Make classic restaurant-style Tandoori Chicken Tikka at home! Boneless chicken pieces are marinated in yogurt, lemon juice, and spices and then grilled to perfection. Can be made on the stovetop, bbq, or in the oven.
Ever dug into a deliciously juicy piece of Tandoori Chicken Tikkain a restaurant? The smokey, slightly charred grilled chicken with its tandoori spices is one of my favorite dishes to order when I’m eating at an Indian restaurant. Served with a side of green chutney and pickled onions, this dish is so satisfying – and surprisingly easy to replicate at home!
Tandoori Chicken aka Tandoori Murgh gets its name from the traditional clay oven (tandoor) in which it is made. However, we don’t need to have a tandoor to make a restaurant-style tandoori chicken at home! Traditional tandoor-dishes, such as Naan and Paneer Tikka can also be made easily at home on your stovetop or in the bbq or on the broiler setting of your oven.
Why this recipe works
This recipe is super easy to make – the only effort you will need is to whip up the tandoori marinade. The tandoori marinade is where all the magic is at – I use a special mix of spices to make my tandoori masala (see detailed ingredient list below). Use either boneless thigh meat or breast meat, to make tikka chicken tandoori, or use whole thighs and legs (bone-in) if you like bone-in tandoori chicken.
Once the chicken is well marinated, you can skewer the pieces and get grilling! Want that classic smoky flavor? Use a charcoal grill, or smoke it on the stovetop with a piece of charcoal.
All that’s left is to serve the chicken! I always serve chicken tikka tandoori with a sprinkling of chaat masala and lemon juice, and a side of green chutney and pickled onions.
Mustard Oil – I highly, highly recommend this! If you’re looking for flavor and smokiness in your Indian recipes, get yourself a bottle of mustard oil. I use mustard oil in dishes such as Pork Vindaloo, and Karahi Gosht (authentic Lamb Curry) for an extra layer of flavor and a hint of pungent taste. You will see a noticeable difference in taste, as compared to using vegetable oil or any other oil!
Gram Flour – Gram flour is added to grilled Indian dishes such as Paneer tikka – it adds a hint of nutty flavor, and acts as a binder. Do not skip this!
Yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, and lemon juice are used to tenderize the tandoori chicken pieces.
For the Tandoori Masala
To make the perfect tandoori masala, I use a combination of the following spices and herbs:
- Garam Masala
- Kashmiri Red Chili Powder – This spice adds the much-sought after red color for the tandoori chicken.
- Kasuri Methi – Dried fenugreek leaves
Optional ingredient – Green chilies have a very unique flavor and can be added to the spice mix. I personally skip it because my kids can’t take the spice, but if you like a spicier version of chicken tandoori, go for it.
Step by Step Recipe Instructions
Start with a large mixing bowl. Add your yogurt, tandoori masala spices, ginger and garlic (use either paste or freshly minced ginger and garlic), gram flour, salt, lemon juice, mustard oil.
Whisk well to form a smooth tandoori marinade.
Add in the chicken pieces. Mix the pieces well with the marinade, so that the chicken is well coated in the marinade.
Keep the bowl with the chicken covered and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, skewer the chicken pieces (if you are using bone-in chicken legs, don't skewer).
Preheat your grill - I have used a grill pan on the stovetop, but you can also use the broiler of your oven or your charcoal bbq grill. Place the to make tandoori chicken skewers on the grill and cook for 10-15 minutes, flipping the chicken on each side to cook evenly.
As the chicken is cooking, baste it with mustard oil, and continue to grill until it is cooked and the sides are slightly charred.
And that's it! Your tandoori chicken tikka skewers are now ready to be served. For serving, I recommend a sprinkling of lemon juice and chaat masala over the chicken pieces. Serve with a side of green chutney.
How to get the Red color in tandoori chicken - Many restaurants use red food dye to get that classic tandoori color. I recommend you avoid the dye and use Kashmiri chili powder - this spice is perfect for most Indian curry recipes that have a vibrant color, such as Butter Chicken.
Use Mustard Oil for the marinade - Mustard oil is used in a lot of regional Indian dishes. It has a pungent, slightly smoky taste. It pairs well with meats and is perfect for tandoori marinades.
Use Gram Flour (besan) for the marinade - Many recipes for tandoori chicken often miss out on this very important ingredient. Gram flour is used for so many Indian dishes, as a marinade or in a batter - from Chicken Tangdi Kabab to Paneer Tikka, I use gram flour to add a unique and authentic flavor.
What to Serve with Tandoori Murgh?
Tandoori chicken can be served as an appetizer as part of an Indian menu. I like to pair it with a side of Green Chutney and lemon wedges or pickled onions. Here are some common Indian menu pairings for Tandoori murgh (chicken) - pick one side, 1 or 2 mains, your choice of rice or bread, and a dip, and your Indian feast is ready!
Dips / Sauces
Frequently Asked Questions
Chicken tikka are usually make with skinless and boneless pieces of either chicken thigh or breast. Chicken tandoori, however can be made with both boneless chicken or bone-in chicken. The tandoori masala is a unique blend of spices that are used to marinade the tandoori chicken before grilling it.
Tandoori chicken tikka is a combination of the two - chicken pieces are marinated in a tandoori marinade and then grilled.
To make Chicken Tandoori in the oven, you simply marinate and skewer the chicken pieces as explained in this recipe, and then use the broiler setting of your oven to grill the chicken.
Place the skewered chicken on a baking sheet lined with foil. Grill at 390 F (200C) for 20 minutes, turning the chicken over once in between
Tandoori Chicken Tikka
- 1.5 tablespoon Mustard Oil
- 2 tablespoon Gramflour
- 2 tablespoon Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste or use minced ginger garlic
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
For the Tandoori Masala
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
- ½ teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Coriander
- 1 teaspoon Kasuri Methi – Dried fenugreek leaves
- 1 Green chili finely chopped
- In a large mixing bowl, add the yogurt, tandoori masala spices, ginger and garlic (use either paste or freshly minced ginger and garlic), gram flour, salt, lemon juice, mustard oil.
- Whisk well to form a smooth tandoori marinade.
- Add in the chicken pieces. Mix the pieces well with the marinade, the chicken should be well coated in the marinade.
- Keep the bowl with the chicken covered and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, skewer the chicken pieces.
To make tandoori tikka chicken on the stovetop
- Preheat your grill pan. Place the to make tandoori chicken skewers on the grill and cook for 10-15 minutes, flipping the chicken on each side to cook evenly.
To make tandoori tikka chicken in the oven
- Set the oven to broiler or grill setting. Preheat at 390 F (200 C).
- Place the chicken skewers on a baking tray lined with foil, and grill in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, turning the skewers once to cook evenly.
- Your tandoori chicken tikka skewers are now ready.
- Garnish with a dash of lemon juice and chaat masala. Serve with green chutney on the side.