Grilled Tandoori Chicken

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 18 hrs
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 18 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
749 Calories
55g Fat
10g Carbs
53g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 749
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 55g 71%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 223mg 74%
Sodium 399mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 53g
Vitamin C 2mg 10%
Calcium 161mg 12%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 697mg 15%
*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.


  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken pieces, skin removed

  • 6 tablespoons tandoori masala

  • 1 cup yogurt

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • Salt, to taste

  • 1 cup vegetable oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil

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

  • Onion, sliced into thin rings, 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. Mix the tandoori masala with the yogurt, 2 tablespoons cooking 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 for 12 to 18 hours.

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

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. Preheat grill to medium. Put the chicken on it and quickly sear on both sides. Allow to brown on both sides, brushing cooking oil on as necessary.​

    chicken on the grill

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  7. Once browned, reduce heat and cover the grill. Cook till the chicken is tender. (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 lime juice, lime wedges and onion rings. Serve piping hot.

    Grilled Tandoori Chicken on a platter

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Baking Tandoori Chicken

Pre heat oven to 350 F/180 C. While the oven is heating, line a baking tray with foil and 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.