Chicken Tikka Kebab is a delicious appetizer that is packed with flavor. It starts with chicken pieces marinated in yogurt along with lime juice and aromatic spices, then threaded onto skewers and cooked to create a delicious appetizer. Make it in the air fryer or oven to serve at the gathering, or include it in your meal prep for the week!
When we go to Indian restaurants, one of our favorite appetizers to order is Chicken Tikka Kebab, and for good reason. It’s arguably the most popular Indian appetizer not only in India but in Indian restaurants all over the world.
I’ve been looking for ways to make my favorite dishes for my spice-loving family more easily, and this quick and easy Chicken Tikka Kebab recipe is no exception.
Marinate the chicken and then cook it for less than 20 minutes. This is a great option for serving at dinner parties or family gatherings, similar to my Tandoori Chicken Wings recipe.
Check out my post for 15+ Air Fryer Indian Recipes.
Additionally, this Chicken Tikka recipe is very versatile. You can customize the kebabs with your favorite veggies, and even make a big batch while you’re doing your weekly meal prep, then enjoy it all week long!
This chicken tikka recipe is a great low-carb Indian recipe. Below I’ll share different techniques, including air fryer, grill, and oven for cooking Chicken Tikka Kebab at home, along with tips for preparation, serving, and more.
Chicken Tikka vs. Chicken Tikka Masala
You may be wondering what is the difference between Chicken Tikka and Tikka Masala. Both Chicken Tikka and Chicken Tikka Masala start with essentially the same idea.
Chicken Tikka is traditionally made by cooking small pieces of boneless, skinless chicken over a fire pit. Chicken tikka is marinated in a mixture of yogurt and spices, including Garam Masala.
It can be served right from the skewer or added to a curry sauce, to make the popular dish called Chicken Tikka Masala.
Ingredients Needed for Chicken Tikka Skewers
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cut into 1-2 inch cubes)
- Red onion
- Green & red bell pepper (cut into 2-inch cubes)
- Lime wedges & onion rounds for garnish
Feel free to add other veggies to your skewers if you like. Some ideas are: yellow bell pepper, orange bell pepper, mushrooms, or grape tomatoes. You could even add pineapple chunks for a little sweetness.
For the Marinade:
The Indian marinade for this Chicken Tikka includes basic ingredients such as yogurt, ginger, garlic, flavorful Indian spices, and lime juice. This marinade is super flavorful, and the addition of Kashmiri red chili powder gives the chicken a gorgeous red color. The lime juice gives this chicken dish a tangy flavor that will keep your family coming back for more.
I recently used this marinade to make paneer tikka for a BBQ, and now I have become the designated person to bring this to every grilling event. So try and share it at your own risk 😉
How to make Chicken Tikka Marinade?
Here’s the secret to nailing any Kebab recipe: All you need is to get the marinade, the cooking time & the cooking temperature right.
- Just combine all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl, then toss the chicken in the marinade, ensuring it’s evenly coated.
- Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator. Allow the Tikka Kebab meat to marinate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together and infuse into the chicken. You can marinate it for up to 8 hours or overnight for a deeper flavor.
- When you’re ready to cook the marinated Chicken Tikka, simply remove it from the refrigerator and toss the vegetables in the marinade with the chicken. Then thread the chicken and veggies on your skewers, alternating chicken, onion, and bell pepper.
How to make Chicken Tikka Kebab in Instant Pot using CrispLid?
- Brush oil all over the inside of the CrispLid basket to prevent the chicken from sticking.
- Lightly brush the chicken skewers with oil and place them in the fryer basket.
- Place the CrispLid trivet in the inner steel pot inside the Instant Pot, then place the fryer basket with the chicken inside on top of the trivet.
- Set the CrispLid over the inner steel pot and plug it in.
- Set the cooking temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook the chicken for about 8 minutes.
- Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 7 minutes or until it is lightly charred on the outside.
When cooking, be sure not to overcrowd the fryer basket. Work in batches if needed.
You can use skewers or even place the marinated chicken directly in the CrispLid basket. You can call these Chicken Tikka Bites.
My daughter loves these chicken tikka bites with buttered naan!
How to make Chicken Tikka Kebab in the Air Fryer?
There’s not much difference between the Air Fryer and CrispLid method. Here’s what you’ll need to do.:
- Lightly grease the air fryer basket.
- Arrange the chicken sticks in the air fryer. Lightly brush or spray with oil. Cook at 180 degrees or 360F for 10 minutes.
- Turn the chicken sticks and cook for 7 more minutes, then serve.
As you can notice, I skipped the veggies when cooking in the Philips air fryer below, as my daughter just wants the chicken!
How to make Chicken Tikka Kebab in the Oven?
- Prepare a baking tray lined with parchment paper or foil.
- Place a rack over the top.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Place the skewers on the rack, then bake for 15-20 minutes until chicken is well cooked.
- Turn on your oven’s broiler and broil the Tikka Kebabs for about 5 minutes to get the char marks. Be sure to keep an eye on the chicken while it broils so that it doesn’t burn.
Other ways to cook Chicken Tikka:
- Grill it on skewers on your backyard grill.
- Char it in a cast iron grill pan on the stove (To ensure that the chicken cooks thoroughly, you may want to cook it without the skewers if using this method.)
How to Serve Chicken Tikka Kebab?
- Garnish with lime wedges and red onion. Serve with Mint Cilantro Chutney on the side for dipping.
- Serve as an appetizer at a party on the skewers or without skewers as Chicken Tikka bites. Serve with Mint Chutney or other dipping sauces as desired.
- Slice them to add to a salad or make a wrap with lettuce, onion, tomatoes, and Mint Chutney.
- Add it to my easy Curry Sauce for a quick delicious curry in minutes.
- Serve with saffron rice and raita for a filling lunch or dinner.
Tips to make the best Chicken Tikka Kebab
- Marinate for at least 30 minutes, but longer is ideal for more tender Chicken Tikka.
- For best results, cook the meat only until done. This will result in soft, juicy & tender chicken kebabs. Overcooked meat can result in chewy kebabs.
- Make a batch of this marinated chicken and freeze for later use or meal prep for the week.
Yes, it is perfect for weekly meal prep. You can make this quick Chicken Tikka in advance and refrigerate or freeze it for later. You can keep it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for a couple of months.
*Cooked vegetables may lose their crispness after freezing. To avoid this, you can freeze the chicken by itself and add the vegetables when reheating.
Store Chicken Tikka meat in an airtight container with a lid or an airtight gallon-sized freezer bag for best results.
To reheat from frozen, place the kebabs in the refrigerator to defrost overnight. Reheat for 4 minutes in the air fryer at 375F. You can also reheat in the oven at 300F for 10-15 minutes.
Why you will love this Air Fryer Chicken Tikka?
- It’s easy to prepare. It only takes a few steps and about 20 minutes to cook this easy Chicken Tikka.
- It’s healthy. Chicken Tikka Kebab is low-carb and gluten-free.
- It’s not too spicy, which makes it great for children. My daughter loves these kebabs with her parathas.
Other Indian chicken recipes to enjoy:
- Chicken Saag – Another delicious north Indian dish made with chicken and a spinach curry sauce
- Instant Pot Butter Chicken – An extremely popular chicken curry recipe made with lots of butter and cream
- Instant Pot Chicken Korma – Chicken marinated in yogurt and spices, cooked with onions, and finished with cashew paste
- Low Carb Tandoori Chicken – Flavorful chicken marinated in yogurt, spices, and lemon juice, then cooked in the air fryer
- Kadai Chicken – A restaurant-style chicken curry made with tender chicken cooked with onions and peppers.
Chicken Tikka Kebab
- 1 lb Chicken thighs, boneless skinless, cut into 1.5-2 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1/2 cup Red Onion, cut into 2 inch cubes, layers separated
- 1/2 cup Green Bell Pepper, cut into 2 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper, cut into 2 inch cubes
- Lime wedges, to garnish
- Onion rounds , to garnish
- 1/2 cup Yogurt, greek (also called hung curd)
- 3/4 tablespoon Ginger , grated
- 3/4 tablespoon Garlic , minced
- 1 tablespoon Lime juice
- 2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, mild, adjust to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric (Haldi powder)
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 teaspoon Coriander powder (Dhaniya powder)
- 1/2 tablespoon Dried Fenugreek leaves (Kasoori Methi)
- 1 teaspoon Salt, adjust to taste
- Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and mix well. Add chicken and coat on each side with the marinade. Let it rest for anywhere between 30 minutes to 8 hours in the refrigerator.
- When ready to cook, add the oil, onions, green and red bell pepper to the marinade. Mix well.
- Thread the marinated chicken, peppers and onions in the skewers altenating between each.
Pressure Cooker CrispLid Method:
- Brush the CrispLid fryer basket with oil. Lightly brush the skewers on all sides with oil and place in the basket. Do not overcrowd, work in batches as needed.
- Set CrispLid trivet in inner steel pot of pressure cooker and set fryer basket on top of trivet. Set CrispLid on top of inner steel pot and plug in. Set to 400°F and cook for 8 minutes. Flip and cook until lightly charred about 7 minutes more.
- Serve warm with lime wedges and onion rounds, along with mint cilantro chutney to dip.
- Lightly grease the air fryer basket.
- Arrange the chicken sticks in airfryer. Lightly brush or spray with oil. Cook at 180 degrees or 360F for 10 minutes.
- Turn the chicken sticks and cook for 7 more minutes, then serve.
- Prepare a baking tray lined with parchment paper or foil. Place a rack over the top.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the skewers on the rack, lightly brush or spray with oil, then bake for 15-20 minutes until chicken is well cooked.
- Turn on your oven's broiler and broil the Tikka Kebabs for about 5 minutes to get the char marks.