Baked Tandoori Chicken in oven

A foolproof easy recipe for tandoori chicken in the oven, marinated with aromatic spices and yogurt, roasted to reddish-brown perfection with a yummy, healthy twist! Learn how to make tandoori chicken at home!

how to make tandoori chicken- closeup view of oven baked tandoori chicken.

Tandoori chicken needs no introduction. With its flavors of Indian spices and appetizing bright red color, you could never have missed it if you’ve visited Indian restaurants.

This recipe will show you how to cook tender, juicy Indian tandoori chicken baked in the oven that looks and tastes amazing, though it is not cooked in a tandoor. You are about to find out the little secrets of achieving uniquely flavored chicken tandoori roasted in the oven and that appetizing bright color without food coloring!

Planning to feed a crowd? Serve this easy tandoori chicken with flavored rice (classic Indian cuisine) and/ or a fresh salad or raitha. A keto-friendly and gluten-free recipe and an easy menu for entertaining, you can also serve this as a surprise family dinner.

The only catch here is the marinating time which is a minimum of 2 hours. Once you take care of that, prep and cooking take less than an hour. These tandoori chicken legs can be done in huge batches in the oven, thus saving a lot of time.

how to make tandoori chicken- tandoori chicken served on white ceramic plates, garnished with onion and lemon slices.

what is tandoori chicken?

Traditionally, a whole chicken is marinated in spices, yogurt, lemon juice, ginger and garlic, and cooked in a Tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven at high temperatures. The spice mix is called Tandoori masala.

In this recipe for oven baked tandoori chicken, we marinate whole chicken legs (with thighs) in the tandoori marinade overnight and roast in the conventional oven. A whole chicken, or cuts of chicken with bones like chicken drumsticks or bone-in chicken thighs, can also be used. The cooking time and quantities need to be adjusted accordingly.

recipe for tandoori chicken- close-up view of tandoori chicken in a white ceramic plate.

can chicken breasts be used for this recipe?

closeup view of oven baked chicken breast served with garden salad in a white ceramic plate

Unfortunately, chicken breasts are not suitable for this recipe. The chicken breast tends to dry out when cooked in the oven. If you want to bake chicken breasts in the oven, use this recipe for juicy baked chicken breasts.

ingredients for easy tandoori chicken marinade

Make your own Tandoori Masala because it is so easy to make and you can control what goes into it. The store-bought ones may contain food coloring and the spice levels may not suit your preferences. This tandoori masala recipe uses chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, cumin powder, garlic powder and salt. Add yogurt, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste and oil to the masala and you get the marinade for tandoori chicken.

ingredients for tandoori chicken recipe in oven.

how to make tandoori chicken in the oven

Printable recipe card with the full recipe below!

marinating the chicken

Trim off the skin and fat and clean the chicken legs. For the last rinse, mix the chicken legs with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder and wash. This helps disinfect the chicken and also gives a yellow tint, to start with.

Make a few deep cuts on each chicken leg, perpendicular to the bones. This helps the marinade penetrate the flesh, or else you’ll be left with tandoori chicken that’s flavorful on the outside but bland on the inside.

Once you mix all the ingredients for the marinade, use your fingers to thoroughly rub the chicken legs with the marinade.

Leave the marinated chicken in the refrigerator overnight for the best results. If time is a constraint, marinate for at least 2 hours. The longer you marinate, the better.

Cooking the chicken

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you start cooking. Preheat the oven to 210 degrees C (410 degrees F). Place the chicken legs in a roasting pan lined with parchment paper and brush with the remaining marinade.

Set the oven to “roast” mode and cook for 15 minutes. Flip the chicken legs and baste with the juices in the pan. Cook for another 15 minutes.

Baste the chicken legs with a little butter and change the setting to “broil“. Cook for 15 minutes, flipping once more in between. Broiling will help you get the characteristic charred look on the Tandoori chicken.

Remove from the oven. Let it stand for 5 minutes and drain on paper towels.

how to make tandoori chicken- close-up view of tandoori chicken in a white ceramic plate.

tips to make your tandoori chicken look and taste amazing

  • A healthy way to add bright red color to the tandoori chicken is to add Kashmiri chili powder to the tandoori masala, which gives the characteristic red color without the spice. Missing in your pantry? The closest alternative would be paprika.
  • Another ingredient that gives a “wow” factor to this tandoori chicken recipe is garlic powder. The traditional recipe does not use garlic powder, but adding a teaspoon of garlic powder to the tandoori masala makes a world of difference.
  • Want your tandoori chicken nicely and evenly browned? Baste with a little butter before you start broiling.

what do you eat with tandoori chicken?

flavored rice

fresh salads

Traditionally tandoori chicken is served with onion and lemon slices, but why not try it with salads for a change? Healthier and yummier!

meal prep option

DO NOT FREEZE the cooked chicken. You will lose the texture of the meat and it becomes tough when reheated.

We have an option, though. The marinated chicken legs may be refrigerated for upto 3 days or frozen for upto a week and then thawed overnight in the refrigerator. Ensure that you keep the chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.

Like this recipe for tandoori chicken? Please let me know in the comments how it turned out for you. I would love to hear from you!

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close-up view of tandoori chicken in a white ceramic plate.

Recipe for tandoori Chicken in oven

Learn how to make tandoori chicken at home! A foolproof easy recipe for oven baked tandoori chicken, marinated with aromatic spices and yogurt and roasted to reddish-brown perfection with a yummy, healthy twist.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Marinating time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 50 mins
Course dinner, LUNCH, Main Course, Party food
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 362 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 chicken legs 250 grams or 9 ounces each

marinade

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil or cooking oil of your choice
  • 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon butter to baste

tandoori spice mix

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • Mix all the spices and add to the rest of the ingredients for the marinade. Mix well.
  • Coat the chicken legs with the tandoori marinade.
  • Marinate in the refrigerator overnight or for a minimum of 2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 210 degrees C (410 degrees F).
  • Place the chicken legs in a roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the chicken legs with the leftover marinade to cover the chicken completely.
  • Set the oven to "roast" mode and cook for 15 minutes. Flip the chicken legs and baste with the pan juices. Cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Now set the oven to "broil". Baste the chicken legs with a little butter and broil for 15 minutes, flipping once after 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let it stand for 5 minutes.
  • Drain on paper towels and transfer to a serving platter. Enjoy your perfectly browned tandoori chicken!

Video

Notes

  • The measurements and cooking time are based on the size of chicken legs as mentioned in this recipe. You may want to increase or decrease based on the size and type of chicken pieces you use.
  • Marinate the chicken legs overnight, or at least for 2 hours. The longer you marinate, the better.
  • Make-ahead option: The marinated chicken legs can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days or frozen for a week. Thaw the frozen legs overnight in the refrigerator. Keep the chicken legs out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Kashmiri chili powder gives the Tandoori chicken its characteristic bright colour. It looks similar to chili powder, but without the heat. In case you can’t find it, the closest alternative would be paprika.
  • Don’t skip the garlic powder. It makes all the difference between an ordinary tandoori chicken recipe and an amazing one.
  • Cayenne pepper can be substituted for chili powder.
  • Basting the chicken legs with a little butter before broiling gives perfectly browned tandoori chicken.
 
Baked Tandoori Chicken in oven
The nutrition information assumes that all of the marinade is consumed. However, apparently, it is not the case.
Keyword chicken tandoori in oven, how to make tandoori chicken in oven, recipe for tandoori chicken, tandoori chicken recipe oven
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