Tandoori Chicken is a wonderful baked or grilled recipe using a homemade spice mix. Full of flavor and great for a dinner or to serve at a party! This recipe has been a family favorite for many years. It's such an easy dish to prepare, whether it's for a family dinner, a party, BBQ, picnic, or buffet.
What does Tandoori Chicken taste like?
The flavors are simply sublime. Of course, a true Tandoori would be made in a Tandoori oven, but most of us don't have one of those but we can recreate the flavors and textures right at home. The taste of the Tandoori is special in that it's difficult to describe! You get a spicy flavor, yet it is not hot as in chili hot.
The tandoori spice, mixed with the yogurt and the tang of the lemon or lime is a great combination. The marinade keeps the chicken meat moist and succulent, and the chicken skin gives you a lovely crispy texture. All these things combined with a delicious light, fresh crispy salad will win over any dinner guest!
I recently served this dish to some friends who had never had Tandoori chicken before, so they didn't know what to expect. For all the time they were eating the chicken, all they could do was say 'mmmmmm'. They were left speechless! I often use this marinade for chicken wings too. They are great on a BBQ and adds lovely color to your table setting. So go ahead and enjoy this ever so simple dish!
What cut of chicken is best for Tandoori?
For this recipe, I've listed chicken drumsticks. You can use any cut of a chicken, often, I will buy a whole chicken and cut it into quarters and marinade in a big bowl. If you're catering for a party, then drumsticks are the easiest, and depending on what else you serve, you can estimate about 2 - 3 drumsticks per person if it is the main protein you're offering.
What can you serve with Tandoori Chicken?
In the photos, I've used chicken quarters, with the skin on and served with some of our lovely Cilantro and Lime Rice. The combination of the Tandoori flavor with the cilantro and lime flavored rice is really out of this world! You'll also notice some corn with the meal. On this occasion, I used my Creamy Coconut Corn recipe to cook the corn. Oh my! What a delicious combination!
Where can I get Tandoori Spice Mix?
You can usually buy a ready-made Tandoori spice mix or paste in a jar, however, you will find that the flavor will vary between different brands, some not so spicy or punchy in flavor, so I've listed below the spice mix I always use. Once you make a batch, it will keep in an airtight container so you can have a supply readily available. You only need a few tablespoons of the spice mix for this Tandoori Chicken recipe, but I can guarantee you'll be making this often so your batch of spice mix won't be wasted!
So let's get straight to the recipe and see how we make these delicious spicy tandoor drumsticks. Please enjoy!
8 chicken drumsticks (with skin)
1 cup or 280 ml Low-fat plain yogurt
1 lemon or 2 limes, juice only
3 Tablespoons Tandoori spice powder or paste
To make your own Tandoori Mix (yields about ¾ cup)
(You can store this in airtight container)
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp dried basil
2 tbsp coriander
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1. Prepare the chicken - Use a sharp knife and make 2 to 3 diagonal incisions in the thickest part of the meat, so the knife goes down to the bone. Make the incisions all around, not just on one side. This helps the meat cook evenly.
2. In a mixing bowl, stir in the yogurt, tandoori spices and squeeze the juice of half a lemon or 1 lime. Stir everything well so it is all combined. (Save the other half lemon/lime for serving)
3. Add the drumsticks and leave covered in the fridge for 1 -2 hours, (minimum 30 minutes). The longer you leave the meat to marinade, the stronger the flavor will be.
4. Switch your grill on to medium heat and place the drumsticks on your grill rack. If you want to bake in the oven, place the chicken pieces on a grill rack, with a little water in the tray to allow the steam to keep the chicken moist and bake at 400 F / 200 C for approximately 20 minutes (depends how thick your chicken is). If you want a charred effect on the skin after baking, pop it under a very hot grill for a minute or so until the skin turns darker.
Top tip! – Pour some hot water into the bottom of your grill tray (under the rack). This will make life much easier when it comes to washing your tray as the fat and juices will not burn onto the tray. The steam from the water will also keep your meat moist whilst grilling.
5. Your drumsticks will be ready when the skin crisps up and turns slightly black and charred. Don't forget to turn the drumsticks over when one side is done! Also, where you have made the incisions, check the juices are running clear from the bone area, and the chicken will be ready. See photo below
Once ready, serve with the other half lemon or lime (in wedges).
The chicken should be crispy on the outside with moist, juicy meat. This really is a delicious dish and can be eaten hot or cold.
Serve with a side salad of your choice, such as rocket leaves, cucumber, tomatoes, and apple with a sprinkling of chopped coriander/cilantro, such as our Simple Refreshing Salad recipe.
I also served the tandoori chicken with some delicious warm couscous.
Garlic Baby Potatoes also matches well and incredibly quick and easy to make.
We'd love to hear from you and what you thought of our spicy tandoori chicken recipe. Did you make any changes or add some other goodies? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy cooking!
Spicy Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori Chicken is a wonderful baked or grilled recipe using a homemade spice mix. Full of flavor and great for a dinner or to serve at a party!
- 8 chicken drumsticks, with skin
- 1 cup or 280 ml Low fat plain yoghurt
- 1 lemon or 2 limes
- 3 Tablespoons Tandoori spice powder or paste
To make your own Tandoori Mix (can store in air tight container)
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp dried basil
- 2 tbsp coriander
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 2 tbsp ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- Prepare the chicken - Use a sharp knife and make 2 to 3 diagonal incisions in the thickest part of theIn a mixing bowl, stir in the yoghurt, tandoori spices and squeeze the juice of half a lemon or 1 lime. Stir everything well so it is all combined. (Save the other half lemon / lime for serving)
- Add the drumsticks and leave covered in the fridge for 1 -2 hours, (minimum 30 minutes). The longer you leave the meat to marinade, the stronger the flavour will be.
- Switch your grill on to a medium heat and place the drumsticks on your grill rack.If you want to bake in the oven, place the chicken pieces on a grill rack, with a little water in the tray to allow the steam to keep the chicken moist and bake at 400 F / 200 C for approximately 20 minutes (depends how thick your chicken is). If you want a charred effect on the skin after baking, pop it under a very hot grill for a minute or so until the skin turns darker.
- Your drumsticks will be ready when the skin crisps up, and turns slightly black and charred. Don't forget to turn the drumsticks over when one side is done! Also, where you have made the incisions, check the juices are running clear from the bone area, and the chicken will be ready.
- Once ready, serve with the other half lemon or lime (in wedges).
The chicken should be crispy on the outside with moist, juicy meat. This really is a delicious dish and can be eaten hot or cold.
Serve with a side salad of rocket leaves, cucumber, tomatoes and apple with a sprinkling of chopped coriander / cilantro.
I also served the chicken with some delicious warm couscous.
Baked / Jacket potato also matches well.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 227Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 992mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 25g
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Love this recipe! made the seasoning to your measurement and marinated for about 4 hours. I cooked it in the oven not on the grill. The flavor is fabulous!!
In reading through the nutrition information, I noticed it said for 2 servings. Does that mean the information is for half a chicken?
Hi Beth, thanks for writing in. For some reason, the nutrition guide didn’t transfer the data correctly so I’ve amended it to read per drumstick. At least that way you can calculate roughly. I don’t really find these guides that helpful with every recipe, for example, this will calculate all the ingredients used, including the total yogurt marinade. However, when you come to cook the chicken, you remove the meat from the marinade and discard it, so in essence, you aren’t actually consuming everything as listed if you follow me! But hopefully it is a rough guide for you, and the numbers will be much less due to you not consuming all the marinade (although that is low fat anyway!).
This is really too delicious but i am too conscious about my fitness.
where do you get these tandoori spice powder? I know only the paste.
Hi Iris, I get it in the Turkish shop, where they have all the spices in a big bag. You can use the paste also, but I find it is not as strong flavour as the powdered spice. i also found the powder spice in the chinese supermarket.
We love your pictures and recipes, they are mouth watering. Would love for you to share them with us at foodieportal.com. We are new but at foodieportal.com we are not photography snobs, we are just foodies.
Lois @Walking on Sunshinesays:
Your chicken looks great! I love the tip of pouring water into the bottom of the pan while cooking! Thank you for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday! Please come back next week and join us again!
Ahh thank you very much Lois, and any tips which save on elbow grease can only be a good thing for sure! See you next week, same time same place :)
Oh wow, those look great! Chicken legs are always so much less expensive than boneless chicken breasts, but the boneless breasts are more versatile. I will have to give this a try – delicious and less expensive, a great combination!
They are cheaper for sure, and with the drumsticks they won’t be dry either!
Seriously the most appetizing drumsticks I’ve ever seen.
They really are tasty Diane! Thanks
This looks absolutely wonderful! I just pinned it so I can make it :) Thanks for a great recipe!
Great Krista! Let us know how it goes after you’ve tasted them yourself :)
Krista, I’m going to try the legs also. We have the same last name. Where ya from?
Sounds delish. I love that you’ve used it for wings too, as that’s how I’ll try it. My kids are wings lovers!
I’m a wing monster too but I already had a wing recipe on here so thought a change would be good!!! It’s not chili hot (unless you have blow your head off spices!), so the kids will love it Karen!
It would help those of us reading these comments, if someone made the recipe then told us how it is or how to make it better. Thanks