Nothing quite captures the essence of Indian cuisine like a well-cooked Tandoori Chicken. The slightly charred chicken with the perfect combination of Indian spices is absolutely incredible. The double marination process packs in flavor like anything you’ve ever tasted. It’s better than restaurant food!
Chicken tandoori is a classic Indian dish that is as flavorful as it is colorful. It is a great dish to make at home, especially if you're looking to spice up your usual dinner routine.
The first marinade, with its blend of spices and lemon juice, not only infuses the chicken with a robust flavor but also tenderizes it, guaranteeing that every bite is a delightful experience.
What sets this tandoori chicken recipe apart is the double marination process. The second marinade, featuring a blend of yogurt, coriander, cumin, and garam masala, adds another layer of flavor to the chicken.
This recipe allows you to recreate the magic of authentic Indian tandoori chicken right in your kitchen. Chicken Tikka is a dish similar to Tandoori Chicken that you should try. Another Indian dish I'll recommend is Chicken Korma.
❤️ WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
Easy to make: This tandoori chicken tikka is incredibly simple, with the marinade requiring basic ingredients like ginger, garlic, and lemon juice. The steps are straightforward, making it easy even for beginner cooks to follow.
Family-Favorite: The flavors of this tandoori chicken are sure to be a hit with the whole family. The combination of spices in the marinade guarantees a deliciously tender and flavorful chicken that everyone will love.
Vibrant and Versatile: The red chili powder and paprika not only add a kick to the chicken, but also give it a vibrant color. You can also easily adjust the spice levels to your liking. This versatile recipe can be cooked in the oven or in an air fryer, to suit your convenience.
Delicious: The two-step marinade process guarantees that the chicken is infused with the flavors of the spices, resulting in a deliciously juicy and flavorful tandoori chicken.
This restaurant-quality tandoori chicken tikka tastes delicious and authentic.
More details about the ingredients and measurements are in the recipe card below!
Chicken: We're using skinless chicken legs for this recipe. Making deep cuts in the chicken legs makes sure that the marinade seeps in, giving the chicken a rich flavor. Plus, it helps the chicken cook faster and become tender.
Ginger and Garlic Paste: This is a key ingredient in both marinades. It not only adds a tangy flavor to the chicken but also helps tenderize it.
Red Chili Powder and Paprika: These spices add a vibrant color and a bit of heat to the tandoori chicken.
Lemon Juice: The acidity in the lemon juice helps to tenderize the chicken and adds a refreshing citrus flavor.
Plain Yogurt: Yogurt is used in the second marinade. It acts as a tenderizer and gives the chicken a tangy flavor.
Food Coloring: This is optional. If used, it gives the chicken the traditional red tandoori color.
🔪 HOW TO MAKE
Make deep cuts on each chicken leg, ensuring you reach the bone. This step will help the marinade penetrate the chicken for a deeper flavor.
Add all the first marinade ingredients to the chicken, ensuring you rub the mixture properly on the chicken and into the deep cuts. Cover the chicken and refrigerate for two hours. This step will tenderize the chicken and remove any foul smell.
Discard any liquid that has seeped out from the marinated chicken.
It’s time to prepare the second marinade. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients well. Rub this marinade all over the chicken, making sure it's well coated. Cover and refrigerate for another half an hour to forty minutes.
Preheat the oven to a temperature of 200C/392F. Place the chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Cook the chicken for about fifteen minutes.
Brush the chicken with ghee or oil, flip it, and brush the other side too. Continue cooking for another eight minutes or until the chicken is done.
Air Fryer Method
Preheat the air fryer to a temperature of about 180C/350F. Place the chicken in the air fryer and cook for about fourteen minutes.
Brush the chicken with oil, flip it, and brush the other side too. Continue cooking for another eight minutes or until the chicken is done.
👩🏽🍳 PRO TIPS
Make deep cuts on the chicken: To make sure that the marinade penetrates deeply, make deep cuts to the bone on all the chicken legs. This will not only flavor the chicken thoroughly but also help it cook faster.
First marinade is crucial: The first marinade is all about tenderizing the chicken and removing any smell. So, don't skip it and make sure to refrigerate the chicken for at least two hours.
Don't rush the second marinade: The second marinade is where the real flavor comes in. Allow the chicken to sit in this marinade for a good half an hour to forty minutes to absorb all the aromatic spices and yogurt.
Discard excess marinade: Before popping the chicken in the oven or air fryer, make sure to discard any excess marinade. This will guarantee a good char on the chicken and prevent it from getting soggy.
Always preheat: Whether you're using an oven or an air fryer, preheating is essential. A properly heated oven or air fryer will cook the chicken evenly, giving it a nice crispy exterior and juicy interior.
Brush with oil or ghee: To retain moisture and add a rich flavor, brush the chicken with ghee or oil midway through the cooking process. This will give your tandoori chicken that restaurant-like glossy finish.
Extra Spicy: For those who love a good kick, add an extra teaspoon of red chili powder to the first marinade and another to the second. It'll make your tandoori chicken tikka fiery hot and incredibly delicious. Just remember to have a cooling yogurt dip on standby!
Make it Creamy: To give your tandoori chicken a rich and creamy texture, add a tablespoon of heavy cream to the second marinade. This will not only make the chicken moist and tender but also add an extra layer of flavor.
Herb-infused: If you love herby flavors, add a tablespoon of dried mixed herbs to the second marinade. This will give your tandoori chicken a wonderful aroma and a delightful herby taste.
🍽️ HOW TO SERVE
- Pair your tandoori chicken with a side of warm naan bread and a dollop of mint chutney. The cool, tangy chutney perfectly compliments the spicy chicken, while the naan bread helps to soak up all the delicious flavors.
- For a light lunch, try serving your tandoori chicken on a bed of fresh mixed salad greens. The crisp, fresh vegetables provide a refreshing contrast to the rich, smoky chicken.
- Tandoori chicken also makes a great filling for wraps or sandwiches. Just add some cucumber slices, tomato, lettuce, and a drizzle of yogurt sauce, then wrap it all up in a tortilla or sandwich bread for a delicious on-the-go meal.
💬 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Deep cuts in the chicken legs allow the marinade to penetrate more deeply, resulting in a more flavorful and tender chicken. This also helps the chicken cook faster and more evenly.
It is not recommended to skip the first marinade. This step is crucial as it not only makes the chicken tender but also helps to remove any smell from the chicken. Plus, it is a great way to infuse the chicken with the flavors of ginger, garlic, chili, and lemon.
Food coloring is optional in this recipe. It is traditionally used to give tandoori chicken its distinctive red color, but it doesn't affect the flavor. You can skip it if you prefer.
The chicken is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C). You can also check by slicing into the thickest part of the chicken; the juices should run clear, and the meat should not be pink.
Refrigerate: Leftover tandoori chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Make sure to let it cool before refrigerating to preserve the taste and texture.
Freeze: You can freeze the tandoori chicken for up to 3 months.
Reheating Instructions: When ready to eat, reheat the chicken in a preheated oven at a low temperature or on the stovetop over medium heat. This will help retain the moisture and flavor of the tandoori chicken.
If it is frozen, you do not need to thaw it before placing it in the oven to reheat.
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⭐ PLEASE RATE AND REVIEW
If you have tried this recipe and liked it, please give it a 5-star rating and leave a comment below with your experience!
Tandoori Chicken Recipe
- 900 grams skinless chicken legs
- 1 tablespoon ginger and garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder or kashmiri chili
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Juice of half a lemon
- 3 tablespoon plain yogurt
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon food coloring optional
- 1 ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 ½ tablespoon ginger and garlic paste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 2 tablespoon oil
- Make three deep cuts to the bone on both sides of the legs.
- Add all the ingredients of the first marinade to the chicken legs making sure to rub the mixture properly on the chicken and in the deep cuts.
- Cover the chicken and refrigerate it for two hours. This step will make the chicken tender make it cook faster, and will remove any smell from the chicken.
- After the first marination, discard the liquid that came out of the chicken.
- In a small bowl, mix all the second marinade ingredients well.
- Rub the chicken with the marination, ensuring that it covers the chicken and the cuts.
- Cover the chicken and refrigerate it for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/392F.
- Place a wire rack over the baking sheet or, you can place the chicken on the baking sheet instead.
- Cook the chicken for 15 minutes and then brush it with ghee or oil. Flip the chicken and brush this side with oil too, continue cooking for another 8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
In the Air Fryer
- The temperature should be 180C/350F. Place the chicken in the air fryer and cook for 14 minutes, Brush the chicken with oil and then flip the chicken and brush this side with oil too, continue cooking for 8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.