Turkey Biryani (Instant Pot Leftover Turkey Recipe)


turkey biryani

Turkey Biryani

This festive turkey biryani recipe is the BEST way to use up your holiday turkey.

I’m honestly reluctant to call this a leftover turkey recipe because, really, this recipe is worth setting aside cooked turkey to make. So if you’re wondering what to do with leftover turkey or even leftover cooked chicken, this recipe will absolutely blow you away.

turkey biryani

The Best Way to Use Leftover Turkey:

Now I hope you made one of my whole turkey recipes – Masala Turkey or Tandoori Turkey. But if not, no worries, this biryani recipe will work perfectly with any cooked turkey.

tandoori turkey

This turkey biryani has everything you’d expect to find in regular biryani: whole spices, ground spices, caramelized onions, ginger, and garlic.

My recipe also calls for several toppings. Because this is a “leftover recipe,” I think fresh herbs are essential here. Use plenty of fresh cilantro and mint to make this biryani feel bright and new.

And for a final festive touch, top the biryani with chewy red cranberries and crunchy green pumpkin seeds. These red and green toppings are a bit of a change from the usual ghee-coated cashews and raisins, though if that’s what you’ve got, you can’t go wrong, so go ahead and use them. I bet golden raisins or green pistachios would look and taste great too.

turkey biryani

Turkey Biryani Ingredients:

  • Cooked Turkey (or Chicken): remove the skin, and if possible, use dark meat to avoid over cooking any meat. I’ve also tried this with a combination of dark and white meat and it turns out great.
  • Basmati Rice
  • Oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Whole Spices: cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, fennel seeds
  • Ground Spices: coriander, paprika, salt, garam masala, cayenne, turmeric
  • Garnish: dried cranberries or golden raisins, pumpkin seeds or pistachios, cilantro, mint
turkey biryani ingredients


How to Make Turkey Biryani

Cook the whole spices in some oil, stir, then add the onions and cook until golden/caramelized.

how to make turkey biryani

Add the ginger, garlic, stir, then add the cooked turkey and ground spices and mix well.

how to make turkey biryani

Add water and rice and mix, then cook.

how to make turkey biryani

When it’s done, sprinkle with garnishes like cilantro and mint as well as dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds for a festive touch.

how to make turkey biryani

What to Serve with Turkey Biryani

To round out this festive (leftover) meal, serve this biryani with my bright reddish-pink Beet Raita and my sweet, spicy, and tangy Cranberry Chutney.

turkey biryani

Instant Pot Holiday Turkey Biryani (leftover turkey recipe)

turkey biryani

Instant Pot Holiday Turkey Biryani (leftover turkey recipe)

5 from 10 reviews
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Cuisine Indian


  • 1 pound chopped cooked turkey skin removed (preferably dark meat)
  • 1 cup basmati rice rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger

Whole spices:

Ground spices:


  • ½ cup dried cranberries (or golden raisins)
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds and/or pistachios
  • Fresh cilantro leaves chopped
  • Fresh mint leaves chopped


  • Press the sauté button and adjust the heat to the highest setting. Add the oil to the pot and once it’s hot, add the whole spices and stir. Once the cumin seeds turn brown add the onions. Stir-fry for 6-7 minutes or until the onions begin to brown.
    how to make turkey biryani
  • Add the garlic, ginger, and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, then add cooked turkey and ground spices and mix well.
    how to make turkey biryani
  • Add the water and rice and mix well, then secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 6 minutes at high pressure.
    how to make turkey biryani
  • Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Open the valve to release any remaining pressure.
  • Sprinkle with cilantro, mint, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds.
    how to make turkey biryani
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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Chris White says

    Followed to the letter
    After 3 minutes warm up time BURN FOOD warning came on so I put another cup of water in and deglazed the pot
    Try again on low heat setting for 10 minutes, 3 minutes into warm up time BURN FOOD warning again.
    Turned the whole lot into a pan and tried to salvage it, unfortunately I have now produced inedible turkey porridge and one very burnt instant pot.
    Not happy

  2. Jackie P says

    5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe. It transformed our leftovers into a delightfully disguised leftover dinner. To be honest, I didn’t even cook it in the Instant Pot. I had leftover rice, so I just sauteed the onion and whole and powdered spices in oil. Then I added some broth and some fresh chopped broccoli and carrots to steam them. Then I added the turkey and my leftover rice. This was warming and delicious and super easy. We loved it.

  3. Nidhi says

    Excited to try this, this evening! How many servings will this make? I have a lot of leftover turkey!
    Is it possible to double it– if so double all ingredients? Change cooking time? Thanks!

instant pot pour and cook chicken biryani

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