Grilled Tandoori Chicken

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Grilled Tandoori Chicken — 🧡💚 Recreate this Indian favorite QUICKLY and EASILY at home! If you’re looking for a new spin on grilled chicken, this is THE recipe to try. It’s super juicy, flavorful, and you’ll LOVE IT!

Grilled Tandoori Chicken with rice in white bowl

Over the past few years, I have really fallen in love love with Indian food, and this grilled tandoori chicken is no exception. It’s juicy, tender, and has so much authentic Indian flavor.

While some Indian cuisine seems daunting and complicated because of the unfamiliar ingredients and the cooking process itself, this tandoori chicken recipe is easy-peasy, very straightforward, and you can get the ingredients at almost any grocery store.

As we enter grilling season, I urge you to put down that bottle of barbecue sauce — we’ve all had barbecued chicken a million times! You will thank yourself later because this chicken is delish.

Served with jasmine or basmati rice, this fast and easy grilled chicken recipe belongs in your dinner rotation.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken in white bowl garnished with cilantro

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Ingredients

The tandoori chicken and flavorful marinade are both so easy to prepare. Gather the following ingredients:

For the tandoori chicken marinade:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • Garam masala (available in the spice aisle of your regular store)
  • Paprika
  • Turmeric
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Ginger
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chicken breasts

For the dipping sauce:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Honey
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh cilantro

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

Marinade Tip

I used non-fat Greek yogurt in the tandoori chicken marinade, but you may use full-fat if desired. Just make sure it’s plain and unsweetened, otherwise this chicken won’t taste right! 

Grilled Tandoori Chicken and white rice in bowl with cilantro

How to Grill Tandoori Chicken

This is arguably the easiest grilled chicken recipe EVER. Here’s an overview of how the Indian-inspired tandoori chicken comes together:

  1. Prep the tandoori chicken marinade: Combine the chicken, yogurt, and spices in a zip-top bag and smush everything around until the meat is fully coated in the tandoori chicken marinade.
  2. Marinate the chicken: Pop the chicken in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to give those flavors time to combine. 
  3. Grill the chicken: I used chicken tenders, which require just 4 to 5 minutes on each side (cook times will vary depending on how thick your chicken is).
  4. While the chicken is grilling, make the dipping sauce. 
  5. When you’re ready to serve the grilled tandoori chicken, garnish it with a little chopped cilantro and serve alongside rice or quinoa! 
Grilled Tandoori Chicken - Recreate this Indian favorite QUICKLY and EASILY at home!! If you're looking for a new spin on grilled chicken, this is THE recipe to try! Super juicy, flavorful, and you'll LOVE IT!!

Recipe FAQs

What Is Tandoori chicken?

Tandoori chicken is a popular chicken dish that originated in India. To make it, chicken is marinated in a yogurt-based marinade and flavored with a variety of spices (all of those spices are what give tandoori chicken its signature reddish-orange color!).

The chicken is traditionally cooked in a clay oven, called a tandoor. Seeing as how I don’t own a tandoor, I made this recipe using my gas grill.

Can Tandoori Chicken Be Made on a Grill?

Yes! Since I don’t have a tandoor out back (and you probably don’t either), I use my outdoor gas grill and it works perfectly every time.

Can Tandoori Chicken Be Made Without a Grill?

If you don’t have a grill, you can bake it on a sheet pan in a 400F oven until done or use an indoor grill pan.

Can the Tandoori Chicken Marinade Be Reused?

No! When you take the marinated chicken from the bag, discard any leftover marinade. You don’t want the chicken to be dripping when you put it on the grill, and you can’t repurpose the leftover marinade since it’s touched raw meat. 

What’s the Best Cut of Chicken for Tandoori Chicken?

Quick and easy is the name of the game for me! If you’re in a hurry, use chicken tenders instead of breasts or thighs. They’re much smaller and thinner, so they cook up quickly on the grill. 

Is Tandoori chicken spicy?

No, it’s not spicy, but instead has a wonderful layered flavor profile that comes from the variety of spices.

What spices are used in Tandoori chicken?

The signature Indian chicken yogurt marinade used to make tandoori chicken contains many different spices, with garam masala always used! Different recipes will use different spices, but mine calls for garam masala, paprika, turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper.

What Does Yogurt do for marinating chicken?

Many Indian chicken marinades use yogurt rather than a harsher acidic ingredient, like vinegar. Yogurt tenderizes meats slowly, adds moisture, and ultimately makes for ultra juicy tandoori grilled chicken.

Does Tandoori chicken always have a dipping sauce?

While it’s not very traditional to have a dipping sauce for tandoori chicken, I used the extra Greek yogurt that I had anyway for the marinade to make a dipping sauce. It’s made with olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. It’s super creamy and complements the spiced chicken perfectly.

Although optional, I highly recommend pairing your grilled tandoori chicken with it! You don’t need a sauce since the chicken is so moist on its own, but I am a sauce and dip junkie. Hence, I made a sauce. 

Storage and Reheating Instructions

In the fridge: Let the chicken cool before storing in an airtight container. It will last up to 5 days. 

In the freezer: Leftover chicken can be sealed in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight before reheating. 

To reheat: Warm leftover chicken in the microwave at 30-second intervals.

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Grilled Tandoori Chicken

By Averie Sunshine
Recreate this Indian favorite QUICKLY and EASILY at home! This tandoori chicken is super juicy, flavorful, and you’ll LOVE IT!!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinating Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4
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Ingredients  

Chicken & Marinade

  • ½ cup 5 ounces Greek yogurt (I used 0% fat)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, I used smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
  • 1 to 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, I used breast tenders which cook very quickly to save time

Dipping Sauce (optional)

  • about 2/3 cup, 6 ounces Greek yogurt (I used 0% fat)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro finely minced for garnishing, optional

Instructions 

Marinate the Chicken

  • Add all ingredients to a gallon-sized ziptop bag, seal, and squish the chicken around to coat it well and evenly.
  • Place bag in the fridge and marinate for at least 30 minutes (if you can plan ahead and marinate overnight, even better).

Grill the Chicken

  • Preheat grill to medium-high.
  • Remove chicken from the bag using tongs and place it on the grill; discard the bag and extra marinade.
  • Grill chicken on each side for about 4 to 5 minutes or until done. Because I used breast tenders, they cook very quickly, in about 8 minutes total. Large breasts will take longer to grill.
  • After chicken is done, set aside to rest (5 to 10 minutes). While it rests, make the dipping sauce.

Make the Dipping Sauce

  • To a small bowl, add all ingredients except cilantro, and whisk to combine. Taste, check for seasoning balance and desired consistency, and if necessary add more salt, pepper, oil, honey, etc. to taste.
  • Optionally garnish the chicken with cilantro before serving it with the dipping sauce on the side.

Video

Notes

Storage: Chicken is best fresh but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days; dipping sauce will keep airtight for up to 1 week in the fridge.
In my opinion, the nutrition stats skew a bit high for this recipe because it assumes every last drop of the marinade is being consumed and used, of which there’s a fair amount which is not, and really shouldn’t be factored into the stats, but there’s no way to account (or not account) for this. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 511kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 54g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 19g, Cholesterol: 128mg, Sodium: 1269mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 11g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Kabobs - Juicy chicken and crisp vegetables coated in a sweet-and-tangy sauce!! Great for parties or easy weeknight dinners! Everything tastes better grilled!!

Grilled Lime Cilantro Chicken — EASY, ready in 10 minutes, and the cilantro chicken is so TENDER, juicy, and full of Mexican-inspired flavor!! Put this HEALTHY chicken recipe on your summer menu rotation and it’ll be a hit with everyone!!

Grilled Lime Cilantro Chicken - EASY, ready in 10 minutes, and the chicken is so TENDER, juicy, and full of Mexican-inspired flavor!! Put this HEALTHY chicken recipe on your summer menu rotation and it'll be a hit with everyone!!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. Hi Averie! In the narrative, you mention oven baking the chicken at 400ยฐ, but no approximate time was given. I couldn’t find mention of it anywhere else, including the recipe notes. Did I miss it? It’s possible…gray hair day, ya know? Thanks, as always!

    1. It will depend on the size of the pieces of chicken and if they’re thick, thin, cutlets, etc. I would estimate about 20 minutes, but of course, it’s safe at 165F as measured by a thermometer.