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Tandoori Chicken: A Spicy and Delicious Dish for Any Occasion

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori chicken is a beloved Indian dish known for its vibrant flavors and aromatic spices. Whether you’re a fan of Indian cuisine or simply looking to try something new, this recipe will guide you through the process of creating a mouthwatering tandoori chicken right in your own kitchen. Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure and tantalize your taste buds with this delightful dish.



The history of Tandoori Chicken is rooted in the rich culinary heritage of the Indian subcontinent. While the exact origins are not well-documented, the dish is believed to have originated in the Punjab region of India, which spans across present-day India and Pakistan.

The traditional method of cooking tandoori chicken involves using a clay oven called a “tandoor.” Tandoors have been used in the region for centuries and are known for their unique cooking properties. The intense heat inside the tandoor, often fueled by charcoal or wood, allows for high-temperature cooking, resulting in the signature smoky flavors and charred exterior that define tandoori dishes.

The process of making tandoori chicken typically starts with marinating chicken pieces in a mixture of yogurt and a blend of aromatic spices. The marinade, which may vary slightly from region to region, includes ingredients like ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, and turmeric. The addition of spices gives the chicken its distinct flavors and the vibrant red hue.

Once marinated, the chicken is threaded onto skewers and placed inside the preheated tandoor. The intense heat quickly sears the chicken, creating a crispy outer layer while locking in the juices, resulting in tender and flavorful meat. The smoky aroma of the tandoor further enhances the overall experience.

Over time, tandoori chicken gained popularity beyond the borders of the Punjab region. With the spread of Indian cuisine globally, tandoori chicken became an iconic dish in Indian restaurants worldwide. Its succulent texture, vibrant colors, and bold flavors captured the taste buds of people from different cultures and backgrounds.

In addition to its culinary significance, tandoori chicken also holds cultural importance. It is often associated with festive occasions, celebrations, and special gatherings. The dish has become an integral part of Indian festivals, weddings, and family feasts, symbolizing joy, togetherness, and indulgence.

Today, tandoori chicken continues to be celebrated as a classic Indian dish. It has evolved to accommodate different cooking methods, including oven baking and grilling, allowing home cooks and chefs to recreate its distinctive flavors without a tandoor. Whether enjoyed in a traditional clay oven or prepared with modern cooking equipment, tandoori chicken remains a culinary treasure that showcases the rich flavors and cultural diversity of Indian cuisine.


Preparing the Marinade10 minutes
Marinating the Chicken2-4 hours or overnight
Cooking Tandoori Chicken10-15 minutes
Cooking Tandoori Chicken (Oven)25-30 minutes

Please note that the cooking and preparation times provided are approximate and may vary depending on factors such as the size of the chicken pieces and the cooking equipment used. It’s always best to check the doneness of the chicken by ensuring it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.


Plain Yogurt1 cup
Tandoori Masala2 tablespoons
Ginger Paste1 tablespoon
Garlic Paste1 tablespoon
Lemon Juice1 tablespoon
Ground Cumin1 teaspoon
Ground Coriander1 teaspoon
Paprika1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder1 teaspoon
SaltTo taste
Chicken Drumsticks or Bone-in Chicken Pieces4-6 pieces
Vegetable Oil2 tablespoons

Please note that the quantities mentioned in the table are approximate and can be adjusted based on personal preference and desired taste. Serving for 2 people.


Preparing the Marinade

Step 1: Gather the Ingredients

  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of tandoori masala
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste

Step 2: Mix the Marinade In a mixing bowl, combine the plain yogurt, tandoori masala, ginger paste, garlic paste, lemon juice, ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, turmeric powder, and salt. Mix well to form a smooth marinade.

Marinating the Chicken

Step 3: Prepare the Chicken Make small incisions in the chicken drumsticks or bone-in chicken pieces to allow the marinade to penetrate.

Step 4: Coat the Chicken with Marinade Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, ensuring they are well coated. Cover the bowl and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2-4 hours, or preferably overnight for maximum flavor infusion.

Cooking Tandoori Chicken

Traditional Tandoor Method

Step 5: Preheat the Tandoor Preheat the tandoor or charcoal grill to high heat.

Step 6: Cook the Chicken

  • Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, allowing any excess marinade to drip off.
  • Skewer the chicken pieces and place them in the tandoor or on the grill.
  • Cook the chicken, turning occasionally, until it is charred on the outside and cooked through on the inside. This usually takes around 10-15 minutes, depending on the heat of your tandoor or grill.

Step 7: Serve and Enjoy Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the skewers and serve hot. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with mint chutney and lemon wedges for an extra burst of flavor.

Oven Method

Step 5: Preheat the Oven Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).

Step 6: Bake the Chicken

  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease it with vegetable oil.
  • Place the marinated chicken pieces on the baking sheet, making sure they are evenly spaced.
  • Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and slightly charred on the edges.

Step 7: Serve and Enjoy Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot. Pair it with mint chutney, naan bread, or steamed rice for a complete meal.

Equipment Required

Nutrition Information

Nutrition InformationAmount Per Serving
Serving Size1 piece (approx. 150g)
Total Fat14g
Saturated Fat3g
Trans Fat0g
Total Carbohydrate3g
Dietary Fiber1g
Vitamin D2mcg (10% DV)
Calcium85mg (8% DV)
Iron2mg (11% DV)
Potassium340mg (7% DV)

Please note that the nutrition information provided is approximate and may vary depending on factors such as the size of the chicken pieces and the specific brands of ingredients used.


  • Ensure Proper Incisions: When making incisions in the chicken, make sure they are deep enough to allow the marinade to penetrate, but not too deep that the chicken falls apart.
  • Adjust Spice Levels: If you prefer a milder or spicier version of tandoori chicken, adjust the amount of tandoori masala, ginger, garlic, and chili according to your taste preferences.
  • Experiment with Additional Spices: Feel free to add or experiment with additional spices like garam masala, cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom to customize the flavor profile to your liking.
  • Grill or Pan-Sear: If you don’t have a tandoor or oven, you can grill the marinated chicken on a barbecue or pan-sear it on a stovetop grill pan or non-stick skillet for a delicious smoky flavor.
  • Use Chicken Breast: If you prefer boneless and skinless chicken breast, you can substitute it for the drumsticks or bone-in chicken pieces. Adjust the cooking time accordingly, as chicken breast tends to cook faster.
  • Vegetarian Option: Tandoori marinade works well with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) or tofu. Marinate the paneer or tofu cubes in the same marinade and grill or bake them until they are lightly charred.
  • Baste with Butter: For added richness and flavor, you can baste the chicken with melted butter or ghee during the cooking process.
  • Grilled Vegetable Skewers: To make a complete meal, skewer and grill vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms along with the chicken for delicious tandoori vegetable skewers.
  • Serve with Mint Chutney: Tandoori chicken pairs wonderfully with a refreshing mint chutney. You can make a simple mint chutney by blending fresh mint leaves, cilantro, green chilies, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and a touch of sugar.
  • Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Before serving, garnish the tandoori chicken with freshly chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) for a burst of freshness.

Pros & Cons

✔️ Delicious and flavorful❌ Requires marinating time
✔️ Aromatic and vibrant spices❌ Requires cooking equipment (tandoor or oven)
✔️ Versatile – can be grilled or baked❌ Potential for chicken to dry out if overcooked
✔️ Homemade alternative to restaurant-style tandoori chicken❌ Some ingredients may not be readily available in all areas
✔️ Can be customized to personal taste preferences❌ Can be time-consuming to prepare and cook


In conclusion, the Tandoori Chicken recipe is a flavorful delight that brings the vibrant and aromatic tastes of Indian cuisine right to your plate. With its rich blend of spices and tender chicken, this dish is a true culinary adventure for your taste buds. Whether you’re a fan of Indian food or simply looking to try something new, tandoori chicken offers a satisfying and unique experience.

By following the step-by-step instructions provided, you can create a homemade version of this beloved dish that rivals restaurant-quality flavors. The marinade, infused with a medley of spices and yogurt, ensures that each bite of chicken is moist, tender, and bursting with deliciousness. Whether you opt for the traditional tandoor method or the oven method, the result will be a succulent and aromatic chicken that is sure to impress.

Don’t be afraid to personalize the recipe by adjusting the spice levels or experimenting with additional flavors to suit your taste preferences. You can also explore variations like using boneless chicken or incorporating grilled vegetable skewers to create a complete meal.

So, why not embark on a culinary journey and try your hand at making tandoori chicken? It’s an opportunity to explore the vibrant flavors of Indian cuisine from the comfort of your own kitchen. Gather the ingredients, marinate the chicken, and enjoy the mouthwatering aromas as it cooks to perfection. The end result will be a delightful dish that you can savor and share with family and friends.

Remember, cooking is an art, and this recipe allows you to infuse your own creativity and preferences into the dish. So, don’t hesitate to make it your own and enjoy the incredible flavors of homemade tandoori chicken.


  • Fact 1: A Fiery Red Color 👨‍🍳🔥
    • Tandoori chicken gets its vibrant red color from the use of tandoori masala and sometimes natural food coloring or beetroot juice. The fiery appearance adds to its visual appeal and makes it even more enticing to eat!
  • Fact 2: Ancient Cooking Technique 🏺🔥
    • The tandoori cooking technique dates back thousands of years. It originated in the Indus Valley Civilization, where clay ovens called “tandoors” were used to cook food. Today, the tandoor method still brings out the authentic flavors of tandoori chicken.
  • Fact 3: The Secret Ingredient: Yogurt 🥛✨
    • One of the key ingredients in the marinade is yogurt. Besides adding a creamy texture, yogurt helps to tenderize the chicken and infuse it with a delightful tanginess. It’s the secret behind the chicken’s juicy and succulent texture.
  • Fact 4: Global Popularity 🌍🍗
    • Tandoori chicken has gained immense popularity worldwide. It has become a beloved dish not only in India but also in various international cuisines. Its unique flavors and vibrant appearance have made it a favorite among food enthusiasts everywhere.
  • Fact 5: Bollywood Influence 🎬🎶
    • Tandoori chicken has made appearances in Bollywood movies, becoming a cultural icon in Indian cinema. Its depiction in song and dance sequences has added to its allure, making it a symbol of deliciousness and celebration.


Can I use boneless chicken for tandoori chicken?

Yes, you can use boneless chicken pieces instead of drumsticks. Adjust the cooking time accordingly, as boneless chicken tends to cook faster.

Can I make tandoori chicken without a tandoor or oven?

Absolutely! While the traditional tandoor or oven method produces the best results, you can also make tandoori chicken on a stovetop using a grill pan or a non-stick skillet. Cook the marinated chicken on medium-high heat until it’s fully cooked and charred.

How long should I marinate the chicken?

For the best flavor, marinate the chicken for at least 2-4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. This allows the marinade to penetrate the chicken and infuse it with delicious flavors.

What can I do if I don’t have all the spices mentioned in the recipe?

Tandoori chicken is a versatile dish, and you can adjust the spice blend according to your taste and the ingredients you have on hand. Feel free to experiment with different spices and spice blends to create your unique flavor profile.

Can I use Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt?

Yes, Greek yogurt can be used as a substitute for regular yogurt. However, keep in mind that Greek yogurt has a thicker consistency, so you may need to add a little water or lemon juice to achieve the desired marinade consistency.

How do I prevent the chicken from drying out during cooking?

To prevent the chicken from drying out, avoid overcooking it. Follow the recommended cooking times and temperature closely. If using the oven method, you can brush the chicken with a little oil or melted butter before baking to help retain moisture.

Can I prepare the marinade in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the marinade in advance. Simply cover the bowl and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to marinate the chicken. The flavors will continue to develop, resulting in a more flavorful dish.

Can I freeze the marinated chicken for later use?

Yes, you can freeze the marinated chicken for later use. Place the marinated chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the chicken in the refrigerator before cooking.

Can I use skinless chicken for tandoori chicken?

While traditionally tandoori chicken is made with skin-on chicken, you can use skinless chicken if you prefer. Keep in mind that the skin helps to retain moisture and adds flavor, so the result may be slightly different.

How can I achieve a smoky flavor without a tandoor?

To achieve a smoky flavor without a tandoor, you can add a few drops of liquid smoke to the marinade. Liquid smoke is readily available in stores and can infuse your tandoori chicken with a smoky aroma and taste.