Tandoori Chicken is one of the most popular , succulent , tender and juicy grilled chicken. Chicken thigh pieces are marinated in freshly ground Tandoori Masala Powder, hung curd and other spices for good 6 hours or more . It's then grilled to perfection.
Serve this delicious Tandoori chicken with Mint chutney , Onion laccha salad and lemon wedges.
Best thing about this recipe is you can make this on Gas stove , Oven , Air Fryer or Instant pot , no need for traditional tandoor or clay oven .
Make this flavorful Tandoori chicken for dinner party , outdoor barbeques with family and friends , it can be easily scalable . You can even try my other favorite chicken recipes like Chicken Tikka , Tangadi Kebab in cooker and Chili Chicken.
About this recipe
Tandoori chicken is a succulent chicken dish that you will love truly. Chicken thigh pieces are marinated in freshly ground Tandoori Masala Powder, hung curd and other spices for good 6 hours or more .
The marination is done in two steps ,the double marination process gives the best result.
Traditionally, it is prepared by rotating the marinated meat in a clay oven or tandoor . But however you can also make it in a oven/ stove top / air fryer or instant pot.
Secret to get a perfect Tandoori Chicken is a good Tandoor masala , Mustard oil and marination time of about 6 to 12 hrs.
You can find Tandoor Masala in any Indian stores , but still if you want to make it on your own, then do check the recipe here . Or else , do refer FAQ section for substitutes.
Most of the Indian restaurants and the dhabas make use of red food color in the marinade to get a nice bright and fiery red Chicken tandoor but this recipe has no artificial color at all. I have used of good quality Kashmiri red chili powder to get that deep red color.
Let's see on how to make this best ever tandoori chicken recipe at home .
Here is the list of ingredients used to make Tandoor Chicken. For actual measurements, refer recipe card.
Chicken Leg Pieces - To make Tandoor chicken , ideally leg piece cut are used ; drumstick with thig attached. If not available, you can make with drumstick too.
Hung Curd - Drain water from curds using a strainer/ cheese cloth to get thick yogurt. Alternatively you can use Greek Yogurt
Nothing works as good as freshly pound Ginger and Garlic , it hardly takes a minute to crush in mortar and pestle , so try to make fresh and use.
Mustard Oil works best for any tandoor but if its not available , go for butter . However, you can make it with any vegetable oil too but mustard oil adds lot of flavor.
Tandoori Masala powder is what is needed , you can either make it at home or buy it from any Indian stores , if not please check for substitute in FAQ section
Kasuri Methi -dried fenugreek leaves adds tons of flavor to this , so don't skip.
Other spices and seasoning - Salt , Turmeric powder and Kashmiri red chili powder is used here. Adding Kashmiri red chili powder gives deep red color to the dish.
Tips and Variations
- Double marination process - this really helps chicken to be more flavorful , never skip this.
- Marination time - most important tip , more peacefully chicken rest for long hours , chicken will become more flavorful . Don't ever compromise in time . If you have time crunch , then minimum would be 30 minutes for first marination and 4 hours for second marination.
- Mustard oil adds lots of flavor in any tandoor cooking , so try to use it. If not available , the next option is Butter.
- As a variation , you can Infuse smoke to marination - burn a piece of charcoal to red hot, place it in a bowl and drizzle some ghee over it. Now place this inside marinated chicken bowl and cover the lid for 5 to 10 minutes. Smoke gets infused into to marinade and chicken gets that natural smoky flavor.
- Use dhungar method ( smoking technique) to infuse smoke to prepared tandoor chicken or to marination , as explained above.
How to make in Air Fryer ?
First, pre-heat the airfryer at 200 degrees. Then, brush the airfryer basket with little oil or butter.
Arrange the marinated chicken in the basket and air fry it 20 minutes or until charred. (you can flip it once in between).
How to make on Stove top ?
Yes , of course you can make this on stove top. On a thick bottom cast iron or non stick pan , heat 1 tablespoon of butter.
Arrange chicken on a pan. Cook on a medium heat and at regular intervals ,flip and cook chicken on both sides basting butter.
Finally , with the help of tongs put it over the flame directly. With help of tongs , keep rotating it for 10-12 seconds to get a charred look with smoky flavor.
Substitute for Tandoori Masala ?
I have shared recipe on how to make Tandoori Masala , incase if you can't make it or find it in stores; then follow these measurements as a substitute for Tandoori Masala in this recipe:
- black pepper powder - teaspoon
- turmeric powder - ½ teaspoon
- cumin powder - ½ teaspoon
- garam masala powder or kitchen king masala - ½ teaspoon
- coriander powder -1 teaspoon
Which Chicken cut to use ?
Ideally, the best chicken cut to go for is the whole chicken legs (chicken drumsticks with thigh) . If not available, you can go for drumstick pieces also. For healthier version , you can even use chicken breasts but keep a eye on cooking time. As size of chicken varies , cooking time also varies.
Why was my chicken flavor less?
Oh No , may be you have cut down on marination time. Honestly, If you do not really want to compromise on it's flavors then go for at least 30 mins of first marination time and 6 hours for second marination time.
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How to make Tandoori Chicken?
Wash ,clean and drain water completely from chicken pieces. With a knife , score chicken thigh pieces. This helps spices to get inside the chicken
Place chicken in a bowl , add ¼ tsp turmeric powder , ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder, ½ teaspoon salt , lime juice and mustard oil .
Rub all the chicken spices over the chicken and marinate for minimum 30 minutes , up to 60 minutes. Keep in refrigerator.
After 30 minutes , add freshly pound ginger garlic paste , hung curds , mustard oil , chilli powder , tandoori masala powder , salt ,chaat masala and lemon juice.
Mix marinade well and apply it over the chicken . Don't hesitate to dive in your hands and apply marination over and inside scored chicken .
Marinate the chicken pieces for minimum 6 hours or overnight in refrigerator. I marinated for good 12 hours .
After recommended marination time, remove chicken from refrigerator and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 220 deg Celsius .
Meanwhile , prepare the baking tray by greasing with some oil. I placed a parchment paper to avoid darkening of my baking tray.
Arrange the chicken pieces on a tray . Drizzle ½ tablespoon of butter on top of the chicken
Bake for 25-30 minutes .
In between ,around 20 minutes, remove the tray from oven ,baste some butter, turn the chicken pieces to other side and put it back in oven.
Grill chicken 8-10 minutes.
Serve it hot
Serve with lemon wedges , mint chutney and onion rings.
This post has been updated from the archives, was first published in September 2018.
- 400 grams Chicken - 2 thigh leg pieces
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri Red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
- 1 Tsp Mustard oil
- 3 tablespoon Hung Curds
- ½ teaspoon Red Chilli powder
- ½ tablespoon Ginger Paste from 1 inch ginger
- 1 /2 Tbsp Garlic Paste or 6 garlic cloves crushed to paste
- ½ teaspoon Chaat Masala
- ½ tablespoon Tandoori Masala Powder - refer notes
- 1 /2 tablespoon Kasuri Methi
- ½ tablespoon Mustard Oil
- ½ teaspoon Salt or as required
- ½ tablespoon Lime Juice , freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon Butter for basting
- Wash ,clean and drain water completely from chicken pieces.
- Using a sharp knife , score chicken pieces. This helps chicken marinate to de
- Place chicken in a marination bowl . Add turmeric powder , Red chili powder and salt ,mustard oil and lime juice.
- Rub the spices to chicken pieces and marinate for minimum 30 minutes to 60 minutes. Keep in refrigerator.
- After 30 minutes , add hung curd, freshly pound ginger paste, freshly pound garlic paste , mustard oil , chilli powder , tandoori masala powder , salt , chaat masala and lemon juice.
- With your hands in ,rub the marinade over the chicken pieces and inside the scored chicken
- Cover and marinate chicken for good 6-12 hours or overnight in refrigerator.
For Stove Top Method
- For cooking on stove top method : Heat 1 tablespoon oil/ butter in a non stick pan , place the chicken over it and cook on medium heat by flipping it once in between till done .
- If you are using chicken thigh and leg pieces ,it takes around 30-45 minutes ,to get cooked on low to medium heat . If you are using small chicken pieces ,it cooks faster.
- Once chicken is cooked perfectly ,put on fire directly for 10-15 seconds, by rotating continuously with help of tongs, to get that charred look.
For Oven ( Bake and Grill) Method :
- Preheat the oven to 250 deg Celsius .
- Grease the oven tray with some oil ( I had placed aluminium foil and greased with oil) ,arrange the chicken pieces and cook for 22 -25 minutes .
- In between ,around 15 minutes, remove the tray from oven ,baste some oil flip the chicken pieces and put it back in oven to bake.
- Once chicken is cooked perfectly , you can grill it for 3-5 minutes to get that charred look.
- Serve it hot with lemon wedges , mint chutney and onion rings.