might already know, there are many types of biryani out there. I think every region in the Indian subcontinent must have its own special biryani recipe. Sindhi, Bombay, Punjab, Hyderabad, Gujarati, Lahore, etc. 

You might have heard or even tried some of them. 

And of course, there are types according to the ingredients such as chicken biryani, or lamb biryani.

I’m grateful that I have tried many types of biryani, and I find them all delicious in their own way. In my humble opinion, what makes a rice dish a biryani is when you cook your rice in masala sauce. And your masala may use fish, chicken, or lamb, but it has those spices that are cooked in tomatoes and yogurt. 

The difference between one recipe to another is the variety and proportion of spices it uses.

Chicken biryani rice with green chilies.

What do you serve the biryani rice with?

Biryani rice is a like a one-pot dish from which you get to eat the carbs and protein at the same time. So this biryani tastes delicious on its own and you don’t really need a side dish to enjoy it.

The most common choice is to serve the rice with salad and mint yogurt chutney. 

But should you want to serve your delicious tikka biryani with some side dishes, Aloo Palak (potato and spinach), Lamb Kofta curry, or Aloo Gosht are some popular choices. This food menu combo is often served at gatherings or weddings. 

Two plates of chicken tikka biryani rice with overlay text.

What do you need to make chicken tikka biryani?

All ingredients you need are pretty essential for making biryani. And this recipe roots in the Pakistani way of making chicken tikka. Therefore, I don’t use garam masala in either marinade or in the masala. 

So in detail, apart from boneless chicken, you will need the powdered form of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, turmeric, cayenne pepper (though I prefer Kashmiri red chili powder), and paprika. You also need ginger, garlic, onion, and bay leaves. As for the whole spices, you only need cinnamon sticks and green cardamom pods.

Optionally, you will need food coloring to add more color to your biryani. However, you can swap this with saffron. Just soak a pinch of saffron in a tablespoon of milk and sprinkle the colored milk over the rice.

I must mention that when it comes to cooking fat, I usually use sunflower oil or rapeseed oil for my curry-like cooking. Hence, this recipe is the same. But, I appreciate that many people like to use ghee in their cooking. So if you’re one of them, feel free to use ghee instead of cooking oil. 

Cooking tips to make the best chicken tikka biryani

  • Ensure the chicken is marinated for at least 30 minutes to give the flavor a chance to develop.
  • Cook the rice in plenty of water and keep an eye on it so it won’t overcook. You want to stop boiling the rice when it is half-cooked. 

Thank you for checking this biryani recipe out. Let me know if you try it and how you like it.

And please follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. To sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen.

Take care and all the best.

Chicken tikka biryani.
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5 from 49 votes

Chicken tikka biryani recipe

Chicken tikka biryani is a combination of aromatic basmati rice with succulent pieces of marinated chicken. It’s hearty and delicious.
Author: Devy Dar
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Marinate30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Pakistani
Servings: 6 portions


  • Chopping board
  • Kitchen knife
  • Cooking pan with lid
  • Colander
  • Roasting pan


For the chicken tikka

  • 1.5 lbs boneless chicken cut in pieces see the note
  • 2 cloves garlic minced, finely chopped, or grated.
  • ½ inch ginger minced, finely chopped, or grated.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder.
  • ¾ teaspoon ground coriander.
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder.
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder or ground cayenne pepper.
  • ½ teaspoon paprika powder.
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • 2 tablespoons natural yogurt.
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice from ½ lemon.
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil.

For the masala:

  • 1 brown onion chopped.
  • 2 cloves garlic minced, finely chopped, or grated.
  • ½ inch ginger minced, finely chopped, or grated.
  • teaspoon cumin powder.
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder.
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder.
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder or ground cayenne pepper.
  • ½ coarse black pepper.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • 2 inches cinnamon stick.
  • 5-6 green cardamom pods.
  • ¾ cup milliliters cooking oil.
  • cups tinned tomatoes.
  • ½ cup milliliters natural yogurt.
  • ¼ cup milliliters water.

For the rice:

  • cups basmati rice washed, rinsed, and soak in plenty of water.
  • ¼ teaspoon orange food coloring + 1 tablespoon of water (optional).
  • 3-4 fresh green chilies optional.
  • 12 ounces new potatoes cut into big chunks.
  • Cooking oil for deep frying.



For chicken tikka:

  • In a mixing bowl, place the ginger, garlic, cumin powder, coriander powder, chili powder/ cayenne pepper powder, paprika powder, turmeric powder, ground black pepper, salt, yogurt, lemon juice, and oil. Stir until all is well mixed and combined.
  • Toss the chicken pieces into the spice mixture until all pieces are coated with spices. Using a skewer or a fork, pierce the chicken pieces at the same time and try to make as many holes as possible in the poultry. This way the meat will absorb the marinate better.
  • Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Or, leave it overnight for the best flavor developed in the chicken.
  • When you are ready to make your chicken tikka biryani, put the marinated chicken pieces on skewers.
  • Then arrange the skewered chicken on a roasting tray. Cook them in the oven for about 25 minutes in a preheated oven at 375°F/ 190°C or at gas mark 5. You will have to turn the skewers halfway through so the chicken pieces will be cooked thoroughly and evenly.

For the chicken tikka masala

  • While the chicken is cooking, get the potatoes ready. Deep fry them so they are golden brown. Set them aside.
  • Then, start making the masala. Fry the chopped onion in a large cooking pan at medium heat until golden brown.
  • Add ginger garlic paste, cumin powder, coriander powder, Kashmiri red chili powder/ cayenne pepper powder, turmeric powder, coarse black pepper, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pods. Give it a stir and cook until the spices release a delicious aroma.
  • Then add the tomatoes to the spice mixture and cook for about 2 minutes before adding yogurt.
  • Lower the heat and put the lid on. Give it a good stir and leave it to cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Next, take the cooked chicken tikka pieces off the skewers and put them in the masala, followed by the fried potatoes. You can add ¼ cup of water, then mix well. Let it cook and simmer until the sauce slightly thickens.

For the chicken tikka biryani:

  • In the meantime, drain the soaked rice, and cooked in 5 cups of hot boiling water. Once the rice is half cooked – the grains look slightly translucent and expand a little bit – drain the rice using a colander.
  • Check the masala, make sure it’s piping hot. Give it a good stir to ensure it doesn’t get burned at the bottom of the pan. Take half of the chicken tikka masala out of the pan and place it in a bowl.
  • Next, place half the rice over the half chicken tikka masala in the pot. Spread it evenly. Then put the other half of the masala on top of the rice, followed by the last half of the rice. Basically, you want to layer the biryani.
  • Lastly, sprinkle the food coloring water mixture or the saffron milk over the rice.
  • Cover the inside lid with a kitchen towel or kitchen paper, and put the tight lid on the pan. Turn the heat down and cook the rice at low heat until the steam comes out. It takes approximately 10-15 minutes to steam the rice with chicken tikka masala.
  • Once the rice is cooked, carefully turn the rice so the masala and chicken spread nicely all over the rice.
  • Garnish the rice with chopped cilantro/ coriander leaves and serve with mint yogurt chutney.


  • I use boneless chicken thighs for this recipe because they are more flavorful and always stay moist.
  • If possible, use Kashmiri red chili powder as it gives a nice vibrant color to the food and it has a moderate heat level. But of course, you can always use cayenne pepper which makes the biryani equally delicious.
  • I almost always use tinned tomatoes for my cooking as it’s more practical for me. However, I appreciate that you may want to use fresh tomatoes. In that case, I’d say you blanch the tomatoes and peel their skins first before using them in your masala. So that your masala sauce will be smooth.
  • Any neutral cooking oil should be good, i.e. rapeseed oil, vegetable oil, or sunflower oil. Make sure you use natural yogurt which usually tastes tangy. And the tangier it is, the better. If your yogurt is still “fresh”, you can place the amount you need in a small bowl and leave it at room temperature overnight. And if you don’t have time to do so, just squeeze a little lemon juice into it and mix it before using.
  • If you like, you can use saffron to add flavor and color to your biryani instead of using food coloring. Just soak a good pinch of saffron in a tablespoon of milk and leave it to develop its vibrant color.


Serving: 6portions | Calories: 816kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 681mg | Potassium: 963mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 496IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 147mg | Iron: 4mg


Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.

Author: Devy Dar

Title: Food Writer, Recipe Developer, and Digital Content Creator.


Devy Dar founded So Yummy Recipes and Drizzling Flavor to share her love of food after exploring various cultures and cuisines for more than two decades. Her mission is to help others easily recreate traditional and non-traditional food with readily available ingredients. Her works have been featured in Reader’s Digest, Al Jazeera, MSN, Yahoo, Bon Appetit, and more. 

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  1. Elizabeth S says:

    5 stars
    This was so delicious and worth the effort! Dare I say better than take-out?! My boyfriend and I plan to make this weekly. Love the authenticity and flavors.

    1. Thank you. Me and the boys love this biryani too that I make it regularly.

  2. 5 stars
    This was a flavourful dinner that had my families mouths watering, I loved how the spices came together and I’ll definitely be making this recipe again.

  3. 5 stars
    We LOVED all the flavor in here! I usually cook things with minimal ingredients, but this was so worth the few extra minutes needed. Even my picky son loved it!

    1. Oh, I’m so happy for your son. It’s not easy to feed our kids when they get picky. I’m glad that this chicken tikka biryani works for your son.

  4. 5 stars
    Can’t get over how much flavor is in this chicken recipe. Delicious and totally worth pulling out all the spices for!

    1. I’d say it’s a bit of extra work to make it, isn’t it? I’m glad you like it though.

  5. 5 stars
    WOW, this was amazing. I only had bone-in chicken thighs, so I de-boned them before marinating. Marinated the chicken for about 3 hours. I served it on its own, and it was absolutely delicious. We loved it!

    1. We almost always eat this biryani on its own. Don’t feel the need to have it with any side dish really.

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