Tandoori Chicken Recipe

By Rena Awada | Updated On January 26, 2024

This Tandoori Chicken recipe is marinated in a seasoned yogurt marinade, then cooked in a skillet or on the grill until perfectly golden brown. It’s an easy Indian dish that’s bursting with flavor, just like the restaurant version! Plus this healthy chicken recipe is high in protein, low carb, and gluten-free.

top view of sliced tandoori chicken over white rice


If you love Indian food, this healthy and gluten-free Tandoori Chicken Tikka recipe is perfect for your menu plan this week. It can be marinated the night before or before dinner, and then cooked in just 15 minutes. The exciting flavors will keep dinnertime interesting and make the whole family happy! A simple chicken recipe that’s full of flavor and is perfect for meal prepping.

Want to serve it with rice? Read this tutorial on How to Cook Rice on the Stove for fluffy basmati rice that will be perfect with this chicken.

Why you’ll Love this tandoori recipe

  • So flavorful. Tandoori chicken is marinated in the most flavorful marinade. Don’t be intimidated by the list of spices. They are easy to find and are so worth using.
  • Very easy. This recipe requires a few minutes to make the marinade, hands-free marinating time, and a few more minutes to cook the chicken. It is great for a weeknight dinner that you prepped the night before.
  • Healthy. The tandoori chicken marinade has no added sweeteners and plenty of nutrients from the spices. The chicken is high in protein and naturally gluten-free.
close up tandoori chicken with rice in a bowl

What is Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori chicken is a popular Indian dish that is made of marinated chicken which is traditionally cooked at high temperatures in a tandoor oven. A tandoor oven is a clay oven in the shape of a cylinder, that is used in cooking Indian Cuisine. The Tandoori marinade is made with yogurt and a blend of spices, which include cayenne pepper, turmeric, and garam masala, The tandoori marinade is what gives the chicken its red color and rich flavor.

Ingredients you’ll need

This is just a list of ingredients you will need to make this Tikka Tandoori Chicken recipe. Full measurements are listed further down below.

  • Chicken breast: we much prefer using chicken breast instead of thighs, but you may use boneless and skinless chicken thighs.

For the tandoori marinade

  • Plain yogurt: or you may you Greek yogurt
  • Lemon juice: use fresh lemon juice
  • Onion powder
  • Minced garlic: do use fresh garlic cloves
  • Garam masala: needed for this recipe, can’t skip
  • Seasonings: Paprika, Coriander, Cumin, Ginger, Cayenne pepper, Kosher salt
  • Cilantro leaves: use fresh
  • Cooked basmati rice, for serving
Ingredients for tandoori chicken on gray counter

How to make tandoori chicken

  • Make marinade. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients, then whisk until smooth.
  • Marinate the chicken. Add in the chicken and stir until evenly coated on all sides. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight in the fridge.
  • Bring to room temperature. Before cooking the chicken, take it out of the fridge and allow it to get to room temp, about 30 min should be enough.
  • Cook. Heat a large heavy-bottom pan or a grill over medium-low heat. Lightly oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Cook the chicken for 6 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
  • Serve. Serve the tandoori chicken recipe over cooked basmati rice with cilantro and lemon wedges if desired. Enjoy!
Overhead of bowl of rice with sliced tandoori chicken.

Tips and substitutions

  • Plain yogurt: You can use Greek yogurt if needed, but the marinade will be tangier.
  • Garam masala: Garam masala is a mix of spices that are commonly used in Indian food. You can buy this from the store or make your own at home.
  • Cayenne: If you prefer less spice, adjust the amount of cayenne.
  • Marinate longer. The longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavorful and moist it will be.
  • Avoid overcooking. If needed, you can use a meat thermometer to check the chicken. It should read 165°F. Overcooked chicken tandoori is very dry.
  • Using different chicken: you may use bone-in or boneless chicken. Bone-in chicken takes much longer to cook. You may also cook the chicken in an air fryer.
  • Happen to have a Tandoor oven: You can cook the chicken in it instead!
Sliced tandoori chicken breast served over rice with cilantro garnish

frequently asked question

How healthy is tandoori chicken?

Tandoori chicken is very healthy! It is marinated in a yogurt-based sauce that is full of seasonings that add vitamins and nutrients. The chicken is packed with protein and the whole dish has very few carbs. Serve alongside a healthy grain for a complete meal.

What does tandoori chicken taste like?

Tandoori chicken has a tangy yogurt base filled with earthy spices and a pop of fresh lemon. There is a hint of sweetness from the garam masala and a bit of spice from the cayenne pepper. It’s a delicious combination of flavors that pairs nicely with white rice to soak up the extra spices.

What do you eat with tandoori chicken?

Traditionally tandoori chicken is served over basmati rice. You can also serve it with quinoa or brown rice for a healthier grain. For sides, you can serve lettuce cups, warm naan, or roasted vegetables.

Why is tandoori chicken red?

Tandoori chicken from a restaurant is typically a bright red or orange color. This can be due to the spice mix that is used, specifically if it has a lot of chili powder or cayenne. Some recipes also use food coloring to produce a bright red effect. This recipe has no food coloring and is light on the cayenne so that the chicken isn’t overly spicy.

Close view of sliced tandoori chicken served over rice with cilantro garnish

Other Indian food recipes

Chicken recipes you may like

top view of a white bowl with white rice and sliced tandoori chicken

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top view of sliced tandoori chicken over white rice

Chicken Tandoori Recipe

This Tandoori Chicken recipe is marinated in a seasoned yogurt marinade, then cooked in a skillet or on the grill until perfectly golden brown. It's an easy Indian dinner that's bursting with flavor, just like the restaurant version! Plus this recipe is high in protein, low carb, and gluten-free.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Low Fat
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 200kcal
Author: Rena

Equipment

  • knife
  • skillet
  • Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1.2 lb chicken breast cut in half lengthways, or use chicken cutlets

Marinade

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp cilantro leaves
  • COOKED BASMATI RICE to serve with, as well as extra cilantro and lemon wedges

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients. Whisk until smooth.
  • Add in the chicken and stir until evenly coated on all sides. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 1 hour overnight in the fridge.
  • Before cooking the chicken, take it out of the fridge and allow it to get to room temp, about 30 min should be enough.
  • Heat a large heavy-bottom pan or a grill over medium-low heat. Lightly oil with some olive oil to prevent the chicken from sticking.
  • Cook the chicken for 6 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
  • Serve over cooked basmati rice with cilantro and lemon wedges if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Plain yogurt: You can use Greek yogurt if needed, but the marinade will be tangier.
  • Garam masala: Garam masala is a mix of spices that are commonly used in Indian food. You can buy this from the store or make your own at home.
  • Cayenne: If you prefer less spice, adjust the amount of cayenne.
  • Marinate longer. The longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavorful and moist it will be.
  • Avoid overcooking. If needed, you can use a meat thermometer to check the chicken. It should read 165°F. Overcooked chicken tandoori is very dry.

Nutrition

Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 467mg | Potassium: 641mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 980IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @HealthyFitnessMeals or tag #HealthyFitnessMeals!

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Ash says

    Doesn’t it have to be made in a “tandoor” to qualify as “tandoori” chicken? This is just simple pan fried.

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