This Tandoori Chicken Recipe is so easy to make at home for a healthy family dinner. Chicken pieces are marinated in a yogurt and spice mixture, then oven baked or grilled, for the most tender and flavorful chicken around!
A Perfect Chicken Recipe For The Grill Or Oven
This tandoori recipe for chicken works equally well in the oven, as it does on the grill.
My preference is to grill for more flavor AND there's no pan to clean up, but I'm all about oven baking in the winter! For example, when there's 3 feet of snow on the ground.
What Is Tandoori Chicken?
Tandoori chicken is an Indian dish made of marinating skinless chicken pieces in a spiced yogurt sauce, then threaded on skewers, and roasted in a tandoor oven at an extremely high temperature (up to 900F degrees!).
Since the heat in a tandoor is produced by a charcoal or wood fire, cooking the chicken on a grill at home is an ideal substitute.
No grill? No worries, because the chicken can also be successfully cooked in a oven!
I've included cooking instructions on each method below in the recipe card, so feel free to try the one that works best for you.
How To Make Tandoori Chicken At Home
Grab some fresh chicken, plain yogurt, various Indian spices, and a lemon and you are ready to make the most deliciously juicy chicken!
All of the ingredients should be readily available in local grocery stores.
The Indian spice mix, Garam Masala, may be the only one that's difficult to find.
If you can't find it locally, try this recipe for a homemade version that's even better than store bought!
One of the great things about this recipe is it's super healthy! It's ideal for any one following a healthy eating plan, like Whole30, Keto, or Paleo.
How To Make Juicy Chicken
One of the best cooking methods for juicy chicken is to cook it at a high temperature for a shorter amount of time.
Baking the chicken is an ideal method for this reason.
Baking is also the way to go if breasts are substituted for thighs in this recipe.
To make the best baked chicken recipe, place the marinated chicken pieces on a baking sheet and bake at 450F/232C for:
- up to 30 minutes for bone-in chicken
- up to 20 minutes for boneless chicken
Using Chicken Breasts vs Thighs In This Indian Chicken Recipe
Let's try to answer that age-old question of "should I use breasts or thighs"?
I say, use what you like, but there are some recipes that benefit from using one or the other.
Chicken breasts dry out easily, so I always use thighs for the BEST grilled chicken recipe.
Thighs also hold up extremely well to a bold chicken seasoning rub or marinade, which is why I LOVE using it in this tandoori recipe.
If using breasts and grilling the chicken, cut it up in large chunks and place on skewers, like a kabob.
Grill at a high heat until chicken is just cooked through, about 4 minutes each side, or until a thermometer reads 165F/74C.
What To Serve With Tandoori Chicken
So skip going out to the Indian restaurant tonight! Stay at home and make a healthy dinner with this easy Tandoori Chicken Recipe.
- 6 skinless chicken pieces (can use bone-in or boneless)
- 1 cup plain yogurt whole milk or lowfat
- ½ fresh lemon, juiced
- 2 teaspoons garam masala powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 garlic clove, grated or mashed
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼-1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3-4 drops of red food coloring (optional)
Serve with lime wedges
- Take a sharp knife and make slits into the tops of each chicken thigh, being careful not to fully cut through. Combine all the ingredients, except the chicken, in a large bowl. Mix until smooth. Add the chicken and marinate for at least 6 hours but no more than 24 hours.
- After the chicken has marinated, take the pieces out of yogurt and discard the marinade. Preheat a gas grill or prepare a charcoal fire.**If oven baking, preheat oven to 450F/232C degrees and place the chicken on a large baking sheet. Can also place chicken on a rack on the baking sheet and can cover the bottom of the pan with foil for easier cleanup!
- Grill (or bake) the chicken: bone-in for 25-30 minutes or boneless for 15-20 minutes. Until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 175F/79C degrees (dark meat) or 165F/74C (white meat).
- Serve the chicken with lime wedges on the side.
Recipe Notes & Tips:
- Do not marinate for longer than 24 hours, as the chicken meat may become mushy
- When baking the chicken, can place on a rack on the baking sheet and can also cover the bottom of the pan with foil for easier cleanup!
- Store leftover cooked chicken tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days