An Authentic Indian Delicacy Made Easy

Tandoori chicken is one of the most popular Indian dishes around the world. The rich red color, aromatic spices, and succulent chicken pieces dripping with flavor is a delight for the senses. Tandoori Chicken Recipe may seem intimidating to make at first but it’s actually quite simple. With just a few basic ingredients and helpful tips you’ll be able to make restaurant-quality tandoori chicken in your own kitchen.

What is Tandoori Chicken?

Tandoori chicken is chicken marinated in yogurt and tandoori masala spice mix and then roasted in a very high heat tandoor oven. The yogurt helps tenderize the chicken while the spices infuse it with bold flavors. When cooked correctly, the chicken gets a nice char while remaining juicy inside. Tandoori chicken gets its iconic red color from the spices used in the marinade, primarily red chili powder, paprika, and red food coloring.

Here are some key Points about Tandoori Chicken Recipe:

  • Originated as a delicacy from the Indian subcontinent
  • Chicken pieces marinated in spiced yogurt sauce
  • Cooked in a clay oven known as a Tandoor
  • Distinctive red color comes from spices and food dye
  • Tender and juicy chicken with smoky roasted flavor

Now let’s get into how to make this sensational chicken dish at home.

Tandoori Chicken Recipe Ingredients Needed

Part of what makes tandoori chicken so flavorful is the fresh ingredients used in the marinade. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:

For the Marinade:

  • Plain yogurt
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Spice mix: chili powder, cumin, coriander, garam masala, etc.
  • Salt
  • Red food coloring (optional)
  • Oil or ghee

For the Chicken:

  • Bone-in chicken pieces (breast, thighs or drumsticks)
  • Onions, peppers, tomatoes (optional)

Having the right ingredients is key but combining them correctly helps the flavors permeate the chicken for maximum taste.

Tandoori Chicken Recipe Marinade

The secret to excellent tandoori chicken is all in the marinade. This easy recipe packs a flavor punch:


  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • Red food coloring (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, oil, garlic, and ginger paste till smooth.
  2. Next add all the dry spices and salt. Whisk well to combine thoroughly with yogurt mixture.
  3. Stir in 3-4 drops of red food coloring for richer color (optional).
  4. Add chicken pieces and turn to evenly coat in marinade.
  5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours, overnight is best.

This easy marinade packs heat from the chili powder and complexity from the blend of spices. The yogurt tenderizes the chicken while the oil helps the spices coat evenly. Leaving it to marinate overnight lets the flavors seep deep for the tastiest result.

How To Cook Tandoori Chicken Recipe

To make restaurant worthy tandoori chicken at home, you don’t need a traditional tandoor oven. A grill, broiler or even oven can achieve similar results:

You’ll Need:

  • Marinated chicken
  • Metal skewers
  • Cooking spray or oil


  1. Soak bamboo or metal skewers in water for 30 minutes (prevents burning).
  2. Thread marinated chicken firmly onto skewers, discarding excess marinade.
  3. Lightly grease grill grates or broiler pan with oil or cooking spray.
  4. Grill chicken on medium-high, turning frequently until charred in spots and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Alternatively, broil chicken 5-6 inches from heat, flipping halfway through cooking time.
  6. Or bake on a parchment lined pan at 400°F for 20-25 minutes.

The key things are high heat to achieve charring on the outside while keeping the inside moist. Check chicken is fully cooked before removing. Enjoy immediately with rice or naan!

Tips for Best Tandoori Chicken Results

Making superior tandoori chicken relies on a few key tips:

  • Use bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks for most flavor and juiciness. The bones help retain moisture.
  • Plain yogurt works best as the acidic marinade tenderizes the chicken. Avoid flavored yogurts.
  • Chill the marinated chicken for several hours or overnight before cooking. This allows the flavors to penetrate deeply.
  • Pat chicken dry before skewering to help get a nice char. The less moisture on the outside means better browning.
  • Use metal or bamboo skewers for even cooking and easy flipping. Soak bamboo skewers beforehand to prevent burning.
  • Cook over high heat like a grill or broiler to replicate tandoor oven results. The fire kiss gives great charring.

Follow these simple guidelines and your homemade tandoori chicken will rival any Indian restaurant!

Tandoori Chicken Recipe Alternatives

While traditional tandoori chicken uses bone-in chicken drumsticks or thighs, you can also experiment with other cuts of meat:

Tandoori Chicken Breasts

Boneless, skinless breasts offer a leaner option. Pound them to an even thickness so they cook quicker. Brush with ghee or oil while grilling for added richness.

Tandoori Chicken Wings

Chicken wings offer built-in portion control and added skin for crisping. Marinate wings just like other cuts but they will cook faster. Grill until skins get browned and crispy.

Tandoori Chicken Kebabs

Turn chicken breasts or tenders into kebabs for a finger food option. Cut chicken into 1-2 inch chunks. Thread onto skewers with bell peppers, onions, tomatoes for a complete meal.

So try out different cuts of chicken until you find your favorites. The marinade works magic on any type!

Serving Suggestions

Here are some fantastic ways to serve your foolproof tandoori chicken recipe:

With rice dishes

  • Briyani rice
  • Plain basmati rice
  • Jeera rice
  • Coconut rice

With Indian breads

  • Naan
  • Roti
  • Parantha
  • Kulcha

As appetizers

  • Tandoori chicken tikka bites
  • Tandoori chicken tacos or sliders
  • Tandoori chicken pizza

With sides

  • Onion salad
  • Raita (yogurt)
  • Green salad
  • Combine with Roasted Veggies

For a full meal in one pan, toss cauliflower, potatoes, carrots or other veggies in oil, spices and grill alongside the chicken. The slight charring enhances natural sweetness.

However you choose to use it, tandoori chicken adds rich flavor and visual appeal to various dishes. Now over to your questions about this popular Indian delicacy:

Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions about making mouthwatering tandoori chicken? Find answers to common queries here.

What is the best cut of chicken for tandoori?

Chicken legs and thighs work wonderfully. The darker meat stays juicier while the bones impart more flavor. Breasts can dry out quicker but pound them to an even thickness for uniform cooking.

How long does the chicken need to marinate?

For the best flavor penetration, marinate chicken for at least 4 hours but ideally overnight in the refrigerator. This gives time for the spices and yogurt to tenderize the meat.

Can I use Greek yogurt instead?

Yes. Since Greek yogurt is thicker and more concentrated, it creates an especially tender and flavorful marinade. Just be sure to use plain non-fat Greek yogurt.

What is a good tandoori chicken internal temp?

Check chicken reaches 165°F internally before removing from heat. Use a meat thermometer to guarantee doneness and prevent any undercooking. The juices should also run clear when pierced with a knife tip.

Why did my tandoori chicken come out too spicy?

The amount of cayenne or red chili powder used likely made it too hot. For milder heat, use sweet paprika or tomato paste which add richness not spice. Serve with cooling raita to help offset the heat.

Can I cook tandoori chicken in an air fryer?

Yes! Mist chicken with oil spray then air fry at 400°F for 15-18 minutes flipping halfway, until browned and cooked through. Air frying gives a nice crispy char without needing to fire up the oven or grill.

How long does baked tandoori chicken last in the fridge?

Cooked tandoori chicken keeps 3-4 days refrigerated. Reheat gently before serving. The acidic marinade helps prevent spoilage but once reheated, consume immediately rather than letting it sit out again.


From flavor-packed marinade to ideal cooking methods, this guide covers all the tips and tricks for sensational homemade tandoori chicken. With just a few easily accessible ingredients and standard kitchen tools, you can recreate this popular Indian delicacy any night of the week.

As you try this recipe, experiment with different cuts of chicken, spice levels and cooking techniques. Serve alongside hot naan bread, cooling raita, sizzling onions and more for a complete Indian feast.

So grab some chicken legs or breasts, whip up a batch of tongue-tingling marinade and get ready to unlock the secrets behind tender, juicy and irresistibly aromatic tandoori chicken!

“Did you enjoy this refreshing Tandoori Chicken recipe? Follow us on Instagram @ketotacosalad for more delicious keto recipes and mouthwatering food photos!

Myra Henry created the Keto Taco Salad blog to share my favorite delicious low-carb recipes without sacrificing flavor. when i started the keto diet 2 years ago, I discovered a love for making healthy Mexican dishes like keto taco salads. My blog features easy keto taco salad recipes and tips for keto success.

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