//Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken is a classic Indian dinner that marinates chicken legs in a creamy yogurt base, blended spice mix and freshly squeezed lime juice then cooked in the oven. This its a MUST have dinner recipe!

There is something about using turmeric spices to create a delicious chicken dinner. If you love Indian food as much as I do try this Butter Chicken or this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala.

Tandoori chicken on a black plate with lettuce and lime wedges.

Tandoori chicken on a black plate with lettuce and lime wedges.

Easy Tandoori Chicken

Tender chicken meat on the inside covered by a light and hint of spicy flavoring on the outside. This chicken is irresistible and a hit in our family! The creamy marinade soaks into the chicken creating a flavorful and delicious chicken leg that falls right off the bone. Every bite is full of flavor and tastes AMAZING!

This chicken tandoori is perfect to have on a busy week night and ready quickly. Simply marinate the chicken legs earlier in the day or the night before. When ready to bake, place the chicken legs on a cooking rack over top a baking sheet and bake until cooked inside. These chicken legs will WOW your family and leaving you wanting more.

What is Tandoori Chicken?

Tandoori chicken is a popular Indian dinner. It is a main dish that is prepared by marinating the chicken in a yogurt and spice blend and then baked or roasted in a tandoor. A tandoor is known as a clay oven. Not everyone has a clay oven. Using a grill, electric or gas oven can also create the same tender chicken as the tandoor oven does.

A hot tandoor oven is a cylindrical shaped clay oven that roasts the chickens outside layer quickly. The tandoori chicken has a vibrant color because of the spices turmeric, chili powder and even food coloring is often added into the marinade. Together this is the perfect combination!

Chicken Tandoori Ingredients:

Simply combine all the ingredients together and create a beautiful red marinate that will coat the chicken. This marinade will soak into the chicken creating a delicious and flavorful chicken.

  • Yogurt: I used a plain Greek Yogurt for the creaminess and gives a thick consistency.
  • Lime: Juice from a fresh squeezed lime.
  • Chili Powder and Paprika: A hint of spice!
  • Turmeric: This is a blend of spices that help create that red color tone.
  • Garam Marsala: Make this homemade or purchase it already mixed together.
  • Garlic Cloves: Minced together
  • Chicken Legs: Bone-in, skinless chicken legs are what I used for this recipe. 

Bake Some Chicken!

The chicken is easy to prepare and bake. The oven is warmer than usual for baking chicken to help give the chicken leg a crisp outside with a tender inside. This combination is full of flavor and the chicken turns out to have a hint of spice with tender chicken.

  1. Marinate the Chicken: In a medium sized bowl combine the yogurt, lime juice, chili powder, paprika, turmeric, garam marsala, and garlic.  Add the chicken legs and let marinate for 1-2 hours.
  2. Bake the Chicken: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with a wire rack and place the chicken on top.  Bake for 20 minutes and then flip the chicken baking for 20 more minutes until cooked throughout.

Spices in a glass bowl.

Spices in a glass bowl.

Why is Tandoori Chicken Red?

This tandoori chicken is a beautiful bright red that has vibrant colors from the spices that are used when marinating. Chili powder and cayenne pepper give it a nice red hue that makes this chicken stand out from the rest. Turmeric also adds to the coloring and gives it a vibrant look once it is baked.

Using less chili powder and cayenne pepper and more turmeric gives it a bright yellow or even orange coloring depending on how spicy you are wanting to make your marinade.

Marinating the chicken legs in a glass bowl.

Marinating the chicken legs in a glass bowl.

How Do you Make Tandoori Chicken Red?

Tandoori chicken is a classic dish that is served with a bright red coloring. Making your own turmeric can help you create the best red hue that you are looking for when baking your chicken.

  • 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 teaspoon
  • Garam Masala: 1 Tablespoon
  • Cayenne Pepper: 1 teaspoon

How to Make Garam Masala Spice Mix:

If you have a love for Indian food these spices will already be in your pantry of seasonings. This is easier to create than purchasing the seasoning if you cannot find it in stores.

  • Cumin: 2 Tablespoons
  • Coriander: 1 tablespoon
  • Cardamom: 1 tablespoon
  • Ground black pepper: 1 tablespoon
  • Cinnamon: 2 teaspoons
  • Ground cloves: 1 teaspoons
  • Nutmeg: 1 teaspoon

The marinated chicken sitting on a cookie rack with aluminum foil underneath on top of a baking sheet.

The marinated chicken sitting on a cookie rack with aluminum foil underneath on top of a baking sheet.

Other Cuts of Chicken:

If you are looking for another cut of chicken rather than a chicken leg, simply use chicken breast or thigh to make the same chicken. Chicken breast tend to have a thicker and harder skin to bake. To help tenderize the chicken breast, take a fork or knife and poke small holes to allow for the marinade to soak into the chicken. This will help the chicken bake evenly and create a tender chicken inside.

What to Serve with Tandoori Chicken:

Tandoori chicken is a filling main dish that can be eaten alone with an extra squeeze of lime juice. Adding a few sides to this chicken dinner completes the meal and creates an Indian classic dinner. A few of my favorite side dishes are rice, a side of lettuce and/or bread to help with the heat from the chicken.

Cooked Tandoori chicken on a black plate with leaves and lime wedges on the left side and rice on the right side.

Cooked Tandoori chicken on a black plate with leaves and lime wedges on the left side and rice on the right side.

More Baked Chicken Recipes:

Tandoori Chicken

Prep Time 2 hours 10 minutes

Cook Time 40 minutes

Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes

Author Alyssa Rivers

Servings 3 Chicken Legs

Tandoori Chicken is a classic Indian dinner that marinates chicken legs in a creamy yogurt base, blended spice mix and freshly squeezed lime juice then cooked in the oven. This its a MUST have dinner recipe! 

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam marsala
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 bone-in skinless chicken legs
  1. In a medium sized bowl combine the yogurt, lime juice, chili powder, paprika, turmeric, garam marsala, and garlic. Add the chicken legs and let marinate for 1-2 hours.

  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a wire rack and place the chicken on top. Bake for 20 minutes and then flip the chicken baking for 20 more minutes until cooked throughout.

Nutrition Facts

Tandoori Chicken

Amount Per Serving

Calories 214 Calories from Fat 54

% Daily Value*

Fat 6g9%

Saturated Fat 2g10%

Cholesterol 121mg40%

Sodium 193mg8%

Potassium 529mg15%

Carbohydrates 6g2%

Fiber 2g8%

Sugar 3g3%

Protein 32g64%

Vitamin A 1489IU30%

Vitamin C 1mg1%

Calcium 100mg10%

Iron 2mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.