Chicken Tandoori
Chicken Tandoori
5 from 17 votes
Ready to sizzle up your kitchen with the spicy, smoky, and tangy delight of Chicken Tandoori? Delve into this guide to learn the ins and outs of mastering this delicious dish right at your home.
Chicken Tandoori

Chicken Tandoori has its roots in the vibrant cuisine of India, particularly in the northern regions where the tandoor oven reigns supreme. This classic dish showcases marinated chicken legs infused with a medley of spices, yogurt, and aromatic flavors.

Tandoori chicken is renowned for its bold flavors and tender texture, making it a favorite in Indian restaurants worldwide.

The marinade, enriched with yogurt, ginger, garlic, and a blend of spices like tandoori masala, turmeric, and cumin seeds, transforms humble chicken legs into a dish bursting with complexity.

The yogurt tenderizes the chicken while the spices impart layers of heat and earthiness. Lemon juice adds a zesty kick, rounding out the marinade’s flavors.

Despite its exotic flavors, making Chicken Tandoori at home is surprisingly approachable. The marinade does the heavy lifting, infusing the chicken with vibrant flavors.

Once marinated, the chicken is baked to perfection, resulting in juicy, slightly charred pieces that are perfect for pairing with steamed rice or naan bread.

Expert Tip: Marinate thoroughly: For maximum flavor, marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator to allow the spices and yogurt to penetrate the meat.


Chicken Legs: Chicken legs are perfect for this recipe as they stay juicy and flavorful when marinated and baked. The bone-in meat ensures that each piece remains tender and succulent.

Yoghurt: Yoghurt acts as a tenderizer, making the chicken moist and helping the marinade stick to the meat. It also adds a creamy tanginess to the dish.

Oil: Oil helps in distributing the flavors evenly and aids in achieving a nice char on the chicken during baking.

Tandoori Masala: Tandoori masala is a blend of spices typically used in Indian cooking, adding warmth and depth to the marinade. It includes spices like coriander, cumin, paprika, and fenugreek.

Salt: Salt enhances the overall flavors of the dish and helps in tenderizing the chicken.

Turmeric Powder (Haldi): Turmeric powder adds a beautiful golden hue to the chicken and lends a subtle earthy flavor.

Chilli Powder and Crushed Chillies: These spices provide the characteristic heat and spiciness to the marinade. Adjust according to your preference for heat.

Ginger Paste and Garlic Paste: These pastes contribute aromatic flavors and depth to the marinade, infusing the chicken with rich taste.

Lemon Juice: Lemon juice adds a refreshing tanginess, balancing the spices and yogurt.

Cumin Seeds (Jeera): Cumin seeds bring a warm, nutty flavor to the marinade, complementing the other spices.

Expert Tip: Use high heat for charring: When broiling, preheat your oven to a high temperature (around 250°C or 480°F) to quickly caramelize the marinade and achieve a smoky flavor.

Serving Suggestions

  • Steamed Rice: Serve the succulent Chicken Tandoori with steamed basmati rice to soak up the flavorful juices and spices. The fluffy rice provides a neutral base that complements the bold flavors of the tandoori chicken.
  • Naan Bread: Pair Chicken Tandoori with fresh, warm naan bread for a classic Indian meal experience. The soft and pillowy texture of naan is perfect for scooping up the tender chicken and marinade.
  • Mint Raita: Prepare a cooling mint raita by mixing yogurt with chopped fresh mint leaves, salt, and a pinch of cumin powder. This refreshing side dish contrasts beautifully with the spiciness of the tandoori chicken.
  • Fresh Salad: Serve a crisp salad on the side to add freshness and crunch to your meal. A simple cucumber and tomato salad dressed with lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt makes a delightful accompaniment.
  • Pickled Onions: Tangy pickled onions are a traditional condiment served with tandoori dishes. They provide a sharp, vinegary contrast that enhances the flavors of the chicken.
  • Lemon Wedges: Serve extra lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the tandoori chicken just before eating. The citrusy brightness cuts through the richness of the dish, adding a burst of flavor.

Expert Tip: Monitor cooking time: Chicken legs can vary in size, so adjust baking time accordingly. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches 165°F (75°C) at the thickest part.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use chicken breast instead of chicken legs for this recipe?

Yes, you can use chicken breast if you prefer. However, keep in mind that chicken breast tends to cook faster than chicken legs. Adjust the cooking time accordingly to prevent overcooking and ensure the chicken remains tender.

Can I grill the chicken instead of baking it in the oven?

Absolutely! Grilling is another great method for preparing Chicken Tandoori. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and grill the marinated chicken legs until cooked through and slightly charred, turning occasionally for even cooking.

How spicy is Chicken Tandoori?

The level of spiciness can be adjusted based on your preference. If you prefer a milder dish, reduce the amount of chili powder or crushed chilies in the marinade. For a spicier kick, increase the amount of these spices or add fresh chopped green chilies.

Can I prepare the marinade ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the marinade in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Marinate the chicken just before cooking for the best results.

Is there a vegetarian version of Tandoori?

Yes, you can use paneer (Indian cottage cheese) or tofu instead of chicken to make a delicious vegetarian version of Tandoori. Adjust the cooking time accordingly as these ingredients will cook faster than chicken.

How do I know when the chicken is fully cooked?

The chicken is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C). Use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken to ensure it’s safe to eat.

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Chicken Tandoori

Chicken Tandoori

by Nabeela Kauser
Ready to sizzle up your kitchen with the spicy, smoky, and tangy delight of chicken tandoori? Delve into this guide to learn the ins and outs of mastering this delicious dish right at your home. 
5 from 17 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Marination Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Appetiser
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 5
Calories 306 kcal


  • 1 kg Chicken Legs
  • 100 g Yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 2 tbsp Tandoori Masala
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder Haldi
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Crushed Chillies
  • 2 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 2 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Cumin Seeds Jeera


  • In a bowl add all of the ingredients (except the chicken) then whisk until all of the ingredients are fully combined
  • Add the chicken into the marinade then coat each leg piece evenly (see note 1)
  • Set aside and allow to marinade for at least 60 minutes (see note 2)
  • Once ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas mark 4
  • Line a baking tray with foil and place the marinated chicken legs in a single layer then cover with more foil (see note 3)
  • Bake for 45 minutes then drain any excess juices
  • Remove the foil and broil at 250°C (480°F) Gas mark 9 on the top shelf of the oven for 10 minutes until lightly charred (see note 4)
  • Serve with a side of steamed rice and enjoy!



Note 1 – Depending on the size of the whole chicken legs you may need to make 2-3 incisions on each piece.
Note 2 – It is best to marinate overnight as the longer the chicken is left to marinate the more intense the flavour that develops and the juicier the chicken.
Note 3 – When placing the chicken leave enough space around the chicken pieces to allow the chicken legs to cook evenly.
Note 4 – Be careful to not overbake as this will cause the chicken to go dry. Once cooked, allow the chicken to rest for at least 10 minutes
Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 306kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 20gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 1134mgPotassium: 360mgFibre: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 372IUVitamin C: 2mgVitamin D: 0.1µgCalcium: 57mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Chicken, Eid, Food, Ramadan, Recipe, Tandoori
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Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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