I’m a big fan of Indian food. I grew up on it so it’s in my blood. Homestyle Indian, mind you. Not what you get in restaurants. Tandoori chicken was always going on. It’s the Indian equivalent of a backyard barbecue.

That’s why I don’t understand why it’s never very good in restaurants. My parents had a backyard grill. Restaurants have a tandoor oven. They should win. Makes no sense.

Maybe it’s because my parents cooked over charcoal. Maybe it’s a happy filter I put on my childhood. I don’t know. But I do know I can make better tandoori chicken at home and so can you.


Tandoori chicken with dipping sauce from above


Charcoal grills help a lot. It will work with gas but it won’t have that charcoal magic to push it over the top. I know. I’m annoying on this subject.

But I just love the taste of anything cooked over charcoal. And this tandoori chicken is no exception.

There’s a lot of ingredients in the marinade. Don’t let that put you off. If you are getting into cooking Indian you will need all of them anyway.

And you can leave one or two out if you can’t get them easily. It will still work. Still delicious.

Make juicy, spicy and flavourful tandoori chicken at home. This tandoori chicken recipe will make your tandoori better than what you've had in restaurants.

Don’t use acidic ingredients for long marinates. Yoghurt and lemon  are great for short marinations. If you use them for more than an hour or two you get mushy chicken.

You have no hope if you put chicken in lemon for 24 hours. This is where I think the restaurants are falling down.

I was actually in India when I figured this out. I was at a tandoori kebab restaurant and loved what I was eating. So I started asking questions.

They told me they didn’t use yoghurt in the marinade. That’s when the light came on for me. No yoghurt. No mushy chicken.

Grilling technique matters here.  Cook over indirect heat until your chicken is almost done. Move it over to direct heat to get a bit of char right at the end.

Start your thighs 5-10 minutes before the white meat and drumsticks. You don’t want to overcook the more delicate pieces before the thighs are done.

That’s pretty much it. Marinate. Grill. Enjoy.


Make juicy, spicy and flavourful tandoori chicken at home. This tandoori chicken recipe will make your tandoori better than what you've had in restaurants.

5 from 1 vote
Make juicy, spicy and flavourful tandoori chicken at home. This tandoori chicken recipe will make your tandoori better than what you've had in restaurants.
tandoori chicken
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
55 mins
Tandoori chicken can be great. Don't let mediocre restaurant put you off a great dish. You can make it great again.
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Author: romain | glebekitchen
  • 1 3-4 lb chicken
  • tandoori marinade - recipe link below
  1. Cut the chicken into 10 pieces. Quarter the chicken. Cut the drumstick from the thigh. Cut the wings off the breasts. Halve the breasts. Remove the skin from the breasts, drumsticks and thighs. Leave the skin on the wings.
  2. Combine tandoori marinade with chicken. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
  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.
  5. Grill the chicken over indirect heat until almost done - around 20-25 minutes. This depends on how hot your grill is so use your instant read thermometer and cook to about 155F.
  6. Brush with a bit of oil or ghee.
  7. Move the chicken 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

The recipe for tandoori marinade can be found here


7 thoughts on “tandoori chicken

  1. The weather here is finally awesome again and I plan to be grilling veeery soon so I am very excited about this recipe! I have never made tandoori chicken before so this will be quite the adventure! It looks incredible! What kind of sauce is that in the picture? 🙂

    • I think you will like this version. The sauce is just a mix of coriander green chili chutney (from any Indian grocery) and plain greek yoghurt with a bit of green chili and kashmiri chili powder sprinkled on top. Easy.

  2. I currently writing a post for the blog on different chicken​ recipes. I came across your great recipe and I’d love to feature it as one of the 8 recipes​, using one of your images.​ ​I​ ​w​on’t detail any part of the recipe, but​ will link back to your post and give your blog full credit, of​ ​course!

    ​You can see a similar post I did on scones here.​ –

    If you would prefer me not to include your recipe in this post, please let​ ​me​ ​know and I’ll leave it out.​ ​The post will go live this Saturday, ​June​ 1​0​th.

    I look forward to hearing from you!
    All the best

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