Easy chicken biryani recipe [slow cooker]

Rating: 4.88
21 December 2022

 Some recipes are so easy to make and then so tasty to eat that they become a regular part of your cooking repertoire. And this slow cooker chicken biryani is one of mine. Having made this over the years in a pan on the hob, it has always been a deliciously filling and comforting meal. But when I started using my slow cooker more, I tweaked this easy biryani recipe so it could be done without any fuss and cooked all in one pot. 

slow cooker chicken biryani - Cook Simply

What is in this easy chicken biryani recipe?

While I don’t claim this is an authentic chicken biryani, it certainly has all the flavour with tender pieces of chicken and fluffy basmati rice. To make this easy biryani recipe all you need are a few ingredients. The key here is to make sure to marinate the chicken thighs in the spiced yoghurt for as long as possible. This will impart the best flavour and ensure the biryani is super tasty and delicious. And to make this slow cooker chicken biryani even simpler, use basmati rice pouches from the supermarket. You don’t even have to cook rice! Here are the spices and ingredients that are needed:

  • boneless chicken thighs
  • plain yoghurt
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • onion
  • salt
  • lemon juice
  • garam masala
  • turmeric
  • cumin
  • cayenne pepper
  • paprika
  • bay leaves
  • chicken stock pot
  • butter
  • cooked basmati rice


How to make this slow cooker biryani

This slow cooker recipe really is super easy. There’s no pre-cooking or browning of any ingredients. The hardest part is waiting for the chicken to marinate in the yoghurt, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, spices and salt. Once the chicken has marinated, add it, alongside the marinade to the onions, butter and stock pot. Cook on low for 4-5 hours, stirring part way through and when you are about to serve, add the basmati rice and combine it well so the rice is coated. Then sprinkle with fresh coriander before serving.

marinating chicken thighs with spices and lemon juice - Cook Simply

Can you make this easy chicken biryani recipe spicier?

Yes, my kids like to eat this biryani, which is why I hold back on the heat. But if you want it to be fiery, add some fresh chillies to the marinade, or even dried chillies or more cayenne pepper.

Can you use chicken breasts instead of thighs?

Absolutely. Chicken breasts will also work for this slow cooker biryani – and will cook for the same amount of time. 

What if I don’t have time to marinate the chicken?

I know I’ve said that the longer you leave the chicken to marinate, the better. However, it’s not always possible to pre-plan meals or marinate ahead of time, so still make this biryani recipe without any marinating time. If you can leave the chicken to infuse even for around 15 minutes, the flavours will still impart in the cooking sauce, and still taste delicious. Go for it. 

Can I freeze this chicken biryani?

Yes, leftovers always taste better in my opinion. You can put the biryani in a suitable container and refrigerate for up to two days making sure you reheat thoroughly. Or you can freeze for up to three months. Defrost fully before reheating in the microwave. 

chicken biryani recipe with lemon, coriander and yoghurt - Cook Simply

What to serve with this biryani

I love lots of fresh coriander sprinkled on top and another dollop of yoghurt. It also goes well with poppadoms or naan. You could even serve it alongside a vegetable curry or dhal. 

Other slow cooker recipes you might like

Slow cooker bolognese
Slow cooker beef curry
Slow cooker Chinese chicken curry
Slow cooker beef and chorizo
Slow cooker Thai massaman curry 
Slow cooker ham joint in coke

Here are some other Indian-inspired meals

Chicken tikka masala
Indian spiced chicken
Easy chicken curry
Halloumi curry
slow cooker chicken biryani with lemon and coriander - Cook Simply

Easy chicken biryani recipe [slow cooker]

4.88 from 33 votes
This is a simple but really tasty chicken biryani that can be made in a slow cooker. Add pre-cooked rice and this complete delicious meal really is easy as 123...
Servings 4
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Marinating time 3 hours
Total Time 7 hours 10 minutes


  • 650 g skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 tablespoons plain yoghurt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • ½-1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 chicken stock pot
  • 15 g butter
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500 g cooked basmati rice I use 2 x basmati rice pouches from most supermarkets


  • In a bowl, add the chicken thighs, yoghurt, garlic, ginger, turmeric, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, and garam masala. Then add the lemon juice and salt and combine all the ingredients. See note 1
    marinating chicken thighs with spices and lemon juice - Cook Simply
  • Make sure all the chicken thighs are covered in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours. Or even overnight. The longer the chicken marinates for, the more depth of flavour the chicken will have.
    biryani yoghurt marinade - Cook Simply
  • When you're ready to cook, add the chicken and yoghurt marinade to the slow cooker pot. Then add the onions, bay leaves, butter and chicken stock pot.
    adding biryani ingredients to slow cooker - cook simply
  • Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours (or high for 2-3 hours), giving the chicken a stir half way through.
    chicken biryani in slow cooker - cook simply
  • When you're ready to serve, add the basmati rice and stir through, making sure all the rice is combined well with the chicken and the sauce. See note 2
    adding rice to biryani - cook simply
  • Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with extra yoghurt.



Note 1  If you would like this recipe to be spicy, add more cayenne pepper and/or fresh chopped chillies. 
Note 2  You may find there is too much liquid once the chicken starts cooking. If you'd like your biryani to be drier rather than mushy, spoon some of the liquid out before adding the rice. My preference is to let the rice soak it all in as it all adds to the flavour. 


Calories: 407kcalCarbohydrates: 57.6gFat: 9.1g
Author: cooksimply
Calories: 407kcal
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian

Did you make this chicken biryani recipe?

If you made this recipe for slow cooker biryani, please leave me some star ratings and a comment below or tag @cooksimplyathome on Instagram. You can find other recipe ideas here.

Join the Conversation

  1. 5 stars
    Easy recipe to follow. Really tasty, made it as mild as described. Have always wanted to cook biryani and glad I now have. Marinaded
    over night and threw in the slow cooker at 1400. Enjoyed a great meal at 2000 with a cold beer after a day of football. Thank you.

    1. I am so pleased to hear you enjoyed this recipe. It’s definitely one of our favourites

  2. Looks great! How much liquid would you suggest adding with the chicken stock?

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment – no need to add any liquid to the stock pot, just add the stock jelly or cube directly into the slow cooker with the other ingredients. Enjoy!

  3. Do you heat the cooked rice pouches in the microwave first of just mix them straight into the mixture from the pouch and then heat through for a while in the slow cooker?

    1. Hello, you don’t need to preheat the rice pouches you can just add them straight to the slow cooker to heat through. I would suggest before opening the pouches to break up the rice using your hands, as they can clump together.

  4. Can you use boneless skinless breasts for this recipe? If so, does the cooking time change? Do you recommend cutting the chicken in cubes and cooking, or leaving the breasts whole and cooking?

    1. Hi Ryan, yes you can use chicken breasts too – you can leave them whole and break them apart one cooked or even cut into large chunks

      1. 4 stars
        Thank you-it turned out fantastic!! Great recipe.

  5. I know this is a late ask, but what is a chicken stock pot? Like I just add a can of stock? I feel like I am missing something and would love to make this dish.

    1. In the UK it’s a stock jelly pot instead of a stock powdered cube but you could use either.

      1. Thanks so much!

    2. I had to look this up – apparently it’s 500ml of chicken stock (or that’s what I used anyways)

      1. Ah I just add a stock jelly pot or stock cube, rather than liquid, but pleased it still worked for you

  6. Can you add vegetables to this? If so, what veggies would you suggest, and at what point would you add them to the pot?
    I was thinking finely chopped marrow and/or baby spinach leaves

    1. Hello, yes adding veggies is a great touch – particularly spinach. If you’re adding fresh spinach I would stir it through around an hour before adding the rice. Mushrooms, peas, peppers you can also add around 30 minutes before.

  7. 5 stars
    Tried this for the first time recently and it was delicious. Marinated chicken overnight and doubled the recipe – worked out really great and a new favorite!

    1. so happy to read

  8. Is this recipe freezable?

    1. Yes you can, please refer to the post above the recipe card for more details.

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