The Best Lamb Biryani Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 5 People
For Cooking Basmati Rice
  • Basmati Rice- 2½ cups
  • Whole cardamom- 3
  • Cinnamon stick- 3-inch stick
  • Whole Cloves- 3
  • Dried Bay leaves- 2
  • Ghee- 2 tbsp
  • Salt- 1½ tsp
  • Water- 5 cups (for stovetop cooking), 3 cups (if using rice cooker)
For Marinating Lamb
  • Boneless or bone-in lamb, cut into big cubes- 2 lbs or 1 Kg
  • Chili powder-1 tbsp (or depending upon your spice level)
  • Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
  • Fennel powder- 2 tbsp
  • Coriander powder- 2 tbsp
  • Garam masala- 2 tsp (I make my own garam masala: cardamom-8, cloves-4, cinnamon stick-3inch, grind all these in the blender and use 2 tsp of this)
  • Lemon juice- juice of a half lemon
  • Salt- 1½ tsp
For Making the Masala
  • Oil- ¼ cup
  • Ghee- ¼ cup
  • Whole Cardamom- 3
  • Whole Cloves- 3
  • Cinnamon stick- 2-inch slice
  • Onions- 6 (large-sized) or 8 (medium-sized) sliced thin
  • Ginger chopped- 3 tbsp
  • Garlic chopped- 3 tbsp
  • Green chilies sliced- 3 tbsp (or depending upon how spicy you want)
  • Small onions chopped- 8
  • Tomatoes, chopped- 2
  • Yogurt- ½ cup (beat the yogurt taken in a bowl with a whisk or fork)
  • Cilantro, chopped- ¼ cup
  • Fresh Mint leaves, chopped- ⅛ tsp
  • Salt- 1½ tsp
For Layering Rice-Lamb Masala and Dum Cooking
  • Onion, sliced thin- 2
  • Cashew nuts, roasted in 1 tsp ghee- ½ cup
  • Raisins, roasted in 1 tsp ghee- ⅓ cup
  • Cilantro chopped- ¼ cup
  • Fresh Mint leaves, chopped- ¼ cup
  • Saffron strands - 2 pinches, soak in 2 tbsp milk for 15 minutes
  • Ghee- 3 tbsp
For Cooking Basmati Rice
  1. If you are using a rice cooker: Rinse the rice taken in a strainer under running water, drain the water. Add the rice to the rice cooker bowl along with all the above ingredients for cooking rice and 3 cups water. For cooking Basmati rice in a rice cooker, less water is needed.
  2. Cooking on stovetop: Rinse the rice taken in a strainer under running water, drain the water. Use a deep bottomed non-stick pot, add ghee followed by cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Saute for a few seconds, add the rice. Roast the rice for a few minutes and then pour the water.
  3. Cover the pot with a lid, cook over medium heat.
  4. Cook until the rice has fully cooked and the water dries off- around 20 minutes.
  5. Using a fork gently fluff the rice to avoid sticking. Keep aside the rice covered.
  6. Remove any excess fat from the lamb cubes. Sprinkle ¼ tsp turmeric powder and pour 2 tbsp lemon juice over the lamb, clean the lamb well & drain water.
  7. Spread all the above ingredients 'for marinating the lamb' on the lamb pieces, let marinate for an hour or longer (can be marinated overnight for better taste).
Making Lamb Masala
  1. In a blender- coarsely grind garlic, ginger, green chilies, and small onions. Keep aside.
  2. Place the pressure cooker over medium heat, add ghee and oil.
  3. Add cardamom, cloves & cinnamon; saute for 30 seconds till aromatic.
  4. Add the onions and fry in the oil until translucent.
  5. Add the ground ginger/garlic/green chilies/small onion mix; saute until the onions start to turn light brown.
  6. Add the tomatoes, cook till they are slightly mashed up.
  7. Add the marinated lamb, combine well.
  8. Now add the yogurt (ensure to beat the yogurt well with a whisk or fork before adding), mix everything well.
  9. Add cilantro, mint leaves, and salt.
  10. Close the pressure cooker with the lid and cook over low-medium flame for 3 to 4 whistles or until the lamb has cooked well.
  11. Let the pressure subside.
  12. Open the cooker, if the masala is watery, turn the heat to high and cook uncovered until the masala has almost thickened.
  13. Taste & add more salt if required.
  14. Don't make the masala too dry, it should have some gravy.
Layering & Dum Cooking
  1. Fry onion in oil until golden brown, transfer to a paper towel, keep it aside.
  2. Roast the cashew nuts & raisins in ghee, keep aside.
  3. Grease a large & wide non-stick saucepan or biryani pot with 1 tbsp ghee.
  4. As the first layer, add half of the lamb masala.
  5. The second layer, half of the cooked rice.
  6. Pour 1 tbsp ghee over the rice, drizzle ½ of the saffron in milk on the rice, evenly spread half of the fried onions, half of the roasted cashew nuts, raisins, half of the chopped cilantro & mint leaves on top of the rice.
  7. Repeat this step one more time.
  8. Finally, on the top layer of rice- drizzle remaining saffron milk, garnish with fried onions, cashew nuts, raisins, cilantro & mint leaves.
  9. Tightly seal the dish with aluminum foil and close with its lid
  10. Place on stovetop over low flame and Dum for 15 minutes.
  11. After 15 minutes, remove the pot from the heat, keep it covered for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  12. You could also do the final cooking in the oven: Preheat oven to 350F or 175 C. Do the layering in an oven-safe casserole, close the casserole with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  13. While serving, gently & gracefully mix the layers and plate the biryani.
  14. Enjoy the Lamb biryani with Raita or pickle.
Recipe by Cooking with Thas - Healthy Recipes, Instant pot, Videos by Thasneen at