Tandoori Chicken | Healthy, Spicy, and Very Tender

Want to spice up your week? This recipe will take you there! Follow along to learn exactly how to make healthy Tandoori Chicken, what makes it special, and why it’s great for weight loss.

Tandoori Chicken | Extra Juicy and Very Tender

I was never really the adventurous type when it comes to using spices…but that all changed when my parents visited Israel a few years ago. They brought me back this excellent spice container with all sorts of foreign spices. And I’ve been using them ever since!

They come in handy, especially when we’re craving some tandoori chicken. If you were to ask me if I had a favorite chicken dish – this is it! Well, one of my favorites (I have 40+ Easy Chicken Dinners That Aren’t Boring or Bland after all).

But trust me on this, the spices never fail to kick it up a notch.

Tandoori chicken offers a satisfyingly earthy yet citrus taste! Right from the coriander powder to the garam masala powder to the tandoori chicken marinade, this dish is full of ah-mazing flavors.

And guess what? It’s a pretty simple dish to cook, contrary to what people think! It’s easily made and there is no need for a blender or food processor. I know it can be intimidating when more than 3 spices are required but don’t worry! I’ve got you covered.

This post will teach you how to make an impressive batch of tandoori chicken, so let’s get going.

Tandoori Chicken | Extra Juicy and Very Tender

Is Tandoori Chicken Healthy?

Tandoori chicken is very healthy! It generally comes marinated in seasoned yogurt before being cooked (either in a broiler, grill, or skillet). The health benefits are supported by a clean marinade with no added sweeteners.

And with a vegetable or two on the side, this dish is delicious and good for you. Or choose one of your favorite salads as an accompaniment. My fave side is Basmati rice and I’ve heard mint chutney is fab with this dish too. As for breads – naan, roti and paratha are the best to serve alongside tandoori chicken.

Plus, most of the spices like cumin and ginger are actually anti-inflammatory.  Anti-inflammatory foods are great for making you feel better all around. Just take a look at my post on Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods.

Tandoori Chicken | Extra Juicy and Very Tender

What Makes Tandoori Chicken Red?

Some tandoori chicken is redder than others and this all comes down to the spice rub that you cover the chicken pieces in. When you go heavy with paprika and cayenne pepper, your chicken will cook with a red hue. Mmmm, spicy and a pretty red color too. On the other hand, some recipes use more turmeric in the marinade (which gives it a bright yellow or orange color).

Tandoori Chicken | Extra Juicy and Very Tender

What Does Tandoor Chicken Taste Like?

Tandoori chicken tastes savory, flavorful, and delicious. Don’t be intimidated by all the spices because the greek yogurt and lemon will temper it slightly.

Upon the first bite, you’ll get a succulent, juicy, and smokey dish with earthy flavors, aromatic peppery notes, and a lift of warm citrus. Plus, if you’re using the grill, your tandoori chicken will have that nice crispy and charred flavor. But don’t fret if you don’t own a grill, this recipe can be done on a pan or baking tray in the oven too.

Tandoori Chicken | Extra Juicy and Very Tender

What Is The Difference Between Chicken Tikka and Tandoori Chicken?

Chicken Tikka and Tandoori are not the same! They vary by ingredients and cooking process.

Let’s take a look…

Chicken Tikka: When making chicken tikka, you cover boneless chunks of chicken in yogurt, lemon juice, and spices. Then you spear them through skewers for grilling. It requires pieces of chicken, salt, lemon juice, plain yogurt, and garlic cloves. 

Tandoori Chicken: When making this dish, coat the chicken with the yogurt mixture and marinate it for around 1-2 hours (before cooking on a grill or oven). It requires bone-in chicken breast and thighs, garam masala, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, ginger, coriander, paprika, cayenne pepper, and plain yogurt. Picture it: A teaspoon to a tablespoon of each of these marvelous spices (see recipe below) makes an incredible rub for the chicken. Yum – can’t wait!

Tandoori Chicken | Extra Juicy and Very Tender

Is Tandoori Chicken Good for Weight Loss?

Tandoori chicken is good for weight loss, and it’s pretty much the opposite of tasteless. AKA – you’ll enjoy eating it. It’s diet-friendly because chicken is a lean meat, and we’re cooking it in a healthy style (grilling or baking).

What else? As mentioned above, this recipe marinates (remember, toss the excess marinade) in anti-inflammatory ingredients like ginger, cumin, and lemon juice.

If you want to know more about how chicken is good for weight loss, you might want to check out my blog post, How To Meal Prep Chicken.

Tandoori Chicken | Extra Juicy and Very Tender

What Do You Eat With Tandoori Chicken?

Here are some of my favorite dishes to pair with sizzling tandoori chicken. While some use the dish as an appetizer, I serve it as the main meal. Note: Don’t expect leftovers with this much-loved recipe!

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

Asparagus is high in fiber, vitamins A, C, E, and K. It’s also packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. This recipe kicks it up a notch, thanks to the powers of lemon.

Thyme Roasted Carrots

Super easy veggie side, right here. I also really like these carrots with thyme-roasted carrots with tri-tip. The sweet, herbal, and salty flavors complement all meat quite nicely.

Cauliflower Rice

Why not substitute your regular rice for a low-carb version? Cauliflower rice is a FABULOUS way to eat more veggies. Nutritionally speaking, this veggie is high in fiber, filled with B-vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin C, and antioxidants.

Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Tots

I’ll find any excuse to make this recipe. These crispy baked sweet potato tater tots are sweet, crunchy, and go great with spicy dishes. 10/10.

Tandoori Chicken | Extra Juicy and Very Tender

More Healthy Chicken Recipes

Are you a lover of good-for-you chicken like me? Here are more of my favorites.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

5 from 1 vote
Tandoori Chicken | Extra Juicy and Very Tender
Tandoori Chicken | Extra Juicy and Very Tender
Prep Time
2 hrs
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 30 mins
This Tandoori Chicken recipe is so amazingly delicious, you’ll want to eat it all the time. It’s one of our family’s favorite meals.
Categories: Easy Dinner
Difficulty: Easy
Keyword: healthy tandoori chicken, healthy tandoori chicken recipe, tandoori foods
Servings: 4 -6
Calories: 384 kcal
Author: Lacey Baier of A Sweet Pea Chef
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 lbs bone-in can be combo of breasts, thighs, legs, skinless chicken
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Combine the coriander, cumin, ginger, cayenne, paprika and garam masala in a small bowl. Once the oil is hot, add the spice mixture and stir to incorporate. Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-high heat until fragrant. Turn the heat off and allow to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the cooled spice and oil mixture to the yogurt. Add the lemon juice, salt and garlic and stir to combine.
  3. Using a sharp knife, slice 2-3 deep slits (almost to the bone) into each piece of chicken. Add all the chicken to the large mixing bowl with the yogurt sauce and stir to coat well. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours (if possible!).
  4. Preheat your outdoor grill to medium-high heat (instructions for cooking in an oven below). Once chicken is ready and grill is heated, place the chicken on the medium-high heat and cook for 5 minutes with the lid/cover closed. You want to cook the chicken so the outside is charred and there are clear black grill lines on the flesh from the heat. After the heat-facing side of the chicken is charred well, flip over and cook for an additional 5 minutes on high heat. Reduce the heat to low, close the lid and cook for an additional 8-15 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken) or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F.
  5. *If you don’t have a grill, you can also char the chicken using the broiler in your oven. Follow the same steps as above in the broiler and then transfer to the oven at 375 degrees F until it reaches 165 degrees F.
  6. Once the chicken is done, remove from heat and let sit for 3-5 minutes before serving. Serve alongside some basmati rice and a lemon wedge, if desired.
Nutrition Facts
Tandoori Chicken | Extra Juicy and Very Tender
Amount Per Serving
Calories 384 Calories from Fat 241
% Daily Value*
Fat 26.8g41%
Saturated Fat 7.8g39%
Cholesterol 118.7mg40%
Sodium 445.6mg19%
Carbohydrates 4.9g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2.2g2%
Protein 30.1g60%
Vitamin A 600IU12%
Vitamin C 6.6mg8%
Calcium 90mg9%
Iron 2.2mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Lacey Baier

Hey there! I’m Lacey Baier and I’d like to welcome you! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, as well as cleanish, my clean-eating supplement brand. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

11 thoughts on “Tandoori Chicken | Healthy, Spicy, and Very Tender

  1. Seems a bit much on the paprika. I don’t think it had enough ginger. The flavors should contradict in order to get the flavor bomb that Indian or Pakistan gives.

  2. I have several links with India: shirt-tail relatives, in-laws, and getting my bachelor’s degree from a school in Kerala. I’ve been excited about Punjabi food in particular, yet I like foods from other regions as well as Pakistan. I was introduced to it in the 1960s. Thank you for including this dish.

  3. Looking forward to making this, only the link for the rice and the grocery list doesn’t go anywhere except a blank page 🙁

  4. Hi Lacey,
    This recipe came into my inbox at the PERFECT time! 🙂 Will be making this tonight!! Mmm.
    Thank you!

  5. Hi Lacey, I haven’t commented in several months, but wanted to say I will try the tandoori chicken. Always looking for different ways to prepare chicken. Also is it possible to see a picture of the antique mortar and pestle?

    Thanks. Hope you are doing well with your little ones. Kathy Vanderet

  6. Yum. Tandoori Chicken is amazing. I made it more than enough times, and it always tastes great, but your pictures are just gorgeous!

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