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A closeup of leftover roast turkey biryani. The vibrant yellow turkey and rice dish is in a shallow brown bowl, garnished with a slice of lemon, slivered almonds and coriander leaves. In the background is a white plate on which more curry has been served.
4.94 from 16 votes

Easy Chicken Biryani (using leftover roast chicken)

This leftover roast chicken biryani is a quick, quick easy and delicious one pot meal for all the family  which uses up leftover roast chicken. Dinner on the table in 40 minutes with about 10 minutes hands on time. Make double and freeze leftovers for another day - or take to work as a packed lunch.
Recipe includes instructions for Instant Pot or Electric Pressure Cooker as well as detailed notes on ingredient substitutions and additions as well as WeightWatchers Points.
Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins


  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 onion - finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic - crushed
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp paprika - or mild chilli
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 300 g leftover roast chicken - cut into chunks
  • 300 g basmati rice
  • ½ cup frozen sweet corn
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 550 ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbs mango chutney
  • 1 handful baby spinach leaves
  • lemon slices
  • salt and pepper to taste


Conventional Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / GM4. Gather your ingredients.
  • Pour the oil into a flame proof casserole dish and fry the onion for a few minutes over a low heat.
    1 tbs vegetable oil, 1 clove garlic, 1 onion
  • Add the crushed garlic and spices and cook for a further few minutes until the onion is soft. Stir well to release the aroma of the spices. Remove from the heat.
    1 clove garlic, ½ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp garam masala, ½ tsp paprika, 4 cardamom pods
  • Stir in the chicken and rice into the onions and spices.
    300 g leftover roast chicken, 300 g basmati rice
  • Pour the stock over. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the stock. While the dish cooks in the oven, pour some boiling water over the peas and corn in a bowl to defrost them.
    ½ cup frozen sweet corn, 550 ml chicken stock, ½ cup frozen peas
  • Drain the peas and corn. Stir through the rice with the mango chutney and spinach. And add a little water if the rice is slightly chalky to bite. Adjust the seaoning if necessary. Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
    2 tbs mango chutney, 1 handful baby spinach leaves, salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish with lemon slices. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon.
    lemon slices

Instant Pot / Electric Pressure Cooker Instructions

  • Use the sauté function to cook the onion, garlic and spice as above
    1 tbs vegetable oil, 1 clove garlic, ½ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp garam masala, 4 cardamom pods, ½ tsp paprika
  • Add the rice and an equal volume of stock stir in the chicken, and set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for three minutes.
    300 g leftover roast chicken, 550 ml chicken stock, 300 g basmati rice
  • Let the pressure release naturally for eighteen minutes with the keep warm setting.
  • Add in the defrosted peas and corn, with the spinach and mango chutney, stir, replace the lid and leave on warm for 5 minutes.
    ½ cup frozen peas, 2 tbs mango chutney, 1 handful baby spinach leaves, ½ cup frozen sweet corn


This is a very forgiving dish providing you get the rice to liquid ratio right.
Rice – We’ve tested this with both basmati and long grain rice (shown in the photos). It is far better with basmati rice which has that lovely fragrance.     If you use long grain rice you will need to cook in the oven for about another 5 minutes.
Use Leftover Roast Turkey, Pork or Lamb – We used leftover roast chicken, you can equally well use leftover roast turkey, pork or lamb.
No Leftover Roast Meat? – If you are using fresh, raw meat then cut into chunks and fry along with the onion at the start of cooking.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan – leave out the meat and add a can of rinsed chickpeas or other beans and use vegetable stock.
No Mango Chutney? Add any other chutney, or even a dollop of apricot jam.
Add more vegetables – This leftover roast turkey is the perfect dish for adding extra veg to.  Add chopped leftover roast vegetables (potatoes, parsnip and carrots work well), stir in florets of cauliflower and broccoli 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time or substitute any leafy green for the spinach.
Garnishes – Again use what you have, I love fresh coriander (cilantro) but and fresh herbs are delicious.   Garnish with toasted flaked almonds, cashews or pine nuts for some texture and crunch.
Oven cooking time will be about 25 minutes for basmati rice when you add boiling hot stock, or bring the pot to a simmer before you put it in the oven.  With different types of rice or cold stock allow another 5-15 minutes.   I’d check after 25 minutes and then adjust the extra cooking time.
This recipe has 14 Weight Watchers SmartPoints per serving.
Leftovers can be frozen and then zapped in the microwave to reheat.
• Please note that the nutrition information provided below is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
• Unless stated otherwise cup conversions have been made with an online tool. For accuracy please check with your favoured conversion tool. We recommend buying inexpensive digital kitchen scales.
Serving: 4servings | Calories: 484kcal | Carbohydrates: 83g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 1106mg | Potassium: 593mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 985IU | Vitamin C: 13.8mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2.8mg