Learn how to make chicken pakoras with this easy recipe for the perfect crispy results. Marinated chicken pieces are coated in gram flour and then fried (or air-fried) to make golden and crispy pakoras. Savor the perfect harmony of crispy on the outside and tender juicy on the inside with this flavorful chicken appetizer.

Crispy chicken pakora in a bowl topped with sliced onions and lime wedges.

Whether looking for a quick party snack or just an evening craving that could satisfy your cravings, Chicken Pakora is the ultimate answer.

Growing up, we enjoyed a variety of pakoras. Whenever it would rain, it was the day for pakoras and masala chai. Make these easy chicken pakora and enjoy them with ketchup or mint chutney.

You can make chicken pakoras by deep frying, but if you are trying to eat healthier, you can also air fry these pakoras. They are just as delicious!

You’ll also love some of our go-to chicken appetizers, such as Chili Chicken, Chicken Tikka Kebab, and Tandoori Chicken Wings.

Crispy Chicken Pakoras

Pakoras are one of the go-to snacks in Indian homes, especially for evening snack breaks.

To start with, what exactly is Chicken Pakoras? Chicken Pakoras are nothing but a spicy yet tangy pakora consisting of marinated chicken pieces coated in gram flour and fried until they are a beautiful golden color.

You can find the North Indian and South Indian variations of chicken pakoras. I will be sharing the North Indian version, which is similar to the Pakistani chicken pakora recipe.

Crispy Chicken pakora with lime wedges

Chicken Pakoda Vs. Chicken 65

Both Chicken Pakora and Chicken 65 top the list of Indian chicken appetizers. Although they are similar, there are some differences in the ingredients and preparation.  

Both Chicken 65 and Chicken Pakora have pieces of chicken marinated and fried until they reach the perfect golden color. In chicken pakora, gram flour is added to make the final result crispy, while in chicken 65, corn starch is added.

Chicken Pakora is served right away, along with chutneys, whereas Chicken 65 is further cooked by tossing the fried chicken in a quick tempering of mustard seeds, garlic, curry leaves, and red chili powder.

Ingredients

Ingredients to make chicken pakora
  •  Boneless Chicken Thighs: Use boneless skinless chicken thighs, which remain tender and juicy after frying. You can also use chicken breast if you prefer a leaner option, but thighs are recommended for the best flavor and texture.
  • Ginger and Garlic Paste: A fresh ginger and garlic blend adds a zesty and aromatic kick to the dish.
  • Cumin Powder: Adds warm and earthy notes to the marinade.
  • Kashmiri red chili powder: It gives the dish the perfect color without making it overwhelmingly spicy.
  • Black Pepper: It is optional, but I like to add a pinch of black pepper for that extra spice.
  • Turmeric: A pinch of turmeric is added for its yellow color and subtle earthy flavor.
  • Garam Masala: It brings the richness of whole spices to the final dish.
  • Salt: The essential seasonings will amplify the flavors of the entire dish.
  • Lemon juice or Vinegar: Using lemon juice or Vinegar gives the dish a tantalizing tangy flavor. 
  • Cilantro leaves: Chop the cilantro leaves and add them before frying. It contributes a fresh and vibrant element to the dish. 
  • Green Chili Pepper: Slit it in half lengthwise to get a spicy taste. Thai green chili would be a great recommendation to make it even more spicy. 
  • Gram flour (Besan): Gram flour is made from split chickpeas, known as chana dal. It is a versatile flour used to give snacks such as these pakoras their crispy texture and mild nutty flavor. It is also gluten-free. You can buy this at the Indian grocery store.
  • Rice flour: It helps make the pakoras crispy. This is also a gluten-free flour. If you don’t have rice flour, you can replace it with cornstarch.
  • Oil: This is used for deep frying the pakoras.

How to Make Chicken Pakora?

Marinating and frying are two main steps to making this flavorful chicken pakora snack.

Marinate the Chicken

In a bowl, add all the ingredients for the chicken marinade and mix them well. Let the chicken marinade well, cover the mixture, and place it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. The better the chicken marinate, the more delicious your pakoras will turn out. 

To your chicken marinade, add cilantro leaves, green chili, gram flour, and rice flour about 5 minutes before deep frying. 

Deep Fry Chicken

Heat the oil in a pan or kadai on a medium flame to deep fry the Chicken Pakora. Carefully start adding chicken pieces one by one to the pan or kadai. Make sure to fry in batches and not overcrowd the pan.

Toss the chicken after 1 to 2 minutes and keep repeating until the chicken starts to turn golden brown in color. 

Take the pakoras out using a perforated spoon and place them on a tissue paper-lined plate.

Sprinkle some chaat masala. Garnish the pakoras with sliced red onions and lemon wedges. Serve alongside mint cilantro chutney.

Spicy Chicken pakora topped with red onins slices and lime wedges

Air Fryer Chicken Pakora

Here are the steps for cooking chicken pakoras in the air fryer :

  • Preheat the air fryer, then place the chicken pieces into the air fryer basket. Spread them in a single layer, and make sure they are not touching each other. Add a liberal spray of oil.
  • Air fry the Chicken Pakora for 8-10 minutes. Flip the chicken cubes midway through the cooking process, ensuring they achieve a luscious golden color on all sides.
A bowl of chicken pakora garnished with red onions and lime.

Tips for the Best Chicken Pakoras

Chicken: For the best results in your Chicken Pakora, use boneless, skinless chicken thighs that remain tender and juicy even after frying. Cut the chicken into even-sized pieces so it fries uniformly.

Adjust Spice: Make the Chicken Pakoras according to your spice level. Add less Kashmiri red chili powder and green chilies if you prefer mild spice.

Heat Oil: Ensure the oil is heated properly before deep frying. Oil must get heated at a favorable temperature to make the pakoras crispy. 

Fry in batches: Ensure that the pan or air fryer is not overcrowded. Fry the pakoras in batches.

Variations

  • South Indian Style Pakoras: Add chopped curry leaves to the marinade along with the green chili and cilantro to make a South Indian version of chicken pakoras.
  • Add Egg White: I did not add this, but you can add an egg white to the marinade. It helps to bind the marinade and keep the chicken moist when it is fried.
  • Add dried fenugreek leaves: You can add kasoori methi to the marinade for a flavor variation.

What to serve with Chicken Pakora?

Common Questions

Is chicken pakora gluten-free?

Yes, gram flour and rice flour are added when making these pakoras. They are both gluten-free flour. Hence, this chicken pakora recipe is safe to enjoy on a gluten-free diet.

Can chicken pakora be made ahead of time?

I don’t recommend making pakoras ahead of time as they will not remain crispy. However, you can marinade the chicken and have it ready for frying.
Some people like to do a double frying. In this case, you can fry the pakoras, but do another quick frying just before serving.

How to store leftover chicken pakoras?

You can refrigerate any leftover pakoras in an airtight container for up to 2 days. To store them for longer, freeze them in a freezer-safe container for up to a month. Reheat them in the air fryer or oven for best results. You can also deep fry again if you want the perfect crispy exterior.

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5 from 1 vote

Crispy Chicken Pakora

Learn how to make chicken pakoras with this easy recipe for the perfect crispy results. Marinated chicken pieces are coated in gram flour and then fried (or air-fried) to make golden and crispy pakoras.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 Pounds Chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into small 1 inch pieces

For Marinade

Add before frying 

  • 2 tablespoon Cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1-2 Green Chili Pepper, chopped, optional
  • 1/4 cup Gram flour (Besan)
  • 2 tablespoon Rice flour, or cornstarch

For deep frying 

  • Oil, as needed

For Serving

Instructions 

Marinate the Chicken  

  • In a bowl, add the chicken and combine all the ingredients for chicken marinade. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight if possible.
  • To the chicken marinade, add cilantro leaves, green chili, gram flour, and rice flour 5-10 minutes before frying. Mix well to combine. It should be a dry chicken mix. 

Deep Fry Method

  • In a pan or kadai, heat enough oil on a medium flame for deep frying. 
  • Once the oil is heated to 350°F, carefully drop in the chicken pieces one by one into the hot oil. Toss the chicken pieces after 1-2 minutes and keep frying until they are golden and crispy. Remove from oil using a slotted spoon and place on a tissue paper lined plate.

Air Fryer Method

  • Preheat the air fryer to 375°F.
  • Place the chicken pieces into the air fryer basket. Ensure to spread them out in a single layer leaving space around each piece. Add a generous spray of oil. 
  • Cook for 10-12 minutes, flipping the chicken pieces halfway through, until they are golden and crispy. 

Serving

  • Sprinkle chaat masala. Garnish with sliced red onions and lemon wedges. Serve alongside mint cilantro chutney.

Video

Notes

South Indian Style Pakoras: Add chopped curry leaves to the marinade along with the green chili and cilantro to make a South Indian version of chicken pakoras.
Add Egg White: I did not add this, but you can add an egg white to the marinade. It helps to bind the marinade and keep the chicken moist when it is fried.
Add dried fenugreek leaves: You can add kasoori methi to the marinade for a flavor variation.

Nutrition

Calories: 303kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 21gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 729mgPotassium: 335mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 406IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 2mg

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Indian, Pakistani
Diet: Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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