Learn how to make a juicy, flavorful Chicken Tandoori recipe at home with the help of your oven. Chicken legs are quartered and marinated in a yogurt mixture with warm spices and baked to crisp perfection. Served warm with all your favorite sides, it’s an easy meal that will have all your guests begging for seconds!
Why We Love This Chicken Tandoori Recipe
Chicken tandoori is one of our favorite meals to order out at Indian restaurants. So, we knew we had to recreate it at home, and we think we nailed it with this recipe! There are countless reasons why we love it, but we’ll just name a few.
- It’s made with simple, budget-friendly ingredients.
- High-protein and low-carb, it’s not only tasty but good for you, too!
- The chicken bakes in the oven to create the same tandoori flavor you love with no clay oven required.
- Naturally gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free-friendly, it suits a variety of dietary needs.
- It’s a great way to satisfy a crowd, and leftovers keep well to enjoy throughout the week.
What Is Chicken Tandoori?
Although the exact origins are unknown, tandoori is a popular type of cooking that comes from India and refers to the method of cooking food in a clay oven known as a tandoor. Chicken tandoori is made by coating chicken in a mixture of yogurt and spices and letting it marinate overnight. Then, it is grilled in a tandoor until the skin is golden and crisp!
What’s the Difference Between Chicken Tandoori and Chicken Tikka?
Similar in appearance and flavor, chicken tandoori and chicken tikka are often confused with one another, but the two dishes are not the same. That said, the primary difference between the two is the fact that chicken tikka is made with cubes of boneless chicken breast. Meanwhile, chicken tandoori uses either half or whole chicken and consists of legs, breasts, and wings with the bones intact. Beyond this, the specific ingredients and methods of cooking vary. If you’re interested, you can read more about the specifics here!
Ingredients You’ll Need
We tried to replicate authentic tandoori flavors as close as possible using simple, easy-to-find ingredients for this recipe. Take a look below to find everything you’ll need.
- Yogurt – Plain Greek yogurt works best. If needed, feel free to use a dairy-free option instead.
- Olive Oil – This helps combine the marinade ingredients and lock flavor and moisture into the chicken.
- Lemon Juice – Used to cut through some of the heaviness of the fats, creating a well-rounded dish.
- Spices – Garam masala, cumin, chili powder, paprika, ground coriander, ginger, garlic, salt, turmeric, and onion powder combine to create the warm, bold flavors you know and love.
- Tomato Paste – This adds an extra savory element.
- Chicken – Chicken leg quarters work best for this recipe.
How to Make Chicken Tandoori in the Oven
We might not have a tandoor, but we managed to make tender, juicy chicken with crisp skin and tons of flavor thanks to the help of our oven! Follow the steps below to see how it’s done.
- Create the Marinade. Add all the ingredients for the marinade to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until smooth.
- Marinate the Chicken. Slice deep slits into the chicken, being careful not to cut all the way through, and place each piece in a baking dish. Pour the marinade on top, coating the chicken completely. Then, cover and refrigerate.
- Bake. Cover the baking dish with
parchment paperand foil. Then, bake for 45 minutes before removing the covers and continuing to bake until the top of the chicken is golden brown and crispy and it has reached an internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit. Serve warm, and enjoy!
The great thing about this chicken tandoori recipe is that it goes well with literally everything! From starchy sides to salads, breads, and more, it’s always delicious no matter what it is paired with. However, if you’re looking for ideas, some of our favorite serving suggestions include:
- Coconut Turmeric Rice or Vermicelli Rice
- Chickpea Cucumber Feta Salad
Air FryerPotato Wedges
- No Knead Cheesy Focaccia Bread
Chicken Tandoori Common Questions
Traditionally, whole chicken legs are used, but just the thigh works great, too. The key is to use dark meat because it is juicier and has more flavor.
Tandoori has a distinct spicy flavor.
Once cooked and fully cooled, leftover chicken can be placed in an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
We do not recommend freezing cooked tandoori. However, you can add the raw chicken and marinade to a sealable bag and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then, just let it thaw in the fridge overnight, and bake it as normal when you’re ready to eat!
More Tasty Chicken Recipes
Looking for more delicious chicken recipes? Try out some of our favorites below!
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Middle Eastern Chicken and Potatoes
- Chicken Shawarma
- Peri Peri Chicken Drumsticks
Chicken Tandoori Recipe
For the Marinade:
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 inch ginger root
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
For the Chicken
- 2 ½ pounds chicken leg quarters
- Add all the ingredients for the marinade to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Set aside.
- Using a sharp knife, cut deep slits into the chicken, being careful not to slice all the way through.
- Place the chicken in a 13×9 baking dish, and pour the prepared marinade on top, coating it evenly.
- Cover, and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 425° Fahrenheit.
- Cover the baking dish tightly with parchment paper followed by foil. Bake 45 minutes. Remove the covers, and continue to bake for 15 minutes or until the top of the chicken is golden and crispy and it has reached an internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.