Grilled Tandoori Chicken

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 8 mins
Marinating Time: 12 hrs
Total: 12 hrs 23 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
479 Calories
20g Fat
17g Carbs
58g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 479
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 170mg 57%
Sodium 392mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 58g
Vitamin C 21mg 107%
Calcium 185mg 14%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 754mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Very few people the world over have not heard of tandoori chicken. The iconic status of this North Indian dish means it is on the menu of every Indian restaurant. Tandoori comes from the way it is cooked—in a tandoor or clay oven. The chicken is marinated for a few hours in a mix of spices and yogurt before it is threaded onto skewers and cooked in the tandoor.

Though many people use food coloring to get the almost trademark orange hue for their tandoori chicken, traditionally the chicken gets its color from the use of turmeric powder and powdered Kashmiri red chilies. These red chilies are known to have 'more bark than bite' as they lend a fiery red color but are not as hot as their color suggests. All the lovely spices, the tang ​of the yogurt, and the smoky smell from the tandoor result in a delicious dish that you can almost never just eat one piece of! 

The nicest thing about tandoori chicken, though, is that it's really easy to make. Once you've got the basic recipe for tandoori masala, prepare and store it so you can cook this tandoori chicken recipe anytime the craving strikes.

"As authentic as it gets without a clay oven! The chicken was tender and succulent and had that same iconic red coloring. You can find pre-made tandoori and chaat masala at any well-stocked Indian marketplace such as Patel Brothers. Be sure to taste the marinade before adding salt since the spice mix already includes it." —Diana Andrews

Grilled Tandoori Chicken/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, or thighs

  • 1 cup yogurt

  • 6 tablespoons tandoori masala

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil, more for the grill

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 1 tablespoon chaat masala, store-bought or homemade, for garnish

  • Onion rings, for garnish

  • Lime wedges, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Grilled Tandoori Chicken ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. Make shallow diagonal slashes in the chicken pieces and keep aside.

    shallow diagonal slashes in the chicken pieces on the cutting board

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the yogurt, tandoori masala, the oil, garlic, and salt to taste to make a smooth paste.

    Mix the tandoori masala with the yogurt, two tablespoons cooking oil, garlic and salt in a bowl

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Smear this paste all over the chicken pieces, ensuring you rub it well into the slashes you made earlier and that the pieces are well coated.

    Smear this paste all over the chicken pieces

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. Put all the pieces and marinade into a deep bowl and cover. Refrigerate and allow to marinate overnight.

    chicken pieces and marinade in a deep bowl, covered with plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. Prepare a medium (350 F to 375 F) gas or charcoal grill fire. Clean and oil the grill grates.

    Put the chicken on the grill and sear, about 3 minutes on each side.

    chicken on the grill

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  7. Reduce the grill heat to low (200 F to 275 F), cover and continue to cook until the chicken registers 165 F on a digital thermometer, about 2 minutes more. (Do not overcook or the chicken will dry out.)

    chicken cooking in a covered grill

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  8. When done, place chicken on a plate or platter and sprinkle chaat masala, garnish with onion rings and lime wedges. Serve piping hot.

    Grilled Tandoori Chicken on a platter

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Baking Tandoori Chicken

Heat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Line a baking tray with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray or smear with cooking oil. Lay the pieces on this foil and drizzle lightly with cooking oil. Bake for approximately 15 minutes and then turn pieces and bake for another 10 minutes. Test chicken to see if cooked. It should register 165 F on a digital thermometer.