Tandoori Chicken made in the Air Fryer, a flavor packed spicy dish from the Indian subcontinent popular all over the world. Chicken is marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic, aromatic spices and lime juice, then grilled in the air fryer or oven.

Tandoori Chicken made in the Air Fryer, a flavor packed spicy dish from the Indian subcontinent popular all venver the world. Chicken is marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic, spices and lemon juice, then grilled in the air fryer or oven.
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Tandoori Chicken is ridiculously easy to make, but is still one of the best chicken dishes you will ever have! This is also a low carb or keto friendly dish, so you can enjoy it guilt free.

At any Indian restaurant, Tandoori Chicken is always on the menu. You might also see bright red colored tandoori chicken in the buffets. Okay, I kind of dislike that bright red color in the restaurants because I know it is added food coloring. However when making Tandoori Chicken at home, I can add the right ingredients and get the color naturally with spices.

Tandoori Chicken is definitely a crowd pleaser, so make it for your next get together or party. I use the oven to make this when I need to make a large quantity. But the air fryer is perfect, when I am just making for the family and I don’t have to heat up the entire kitchen.

Watch How to Make Low-Carb Tandoori Chicken

What is Tandoori Chicken?

Tandoori Chicken gets its name from Tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven traditionally cooked in. The chicken is added to skewers and put in the hot tandoor. With the high temperature in the tandoor, the chicken is cooked nicely and chars on the outside.

It was interesting that Tandoori Chicken came to the USA in the 1960s. A recipe for it was printed in the Los Angeles Times in 1962.

You can also make this recipe for a party with wings. Check out my Tandoori Chicken Wings recipe.

For vegetarian alternatives, check my Tandoori Gobi, Paneer Tikka, and Tandoori Aloo Tikka Recipes.

Is Tandoori Chicken Healthy?

Tandoori Chicken is a high-protein, low-carb, low-fat dish. Hence it is a healthy choice for meat eaters.

It is usually made in a tandoori (clay oven) or in the oven or air fryer by home cooks. This means minimal oil is used in roasting the chicken.

Ingredients

Chicken Drumsticks: Use skinless chicken legs. Pat dry to avoid excess liquid in the marinade.

For the Tandoori Marinade: The marinade for Tandoori Chicken Wings includes basic ingredients such as yogurt, ginger, garlic, aromatic 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.

Use my homemade garam masala to get the best flavor.

I recommend to use full-fat plain yogurt for the marinade. 

How to make Tandoori Chicken in Air Fryer

  • The first step is to prepare the chicken legs. Pat dry and make 3-4 slits on each of the chicken drumsticks.
  • Then prepare the marinade. The yogurt marinade helps to make the chicken tender. We want the marinade to be relatively thick, so that it sticks well to the chicken and does not drip much when we cook.
  • Mix the ingredients for the marinade, coat the chicken with the marinade and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes. You can store marinated chicken in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Tandoori Chicken Air Fryer
  • Remove marinated chicken from refrigerator when ready to cook. Arrange in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Brush or spray some cooking oil. 
  • Cook in air fryer at 360°F for 10 mins. Flip over the chicken, and brush some oil. Then cook for another 5 minutes. 
  • Check that the internal temperature of the chicken is at 165°F using a digital thermometer.
  • Transfer the chicken to a serving plate. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with lemon wedges, sliced onions and mint chutney.
Tandoori Chicken Air Fryer

Oven Method

Preheat oven at 450 F. Then bake the chicken for 15 minutes. Turn and cook for another 5-10 minutes until it is cooked. Follow this by 3-5 minutes of broiling to get the charred marks.

Pro-Tips

  • I use chicken drumsticks, which is how Tandoori Chicken is traditionally made. You can use chicken breasts or thighs too.
  • Pat dry the chicken before using. This helps to remove any extra liquids and keeps the marinade thick.
  • Use kashmiri red chili powder for this recipe, as it gives the natural red color. When you eat in restaurants, they usually add food coloring to get the bright red color. So here is our natural substitute to get the perfect color to the tandoori chicken. You could use Cayenne pepper or Paprika if you don’t have kashmiri chili powder.
  • The authentic flavors are enhanced by using the perfect Garam masala. I like to use my homemade Garam Masala.
  • The addition of fenugreek leaves is optional, but it adds a unique flavor and aroma to the dish.
  • Don’t overcook the chicken as it becomes dry. Use a meat thermometer to check doneness when internal temperature reaches at 165°F.

What to Serve with Tandoori Chicken?

Serve this Tandoori Chicken as an appetizer with mint cilantro chutney and authentic Indian onion salad.

It also pairs well with Turmeric Rice and Kachumber salad or Cucumber Raita.

How to Store & Reheat?

You can store any leftover tandoori chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay good till 3 days.

To reheat, transfer to the air fryer and heat for 3-4 minutes at 350°F.

Any leftovers can be added to the the tikka masala sauce for a delicious curry too!

A flavor packed spicy dish from the Indian subcontinent popular all over the world. Chicken is marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic, spices and lemon juice, then grilled in the air fryer or oven.

Common Questions

How to make moist and tender tandoori?

Marinating the chicken helps to keep it moist and tender once cooked. Marinate the chicken with yogurt and all the warming spices. Make sure to not overcook the chicken, as otherwise it becomes dry. You can use a meat digital thermometer to check when it is done.

Can I put yogurt in air fryer with a marinade?

Yes, it is okay to cook chicken with a yogurt marinade in the air fryer.

Why Is Tandoori Chicken So Red?

At many restaurants, they add red food color to get the bright red colored tandoori chicken. However you can get that color naturally by using kashmiri red chili powder, which is what we use in this recipe.

Check out other delicious air fryer recipe –

4.93 from 52 votes

Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken

A flavor packed spicy dish from the Indian subcontinent popular all over the world. Chicken is marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic, spices and lime juice, then grilled in the air fryer or oven. Low carb and keto friendly. 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 6 Chicken Drumsticks , de-skinned (about 2 lbs)
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 2 tablespoon Cilantro leaves, to garnish
  • 4 Lemon wedges

For Marinade

Instructions 

  • Pat dry the chicken drumsticks with a paper towel. Remove the skin. Make 3-4 slits on the thick part of each drumstick.  
  • In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients for the marinade. Add chicken to the marinade.
  • Coat chicken drumsticks well with the marinade and let them rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator (you can keep it refrigerated for up to 24 hours). 
  • Remove marinated chicken from refrigerator when ready to cook. Arrange in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Spray cooking oil on the chicken. 
  • Cook in air fryer at 360°F for 10 mins. Flip over the chicken, and lightly spray with oil. Then cook for another 5 minutes. 
  • Remove on a serving plate. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with lemon wedges, sliced onion and cilantro mint chutney.

Video

Notes

  • I use chicken drumsticks, which is how Tandoori Chicken is traditionally made. You can use chicken breasts or thighs too.
  • I highly recommend to use kashmiri red chili powder for this recipe, as it gives the natural red color.  You could use Cayenne pepper or Paprika as a substitute too.
  • Oven Variation: Preheat oven at 450 F. Then bake the chicken for 15 minutes. Turn and cook for another 5-10 minutes until it is cooked. Follow this by 3-5 minutes of broiling to get the charred marks. 

Nutrition

Calories: 320kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 28gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 959mgPotassium: 474mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 329IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 2mg

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, North Indian
Diet: Gluten-free, Low Carb
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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4.93 from 52 votes (37 ratings without comment)

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36 Comments

  1. Finally I can put my air fryer to good use. Previously I used to make tandoori chicken in oven and it used to take atleast an hour to cook the chicken. Thanks for sharing the air fryer recipe, the timing and temperature was perfect.

  2. This was delicious! I did it in the oven and the flavours where really great! I have done a number of your recipes and they are all delicious! I am really learning a lot about the Indian cuisine.

  3. Hello Meeta from Pichidangui on the coast of Chile. We have a Takaway food business, just the two of us with dishes from all over the world. I make Vegi curries and mild meat curries but was looking for something special. This recipe is it. Wow!
    Thankyou. My Mum was born in Travancoor I went to Sherwood College in Nainital
    and our Kinsamah taught me how to cook in 1955.

    1. Hi Bernie – So glad to hear that you enjoyed the tandoori chicken. Nainital is beautiful, I visited there when I was a kid.

  4. Hi Meeta! I have cuisine art air fryer which looks like toaster oven. Will it be same temperature & duration for tandoori in that?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Aishwarya – I have not tried in that specific air fryer. But most cases the temperature and time works with other air fryers too. You can just check after the cooking time, and add more time if needed. Hope you enjoy the Tandoori Chicken.