What is Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori Chicken (tandoori murgh) is an iconic Indian grilled chicken that is marinated in a yogurt spice sauce and usually baked in a tandoor oven. A tandoor oven is a traditional Indian earthenware cylindrical clay oven. This tandoori chicken recipe is for most of us who don’t have that option. The tandoori chicken is oven baked, tender and incredibly delicious!
This smoky red grilled chicken is perfect to also bake in an air fryer and on the grill or barbecue. To add smokiness to oven baked chicken, turn up the temperature for the last few minutes or grill/barbecue the chicken over an open flame before baking. The char will add smokiness to the dish for a more authentic Punjab tandoori chicken.
Why We Love This Recipe
Flavour-packed! The best part of making your own tandoori or masala chicken is being able to adjust the flavour. Make it spicier or as mild as you like.
Low in carbs – at only 2g net carbs this healthy Indian Chicken Tandoori recipe is low carb and keto-friendly.
Family Friendly – this chicken dinner is very family friendly. Not too hot or spicy. Add as much or as little as you like to flavour your favourite curry recipes.
Freezer Friendly -make ahead, and freeze in portions for easy healthy freezer meals.
Scroll to the bottom of this post for the quantity of each ingredient used in our low carb recipe for roasted tandoori chicken.
Chicken – you can bake a whole tandoori chicken if you like. I have made this tandoori with drumsticks and thigh cutlets, but a whole chicken or spatchcock tandoori chicken will be awesome too. For a chicken tikka, use whole chicken breast fillets or thigh fillets left whole or cut into cubes.
Tandoori Paste – I use my own homemade tandoori paste. You can use store-bought like Patak’s if you prefer or use my recipe for tandoori paste. A Tandoori paste uses traditional spices like red chili powder, garam masala, ground cumin and coriander, turmeric, and paprika. You can add a tandoori spice powder if you prefer and 2-3 tablespoons of ginger garlic paste for a cheats version if you don’t have a paste made.
Greek Yoghurt – is perfect to make the tandoori marinade. It helps tenderise the chicken and make it nice and succulent.
Lemon juice – use fresh lemon juice in the tandoori marinade. It also helps to tenderise the chicken pieces and balance the tikka sauce.
How to Make It
Step 1. Combine the yoghurt, tandoori paste and lemon juice until it makes a smooth tandoori sauce. Coat the chicken with the tandoori marinade and chill for at least 1-2 hours or overnight. Note: Reserve some of the tandoori sauce if you would like extra to serve with the chicken.
Step 2. After marinating, place the chicken onto a baking tray and bake in a hot oven until an internal temperature of 75°C / 165°F is reached. Baste with the leftover marinade halfway through cooking time. You can bake tandoori chicken in the air fryer too, if preferred. Preheat the air fryer to 200°C and bake the chicken until cooked through turning after the first 10 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Serve with extra Greek yogurt, tikka sauce, raita, sour cream or coconut yoghurt. I like leafy greens with mine. I have added some extra serving suggestions in the recipe card below.
The spices do a lot to make a natural red tandoori chicken. You can use a small amount of powdered red tandoori colour (red food coloring) that is available from Asian markets if you like.
It uses a spice, but I wouldn’t say it is spicy or hot. You can add hotter chilli powder if you prefer to the tandoori paste. Personally, I season the chicken with extra chilli flakes when I roast it in the oven. You can add some extra Huy Fong chili garlic sauce if you like or fresh hot chili to give it a spicier kick.
Chicken tikka is usually made with diced or cubed boneless chicken. Masala is basically a gravy, so a saucy tandoori sauce chicken. Tandoori chicken is usually made with whole chicken or chicken pieces still on the bone. It is then baked in a Tandoor oven (traditionally), barbecued, grilled or baked.
Oven Baked Tandoori Chicken
- 1/2 cup Tandoori Paste
- 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
- Zest and juice of half a lemon
- 1 kg chicken drumsticks see notes
Combine Tandoori paste, Greek yoghurt, zest and lemon juice in a large bowl until a smooth sauce.
Add the chicken to the tandoori sauce and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for at least 1-2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 200°C fan/220°C static/ 425°F.
Transfer chicken pieces to a baking tray, shake off any excess marinade. (see notes)
Bake 40-50 minutes, baste with the remaining marinade halfway through cooking time. Roast until an internal temperature of 75°C/165°F is reached. Serve with lemon juice, gremolata and a salsa or kachumber salad.
Place Tandoori paste, Greek yoghurt, zest and lemon juice into mixer; mix 15 sec/speed 5. Scrape into a large bowl.
Add the chicken to the tandoori sauce and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for at least 1-2 hours or overnight. Follow from step 3 above.
Tandoori Paste – I make my own Tandoori paste. It is simple to make, tastes great and has no nasties.
Greek yoghurt – mixing yoghurt and the tandoori paste makes a perfectly tasty (and low-carb) tandoori sauce. I add lemon juice as some extra acid for balance and a meat tenderizer. The tandoori sauce is delicious as a dip or can be served as serving sauce as well. Use coconut yoghurt for a dairy free tandoori chicken.
Chicken – I use drumsticks, thigh cutlets or whole chicken when making tandoori chicken. You can use boneless breast or thigh fillets as well. When prepared this way it is called a chicken tikka or chicken tikka masala (in case you were wondering). Extra masala sauce can be used for serving or extra basting sauce.
The chicken murgh (tandoori) will store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Alternatively, freeze in a ziplock bag baked or in the marinade.
WAYS TO USE TANDOORI MASALA PASTE
To make authentic chicken tandoori, use whole chicken or chicken cut into potions but still on the bone. Marinate and grill, bake, air fry, barbecue or if you are lucky enough cook in a tandoor oven.
To make chicken tikka masala use skinless chicken cut into cubes. Firstly, brown then cook in the sauce until tender and melts in your mouth.
Tandoori paste can be used with beef, lamb, pork, seafood and vegan and plant-based dishes.
WAYS TO SERVE TANDOORI CHICKEN
Here are just some of my favourite ways to serve the tandoori chicken.
Tandoori Chicken Salad – serve cold or warm masala chicken with mixed leafy greens, chunky tomatoes, and diced avocados or guacamole.
Tandoori Chicken Wraps – oh hell yes! Add some shredded tandoori chicken to our keto tortillas or keto wraps with extra yoghurt (or tandoori sauce), mixed greens, and easy pickled onions.
Tandoori Chicken Kebabs – use diced chicken in place of pieces and thread onto skewers and marinate. Grill, bake, fry or barbecue until nicely charred and cooked through.
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This recipe yields approximately 6 serves. The actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
SERVING SIZE BY WEIGHT
To calculate the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe by 6. The result will be the weight of one serving.
Nutritional values shown are guidelines only. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on the brands and types of ingredients used.
The recipe card instructions contain the most basic steps and ingredients list. If you have any queries, or questions or are unsure of substitutions, please scroll up to the blog post for more information.