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Instant Pot Biryani made with vegetables and paneer
5 from 2 votes

Instant Pot Biryani

Instant Pot Biryani made with vegetables and paneer! Packed with veggies, paneer, spices, caramelized onions, and cashews. Cooked in just 5 minutes!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Servings: 4 people
Author: Shweta


For Topping the Biryani:

  • ½ cup cashews
  • 1 red onion; thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons oil; 3 tablespoons if needed after caramelizing

For Tempering:

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves

For the Biryani:

  • 1 cup long grain basmati rice; rinse and soaked for 20 mins
  • 1 cup paneer; fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables; frozen, thawed
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh mint; chopped
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon biryani powder; see notes
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder; optional
  • pinch saffron threads; optional
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt; depending on the salt in your biryani powder
  • 1 ½ cup water


Preparing the Toppings:

  • Rinse and soak the rice if you have not done so already.
  • Set the Instant Pot to "Saute" mode and heat the oil.
  • Add the onions to the oil for about 5-8 minutes until caramelized.
  • Remove the onions onto a paper towel (to soak up any excess oil). Add the cashews to the heat oil and pan fry them for about 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Be careful not to burn them as they cook quickly.
  • Remove them onto a paper towel and set them aside with the onions. Keep the Instant Pot on. (See notes for browning on pot).

For the Biryani

  • Add another tablespoon of oil if needed. Once the oil is heated (or immediately after pan frying cashews), add the cumin seeds and let them pop.
  • Then add the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, and whole cloves until fragrance releases (about 1 minute).
  • Add the vegetables, rice, paneer, mint, turmeric, biryani powder, red chili powder, saffron, salt, and water. Give it a quick stir.
  • Turn off the pot, close the lid, and set the pressure release valve to sealed.
  • Adjust the pressure to LOW PRESSURE and set the Instant Pot to "Manual" 5 minutes. Once the Instant Pot beeps, quick release immediately.
  • Open the pot and fluff with a fork. Top with cilantro, caramelized onions, and cashews. Serve with yogurt or your favorite raita!


  • Biryani powder can be bought at any Indian grocery store. I have substituted with garam masala before and it still turns out great.
  • I like to use the same pot for everything. I have a nonstick pot for my Instant Pot. If you don't, I suggest removing the brown at the bottom of the pot after completing your onions and cashews step. You can do this by adding some water after tempering your spices to deglaze the pot. 
  • To make this dish vegan, use tofu instead of paneer and add it right before closing the lid to cook.
Keywords: Party, Quick, Vegetarian