Tandoori Chicken on saffron rice, fresh out of the oven ready to be served
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4.84 from 50 votes

Baked Tandoori Chicken

Recipe video above. Tandoori chicken - baked in the oven! For everyone who doesn't have a tandoor sitting in the middle of their kitchen. :) The flavour infusion and the lovely crust from the marinade is sensational. Easy sub for Kashmiri Chilli, the only ingredient that is not sold at supermarkets.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Chicken
Cuisine: Indian, Nepalese
Keyword: tandoori chicken, tandoori chicken marinade
Servings: 5
Calories: 442kcal
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats


Tandoori Marinade:

  • 1 1/2 cups plain yoghurt (full fat best)
  • 2 tbsp oil (any)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ginger , grated
  • 5 garlic cloves , minced
  • 3 tsp garam masala spice mix (Note 1)
  • 1.5 tbsp kashmiri chilli powder (Note 2 subs)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder, adjust to taste (pure, not US chili Note 3)
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 1.2kg / 2.4lb drumsticks, bone-in skin on chicken thighs or Marylands (whole chicken legs) (Note 4)
  • Oil spray

Mint Yoghurt (optional)

  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, packed
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil



  • Mix Marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken, cover and marinate 12 to 24 hours (Note 5)
  • Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line a tray with foil and place a rack on the tray.
  • Remove chicken from the Marinade, shaking off excess (reserve Marinade), and place on the rack. Bake for 20 minutes, then slather Marinade generously on both sides.
  • Bake for a further 10 minutes, brush/dab top with Marinade.
  • Bake further 10 minutes, do a final baste with Marinade then spray with oil.
  • Increase heat to 220C/450F. Bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes until you get some nice charred spots. Serve with Minted Yogurt and Saffron Rice (below) or plain Basmati Rice.

Minted Yoghurt:

  • Combine ingredients in a food processor and blitz until mint is very finely chopped. 

BBQ Option:

  • Preheat BBQ with closed lid to medium, brush grills lightly with oil. Place bone-in skin-on chicken skin side down on grills, cook 5 min until surface is just caramelised - no more.
  • Baste, then flip. Baste, then close lid. Cook for 20 minutes or until internal temperature is 175F/80C (bone in thighs and drumsticks), basting once or twice more.


1. Garam Masala is an Indian spice mix that you can purchase in dried herbs and spices section of supermarkets. It costs the same as other spices. The spices in it include: cardamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
SUB with curry powder (like Keens, Clives of India) + 1 tsp All Spice (or 1/8 tsp extra of all the other spices in recipe plus 1/8 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger)
2. Kashimiri Chilli - found at Indian grocery stores, gives tandoori chicken the red colour and bit of spiciness. Tastes like spicy paprika. Easy sub with: 3 tsp paprika (smoked if possible, otherwise sweet or normal) + few drop of red food colouring (if you want slightly more red colour).
This is the one I use (Amazon USA link, but I got mine from a Sydney Indian store. Here is a better value one on Amazon USA. 
Use in place of paprika in Indian recipes such as Biryani and Chicken Tikka Masala for an earthy, authentic flavour. It's almost a direct sub with paprika - except it's a bit spicy.
3. Chilli Powder - This is pure ground chilli powder and it's spicy. This is not US/Canadian Chili Powder which is a spice mix with South Western/Tex Mex flavours. Sub: cayenne pepper, or leave it out if you want mild.
4. Chicken - best made with bone in thighs, drumsticks and wings as they require 50 min or so which gives you a nice tandoori crust. For boneless thighs, bake 25 minutes, for breast, bake 22 min - or better yet, BBQ on grills or cook on stove!
5. Marinating - for emergency marinade, make 2 or 3 slashes in the chicken and marinade 2 to 3 hours. Can also freeze the chicken with the marinade (raw). Then when you want to cook it, allow it to defrost then simply follow the recipe.
5. Saffron Rice (serves 5) - Soak 1/8 tsp saffron threads in 1/4 cup (65ml) boiled water for 5 min. Add saffron water to large saucepan with 2 cups (500ml) cold water and 1.5 cups basmati rice. Cover, bring to simmer over medium high, then reduce heat to medium low so it's simmering. Cook 12 minutes until water is absorbed (tilt pot to check), remove from stove and stand for 10 minutes covered.
To use imitation saffron powder (much better value) use 1/16th tsp and add to saucepan with 2 1/4 cups (565ml) water, cook per above (I did this for rice in photos, was out of saffron threads)
6. Recipe source - Inspired by Qmin Indian cookbook, a restaurant I used to frequent in my corporate days. Also by referencing the packets of tandoori spice mixes sold at Indian grocery stores (I'm told by Indian store owners that most Indians make Tandoori chicken using tandoori spice mixes!).
7. Tandoori Chicken nutrition per serving.


Serving: 250g | Calories: 442kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 643mg | Potassium: 528mg | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 265IU | Vitamin C: 3.8mg | Calcium: 180mg | Iron: 1.9mg