Instant Pot Butternut Squash Biryani

An easy, one-pot, Instant Pot Butternut Squash Biryani that takes just minutes to throw together, taking you from scratch to dinner in 30 minutes flat. Gluten-free, soy-free, vegan, and can be nut-free.

Here’s the deal about this Instant Pot Butternut Squash Biryani. As it cooks, it fills up your kitchen and house with the most incredible fragrance you can imagine, making tummies growl. And if you actually have leftovers after dinner, well, you must’ve done something wrong.

But seriously, this is a scrumptious, nutritious dish that comes together in just a few minutes. All you do is dump everything into the Instant Pot (it doesn’t have to be an Instant Pot– any electric cooker that lets you saute and cook rice would work just fine), give it all a stir, and let it cook.

I love butternut squash in biryanis, because there’s something about its delicious sweetness that works beautifully with the spicy, salty, tangy notes of a biryani. For more texture and nutrition, you can throw in other veggies. I love cauliflower in here because it cooks to perfect tenderness in the Instant Pot without become even a tad mushy. Just the way I love my cauliflower.

Green beans, green peas, bell peppers of any color and potatoes would be great in here too.

I get my butternut squash pre-cut at my neighborhood grocer’s, the only veggie I buy pre-cut because it saves a lot of time and, perhaps, my fingers. Needless to say, you’d need to factor in more time if you prepped a butternut squash from scratch.

Also try my restaurant-style Vegetable Biryani. This traditional and authentic recipe takes just 30 minutes to make and it’s delicious!


  • 5 cups butternut squash cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 small head cauliflower, separated into florets
  • 1 teaspoon coconut or any vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon shahjeera or caraway seeds (Can substitute with regular cumin seeds if unavailable)
  • 2 dry bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoon biryani masala
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne or any red chili pepper powder
  • ¾ cup cashew yogurt
  • ¼ cup fried onions, like French’s (optional, but really nice in biryanis)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dry dill leaves
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (can sub with water)
  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste


  • Press the saute function on the Instant Pot. Add the shah jeera and the bay leaves and saute for a few seconds. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 10-15 seconds, then add the butternut squash, cauliflower, fried onions, biryani masala, cayenne, turmeric, cashew yogurt, mint, dill and cilantro. Mix well.
  • Add the vegetable stock, rice, salt and ground black pepper to taste. Stir well.
  • Click on the lid of the Instant Pot and switch to the “rice” cooking function. Once the pressure has released, open and fluff the rice with a fork.
  • Serve hot.


Calories: 224kcal | Protein: 5.4g | Fat: 4.2g | Potassium: 504mg | Fiber: 3.9g | Sugar: 3.1g | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1.8mg

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