paneer biryani recipe
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4.87 from 22 votes

Paneer Biryani

this is a mildly spiced and delicately flavored dum cooked layered paneer biryani.
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: main course
Cuisine: awadhi, north indian
Servings: 2 to 3
Calories: 1052kcal
Author: Dassana Amit


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


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.


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.


Calories: 1052kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 63g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 3750mg | Potassium: 370mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 495IU | Vitamin C: 12.5mg | Calcium: 660mg | Iron: 1.1mg