Tandoori chicken is a popular Indian dish that is made with chicken that has been marinated in a yogurt-based sauce with a blend of spices! This chicken is loaded with bold and hearty flavors. It is a great way to instantly elevate regular chicken breasts or chicken thighs. This recipe can be grilled or baked!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This homemade Tandoori chicken is flavorful and aromatic.
- The chicken is marinated in a blend of spices that gives it a unique and delicious flavor!
- It is so tender and juicy.
- This chicken can be grilled, baked, or cooked in a Tandoor.
- The marinade tenderizes the chicken.
- Serve with rice, roasted vegetables, or Naan bread.
- Marinate all day then cook at night! If you plan ahead, this recipe is great for busy weeknights.
- After marinating, this recipe takes under 30 minutes.
- This Indian inspired meal is gluten free, nut free, and sugar free.
- Check out this Yellow Curry for another hearty dinner!
What is Tandoori Chicken?
Tandoori chicken is a popular Indian dish known for its flavorful and aromatic preparation! It is made by marinating chicken pieces in a mixture of yogurt and various spices and then cooking them in a tandoor. A tandoor is a cylindrical clay oven used in Indian cooking. The term “tandoor” refers to the type of oven in which the chicken is traditionally cooked.
The marinade typically includes ingredients such as yogurt, ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, garam masala, and chili powder. This combination of spices and yogurt adds a rich and distinctive flavor to the chicken. In addition, the marinade tenderizes the meat.
Ingredients & Substitutes
These are the main ingredients and substitutions for Tandoori chicken. Scroll down to the recipe card for full ingredients list and instructions.
Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs.
Plain yogurt adds a tangy flavor to the marinade and chicken. In addition, the yogurt helps make the chicken extra juicy and tender.
Lemon juice also helps the chicken become tender.
Olive oil helps the chicken stay juicy. Feel free to use avocado oil.
The combination of spices adds a ton of flavor! Do not skimp on the seasonings.
Minced garlic and ginger add freshness. If needed, use garlic powder and ground ginger.
Salt and pepper add even more flavor.
Lastly, top with chopped fresh cilantro after cooking.
Taste & Texture
Tandoori chicken is a combination of savory, sweet, and spicy.
The chicken is tender and juicy. In addition, the yogurt marinade gives it a slightly sour and tangy flavor.
The spices add a warm and earthy flavor to the chicken.
The texture of the chicken is juicy and tender.
How to Make
First, in a large bowl, combine the plain yogurt, lemon juice, vegetable oil, garam masala, paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, minced garlic, minced ginger, salt, and ground black pepper. Mix well to form a marinade.
Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and toss them until well-coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight for best results. This allows the flavors to develop and tenderize the chicken.
Preheat your grill or oven to high heat.
If using a grill, grease the grates with vegetable oil or cooking spray to prevent sticking. If using an oven, preheat it to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, shaking off any excess, and place them on the grill or prepared baking sheet.
Grill the chicken for about 10 to 15 minutes per side, or until cooked through and charred. If using an oven, bake the chicken for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
Once cooked, remove the chicken from the grill or oven and let it rest for a few minutes.
Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.
Serve the Tandoori chicken hot with Naan bread, rice, or a side salad. You can also serve it with mint chutney or yogurt sauce for dipping.
Expert Tips for Success
Here are a few expert tips and tricks for making the best tandoori chicken.
Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts. This will ensure that the chicken is tender and juicy.
Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes, but overnight is best. This will give the chicken time to absorb the flavors of the marinade.
Do not overcook the chicken. Once it has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the chicken is done cooking.
Flavor Variations & Add-Ins
There are endless possibilities for flavor variations and add-ins for tandoori chicken. Here are a few ideas.
Add extra ginger, garlic, or lemon juice to the marinade.
Use different types of yogurt, such as Greek yogurt or even sour cream.
Add different types of spices, such as cayenne pepper, cumin, or coriander.
Serve the chicken with a chutney or raita.
How to Serve & Store
Tandoori chicken is best served hot and fresh from the oven or grill.
It can also be reheated and served later.
To store the chicken, let it cool completely and store in an airtight container.
The chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, you can make this recipe without a tandoor. You can cook the chicken in a grill or oven.
Yes, you can make this recipe ahead of time. Prepare the chicken up to the point of cooking, then cover it tightly and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to cook, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
The chicken is done cooking when it is cooked through and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature.
This Indian chicken has a rich and flavorful taste that combines the warmth of spices, the tanginess of yogurt, and the smokiness of the tandoor or grill.
Traditional tandoori chicken recipes often include spices like red chili powder or cayenne pepper, which can make the dish moderately spicy. However, the level of spiciness can be adjusted to suit individual tastes.
Both dishes involve marinated and cooked chicken, but the primary difference is the sauce. Tandoori chicken is typically served as grilled chicken with minimal sauce, while chicken tikka masala is known for its creamy tomato-based sauce.
Our Place Always Pan: This is my favorite pan for stovetop cooking!
You May Also Enjoy
- Butternut Squash Curry
- Whole30 Chicken Tikka Masala
- Beef Masala Curry
- Whole30 Baked Meatballs
- Baked Cod Recipe
If you make this chicken tandoori recipe, I would really appreciate a review! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I would love for you to follow along! For more ideas, see these Lunch and Dinner Recipes.
Get the Recipe: Tandoori Chicken
- In a large bowl, combine the plain yogurt, lemon juice, vegetable oil, garam masala, paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, minced garlic, minced ginger, salt, and ground black pepper. Mix well to form a marinade.
- Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and toss them until well coated. Make sure each piece is covered with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight for best results.
- Next, preheat your grill or oven to high heat.
- If using a grill, grease the grates with olive oil or cooking spray to prevent sticking. If using an oven, preheat it to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, shaking off any excess, and place them on the grill or prepared baking sheet.
- Grill the chicken for about 10 to 15 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through. If using an oven, bake the chicken for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Once cooked, remove the chicken from the grill or oven and let it rest for a few minutes.
- Lastly, garnish the Tandoori chicken with freshly chopped cilantro.
- I recommend using boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs.
- If you are in a rush, even a 20 minute marinade is better than nothing.
- Grill or bake until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit internally. Use a meat thermometer.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
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