Tandoori Chicken – an iconic restaurant style smoky chicken recipe that is authentic, easy and best. Crisp outer, so succulent within and outrageously delicious! This is definitely going to become your one of the favourite tandoori chicken recipes this winter season. Oh yes! make it in an oven or gas stove, airfryer or instant pot, you are going to love it in every way.
Often it tends to happen that we crave for tandoori dishes and more over chicken tandoori recipe. Quite a times, my family particularly asked me to make this smoky chicken leg recipe at home.
So, finally, here is the most awaited tandoori chicken recipe for all non – vegetarian lovers.
Undoubtedly, it is an easy and best recipe and there is absolutely no secret of any store bought tandoori chicken masala behind it. At home it easily comes together without any fuss.
In this process, nothing is complicated at all. And I swear, this is no philosophy but truth. And so, returning back to the ocean of flavors and masalas let’s get into the waves.
Tandoori Chicken (Tandoori Murgh)
A chicken dish that seriously needs no introduction. Not to mention, almost all the non-vegetarians would have had a piece of it, and still would be wanting more. Indeed, it is an icing on the cake if the chicken comes out juicy, soft and finger licking.
Tandoori chicken is a crazy good and delectable smoky chicken recipe you will adore. Traditionally, it is prepared by roasting or grilling the marinated chicken in a clay oven or tandoor.
The marinade consists of yogurt (curd/dahi), few handy basic spices and powders and the secret star ingredient – Mustard oil.
Now, let me disclose this to you. In restaurants, chefs use mustard oil for most of the tikkas and tandoor recipes. Myself being from the family of chefs and great home cooks, we all have been following this tip since many years.
The restaurants and the dhabas makes the use of red food colour in the marinade. The addition of food color gives nice bright and fiery red appeal to the tandoori murgh.
But, the recipe that I am sharing with you today has no artificial colour at all. All that beautiful red colour you see here is due to the use of good quality Kashmiri red chili powder.
The marination actually is done in two steps – the first marination and the second marination. Yes, being from the family of chefs, I have learnt this tip of double marination for the best result.
As we proceed further, I shall show every step in detail to make the best tandoori chicken recipe at home.
Don’t you have modern oven or traditional clay tandoor at home? Do not worry! Go on ahead to make tandoori chicken on gas stove in grilling pan or regular pan.
There will be NO disappointment ever and of course there will be no looking back. Why? Because you find this one to be the best than the other tandoori recipes on the net.
This Chicken Tandoori is
- Easiest and the Tastiest.
- Without any artificial food colour.
- Traditional and authentic version.
- Low in carbs.
- Keto friendly.
- Gluten free.
- Exactly like that of restaurants or Dhabas.
- Can easily be made in Clay over (tandoor), in Oven, on a gas stove in pan, in air fryer, Instant pot or Mealthy multipot and crisp lid.
Which is best cut of chicken meat to make Tandoori Chicken?
Traditionally and ideally, the best chicken cut to go for is the whole chicken legs (chicken drumsticks with thigh).
Because, that cut of chicken meat has higher fat content making it juicy, moist and more flavourful.
However, you can also go for chicken breasts for the healthier version. Follow the same procedure to make most moist tandoori chicken breasts. Furthermore, you can also choose chicken drumsticks as well.
Marination Time for the Chicken
As we do the two marinations here in this process, let the first marination be for 45 minutes – 1 hour under refrigeration. But, nothing less than at least 3o minutes only in the case of strict crunch of time.
For second marination time, please let the chicken peacefully rest in the yogurt and spices for good 8 hours or overnight under refrigeration.
Similarly, only in strict case of short of time, still I would insist you to let it marinate for minimum 5 hours.
Honestly, I do not really want to compromise on it’s flavors. So, I always go for at least 45 mins of first marination time and 8 hours for second marination time.
Freezing the Tandoori Chicken
Now, honestly, if we talk about freezing the cooked chicken here, then I would strictly say NO. Rather, I would highly recommend you to freeze the marinated chicken in the freezer in a clean air tight container or zip pouches in portions.
Whenever, you plan to have a meal with it, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator or for few hours on the counter. Go on ahead with cooking as per the method you prefer and then enjoy.
Marinated chicken stay very well in the freezer for good 2 months.
Top Tips to make best Tandoori chicken at home
Always, clean and wash the chicken pieces well.
Ensure to pat dry the chicken meat to avoid any excess liquid in to it.
Always, use sharp knife to make deep cuts on the meat pieces. The cuts ensures the deep penetration of marinade making it the perfect and juicy tandoori.
The secret behind the best tandoori chicken is its marinade and the use of mustard oil. So follow the two step marination exactly the way mentioned below.
Always use thick curd, either the hung curd or the greek yogurt to make the marinade.
If you do not have the access to Kashmiri red chili powder, use any medium hot chili powder to the marinade. You can also choose to use smoked paprika powder as well.
For the best taste and flavors, make sure to use mustard oil only. However, if it not available in your part of the world, then you can go ahead to use any vegetable oil of choice. You can use melted butter as well.
The longer you marinate the chicken, the better will be the flavor always. So, follow the marination time accordingly. If, in case you have the crunch of time, then try to marinate the chicken for minimum 4 hours at least.
Let me tell you the secret that I follow most of the time to make the tandoori chicken smoky. I always prefer to give charcoal dhungar just before grilling/cooking them or right after the cooking is over. So, the either way works best and you get nice smoky murgh tandoori at home.
Side Dish to Serve with Tandoori Chicken
Sprinkle some chaat masala over the tandoori chicken before serving. Serve this smoky tandoori murgh with saffron rice or zafrani pulao along with onion rings, lemon wedges and mint yogurt chutney on the side.
You can also, serve it with nan or or any Indian flat bread. Enjoy it on its own as an appetiser/starter with chutney.
How To Make Tandoori Chicken Recipe at Home – Step by Step Photo
For the recipe of tandoori chicken, we need to do the double marination as mentioned above in the post. The method involves the series of steps that I shall be mentioning in detail below.
So lets’ get started.
Preparation of Tandoori Chicken Marinade
To start off, First, clean, wash and make cuts on the chicken using a sharp knife. (photo 1)
For the 1st marination of chicken, we need – Ginger garlic paste, Kashmiri red chili powder, lemon juice and salt. In a bowl, all these 5 ingredients and mix well. (photo 2 and 3)
Add chicken and mix it very well in the marinade, then, cover the bowl with a plastic cover and leave it for 45-1 hour under refrigeration. (photo 4)
Coming to the second marination, we need – Roasted cumin powder, ginger paste and garlic paste, Kashmiri red chili powder, Garam masala powder, Thick or hung yogurt (curd), black salt and Mustard oil.
In another bowl, add all the ingredients of a second marination and mix it very well. (photo 5 and 6)
Once the first marination is done, transfer the chicken in this second marinade. (photo 7)
Cover the second bowl also with a plastic cover and refrigerate for 7-8 hours or overnight. (photo 8)
Note: Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 45 minutes before you plan to cook it.
Smoking the marinated chicken
Now comes the interesting part, if you wish to give smoky flavor to the chicken, then simply give the charcoal smoke to the marinated chicken just before cooking it.
Place a small steel bowl oven the chicken and put 1 teaspoon of ghee over the live charcoal. Immediately cover the bowl with lid and allow it to rest for 8-10 minutes. (photo 1 and 2). However, you can choose to do this charcoal smoking step after the chicken is cooked.
But, personally I prefer doing this process before cooking the chicken in the oven or pan or instant pot or air fryer.
Tandoori Chicken in Oven
If you do not have Tandoor or Angethi (Coal Barbecue), it is totally okay. But if you have an oven, you have the right alternative to make tandoori chicken recipe.
Pre-heat the oven at 220 degrees centigrade.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and arrange the marinated chicken on a baking tray or a wire rack. (photo 1 and 2)
Note : If you are placing the chicken on a wire rack, then place the dripping tray under the rack to collect the dripping over it.
Broil the chicken for 25-30 minutes or till done. Turn the chicken once in a half way of grilling (after 15 minutes). Tandoori Chicken is ready to serve. (photo 3)
Tandoori Chicken Recipe without Oven
On Gas Stove in a grilling pan or a regular pan
If you can’t resist without roast chicken and you don’t have an oven either, do not worry at all. You must be having a gas stove, you need a roasting grill.
This roast grill is easily available in the supermarkets. So, fetch one and place it over your burner. Furthermore, make a note to place a foil beneath the stove to avoid the platform getting oily and greasy.
Firstly, heat the pan, and place the chicken on it. (photo 1)
Then cover and cook until done, do flip it once in between. (photo 2)
Grease the grill with oil so that the chicken does not stick over the grill. Place your chicken pieces upon the grill and turn the flame to medium high. Then grill from both the sides until aromatic. (photo 3 and 4)
Tandoori Chicken in Airfryer
You can also place the marinated tandoori murgh pieces in an air fryer if you possess one.
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 airfry it 25 minutes or until charred. (you can flip the chicken once in between).
How to make Tandoori Chicken in Instant Pot or Mealthy Multipot – Step by step
First, follow the marination step as mentioned above.
If you see the photo 1 and 2 below, I have placed the trivet in one and in 2, I have placed basket over the trivet. So, basically, you can either cook the chicken by placing it on trivet directly or in the basket. Either of the two works well. (photo 1 and 2)
Now, add 1 cup of water in the inner pot of the IP. Then, place the trivet in the pot. Place the marinated chicken on the trivet, I have used fryer basket. (photo 3)
It is absolutely fine if stack on each other, if you are making it in a little larger batch.
Close the IP with lid, put the valve to sealing position and then pressure cook on high for 12 minutes. (photo 4)
Once the IP beeps, turn the valve to vent, quickly release the pressure and open the pot. (photo 5).
Note: Now, if you wish to serve it as it is, then carefully dish out the chicken using tongs, sprinkle some chaat masala and serve.
For crispier chicken, you can follow the either way.
a) arrange them on the tray and pop it in pre-heated oven and broil for fo 7-8 minutes, until charred.
b) Use Mealthy crisp lid to make them more crisp and delicious.
Unplug the IP and plug the mealthy crisp lid, place it on the inner pot of IP. You need to lower the handle of the crisp lid. Now, set the temperature to 200 degrees. (photo 6)
Cook the chicken for 12 minutes. (As I love the crispier chicken, I cooked it for couple of more minutes extra)
You can flip the chicken once in between – first cook for 5-6 minutes on one side. Then, flip and cook for another 5-6 minutes on the other side.
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This post has been updated from the archives, was first published in March 2013.
Authentic Tandoori Chicken Recipe card
To prepare tandoori chicken
- 1 Kg Chicken legs de-skinned and trimmed fat, cut into serving pieces
For a first marinade
- 1 tablespoon Ginger garlic paste
- 2-3 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder ( I have added 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
- Salt to taste
For a second marinade
- 300 grams Greek yogurt or hung curd
- 1 tablespoon Ginger garlic paste
- 2-3 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Garam masala powder
- 3/4 teaspoon Black Salt or regular salt
- 1 teaspoon Cumin powder
- ½ cup Mustard oil
- Red food colour (optional) I have not used any food colour in this recipe
For Instant Pot version Tandoori chicken
- 1 cup Water
Preparation of Tandoori Chicken
- Clean, wash and make cuts on the chicken using a sharp knife. This will help the marinade to penetrate well in the chicken
- In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients of first marinade. (ginger garlic paste, Kashmiri red chili powder, lemon juice and salt)
- Add chicken and mix it very well in the marinade.
- Cover the bowl with a plastic cover and leave it for 45 minutes - 1 hour under refrigeration.
- In another large bowl, add all the ingredients of second marinade and mix it very well. (yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, red chili powder, garam masala powder, black salt, cumin powder, mustard oil)
- After a first marination is done, transfer the chicken in this second marinade. Cover the second bowl also with a plastic cover and refrigerate for 7-8 hours or overnight.
- Grill it either on a charcoal grill (tandoor) or in Oven or on gas stove. Here I have chosen to do it by roasting in the oven.
To bake tandoori chicken in oven
- Pre-heat the oven at 220 degrees centigrade. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it on a baking tray or a rack.
- Broil the chicken for 25-30 minutes or till done. Tandoori Chicken is ready to serve.
To make tandoori chicken on gas stove
- First, heat the pan, and place the chicken on it.
- Then cover and cook until done, do flip it once in between.
- Grease the grill with oil so that the chicken does not stick over the grill. Place the chicken pieces upon the grill and turn the flame to medium high.
- Grill from both the sides until aromatic. Tandoori chicken is ready to serve.
Tandoori Chicken in airfryer
- Arrange the marinated chicken in the basket and airfry it 25 minutes or until charred. (you can flip the chicken once in between).
- First, pre-heat the airfryer at 200 degrees. Then, brush the airfryer basket with little oil or butter.
To make tandoori chicken in instant pot or mealthy multipot
- Add 1 cup of water in the inner pot of the IP. Then, place the trivet in the pot. Place the marinated chicken on the trivet.
- Close the IP with lid, put the valve to sealing position and then pressure cook on high for 12 minutes.
- Once the IP beeps, turn the valve to vent and quickly release the pressure and open the pot.
- Carefully dish out the chicken using tongs, sprinkle some chaat masala and serve.
- For crispier chicken, you can follow the either way.a) arrange them on the tray and pop it in pre-heated oven and broil for fo 7-8 minutes, until charred.b) Use Mealthy crisp lid to make them more crisp and delicious.
Crisping the tandoori chicken using Mealthy crisp lid
- Unplug the IP and plug the mealthy crisp lid, place it on the inner pot of IP. You need to lower the handle of the crisp lid. Now, set the temperature to 200 degrees.
- Cook the chicken for 12 minutes. (As I love the crispier chicken, I cooked it for couple of more minutes extra)
- You can flip the chicken once in between - first cook for 5-6 minutes on one side. Then, flip and cook for another 5-6 minutes on the other side.