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.
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!
And guess what? It’s a pretty easy dish to cook, contrary to what people think! 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.
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.
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 .
What Makes Tandoori Chicken Red?
Some tandoori chicken is redder than others and this all comes down to the spice rub. When you go heavy with the parprika and cayenne pepper, your chicken will cook with a red hue. Mmmm. On the other hand, some recipes use more turmeric in the marinade (which gives it a bright yellow or orange color).
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.
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.
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 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.
What Do You Eat With Tandoori Chicken?
Here are some of my favorite dishes to pair with sizzling tandoori chicken!
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.
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.
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.
4. 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.
More Healthy Chicken Recipes
- The 7 Best Chicken Marinades For Juicy Chicken
- 40 + Easy Chicken Dinners That Aren’t Boring or Bland
- 35 Quick and Easy Chicken Recipes
- Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Meal Prep
This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.
- 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
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.
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.
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!).
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.
*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.
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.
11 thoughts on “Tandoori Chicken | Healthy, Spicy, and Very Tender”
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.
Awesome recipes! I like this post and the article and ideas to make tasty chicken.Thank you so much to this post.
Really good protein meal!
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.
You’re very welcome, Gregory. I’m glad you liked it 🙂
Looking forward to making this, only the link for the rice and the grocery list doesn’t go anywhere except a blank page 🙁
Oh no! That’s so strange – it works for me. Email me at lacey @ sweetpeachef.com and I’ll be happy to email you the PDFs.
This recipe came into my inbox at the PERFECT time! 🙂 Will be making this tonight!! Mmm.
Yay! Enjoy 🙂
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
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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