Authentic Tandoori Chicken

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Tandoori chicken is a chicken dish made by roasting marinated chicken in yogurt and spices in a tandoor, which is a cylindrical clay oven. The dish originated in the Indian subcontinent and is now popular throughout the world.

The secret to juicy, tender, and flavorful Tandoori chicken is Greek yogurt and Garam Masala. The yogurt tenderizes and moistens it, while the Garam Masala adds the iconic aroma and flavors. Bake the marinated chicken at a high temperature in the oven (400 degrees F). The heat will seal in the juices from the chicken.

What is Tandoori Chicken?

Tandoori Chicken is named after the cylindrical clay oven in which the dish is traditionally prepared, known as a tandoor, which can reach temperatures of nearly 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Western chefs have had to adapt their cooking methods, grilling or roasting the chicken. This recipe uses the oven to roast the chicken and yields fantastic results.

Tandoori chicken can be served as an appetizer or as a main course, and it is frequently served with naan flatbread.  It is also the foundation for many cream-based curries, such as butter chicken.

Where is Tandoori Chicken From?

Tandoori chicken originated in the Punjab before India’s independence and partition. Kundan Lal Jaggi and Kundan Lal Gujral, both Punjabi Hindus and the founders of the Moti Mahal restaurant, popularized tandoori chicken in the late 1940s at Moti Mahal in the Daryaganj neighborhood of New Delhi.

Mokha Singh established the restaurant in the British Indian city of Peshawar, which is now part of neighboring Pakistan.

Why Tandoori Chicken is Red

Traditionally, tandoori chicken is marinated in tandoori paste before being cooked in the hot, clay tandoor oven. This paste is typically made with a combination of spices and condiments such as ginger, garlic, coriander, cayenne pepper, cloves, cumin, cardamom pods, saffron, and garam masala, as well as tandoori coloring.

While the spices add color, the distinctive red-orange color of tandoori chicken is the result of flavorless tandoori coloring made from annatto seed – it is also responsible for the orange coloring in some cheeses, such as cheddar.

Are Tandoori Chicken Spicy?

Typically, the original recipe is quite spicy. Kashmiri chile powder is used to add heat as well as a reddish hue. Food coloring was used to create color in this version, but paprika and turmeric also work well.

Authentic Tandoori Chicken 6

Authentic Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori chicken is a very tasty Indian food. Tandoori Chicken is named after the cylindrical clay oven in which the dish is traditionally prepared, called a tandoor, which commonly gets up to almost 500-degree F in temperature.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Marinating Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 45 minutes
Course Barbecue, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Calories 270 kcal


  • 2 lbs chicken legs (8 legs) no skin
  • 2 cups greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ginger ground
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp yellow food coloring
  • 1 tsp red food coloring
  • 1 lemon juiced


Preparing the chicken

  • Clean the chicken
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the chicken and mix well
  • You can use a zipper bag and just sort of squish it all around
  • Let it marinade in the refrigerator for at LEAST 8 hours, preferably 24 hours.
  • Remove the majority of the marinade before cooking the chicken.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cook on a sheet pan for 25-30 minutes.



if you don’t have an oven, preheat grill to get a surface temp of about 450. For a charcoal grill, ignite a chimney starter full of lump charcoal and burn until the edges of the coals look ashy, about 15 minutes. Clean and oil. Let rest at room temperature until grill is ready.
Place chicken legs on the grill. Arrange the chicken pieces skin side up over the cooler part of the grill.  You will want the meaty end towards your heat source to cook them through. Close the lid and smoke the chicken for 45 minutes. Turn the chicken every 10 -15 mins
Move the chicken to the hot side of the grill, and grill, uncovered, turning and moving the chicken regularly to manage flare-ups, until lightly charred on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes.


Calories: 270kcal
Keyword Barbecue, Chicken, chicken, barbecue, grill, Tandoori, Grill
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