Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori-Style Chicken


Tandoori chicken is a chicken dish that is both delicious and popular all over the world! It is prepared by roasting the chicken in a tandoor after it has been marinated in yogurt and spices.

A tandoor is a clay pot which holds enough heat to cook meat while giving it a smoky flavor and succulent texture. It is used in commercial kitchens and produces a lot of heat. A tandoor is not popular in the home and is therefore replaced by using an oven or BBQ grill instead at the household level. 

The main flavor of this dish comes from a combination of yogurt and spices that are used in the marination to flavor the chicken.

Peeled ginger and garlic

The first step is to make the classic ginger and garlic paste that is found in so many Indian Cuisine recipes!

Most ginger garlic paste recipes call for a 1:1 ratio. 

Basically, it is just equal amounts of ginger root and garlic pulsed together in a food processor with a little oil. 

You may use water in place of the oil, but it will not keep as long. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Tandoori yogurt mixture

In a large mixing bowl, mix the yogurt (which has been drained) with the ginger and garlic paste, the various spices, and the lemon juice.

Then mix in a few drops of red food coloring to give the marinade its classic look!

chicken legs getting their skin removed.

Then remove the skin from the chicken pieces (legs in this case). To do this easily, I use a piece of paper towel to pull the skin off, using a small paring knife as needed. 

Skinless chicken legs

Once all the skin has been removed, score the chicken pieces so that the marination can get inside the meat and the flavors can penetrate throughout. 

chicken pieces in the tandoori marinade

Add the scored skinless chicken pieces to the marinade and mix well.

chicken and marinade in zip lock plastic bag

You will want to allow the chicken to marinade at least 4 hours, however, overnight is ideal. The longer marination time allows the chicken to tenderize and pick up more flavors. I like to use a plastic zip-lock bag for my overnight marination because it is easy to store in the refrigerator and I can squeeze out any access air. 

BBQ grill

Here in South Florida, the weather is pretty nice year-round, so I prefer to grill whenever possible. However, this Tandoori-Style chicken recipes will also come out great when cooked in a very hot oven and then finished under the broiler to get some char. 

Preheat your grill to high heat and oil the grates well. If using an oven, I like to cook the Tandoori-Style Chicken at 400*F. 

tandoori chicken on BBQ grill

Place the marinated chicken on to the preheated, oiled grill and close the cover to cook until well browned.

When one side is well browned and removes easily from the well-oiled grill, turn the pieces over and cook the other side.

tandoori chicken and naan bread on grill

Towards the end of the cooking once the chicken is done, I like to toss on a couple of pieces of Naan Bread to warm them up and give them a bit of smokey flavor!

grilled naan bread

Be sure to watch the Naan Bread carefully so that it doesn’t burn! Flip and heat both sides; it only needs about a minute per side at this temperature. 

tandoori chicken on plate with rice and broccoli

Serve the Tandoori-Style Chicken with the grilled Naan Bread and your choice of starch and vegetable. For this meal, I served mine with steamed broccoli and yellow rice!

There are also a variety of dipping sauces and chutneys that can be served with Tandoori Chicken. For this meal, I served it with a Cilantro Mint Chutney!

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori-Style Chicken

Tandoori chicken is delicious and popular all over the world! It is a chicken dish that has been marinated in yogurt and spices and then roasting in a cylindrical clay oven called a Tandoor, or on a grill or regular oven!
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian


  • 1 Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Whisk
  • 1 Grill or Oven


  • 1 cup Plain Yogurt drained
  • 1/4 cup Ginger and Garlic Paste (1:1 ratio)
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil Mustard Oil preferred
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 pinch Dried Fenugreek Leaves crushed
  • 3 drops Red Food Coloring


  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the drained yogurt with the rest of the ingredients and whisk well.
  • Remove the skin from the chicken and score the meat to allow the marination to penetrate.
  • Marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours, but overnight is the best.
  • Preheat a BBQ grill or oven to high heat. Add the marinated chicken pieces and cook until done, turning as needed.
  • Serve with your choice of starch, vegetable and sauce.
Keyword Baked, Chicken, Grill, Indian Cuisine, Marinade, Roast, Tandoori
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