Chicken Tikka Biryani with naan

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This chicken tikka biryani is literally bursting with flavour! A mixture of warming spices and tender rice, with chicken marinated in a warming yoghurt tikka mixture. While biryani may seem offputting to make at home as it does have a lot of ingredients, most are simple spices and other basic ingredients you are likely to already have at home, so don’t be perturbed!

This recipe cooks in around an hour – but the chicken is best when marinated for at least two hours first – so plan ahead.

What is it?

Biryani is a rice-based dish that originated in India. It’s made with rice slowly cooked with spices, herbs and often meat and, quite frankly, it’s a comforting delicious dish. It’s no surprise that its popularity has soared over the years, and many neighbouring countries in the Middle East and Asia have also developed their own versions of biryani.

Chicken tikka is cubed chicken that is marinated in a mixture of spices with creamy yogurt and then cooked, often on skewers (although for this recipe you don’t need to worry about the skewers!)

This recipe combines the two into a chicken tikka biryani – a dream combination! If you are a seafood fan then you might also want to try this king prawn biryani too.

What is the difference between tikka and tikka masala?

The only real difference between tikka and tikka masala is that tikka masala has more spices added to it. It generally will be a richer, deeper colour due to the increased spice.

The origins of tikka masala are also disputed, with many believing that it actually originated in the UK.

How long does it keep?

Once cooked you can store the biryani covered in the fridge for up to two days. Reheat it well before serving as the bacteria on rice actually requires a higher level of heat to kill than most food so it can be dangerous if not properly heated through.

While you can freeze this recipe, the texture of the rice is never quite the same afterwards. It will certainly be softer and less ‘fluffy’ so I would recommend making this fresh when possible.

Chicken Tikka Biryani in a bowl

What can I serve it with?

A good biryani is not complete without some form of raita – try this cooling cucumber and mint raita which works beautifully drizzled over the top. Mango chutney is also a great addition to any curry.

You can also add a soft naan bread, or a simple salad of tomatoes and red onion.


Here is an overview of the ingredients for this chicken tikka biryani, for the full list including measurements and weights visit the recipe card.

Chicken Tikka Biryani Ingredients

For the chicken tikka:

  • chicken breast
  • full-fat natural yogurt
  • garlic, crushed or minced
  • ginger
  • lemon juice
  • ground coriander
  • turmeric
  • cumin
  • chilli powder

For the saffron water

  • pinch saffron
  • water

For the rice

  • basmati rice
  • water
  • cardamom pods
  • bay leaf

For the Biryani

  • olive oil
  • onion
  • tomato, finely chopped
  • finely chopped coriander

How to make it

Recipe Steps

1. Marinade the chicken (see chicken tikka ingredients)

Mix together all the chicken tikka ingredients apart from the chicken. Chop the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and then add to the mixture. Place in the fridge for at least two hours (overnight is best).

In a small bowl mix the saffron and water and leave to infuse.

2. Cook the rice (see rice ingredients)

Rinse and drain the rice a couple of times and then add to a small pan along with the cardamom pods, bay leaf and water. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to very low, cover and leave to steam for around 10 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork when cooked and remove the bay leaf.

3. Make the biryani (see biryani ingredients)

Heat a frying or griddle pan with half of the olive oil and remove the chicken from the marinade, piece by piece, and add to the pan. Keep the remaining marinade for the next step. Cook the chicken for around 5-6 minutes, turning halfway through, until a little browned on the edges. It doesn’t need to be fully cooked all the way through. Remove and set aside.

In a frying pan heat the remaining oil and place over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for around 5 minutes until softened and starting to slightly brown. Next, add the tomato and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the leftover marinade from the chicken, and the chicken to the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove half the biryani mixture from the pan and then spread half the rice over the half left in the pan. Top with half the chopped coriander.

Add the remaining half of the biryani mixture on top, followed by the rest of the rice and the remaining coriander. Use a spoon to drizzle the saffron water and strands over the top. Place a lid over the pan and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

If you are looking for other great Indian recipes then you might also want to try:

Products that work well for this recipe:

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Indian Karahi Curry Bowls

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Chicken Tikka Biryani with naan

Chicken Tikka Biryani

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x


This chicken tikka biryani is super flavoursome – chicken coated in a warming spiced yogurt marinade, combined with tender rice stewed in fresh tomatoes and onion. There are quite a few ingredients and steps but the results are well worth it! 

The default recipe serves one



For the chicken tikka:

  • 1 chicken breast (around 125g / 4.5oz)
  • 120g / 4.5oz / 1/2 cup full-fat natural yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder

For the saffron water:

  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 2 tsp water

For the rice:

  • 65g / 1/3 cup basmati rice
  • 170ml / 2/3 cup water
  • 4 cardamom pods, small slit cut into the side of each
  • 1 bay leaf

For the Biryani:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 medium brown or white onion, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander


  1. First, prepare the chicken tikka marinade by mixing all the chicken tikka ingredients together excluding the chicken. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and then add to the marinade and mix together well. Cover and keep in the fridge for at least two hours (or ideally overnight). 
  2. Mix together the saffron and water in a small bowl and then leave to infuse
  3. Next prepare the rice (see rice ingredients). Wash and drain the rice a couple of times and then place in a small pan with the water, bay leaf and cardamom pods. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to very low. Place a lid on the pan and leave to steam for around 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed in the rice. When cooked fluff with a fork to stop the grains from sticking together and remove the bay leaf. 
  4. Next move on to preparing the main biryani mixture. Heat half the olive oil in a frying pan and place over medium-high heat. Add the onion when hot and saute for around 5 minutes until softened and just starting to brown. 
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan and cook for a further couple of minutes, until softened. 
  6. Add the remaining tikka marinade and the chicken. Mix everything together and bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. 
  7. Remove half the biryani mixture and place in a bowl. Top the mixture left in the pan with half the rice and half the chopped coriander. Add the rest of the mixture back into the pan and top with the remaining rice and then the remaining coriander. Drizzle the saffron water and strands over the top with a spoon. 
  8. Place a lid on the pan and leave to slowly simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with cucumber raita, chutney or an additional naan bread (although biryani is a meal in itself).


  1. If you simply don’t have time to the marinade the chicken for this recipe then don’t fret – it still works fine, but the chicken is more flavoursome and tasty the longer it is marinated. 
  2. Cutting the slit into the side of the cardamom pods helps them release flavour while cooking
  3. You can substitute the spices with other ingredients you have on hand. Great substitutions include nutmeg, ground cloves, garam masala or cayenne pepper. Swap them out as you like. Just be wary that some are much hotter than others, such as chilli powder and cayenne.
  4. Serve this dish with rice or naan (or both) and don’t forget a good dollop of cooling cucumber raita
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Hob
  • Cuisine: Indian


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 670
  • Fat: 22g
  • Carbohydrates: 72g
  • Protein: 46g

Keywords: curry, indian, yogurt, rice, biryani, dinner, chicken, main course

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