Simple Indian Recipes...
Delicious and healthy dishes that can be made even by first timers.

Tandoori Chicken

 Published 2017-Jan-03   Updated 2017-Nov-15

- Submitted by Dahlia

(Homemade Tandoori Murgh, Mughlai Murgh Tandoor, Indian Grilled Chicken)

Tandoori Chicken, the name is not new to anyone. Though the dish originated in Punjab, it is now popular all over India and around the world. The perfect blend of spices mixed with lemon juice and yogurt makes a perfect marinade for the chicken. When cooked in the specially designed Indian clay oven known as 'Tandoor', you have the ultimate juicy and tasty chicken that you would have ever tasted.

Tandoori Chicken can be made with the whole chicken, chicken thighs (known as tangri) or chicken pieces depending on how you prefer to serve them. To serve as an entree with some naan or pulao, I prefer using the thighs or drumsticks. Sometimes I also like to bake the whole chicken and carve it at the table. It can be served on a bed of roasted vegetables, pulao and some mint chutney for a fancy meal. To make tandoori chicken for using in gravies or other preparations, you may want to cut into small pieces and skewer it. Be sure to use the thigh meat only as the breast meat gets dry very quickly.

Tandoors are traditionally used in restaurants for making this but the good news is that you can replicate the taste even without it. In India, you get electric and stove top tandoors which gives very good results. If you have a normal conventional oven with a broil mode, it will do the job too. You can also grill the pieces on an outdoor grill to get that perfect charred flavor. Those who do not have either the oven or the grill can make it on a stove top grill.

The most important part of the recipe is the marination. It is that unique blend of different spices along with yogurt that makes this chicken so awesome. These days you get ready made tandoori chicken masala from many popular brands. Even in foreign countries, I have seen tandoori masala available in jars and packs in super markets. You may use one of that to make things easier. Indians can easily do it from scratch as most of the ingredients are readily available in the kitchen. Most times tandoori chicken in restaurants are known for their bright red color which comes from the bright colored Kashmiri chili powder used. Some restaurants even used red food color. I personally prefer not to use any color but you may add it. 

Recipe for Homemade Tandoori Chicken

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes to 1.5 hours (depending on the cut)
Serves: 4


  • Whole Chicken or Chicken Thighs or Chicken Drumsticks - 2 lbs (about 1 kg)
  • Hung Curd (Greek Yogurt) - 1 cup
  • Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
  • Ginger Paste - 2 tsp
  • Garlic Paste - 2 tsp
  • Kashmiri Red Chili Powder - 2 to 3 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala - 1 tsp
  • Red food color - few drops (optional) 
  • Mustard Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Olive Oil or Butter - 2 tbsp (for basting) 
  • Salt - to taste

For Serving

  • Lemon wedges - few
  • Onion Rings - few
  • Chaat Masala - to sprinkle


  1. Clean the chicken and pat it dry using a paper towel. Make deep slashes at different places so that the marinade seeps in. 
  2. Take a small bowl, mix the lemon juice, salt and 1 tsp of red chili powder. Rub this all over the chicken and in the cuts made. Keep this aside for 10-15 minutes. This will ensure that the inside of the chicken is well seasoned.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the main marinade. For that, take the yogurt in a separate bowl and add the rest of the lemon juice, red chili powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, ginger garlic paste, salt, mustard oil and red color (if needed).
  4. Apply this marinade all around the chicken. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

    Tandoori Chicken Preparation Steps

  5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (210 degrees C) for about 10 minutes.
  6. Take a baking dish. Some baking dishes come with a rack to place the meat like mine. In such cases, the drippings from the chicken can fall down and the chicken does not touch it. The bottom of the chicken also gets well roasted.  If you do not have a rack, put a layer of cubed vegetables like onions, potatoes and carrots. This will form a bed for the chicken to rest on. As a bonus you also get roasted vegetables as a side dish to enjoy. The drippings from the chicken also adds a smoky flavor in the hot oven. (Note: If you are using outdoor grill or gas top tandoor, you can directly place the marinated chicken in the rack and cover with the lid.)

    Tandoori Chicken Preparation Steps

  7. Place the marinated chicken on the bed of vegetables or on the baking rack. I have added a bed of vegetables even though I have a baking rack because I like to have roasted vegetables as a side-dish.

    Tandoori Chicken Preparation Steps

  8. Bake for a total of 25-35 minutes if you are using chicken thighs or drumsticks. If you are using whole marinated chicken, it will take about 1.5 hours to cook. Half way through the cooking process, just apply some butter or oil over the chicken pieces. This will keep it moist.
  9. In the final 5 minutes of cooking, I usually set the oven in the broil mode. In some ovens, it is given as the grill mode. Here the heat comes from the top and browns up the outside. This gives the traditional charred look and taste.

    Tandoori Chicken Preparation Steps

  10. Carefully remove the chicken onto a serving platter. Sprinkle little chaat masala on top. Garnish with onion rings and lemon slices. Serve hot.

Serving Tandoori Chicken

  • Tandoori Chicken is usually served as a main course with some naan, tandoori roti or some pulao. 
  • It is also served as an appetizer with some mint chutney and pickled onions. It is popularly known as Grilled Chicken in India.
  • Tandoori chicken is also cut into pieces and used to make many gravies like Butter Chicken.

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Comments (4)

Person   ()
I am wondering if I could use my dutch oven, uncovered in the electric oven?
Person   ()
My guess is that you should be able to use dutch oven and make it.
Person   ()
For how much time this will take in gas tadoor oven ??
Person   ()
I haven't tried in a gas tandoor since I don't have one. Sorry about that.

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 Published by on and last updated on 2017-11-15.