I've dreamt of making biryani for some time, but have always felt intimidated by the layers and spices I'd need to buy.

Any ideas for a small pot version of biryani?

My friend's dad makes it sometimes, but he uses a pretty large pot.

(I'm in Ontario, Canada so we might not have any specialty spices available)

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    Welcome to Seasoned Advice! While you are asking a very interesting question, I think it skirts quite close to the line for what is not on-topic for Seasoned Advice. In the on-topic guidelines page (cooking.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic), there is a section about off-topic questions, which includes the following: "Recipe swapping". You do not need an overly large cooking vessel to make biryani at home; a standard 3qt pot will do. As such, your question seems to be the need for a recipe, rather than for tips on how to prepare an especially small batch. Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 5:07
  • Thanks for responses. Hmmmm... I'll try to be more careful. Nice idea for the pre-made pastes. Perhaps I'm a glutton for punishment, but I'd want to try making it as close to "from scratch" as possible. I do have several recipes on tap, but i suppose I've always seen them in large pots. Not sure how well I would scale down from large to small.
    – johnnychi
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 19:21
  • @johnnychi - you can share the recipe you want to use and i'm sure there are experts on this forum who can help you scale down the recipe to fit inside a small pot.
    – Ess Kay
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 11:28
  • The main spice in the rice is cardamon
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Jul 1, 2022 at 21:11

1 Answer 1


Look around in the areas with the South Asian community (Pakistani/Indian/Bangladeshi) to find ethnic stores for specialty spices.

Whatever recipe you use, reduce the ingredients proportionately like you would for any other recipe.

The only reason for a large pot is to make it easier to mix the rice and gravy after it's cooked. If you don't have a large pot available, you can use a wide pan (of adequate height) with a lid. Avoid using narrow stock pots. It will be difficult to mix the rice up in a small pot without breaking the rice.

--- Edit:

You can even find boxed spice mixes in the ethnic stores to save the pain of buying individual spices. You can find these on Amazon as well.

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    +1. I live a long way away from India, and I can confirm that these spice mixes are cheap and easy to find in the ethnic stores here. I have cooked as little as 3-4 portions of it (using 1/2 bag -- each of those boxes contains 2 bags). Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 13:20
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    Also, note that Biryani made with these bags is hotter (and spicier) than what you will be served in the average Indian restaurant in my European country. Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 13:22
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    Thanks Federico for the very important note about hotness. I agree and I come from a South Asian country and we love our chillies, still I find it too hot for my liking. I have also been known to use my own spices to keep it mild with a bit of this spice mix in addition to get a nice authentic aroma and taste.
    – Ess Kay
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 17:10

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