Vegetable Biryani

Vegetable Biryani is an Indian rice dish bursting with flavor. With so many layers of delicious spiced vegetables and rice and so many levels of flavor, it is definitely a satisfying meal all by itself. Try this recipe for a very popular and widely recognized Indian dish.


For Rice:

Basmati Rice – 2 cups – washed, soaked for 1 hr and drained
Water – 8 cups
Bay Leaf – 1
Cloves – 5
Green Cardamom – 1
Cinnamon Stick – 1 inch piece
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1 tsp
Mint Leaves – few
Clarified Butter (Ghee) – 1 Tbsp
Saffron – 1/4 tsp soaked in 2 Tbsp water

For Biryani Masala:

Whole Dried Red Chilies – 6
Whole Cloves – 6
Whole Coriander Seeds – 2 Tbsp

For Vegetable Mixture:

Ginger/Garlic Paste – 2 Tbsp
Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Potatoes – 3 medium, peeled and cut into large pieces
Cauliflower – 1/2 medium, cut into big florets
Frozen Green Peas – 1 cup
Green Beans – 1 cup, cut into long pieces
Carrots – 1/2 cup, cut into big pieces
Green Chilies – 3 to 4 (or to taste), slit
Mint Leaves – handful
Dried Fenugreek Leaves – 2 Tbsp
Cilantro (Coriander Leaves) – small bunch, finely chopped
Tomato – 1 large, cut into big pieces
Yogurt – 1 cup, lightly beaten

Oil – 3 Tbsp
Whole Cashews – 1/4 cup
Walnuts – 1/4 cup
Paneer – 1 cup, cubed
Black Cumin Seeds (Shahi Jeera) – 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon Stick – 1 inch piece
Cloves – 4
Black Cardamom – 1
Bay Leaf – 1
Onion – 1 large, sliced
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp

For Garnishing: Store bought Fried Onions and chopped Cilantro.


1. Soak Saffron in 2 Tbsp of water and set aside for later use.
2. For the rice: Bring 8 cups of water to a rolling boil and add Cinnamon Stick, Bay Leaf, Whole Cloves, Green Cardamom, 1 tsp Oil, Salt, drained soaked rice and a few mint leaves.
3. Set a timer and cook rice for exactly 5 minutes. Immediately drain the water from the rice and add Clarified Butter (ghee) and mix gently making sure not to break the rice grains. Rice should be 3/4 cooked – not fully cooked.
4. For the Biryani Masala: In a skillet, add Whole Dried Red Chilies, Whole Cloves and Whole Coriander Seeds. Dry roast until the spices release a nice fragrance and have browned (do not burn).
5. Allow whole spices to cool before roughly grinding them (should not be a fine powder). Set aside.
6. For Vegetable Mixture: In a bowl, add Ginger/Garlic Paste, Coriander Powder, 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder, and Salt – mix well.
7. Add Potatoes, Cauliflower, Green Peas, Green Beans, Carrots, Green Chilies, Cilantro, chopped Mint Leaves, Dried Fenugreek Leaves – Mix well and allow to marinate while you work on the rest of the steps.
8. In a non-stick pan, heat 3 Tbsp Oil on medium heat.
9. Add Whole Cashews and Walnuts and saute until they are golden brown. Drain off all excess oil from them nuts and remove them onto a plate. Set aside.
10. In the same, add cubed Paneer and saute until golden brown. Drain excess oil from Paneer and remove onto a plate. Set aside.
11. In the same Oil, add Black Cumin Seeds and allow them to sizzle.
12. Add Cinnamon Stick, Bay Leaf, Whole Cloves and Black Cardamom.
13. Add Sliced Onions and brown lightly.
14. Add 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder, 1 Tbsp (or to taste) previously ground Biryani Masala, salt and mix well.
15. Add marinate vegetable mixture and additional salt, mix thoroughly, cover and cook until the veggies are 3/4 cooked. Do not overcook. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking/burning.
16. Switch off stove and add back in sauteed Paneer, Cashews and Walnuts.
17. Add Tomatoes and lightly beaten Yogurt and mix gently.
18. Coat bottom and sides of a baking dish with spray cooking oil.
19. Layer bottom of baking dish with 1/3 of cooked rice.
20. Sprinkle 1 tsp of Biryani Masala on the rice.
21. Layer 1/2 of the vegetable mixture over the rice and sprinkle Fried Onions on top.
22. Layer another 1/3 cooked rice over the veggies and sprinkle 1 tsp Biryani Masala.
23. Layer remaining vegetable mixture and sprinkle Fried Onions on top.
24. Layer remaining 1/3 cooked rice and sprinkle 1 tsp Biryani Masala.
25. Drizzle Saffron water over the rice, more Fried Onions and garnish with cilantro.
26. Cover and cook for 45 minutes in a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven.
27. Serve with Raita.
28. Serves 8.

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155 thoughts on “Vegetable Biryani

  1. I really did not know how I could make a vegetable biryani but then thank you so much for sharing this post now I can try making this biryani myself.I am very much excited to try this out.

  2. Hi Hetal and Anuja,
    Thanks for this wonderful recipe, although I always wanted to learn to make veg biryani but for some reason procrastinated but you guys made it seem alot of easier, anyway my question is can i make this in toaster oven instead of regular oven and do i keep the same temp and time?


  3. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    Thank you so much for the lovely veg biryani recipe explained
    clearly with full perfection. I prepared the same for a potluck and received lot of good compliments 🙂 Once again thank you both .

  4. Hi Hetal and Anuja,
    Wonderful recipe and the way you ladies explain the process and the simplicity is just awesome. I did this recipe a couple of weeks back and it was a surefire hit in my house and now I have to do this dish for a crowd of 40 people next week. Wish me luck!

  5. Hello Hetal and Anuja,
    I tried this recipe this weekend. And boy it was great success. Everyone loved it. This is simple yet very delicious recipes. The fresh grounded masala makes a huge difference in the taste. Thanks for this wonderful, easy to follow recipe.

    Would you guys do a video on Hydrabadi Biryani?

  6. Hello Hetal and Anuja

    I want to try this veg. Biryani receipe but just a quick question : can I use the pot from rice cooker to bake the biryani in the oven ?


  7. tried this .came out perfectly. i did not have black jeera and fried onions. still, the taste is restaurant-style without the unhealthy additions though. thank you

    1. Still waiting for a reply to my query. Please show a video on how to make fried onions. It is also not available in youtube correctly

  8. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    Great recipe, I’m looking forward to trying it soon..

    Quick question – I only use brown rice when cooking for myself/my husband, should I still cook it 75% done before layering? My concern is it may not cook through fully in the oven as it cooks slower than white rice.


    1. Hi Jalebi,

      Since brown rice doesn’t mush up like white rice, you can probably cook it all the way. Just sprinkle a little water before baking so it doesn’t dry out.

  9. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe. I have tried this recipe and came out wonderful. But a quick qns as u have mentioned to do in oven, i follow the same step but the rice get little hard. Pls tell me how to make that soft in oven(because i dont want to do in stove).


    1. Hi Ria,

      Did you cover the pan? You can also try to sprinkle a little water over the top of the rice so that it creates steam and will keep the rice moist.

      1. Hi Hetal,
        Yes i did cover with a aluminium foil. Yes i can try sprinkle water on top of rice next time.

        Thanks for the reply.


  10. Anju,$ hetal,

    I tried this recipe before and all my friends loved it. They call me the biryani queen thanks you guys!!! Thanks a million for you everything.

  11. Hey Hetal and Anuja,

    Thank you for such a wonderful recipe and making it seem so simple! I’ve made vegetable biryani following your recipe a couple of times now, and it’s always been smashing hits!

    Next week, I have a few friends coming over for dinner and I’m planning to make biryani again. However, since it is a busy day for me I’m not likely to be able to cook on the day of the dinner. I was wondering if there’s some way I can make it one day prior and then re-heat (or maybe do the baking just before the guests arrive) Would this work? If not, do you guys have a recommended way of making biryani in advance?

    Once again, keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Simple,

      Sorry if this reply is too late… You can premake the entire biryani and just reheat it on the day you have guests. Sprinkle a little water over the top, cover and microwave it.

  12. This looks like a great recipe, unfortunately, it looks very complex too!! Most of the recipes in your website are very simple, less time-consuming and perfect for lazy people like me!! 😉 Can you show us a simple yet tasty version of Veg Biryani please?

  13. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I have tried your chicken biryani and it was awesome and now i want to try this receipe out.
    I have a slow cooker and want to try this receipe in it.
    I’l be following the receipe as you have mentioned but would like to make a change in the last it possible?
    So instead of placing it in an oven can i place it in a slow cooker????
    If yes, then am i supposed to cook it on low or high and for what time???
    pls reply back.

  14. Hey I love this biryani recipe. it was so so tasty.. I am curious which brand basmati rice do you use? Or which brand do you prefer to use?

  15. Hi Hetal & Anuja,
    I tried this recipe for lunch today and it was amazing. I used the store bought biryani masala though, next time i definitely want to try with your masala. I dint have saffron so i skipped that too, am sure it would have tasted even better with it. Thanks a lot for the recipe.

  16. Hi
    Iwas wondering if i can grind all the spices together and just use them when ever i make biryani? what spices can i use for that?
    Thanks hope to here from you soon.

    1. Hi Kathy,

      The spices we use have a different purpose at each stage of the recipe so it is difficult to grind all them together. Also, the whole spices add subtle flavor while ground spices are more intense. You can find pre-packaged biryani masala at Indian grocery stores but we have yet to concoct our own mixture.

    1. still waiting for your reply on how to make the fried onions. will the biryani taste bad without the fried onions.waiting for your reply so that I can try the biryani

      1. Hi Swa,

        We usually just buy the onions but you can make them at home. It takes some time and patience to get the right consistency. Slice the onions very thin and deep fry them on low heat. For extra crispiness, you can sprinkle some corn starch on the onions and toss them well to coat before frying. Note: If you are doing this method, then you must mix the corn starch into small batches and fry immediately — don’t mix the corn starch into all of the onions at one time.

  17. Hello Hetal and Anuja,

    Your site and this recipe is pretty amazing! BUT, I don’t know what I did wrong. I’m just getting back to cooking after a three year hiatus and thought that this demo might help me with this amazing recipe. But for some reason, when I made it, the spices were not strong at all. My dish turned out very bland. Based on all the comments and your demo, I know the problem is me and not the recipe. Any advice? Should I just keep trying? (sorry, I posted this twice)

  18. Hello Hetal and Anuja,

    Your site and this recipe is pretty amazing! BUT, I don’t know what I did wrong. I’m just getting back to cooking after a three year hiatus and thought that this demo might help me with this amazing recipe. But for some reason, when I made it, the spices were not strong at all. My dish turned out very bland. Based on all the comments and your demo, I know the problem is me and not the recipe. Any advice? Should I just keep trying?

    1. Hi,
      With the measurements that we provided, the spices are pretty flavorful. One thing could be that your spices are old and have lost their flavor. With fresh green chilies, some varieties are not very spicy. Definitely try again…its a fabulously flavorful biryani :).

  19. hi hetal/anuja your are the best. Thanks for the lovely dishes,i did the papad ki sabzi and etc,. Its the amazing to cook and to eat,i follow as you did that. I watch all videos of show me the curry, its the best show. I want more recipes from you . savi thakur

  20. hi hetal/anuja

    i do not have a big size baking pan as yours i have a medium sized one…in that case can i make it for 1 cup in two sized one….. in that case for how long should i keep in the oven if iam doing in two medium sized baking oven….. do reply asap as iam doing this for a party on tuesday…


  21. Hello Ladies! Thanks a lot for the grt Biryani recipe. I am in my third trimester of pregnancy. And every day I have different cravings. Somedays for sweet. Somedays for spicy food. And instead of troubling my husband, I am glad with your videos I can make lots of things at home

  22. Hi – can you make this the day before you plan to serve it? Or can you prepare it up to the point of baking and then cook it the next day? Thank you so much!

  23. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I’m Kajal from The Netherlands, I’ve been watching your videos for some time, and I like them. I love indian food, and thanks to you I try them out, once in a while.

    I want to try this biryani recipe, but don’t have a (high/big) baking dish like yours. What can I use instead?

    Is there also a recipe for Chicken Biryani? If not please, can you please post one..


  24. Hi Anuja and Hetal,
    Really loved watching this vegetable biryani!
    Just had a few questions: So the rice is boiling for the full 5 minutes, or do you turn the heat down once it starts to boil? Also, is the vessel uncovered during this time?
    Also, wondering if the same can be made with fewer vegetables?
    Again, thank you for your videos, I’ve learned alot!

    1. Hi Koki,

      Yes, the rice is cooked at the same rate…do not turn down the heat. It is cooked uncovered. You can add as many (or few) vegetables as you like. We like this to be a one pot meal so we go all out :).

  25. Hi Anuja & Hetal,

    Could you guys please tell me which store and brand has 4qt. ceramic pot for biryani. I searched on corell and corning ware sites but unable to find that.



  26. Thank you ladies for this wonderful site….I look here when I plan our dinner menu. I am planning to try this recipe but wanted to ask you what is the size of the baking dish you are using, is it 3 liter or 5 liter? Thanks.

  27. Fell in love with vegetable biryani in North India last year. On a recent trip to the South I couldn’t stop ordering it. After watching your videos, now I can finally make it at home.

    I just included your videos on my site for a post on vegetable biryani. Thanks for making it look so easy for me and my readers.

  28. I mean seriously, you guys are killing me. You present the recipe with such ease, it looks like it can be made.
    and then when one tries, one is actually able to make it.

    Thats what happened with me. I tried a complicated thing like Biryani, all because of you guys. And it turned out wonderful.
    The texture was maintained, the taste was there and what not. Skipped few masalas as I didnt have it, still it tasted wonderful.

    Thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks…..
    Keep posting such good stuff.


  29. Hi Heta and Anuja,

    Your Biryani is mouth watering and yummy. For any new and variety of recipes I always come to your blog.Your recipes and measurements are perfect!! Great blog!!I have one quick question.I am planning to make dum biryani for potluck for 8 members.I can add ingredients accordingly but how much time should I cook on the stove top? I don’t want to bake it in the oven but want to cook on the stove top in a big stainless steel vessel.Can you please give me some idea on how much time I should cook on Stove top?Thanks in advance!!

    1. Hi Srividya,

      Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately, we never use the stove top to make biryani so we cannot give you an exact time to cook. We know that some people use a double boiler method to cook biryani on the stove top. With this method, you have a larger pot of water in which you place your pot of biryani. This way, you are assured that the biryani will not burn at the bottom. Good luck with your party.

  30. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    After more than 20 times of watching this episode I finally tried it last night. Yes you read it right, at least 20 times and whole day of planning and shopping. I followed all your steps and used the same ingredients except I used only 1 green chili and used half of the biryani masala. I used 2 aluminum tray together to bake and contrary to what I’ve read above, it came so nicely–yes not burnt or dry. I ate it with homemade yogurt–it is sooo good. I am so excited to share this to my Indian friends.

    Oh by the way, I am not Indian and never been to India but I really love your food.

  31. Hi Heetal and Anuja,

    This was wonderful flavored dish… first time i made this and i called my trelatives for dinner… there was a bit tension though how the dish would turn… but it was so wonderfull and everyone enjoyed the same…… i like your website and i use to visit atleast thrice daily…. hope this a vacation time and i wish u both happy holidays

  32. Hi Hetal/Anuja,

    Veg biryani is a wonderful recipe..easy to cook.
    i have cooked it twice..but while eating i noticed that it was bit dry with less oil in it, still the taste was superb. just wanted to know how i can make it a bit oilly.

    and one more thing is, i baked in aluminium tray with aluminium foil covered on that making biryani dry?
    wanted some suggestions on it plz..
    want to cook again this weekend 🙂

    1. Hi Sanu,
      That is probably what is making it dry, the aluminum is very thin and tends to get heated a lot faster. So you can either increase the oil just a little bit more or cook in a ceramic dish.
      Enjoy 🙂

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