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Tandoori Chicken (Cook's Illustrated)


Authentic versions of Tandoor Chicken calls for a 24-hour marinade and a tandoor, a traditional beehive-shaped clay oven—requirements that keep the dish mainly in the realm of restaurants. Cook’s Illustrated developed a quick way of mimicking this flavorful Indian dish and I have to say it was a total success. It’s quite healthy with just the right amount of spices and heat (as in mild to medium). This recipe is one the“keeper”list. I’ll show you how to make this on my blog at:

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  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (recommended "McCormick Schilling", found at most grocery stores)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (I used Greek non-fat)
  • 4 tablespoons juice from 2 limes, plus 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts (breasts, thighs, and drumsticks, or a mix, with breasts cut in half), trimmed of excess fat and skin removed


Preparation time 30mins
Cooking time 60mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add garam masala, cumin, and chili powder; continue to cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds longer.

Transfer half of garlic-spice mixture to medium bowl; stir in yogurt and 2 tablespoons lime juice and set aside.

In large bowl, combine remaining garlic-spice mixture, remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice, and salt.

Using sharp knife, lightly score skinned side of each piece of chicken, making 2 or 3 shallow cuts about 1 inch apart and about 1/8 inch deep; transfer to bowl.

Using hands, gently massage salt-spice mixture into chicken until all pieces are evenly coated; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat oven to 325 degrees.

Pour yogurt mixture over chicken and toss until chicken is evenly coated with thick layer.

Arrange chicken pieces, scored-side down, on wire rack set in foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan.

Discard excess yogurt mixture.

Bake chicken until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 125 degrees for breasts and 130 for legs and thighs, 15 to 25 minutes. (Smaller pieces may cook faster than larger pieces.

Transfer chicken pieces to plate as they reach correct temperature.) After removing chicken from oven, turn oven to broil and heat 10 minutes.

Once broiler is heated, flip chicken pieces over and broil until chicken is lightly charred in spots and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 165 degrees for breasts and 175 for legs and thighs, 8 to 15 minutes.

Transfer chicken to large plate, tent loosely with foil, and rest 5 minutes.

Serve with chutney or relish, passing lime wedges separately.

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