Chicken tikka is boneless tandoori chicken on a stick. The pieces are smaller, of course. That’s good. More surface equals more seasoning. These are little tandoori flavour bombs.

Making chicken tikka is easy. Cut up the chicken. Coat liberally with tandoori marinade. Refrigerate for a few hours. Soak your skewers. Assemble. Wear gloves to skewer if you used food colouring. Grill. Eat. Or use them to make chicken tikka masala.


Tandoori marinade in a white bowl.


As always I think charcoal makes a difference. If you can cook these over charcoal they will taste better. But they will be pretty darn good over gas as well. Don’t let it stop you. The big thing is the seasoning. Smoke just puts it right over the top.

Grilling technique is key. You are working with small pieces of chicken – it’s easy to overcook them. You need to be careful. For charcoal, build a two stage fire. Hot on one side. Cool on the other. For gas, turn one burner on high and leave the other one on low.

Start with low or indirect heat. Finish over high direct heat. Get them mostly cooked on low then blast them with heat. You want a bit of char. You don’t want dry chicken. Watch it closely.

Chicken tikka are little tandoori flavour bombs. Marinate the chicken, skewer and grill and you have a great starter to any Indian meals.

Serve chicken tikka over a small green salad. You can do a tikka sizzle –  serve them on a bed of fried onions. Serve them straight up. Tamarind dip, raita or a green chili chutney mixed with yoghurt all pair well.

The key is this dish is the tandoori marinade. Bad marinade equals bad chicken tikka. Use this tandoori marinade for best results. It’s a lot of ingredients but it really works well.

Chicken tikka is great on it’s own. It’s delicious in salad. And it’s just the thing for chicken tikka masala. It’s always a hit.


Tandoori marinade on chicken tikka skewers.

chicken tikka
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
Chicken tikka makes a great appetizer for an Indian meal. Serve it when you want an explosion of tandoori flavour in small bites. Make sure you soak your skewers before you assemble.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 12
  • 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • tandoori marinade 1 batch - recipe link below
  1. Combine tandoori marinade with chicken. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
  2. Soak skewers in water for 30 minutes.
  3. Light your grill. Build a two zone fire if using charcoal. Turn one burner to high and another to low if using gas.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade. Cut each thigh into 4 pieces. Cut each breast, if using, into 8 pieces.
  5. Skewer the chicken.
  6. Grill over indirect heat until almost done - around 10-15 minutes.
  7. Move chicken skewers over direct (high) heat and grill an additional 2-4 minutes, turning every minute.. You want a bit of char but you don't want it to burn or dry out.
Recipe Notes

If you prefer chicken breasts substitute 6 chicken breasts for the thighs. White meat is more delicate so be extra vigilant when grilling.


6 thoughts on “chicken tikka

    • I don’t know actually. Never tried. Might be a bit to heavy. I think a yoghurt based dip would go best but these are flavourful enough you don’t even need dip if you don’t want to bother…

  1. I have the chicken marinating in the kitchen right now. I’m very much looking forward to it, I even have a few chunks of lamb marinating in a separate bowl smothered in your tandoori paste recipe.

    I will report back and rate soon.

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