Easy Tandoori Chicken

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Classic Tandoori Chicken is an Indian recipe that’s marinated in yogurt, garam masala and cayenne before baking made easier, a perfect weeknight meal.

We are enjoying the new Indian recipes showing up on the blog including Butter ChickenVegetable BiryaniChicken Tikka Masala and Raita.

Easy Tandoori Chicken
 Easy Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Tandoori Chicken was the obvious next recipe I wanted to share after the other chicken recipes have been SO popular with you guys.

This recipe was actually a mix between trying to stay true to the classic restaurant favorite recipe while making an easy weeknight meal. I settled on using chicken legs for one reason alone. Every time I would make tandoori chicken for clients I would buy the fryer pack of chicken from the store.

This meant I’d have 8 pieces to cook that included chicken breasts, thighs, wings and legs. Every time I would make the recipe the first pieces to go were the legs! Soon I found myself making just thighs and legs, but even then the first things to go were the legs.

So now, when I make this recipe for my family or clients I stick to chicken legs. Why you ask? Well the legs are tender while cooking quickly. They have just enough meat to stay tender while getting a slightly crispy exterior from the marinade. This means more of the meat is super flavorful.

With thighs I would see people eat all the parts of the chicken covered in the marinade while leaving the extra meat on the inside. Chicken breasts were an issue only because with the high heat of cooking to get the right char I was finding the white meat was drying out a bit.

Chicken legs are the perfect easy option here.

Want to make this recipe with a different cut of chicken? I highly suggest cutting through the meat to allow the marinade to flavor more deeply into the chicken. This can be done once you remove the skin, you would cut deep x marks into the thighs or breasts almost to the bone.

Indian Chicken Tandoori

How do you make Tandoori Chicken Red:

Tandoori Chicken is classically served in restaurants in a bright red hue because of the addition of a few drops of red food coloring. You can create a similar color with the addition of harissa paste and turmeric if you are averse to using the red food coloring.

What is Tandoori Spice Mix?

  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

The spice mix can be combined and stored for future use, this spice mix makes enough for two pounds of tandoori chicken when combined with 2 cups greek yogurt.

How long do you cook tandoori chicken in the oven?

The classic charred look of grilled tandoori chicken can be replicated in the oven. Cook the chicken at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.

Easy Oven Baked Tandoori Chicken

Don’t have garam masala? You can make your own garam masala spice mix at home!

Garam Masala Spice Mix:

  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg



Tandoori Chicken Recipe

5 from 11 votes
  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Prep Time: 8 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 43 minutes
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder

Classic Tandoori Chicken is an Indian recipe that's marinated in yogurt, garam masala and cayenne before baking made easier, a perfect weeknight meal.


  • 2 pounds chicken legs , no skin (8 legs)
  • 2 cups greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon yellow food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 1 lemon , juiced


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix well.

  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then let marinade in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, preferably 24 hours.

  3. Remove the majority of the marinade before cooking the chicken.
  4. Grill Instructions: Heat the oiled grill to medium-high heat and cook the chicken until cooked through, 10-12 minutes.

  5. Oven Instructions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cook on a sheet pan for 25-30 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 4 Servings, Amount per serving: 359 calories, Serving Size: 2 , Calories: 359g, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 125mg, Sodium: 728mg, Potassium: 484mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 575g, Vitamin C: 14.9g, Calcium: 129g, Iron: 1.5g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keywords: Indian Tandoori Chicken, Tandoori chicken

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  1. So yummy!!!! I didn’t have any yogurt so I used whole milk with one teaspoon of lemon. It is very spicy so if you have young kids lighten up on the cayenne.

  2. To get a red colour you can use achiote (ground: not whole seeds) this is the colouring used in food from the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico) and is used to colour Red Leicester cheese. You need the pure spice not the one that comes as a paste which contains vinegar, maize flour etc.

  3. My family loved this recipe!! We grilled it in a gas bbq. As good as an Indian restaurants! Will be making this again!

  4. Hi! I’m planning on making this recipe one day this week. But I have a question about the seasonings. If I have tandoori and garam masala, do I still need to use all the spices you listed or do I just use the Tandoori and GM? Also I don’t have a bbq pit but I have a cast iron flat/grilling thing, that should work in the oven right?
    Oh and is this a spicy chicken? I tasted the tandoori and it was spicy and the Garam Masala tasted like dirt lol. I’m sure when they are cooked they won’t taste the same! Anyway, thanks for posting the recipe and I can’t wait to try it!! ?

    1. If you have tandoori you can substitute the ingredients needed to make it yourself that are listed in the recipe card. You should be able to use the cast iron grill for this. This dish is spicy but you can adjust the spice level to match more to your liking! I hope you enjoy it!

  5. Made this last night. Amazing flavor! Cooked on stovetop first then in the oven. Even my picky son loved it. Used 1/2 tsp. Of both the red & yellow food coloring. Everyone questioned the deep orange color while marinating but came out a deeper red when cooked. Thanks for my new go to Tandoori chicken recipe!

  6. I’m making tandoori Chicken. With my mom . We would like to know if you put the Chicken for 400 d. How long you have put the temperature down .

  7. This is not authentic when you use garlic powder, or chicken legs, get thighs not drumsticks with the sinews still in.

  8. I made this recipe for my family and it turned out fantastic. Really great flavors I will definitely make again. I cooked longer than recipe stated and it wasn’t dry – absolutely delish !

  9. Just cooked this for about the 6th time…still love it and a firm fave with the kids eventhough mine never seems to go red. BUT I keep the discarded sauce and use it to make a Kashmiri type curry usually 2 days later (lots of flavour). I chop up a pepper and an onion and cook, add meat or prawns then loads of ground almonds to thicken it, and lots of cream and get it boiling to reduce, then serve it topped with flaked almonds and more cream. Soooooo good.

    1. I prefer getting a char on it and then finishing it in the oven. If you prefer you can just do either grilled or oven. I hope you enjoy it!

    1. I’ve never tested it using a non dairy yogurt but if you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!

    2. My son is allergic to dairy and eggs and I substituted egg free mayonnaise in place of the yogurt. Turned out that the chicken was nice and tender and similar in taste.

    STUCK IN!!!!!

  11. Will be attempting to recreate this fabulous looking dish this week , an all time favourite of mine , I will post pictures IF I succeed .

  12. I made this the other day and I was unimpressed, the spices needed to be a bigger amount and the yogurt was to thick. I know that if I can modify it, the recipe will be much better.

  13. Didn’t see why skin-on chicken wings wouldn’t work, and they did! Easy prep and very tasty. Marinated for 2 hours and baked at 400°F for about 22 minutes per side. No added color necessary. Bet you can’t eat just one.

    Thanks, Sabrina

    1. Sorry for the confusion…you can use either method….grilling or oven. I was just trying to give options. 🙂

      1. Was just curious, if using Harrisa and Tuneric instead of food coloring. How much of each do you suggest? Actually preparing marinade today! Sounds so good!

    1. I cut up potatoes, cauliflower and bell peppers and coated them with more of the spice mix and roasted them in the oven at 375 (convection) for about 30 minutes on a sheet pan. They were a great side. I mixed some of the roasted veggies with spinach and left some without just to satisfy different family members.

  14. The ingredient list has “1-tsp Cayenne pepper” listed twice. Is that correct?
    Melaney Mattson, San Clemente, CA

  15. Sabrina, we are currently camping at Zion National park in Utah but I have to take a peek at your blog. I can’t wait to get home to try the tandoori chicken recipe!  I don’t know how you manage to find the time to blog due to your busy schedule but we appreciate your effort very much