Tandoori Rub for Chicken

Tandoori rub

Lise Caron / Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1/2 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
111 Calories
4g Fat
20g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 111
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 339mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 8g 27%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 15mg 75%
Calcium 125mg 10%
Iron 13mg 71%
Potassium 714mg 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.)

Tandoori spice mixes are named after the tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven that is used in Indian cooking and in other traditional cuisines of South, West, and Central Asia. Tandoori chicken is undoubtedly the most popular dish cooked in a tandoor oven although beef, lamb, fish, and seafood can also be cooked in a tandoor. 

Nowadays tandoori dishes are no longer associated with the oven they were originally cooked in but with the spice mixes for the marinade or rub. 

The combination of tandoori spices varies greatly. This basic tandoori rub contains ground ginger, cumin, coriander, paprika, and turmeric. It is intentionally made simple so you can quickly mix up for a weeknight dinner. There is no grinding of spices involved as you start out with already ground spices. Other tandoori spice mixes are more complex and include more spices, and they also require toasting and grinding of the spices, an effort that makes more sense for a larger batch. 

You can use this spice mix either to rub on the chicken or meat and let it sit for at least 1 hour in the fridge to absorb the flavors. Or, you mix the rub with plain yogurt to make a tandoori marinade in which you let the chicken or meat sit for at least a couple of hours. The amount of tandoori rub depends on your personal taste. A rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon per pound chicken. 

This rub might be super easy and simple to make but it is still essential that the spices you use are fresh and good quality. Spices lose their potency over time, the longer they are sitting on a shelf—either at the grocery store or in your pantry—the more they loose their intensity and complexity of flavor. Especially when using already ground spices like in this recipe, it is best to buy small amounts and use them fairly quickly. 

Store the tandoori rub in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and keep it in a kitchen cabinet away from the stove, as heat and light make spices deteriorate more quickly.


  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 1 tablespoon coriander

  • 1 tablespoon paprika

  • 1 tablespoon turmeric

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon cayenne

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients

  2. Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. 

  3. To use, rub mixture over chicken, cover, and place into refrigerator for 1 hour before grilling or baking.

  4. Mixture can be added to plain yogurt and lemon or lime juice to form a delicious marinade. In this case, place chicken in a resealable plastic bag, add marinade made out of rub ingredients and place into refrigerator for 2 to 6 hours.