paneer biryani

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Paneer biryani recipe with step by step photos – mildly spiced and delicious dum cooked layered paneer biryani. I have been wanting to post a recipe of paneer biryani for a long time. Finally adding the recipe. I have already posted Paneer pulao recipe.

paneer biryani recipe, paneer biryani

This paneer dum biryani recipe is very different than any paneer biryani recipe you must have seen or read. Here I have just marinated the paneer cubes, layered with cooked rice and then dum cooked. So no gravy is made before. The paneer cubes do not become dense or hard as we are not cooking them twice.

Easy in a way, but there is some prep work like frying the onions, which is also known as birista and cooking the rice. After that its just tightly cooking the layered biryani in a pot or in the oven. You can also check this easy Pressure cooker paneer biryani.

The paneer biryani is mild and delicately flavored. so not spicy or hot. Serve paneer biryani with raita like an onion-tomato raita or cucumber raita or boondi raita. You can also serve with sliced onion-lime salad or onion-tomato-cucumber salad.

How to make paneer biryani

1. Rinse basmati rice very well in water till the starch clears from the water. The water should be clear and not cloudy or opaque. Then soak the rice in water for 30 minutes.

basmati rice for paneer biryani recipe

2. When the rice is soaking, prep the ingredients for the biryani. Thinly slice 2 medium onions. Heat 4 tbsp oil or ghee in a small frying pan and add the sliced onions.

onions for paneer biryani recipe

3. Stir and begin to fry the onions till they turn golden. Add one or two pinches of salt for quick browning of the onions. Stir often for uniform browning and fry on a low flame.

sauting onions for paneer biryani recipe

4. Here the onions have begun to get golden.

sauting onions for paneer biryani recipe

5. Once the onions become golden, then remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on kitchen paper towels. Keep the fried onions aside. These crisp golden fried onions are also known as Birista. keep the oil or ghee in which we fried the onions aside. We will be using this oil or ghee while layering the biryani.

onions for paneer biryani recipe

6. Warm 4 tbsp milk on stovetop or in the microwave. Add 16 to 18 saffron strands to the milk. Stir and keep aside.

saffron for paneer biryani recipe

7. whisk 8 tbsp fresh full fat curd/yogurt in a mixing bowl till smooth.

milk for paneer biryani recipe

8. Add 1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garlic paste, 1 tsp chopped green chilies, 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves and ½ tbsp chopped mint leaves. Mix well.

curd for paneer biryani recipe

9. now add the spices – ¼ tsp turmeric powder, ¼ tsp red chili powder, ¼ tsp garam masala powder, ½ tsp coriander powder, ¼ tsp shahjeera/caraway seeds, 1 tsp lime juice and salt as required. Mix again.

spices for paneer biryani recipe

10. Then add the ½ of the fried onions and paneer cubes.

add paneer cubes

11. Mix gently. Cover and keep the marinated paneer aside for 30 minutes at room temperature. If marinating the paneer for a longer time, then keep in the fridge.

marinated paneer for biryani

Cooking rice for paneer biryani

12. Meanwhile here our rice is soaked after 30 minutes. Drain the rice well and keep aside.

rice for paneer biryani recipe

13. Bring 4 cups water to a rolling boil in a pot.

water for paneer biryani recipe

14. Add whole spices – 1 inch cinnamon, 1 medium bay leaf or 2 small bay leaves, 2 to 3 cloves , 2 to 3 green cardamoms & ¼ tsp shahjeera/caraway seeds.

spices for paneer biryani recipe

15. Add 1 tsp salt.

salt for paneer biryani recipe

16. Now add the soaked rice.

add rice for paneer biryani recipe

17. do not stir and you will see the temperature drops a bit after adding rice. Also do not cover the pan.

making paneer biryani recipe

18. Keep the flame to high and cook the rice without lowering the temperature.

cooking paneer biryani recipe

19. The rice grains have to be cooked till they 75% or ¾th done. They should have a bite to them when eaten.

cooked rice for paneer biryani recipe

20. Drain the rice in a colander. You can also rinse the rice grains gently to remove starch if any and to stop the grains from cooking. Cover with a lid and keep the rice aside.

rice for paneer biryani recipe

21. This is the marinated paneer after 30 minutes.

marinated paneer for paneer biryani
Layering paneer biryani

22. Add the same oil in which we fried the onions to a thick bottomed pan or pot. If cooking the biryani in an oven, then add the oil to an oven safe glass bowl or pan.

making paneer biryani recipe

23. Add the marinated paneer and layer neatly.

add marinated paneer

24. Make a rice layer now. Add all the rice. I have just made two layers. If you want you can make 4 layers.

rice layer for paneer biryani recipe

25. Add the remaining fried onions.

coriander for paneer biryani recipe

26. Now add 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves and ½ tbsp mint leaves.

milk for paneer biryani recipe

27. Sprinkle the saffron flavored and colored milk all over.

ghee for paneer biryani recipe

28. Dot with 1 tbsp ghee. You can also add 1 tsp of rose water or kewra water.

ghee for paneer biryani recipe

Dum cooking paneer biryani

29. Cover with a foil or with a moist cloth.

covered paneer biryani recipe

30. Place the lid tightly on the pan and place it on a tava or griddle.

covered paneer biryani recipe

31. For the first 5 minutes dum cook the paneer biryani on a medium flame. Then lower the flame and cook the paneer biryani on dum for 12 to 15 minutes. You can also cook the biryani in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes at 180 degrees celsius/350 degrees fahrenheit.

cooking paneer biryani recipe

32. Here’s the paneer biryani after being dum cooked for 20 minutes.

cooked paneer biryani recipe

Serve the paneer biryani hot or warm with raita like onion tomato raita or boondi raita or cucumber raita.

paneer biryani

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paneer biryani recipe

Paneer Biryani

4.91 from 30 votes
This is a mildly spiced and delicately flavored dum cooked layered paneer biryani.
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins

Cuisine Awadhi, North Indian
Course: Main Course

Servings 2 to 3
Units

Ingredients

for birista or fried onions

  • 2 medium to large onions or 150 grams onions or about 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 4 tablespoon oil or ghee (clarified butter)

for cooking biryani rice

  • 1 cup basmati rice or 180 grams of basmati rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 1 medium tej patta or 2 small tej patta (indian bay leaf)
  • 2 to 3 cloves
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms
  • ¼ teaspoon shahjeera (caraway seeds)

for paneer marination

  • 200 to 250 grams paneer (cottage cheese)
  • 8 tablespoon curd (yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste or 1 inch ginger crushed to a paste in a mortar-pestle
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste or 4 to 5 garlic cloves crushed to a paste in a mortar-pestle
  • 2 green chilies, chopped or 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves

    (cilantro leaves)

  • ½ tablespoon chopped mint leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder

    (ground coriander)

  • ¼ teaspoon shahjeera (caraway seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • salt as required

layering ingredients for paneer biryani

  • 3 tablespoon milk
  • 16 to 18 saffron strands
  • 1 tablespoon ghee

    (clarified butter)

  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves

    (cilantro leaves)

  • ½ tablespoon chopped mint leaves

Instructions

cooking rice

  • Rinse basmati rice very well in water till the starch clears from the water. The water should be clear and not cloudy or opaque. 
  • Then soak the rice in water for 30 minutes. Later drain the rice well and keep aside.
  • Bring 4 cups water to a rolling boil in a pot.
  • Add whole spices - 1 inch cinnamon, 1 medium bay leaf or 2 small bay leaves, 2 to 3 cloves , 2 to 3 green cardamoms & 1/4 tsp shahjeera/caraway seeds. Also add 1 tsp salt.
  • Now add the soaked rice. Do not stir the rice.
  • Keep the flame to high and cook the rice without lowering the temperature.
  • The rice grains have to be cooked till 75% or 3/4th. They should have a bite to them when eaten.
  • Drain the rice in a colander. You can also rinse the rice grains to remove starch if any and to stop the grains from cooking. Cover with a lid and keep the rice aside.

making birista or fried onions

  • When the rice is soaking, prep the ingredients for the biryani. Slice 2 medium onions. Heat 4 tbsp oil or ghee in a small frying pan and add the sliced onions.
  • Stir and begin to fry the onions till they turn golden. Add one or two pinches of salt for quick browning of the onions. Stir often for uniform browning and fry on a low flame.
  • Here the onions have begun to get golden.
  • Once the onions become golden, then remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on kitchen paper towels. Keep the fried onions aside.

preparation of marination and layering ingredients for biryani

  • Warm 4 tbsp milk on stove top or in the microwave. Add 16 to 18 saffron strands to the milk. Stir and keep aside.
  • Whisk 8 tbsp fresh full fat curd (yogurt) in a mixing bowl till smooth.
  • Add 1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garlic paste, 1 tsp chopped green chilies, 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves and 1/2 tbsp chopped mint leaves to the mix well.
  • Now add the spices- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp red chili powder, 1/4 tsp garam masala powder, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/4 tsp shahjeera/caraway seeds, 1 tsp lime juice
  • And salt as required. Mix again.
  • Then add the 1/2 of the fried onions and paneer cubes.
  • Mix gently. Cover and keep the marinated paneer aside for 30 minutes.

assembling and layering paneer biryani

  • Add the same oil in which we fried the onions to a pan or pot.
  • Add the marinated paneer and layer neatly.
  • Make a rice layer now. Add all the rice. I have just made two layers. If you want you can make 4 layers.
  • Add the remaining fried onions, 1 tbsp chopped coriander and 1/2 tbsp mint leaves.
  • Sprinkle the saffron flavored and colored milk.
  • Dot with 1 tbsp ghee. You can also add 1 tsp of rose water or kewra water.

dum cooking paneer biryani

  • Cover with a foil or with a moist cloth.
  • Place the lid tightly on the pan and place it on a tava or griddle. For the first 5 minutes dum cook the paneer biryani on a medium flame. 
  • Then lower the flame and cook the paneer biryani
  • On dum for 12 to 15 minutes. You can also cook the paneer biryani in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes at 180 degrees celsius. Use an oven proof pan.
  • Serve the paneer biryani hot with boondi raita or cucumber raita or onion tomato raita or kuchumber salad.

Notes

Tips and variations for paneer biryani

  • You can add some steamed peas and steamed veggies like carrots, cauliflower, potatoes. But then you will have to increase the curd and other spices accordingly to accommodate the veggies.
  • The paneer cubes can be marinated overnight in the refrigerator.
  • For frozen paneer, thaw them in warm water for some minutes and then slice.
  • The birista or fried onions can be made a day before and then stored in an air tight container.
  • For a vegan version of paneer biryani, use tofu, oil and a dairy free yogurt & milk like cashew or almond milk/yogurt. Avoid soy or peanut yogurt as it gives an after taste.
  • Fried cashews and raisins can also be added in the layers.

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Nutrition Facts
Paneer Biryani
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1052 Calories from Fat 567
% Daily Value*
Fat 63g97%
Saturated Fat 24g150%
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 95mg32%
Sodium 3750mg163%
Potassium 370mg11%
Carbohydrates 94g31%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 495IU10%
Vitamin C 12.5mg15%
Calcium 660mg66%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Dassana Amit

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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86 Comments

  1. I am about to try this recipe today . I noticed when I chsnged to “x2” the number of onions changed from 2 to 4 but the number of cups remained still at 1 . Havent checked the rest of the recipe for this error but this might be misleading to people only looking at the number of cups.

    1. Yes, I am aware of this and I am seeing what can be done. Still looking for solutions.

  2. Hi dassana aunty ,
    I’m madhuri and I’m 13 years old .I love to cook and experiment with various recipes.By Far your blog is my favourite and easy to understand.I have tried most of your recipes and my family has appreciated me a lot.Recently I.tried this paneer biryani and it came out really awesome.So thank you so much for you recipes 🙂5 stars

    1. Welcome Madhuri. Glad to know that you like the blog and recipes are liked by everyone. Thanks for your positive feedback.

  3. dasanna,tried this recipe its good ..but it burnt a little at the bottom..few paneer pieces are burnt..I used thick sandwiched bottom pot…and cooked twenty minutes …

    1. shree, did you keep a tawa below the pan. usually when making any biryani, always keep a tawa on the flame. then place the pan or pot on the tawa. this way the heat is distributed evenly and the biryani does not get burnt. a couple of times, i have also used thick bottomed sandwiched pan and on occasions the base has got slightly burned. in fact today only i made biryani 🙂

      hope this helps you shree.

    1. little sour is fine, but if too much sour, then no add. you can also mix some milk or cream in the curd, to reduce the sourness.

  4. I tried this biryani and the taste was awesome except for a little bitter taste initially when we put it inside the mouth. What do you think could be the reason for the bitter taste and what would you suggest to avoid in future?

  5. i made this for my friends nd they just loved this a lot…. nd even i liked it nd especially my brother bcz he loves panner… nd thanx a lot for this yummy recipes… my friends were continously telling me that sanjana its awsmm… nd i was feeligs sooo happy.. ????????
    thanx once more…5 stars

    1. very pleased to know this sanjana thankyou for your kind words. glad to know your friend’s liked the paneer biryani always stay happy!

      1. What if I use a cooker to dum the biryani? I will place it on the tawa before placing it on the gas.

  6. i am going to try this right now for my dinner………..can i ask u a question???? i want to make chicken soup …i know u r a vegetarian but can u suggest any book or anything else from where i can learn to make chicken soup…….i hope u dnt mind

    1. during my home science course, i have made chinese chicken soups. you can follow any of the chinese soup recipes on the website and substitute chicken with veggies. either you saute the chicken first or cook first and then add to the soup. do use the stock in which you cook the chicken. its many many years now that i don’t cook chicken. but i do know the method used and i have only made chinese style soups.

  7. I tried this recipe yesterday…it turned out soo good..i myself could not believe i made it…
    My husband loved every bite of biryani…Thank you for posting in so much detail..
    Love your recipes..

  8. Hi
    Recently I tried a couple of recipes of yours and enjoyed almost every recipe I tried. Thanks5 stars

  9. Hi!!

    Last time I tried this recipe my myself and my hubby just fell in love with it…. Just can’t wait to make it again.. This time gonna make it for guests.. Can I simply triple this recipe?? And if I want the biryani a bit on the spicier side what modifications do u suggest?? My guests are spice loves.. Thank u for such a wonderful recipe!5 stars

    1. thanks lalita. yes you can triple the recipe. for a spicier one, add more green chilies and more red chili powder.

  10. I have made same recipe using soya nuggets instead of paneer, It was awesome.. Next time I will try using paneer. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.5 stars

  11. I made this dish last night n it was Yummy..very light with not too much of spices. ..kids too loved it..thank you

  12. Thank you dassana ma’am for saving both my health and my day i prepared moong dal khichdi it was tempting hats off to u

  13. Hi.

    wat if I have ceramic pot as handi specially for biryani? Stil I need tawa in between. Will it can really get burnt?

    1. himani, for ceramic pot you may not need tawa and you can put it directly on flame if its fire proof.

  14. excellent!!! Thank you sooooooo much. Finally I have made my first dum biryani after many futile efforts.

  15. Tried this recipe last night, and it was fantastic!! The flavor of this dish is so multidimensional, but the flavors are perfectly subtle. Each piece of the recipe (the rice cooked with whole spices, milk with saffron, fried onions, and marinated paneer) complimented each other so well- my husband and I were so impressed with how it turned out!
    Thank you for giving oven directions as well- I have an unpredictable electric stove, and I fear burning the dish using the dum method. The oven abated these fears. 😀

    I’m a diehard fan of this site, and this is one of my favorite dishes to date. Please keep up the amazing work!5 stars

    1. welcome jaya. thanks for this sweet and positive feedback. glad to read it. happy cooking.

  16. Hi,
    I tried it and its yummy. however, I added too much water while cooking the rice. the rice became soggy and while making the biryani part too, it stayed soggy. now the entire biryani is ready but rice has become way too soft, almost like a kheer. is there any damage control that I can do?

    1. did you not drain the rice. if the rice is drained then there will be no sogginess. also the rice has to be not completely cooked. some bite should be there in the rice. i am afraid, there is nothing that can be done. kheer consistency is too much for the rice. i wonder when you cooked the rice where things went wrong.

  17. Hi!!

    I love this recipe and I’m surely gonna try it.. However is their any alternative to the aluminium foil you use for baking in the oven?? I Dont have the foil 5 stars

  18. Thanks Dassana, I love ur recipes, this one is lip smackingly good. Will try it today, but I have a question, can any other substitute be used instead of saffron?? And also whether biriyani essence or mitha ittar needs to be added? surely will try it out today…4 stars

    1. thanks suchandita. for the aroma, there is no substitute for kesar. for the color, a bit of turmeric powder dissolved in milk suffices. yes, you can use biryani essence or ittar. if you do not have saffron, you can also use rose water for a different fragrance.

      1. you mentioned biryani essence can be added. how much quantity of essence should i add for 1 cup of basmati rice. and do i add both kewra water and biryani essence. please guide

        1. megha, you can add about 1-2 drops of biryani essence. if the biryani essence has kewra in it then don’t add kewra water.

  19. Hello

    U said we have to keep the pot (with paneer and rice) on pan, can’t we keep the pot directly on stove?

    Will the paneer be over fried if we keep pot on stove directly?

    1. sruthi, the bottom can get burnt. so i suggest to keep a layer of tawa in between.

  20. This recipe came out really yum! My family n colleagues loved it! Thanks a bunch 🙂5 stars

  21. In picture step 24 you say:

    24. make a rice layer now. add all the rice. i have just made two layers. if you want you can make 4 layers.

    This is confusing. What are you layering with the rice, just the rice?

    I just got back from 2 weeks in India and had the best time. We love Indian food so I’m working on cooking it. Thanks.
    Thanks,

    1. welcome pam. below the rice layer is the marinated paneer layer. i hope its clear now. you can also make alternate layers each of the marinated paneer and rice, fried onions and chopped mint-coriander etc

  22. Dassana i luv paneer and this recipe made me feel out of the world thank u so much……….. i m waiting wen my son s teeth will erupt so that i can feed him this awesome rice. thank u sooooooooo much……..

  23. I have one other question. I hope this is not a dumb question :). We are going to try making this biryani this weekend. I don’t know what the word “Dum” means. Can we cook this recipe on the stove or do we need to use an oven. Thank you very much. This recipe looks so yummy and we are looking forward to trying it! 🙂

  24. Hi there hop you are well. Can you tell me what step 26 is as looks like it is missing a step. Goes from 25 to 27. Thank you.

  25. I made your malpua rabdi yesterday and it was so delicious…it was liked by my whole family and guests!!its very easy and tasty!!!i find your site as the best site

  26. Thank you for such a yum recipe it was quick simple and easy. I used readymade crisp onions and it turned out real good. i love how u present each and every recipe and make everyones life easier. hats off to uu!!!!!

    1. welcome riya. glad to know this. thanks for sharing your encouraging feedback and sweet words.

  27. This recipe looks really awesome!!!I Will surely make it soon as i know it will taste awesome as always!!Really all ur dishes r so easy and tasty!!i have a request can u give more breakfast recipes which can be easily made for tiffin for my children.with easily available ingredients

  28. Can i use ready made ginger and garlic paste and if yes how many tbsp i add in it. I dont have mortar to grind ginger and garlic or can i just chop garlic and shred ginger and add in it. Sorry for such a vague question.

    1. riya, you can use 2 tsp of readymade ginger garlic paste. don’t add chopped ginger garlic. its fine, no question is vague. feel free to ask queries.

  29. Oh yes! I forgot, while preparing the dum, I first added some raisins and then added the paneer. The raisins gave a nice sweet bite. 🙂

    1. medha, yes the raisins give a nice sweet taste. you can also fry them in oil till they puff up and then add them.

  30. Dear Dassana,
    My husband and I love paneer and we love a good biryani. What can be better than you recipe??? 🙂
    I was planning to make pulao yesterday for dinner, when I came across this recipe and I knew I had to make it. And I did. OMG!!! It was sooo awesome. It was my first dum biryani and we loved it. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe.
    The success of any dish that I make is measured by how many servings my husband has and I lost count of how many time he served himself this recipe. 😛
    So thanks, once again.5 stars

    1. welcome medha. that means the recipe was hit at your place. thanks for sharing such a positive feedback and your experience.

  31. Looks so delicious. Will try it over the weekend :). Any recipe for veggie dum biryani?5 stars

    1. thanks swapna. there are some dum veg biryani recipes posted in the blog. please use google search button placed at top right corner of website.

  32. Hello Dasanna,

    As always, very yummy recipe. I’m a Tamilian and Vegrecipesofindia.com has become my bookmark for all north Indian dishes. I have tried close to 5 recipes and they all came out good – more than that simple & easy to cook is what makes me come back here again & again.

    I would like to try the above recipe, but I’ve always had bad luck when I wanted to try dum biriyani. Could you please give the pressure cooker version of the above.

    Many Thanks
    Lalitha Rajagopal

    1. welcome lalitha. thanks for sharing your positive feedback. i don’t have any pressure cooker version. i am still working on pressure cooked version of biryani. till now what i have made, the pressure cooked biryani just tastes like pulao to me. dum cooking is essential to get the real taste of biryani. but i am still trying on pressure cooked version.