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Baked Tandoori Chicken

Yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, and tandoori marinade deliver all the elements of a truly great baked tandoori chicken- this recipe cooks in the oven in less than an hour! We serve ours with basmati riceavocado cucumber tomato salad, or naan.

A serving of our baked tandoori chicken recipe served with raita and roasted potatoes.

WHAT IS TANDOORI CHICKEN?

Like our chicken karahi recipe, this dish gets its name from the equipment used to cook the chicken, a tandoor. A tandoor is a cylinder clay pot heated by an open flame, resulting in robust chargrilled chicken packed full of flavor from the masala and marinating process. Since a tandoor is something few people have in their kitchens, this chicken tandoori recipe delivers the same flavor right to your dinner table. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Chicken Marinade: Make a paste with yogurt, garlic, ginger paste, salt, turmeric, cayenne powder, paprika, homemade garam masala, Kashmiri chili powder, lemon, and sliced onion.
  • Chicken: I use bone-in chicken thighs, legs, and quarters. If you prefer boneless, I suggest using chicken thighs; you can use breast also. Be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly; the safe internal temperature for chicken is 165° F | 73° C.

HOW TO MAKE BAKED TANDOORI CHICKEN

Blend the tandoori chicken masala.

Combine the ingredients for tandoori chicken masala in a food processor, and blend until smooth. Then, pour it into a mixing bowl

Add the tandoori chicken masala to the chicken with slits in it.

Make small slits in each piece of chicken, then toss them with the tandoori masala, along with the chopped onion. Cover and marinate in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 400° F | 204 ° C and set the wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet; line the chicken onto it, leaving excess marinade behind.

Line a rimmed baking sheet and bake the tandoor chicken in the oven.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, flipping halfway through. Check to make sure the temperature has reached 175° F | 79 ° C. If you prefer a bit of char, as I do, allow the chicken to broil on high for the last 5 minutes. 

A serving of our baked tandoori chicken recipe served with raita and roasted potatoes.

Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before serving. Garnish the chicken with cilantro, red onion, lemon wedges, and raita. Serve with basmati rice. 

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CAN I GRILL TANDOORI CHICKEN?

Do you feel like grilling, but want the same recipe? No worries, we’ve got you covered! Try our recipe for grilled tandoori chicken instead!

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS 

  • FRIDGE – Grilled tandoori chicken keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days, though it may lose some grilled smokiness.
  • FREEZE – Allow the chicken to cool completely, and add it to a freezer-safe container or bag. The baked chicken will freeze for up to 4 months. When you’re ready to eat it, defrost it in the fridge overnight.
  • REHEAT – Reheat defrosted or leftover chicken in the oven at 400° F | 204 ° C for 15 minutes.
  • REPURPOSE – This may be a given, but you can make chicken tikka masala or butter chicken with the leftovers. Use the chicken to finish a pizza, quesadilla, or sandwich.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is tandoori chicken red?

The red-colored tandoori chicken served in restaurants is the result of added food coloring; achieve a similar color using Kashmiri chili powder, though it won’t be as pronounced without food coloring.

How should I marinate tandoori chicken?

I recommend marinating the chicken for 24 hours cooking time (but at least 6 hours) to ensure the flavor penetrates the chicken; use the marinade suggested in this recipe- it’s tasty!

How long should I grill the chicken?

I prefer a low and slow method; I do this to ensure the inside cooks thoroughly without burning the outside. The cooking time is an hour and twenty minutes, but it’s worth the wait!

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A serving of our baked tandoori chicken recipe served with raita and roasted potatoes.

Baked Tandoori Chicken

Tressa Jamil
Yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, and tandoori marinade deliver all the elements of a truly great baked tandoori chicken- our recipe cooks in the oven in less than an hour! 
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Marinating Time 6 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 455 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Tandoori Chicken Masala:

For the Tandoori Chicken:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus lemon wedges to garnish
  • ½ medium red onion, roughly chopped, plus sliced onion to garnish
  • 8 chicken thighs, drumsticks and chicken quarters

Instructions
 

  • Combine the ingredients for tandoori chicken masala in a food processor, and blend until smooth. Then, pour it into a mixing bowl
  • Make small slits in each piece of chicken, then toss them with the tandoori masala, along with the chopped onion. Stir to incorporate. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 6 hours, but preferably 24 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 400° F | 204 ° C and set the wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet; line the chicken onto it, leaving excess marinade behind.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes, flipping halfway through. Check to make sure the temperature has reached 175° F | 79 ° C. If you prefer a bit of char, as I do, allow the chicken to broil on high for the last 5 minutes. 
  • Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before serving. Garnish the chicken with cilantro, red onion, lemon wedges, and raita. Serve with basmati rice. 

Notes

  • Prepare the Chicken: Be sure the chicken is fully thawed so the tandoori marinade can adhere to it. 1-3 slits in each chicken piece allows the marinade to penetrate with more flavor. 
 
  • Marinate: The longer you marinate, the more delicious your tandoori chicken is going to be; the chicken should marinate for a minimum of 6 hours, but you can leave it for up to 12 hours for maximum flavor. 
 
  • Web Story: Check out our web story for baked tandoori chicken! 

Nutrition

Serving: 2 Chicken PiecesCalories: 455kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 31gFat: 33gSodium: 621mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4g
Keyword baked tandoori chicken, tandoori chicken
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