اَعُوْذُ بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيْمِ
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمن الرَّحِيْمِ

Tandoori Chicken Legs

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4.50 from 6 votes
Chicken tandoori is a traditional Pakistani dish full of bold and delicious flavours. Flavoured with yoghurt and a mix of spices this tandoori chicken recipe will taste just as if it were cooked in a tandoor.
Tandoori Chicken Legs

Tandoori chicken is an all-time favourite Pakistani recipe. This chicken tandoori recipe is made in the oven and will show you how to make delicious and tasty tandoori chicken every time. Chicken tandoori is a traditional Pakistani dish full of bold and delicious flavours. Flavoured with yoghurt and a mix of spices this tandoori chicken recipe will taste just as if it were cooked in a tandoor.

Recreate this Pakistani chicken roast recipe with this easy roast chicken recipe. If you’re looking for a new spin on how to cook chicken this is the recipe to try. Super juice, flavourful and so tempting you won’t be able to resist. Serve as a starter or as a main with steamed rice and vegetables. However, you choose to enjoy it you are guaranteed to love it.

Rooted deep in the Indian subcontinent, tandoori chicken has voyaged far and wide, spreading its irresistible charm globally. Historically, this recipe traces its lineage to the Mughal Empire, bringing the explosion of flavors and vibrancy for which Indian cuisine is celebrated.

The name ‘tandoori’ derives from the traditional cooking method employed – a tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven used for both cooking and baking. The tandoor bestows a smoky essence that’s utterly distinctive. But fear not, even without the conventional Tandoor, I’ll guide you on crafting this marvel at home, using your everyday oven.

Chicken tandoori isn’t just delicious; it’s also pleasingly straightforward to prepare. Depending on your culinary expertise, you might categorize it from medium to moderately challenging, but trust me, the effort is well worth it.

One of the secrets lies in the marinade, a tantalising fusion of spices and yoghurt, which tenderiseus the chicken while infusing it with profound flavours.

Now, let’s shift our spotlight to the star of the show – the Chicken! For my Tandoori recipe, I prefer chicken legs. The juicy meat of the chicken legs becomes incredibly tender and flavorsome, making each bite a taste explosion.

However, there’s more to the story. A blend of spices, including coriander, cumin, chilli, and turmeric, woven into the yoghurt base, harmonises impeccably with the chicken, creating a symphony of flavours that will pirouette on your taste buds.

You might think that such a mouthwatering dish demands a lengthy list of hard-to-find ingredients, but fret not. This dish is surprisingly accessible – all the components are readily available, with most likely already residing in your kitchen. No need for a wild scavenger hunt in search of exotic, unheard-of ingredients.

Moreover, this recipe is incredibly versatile. You can easily adapt it to suit your palate or dietary preferences. Want to dial down the heat? Ease off on the chilli. Need to steer clear of dairy? Substitute yoghurt with a dairy-free alternative. As you can see, it’s as simple as ABC… or in this case, as effortless as tandoori chicken!

So, why tarry? Roll up those sleeves and let’s usher the rich, smoky, and spicy flavors of tandoori chicken straight into your kitchen. It’s not merely a dish; it’s an experience, a glimpse into the culinary heritage of India. Let’s dive right in!

A Symphony of Flavours

As we set sail on this gastronomic journey, our choice of ingredients will navigate our path. Each one contributes something unique to tandoori chicken, harmonising together to form an irresistible mosaic of flavours. Let’s dissect them, one by one, to comprehend their significance.

Chicken Legs: It all commences with premium chicken legs, the canvas upon which our tandoori masterpiece is crafted. The chicken legs absorb the marinade deeply into their fibers, resulting in an explosion of flavor with each mouthful.

While legs are my preferred choice, you could opt for chicken thighs, which also graciously accept the marinade and endure high-heat cooking.

Yoghurt: This forms the creamy base of our marinade, tenderising the chicken and allowing the spices to permeate deep into the meat. It’s indispensable for an authentic chicken tandoori. If you’re lactose intolerant or following a vegan diet, a dairy-free yoghurt alternative, such as coconut yoghurt, is a fitting substitute.

Coriander Powder: Coriander contributes a delightful, slightly citrusy undertone to the dish. It also helps to temper the chilli’s heat. In case you’ve run out of coriander powder, ground coriander seeds can step in admirably.

Kashmiri Chilli: Recognised for its vivid hue and gentle heat, Kashmiri chilli plays a pivotal role in achieving that iconic tandoori red tint. If it’s hard to procure, don’t hesitate to replace it with a combination of paprika (for colour) and cayenne pepper (for heat).

Tandoori Masala: This amalgamation of spices imparts tandoori chicken with its distinct taste. It typically includes coriander, cumin, turmeric, and other spices. Should it be elusive, a blend of garam masala and paprika can stand in as a worthy substitute.

Cumin Powder: Cumin adds an earthy, warm dimension that complements the other spices gracefully. If your cumin stock has run dry, try ground caraway seeds, which share a similar flavour profile.

Dried Fenugreek Leaves (Methi): This ingredient imparts a slightly sweet, nutty essence to the dish. If unavailable, consider using a pinch of celery seed or fennel seed as a stand-in.

Salt: An indispensable ingredient in any recipe, salt elevates all the other flavours. Regular table salt serves perfectly well, but feel free to experiment with sea salt or Himalayan pink salt for a distinct nuance.

Chilli Powder: For that extra zing, chilli powder is a must. Adjust according to your heat preference. If you desire less heat, opt for paprika or a milder chilli powder.

Turmeric Powder (Haldi): Turmeric introduces a lovely golden hue and a warm, understated flavour. It also boasts anti-inflammatory benefits. If you’ve run out of turmeric, a pinch of mild curry powder can save the day.

Oil: It keeps the chicken moist and ensures even cooking. Any neutral-flavoured oil, such as vegetable or canola oil, works splendidly. Olive oil, for a distinct taste, can be an alternative.

Garlic: Last but not least, garlic. It contributes depth and a punch of flavour that’s unbeatable. In a pinch, garlic paste or garlic powder can be suitable replacements.

There you have it, each ingredient broken down, with its unique contribution and possible alternatives. This melange of ingredients transforms chicken tandoori into a globally adored dish. Now, let’s proceed to the art of selecting the perfect chicken for our culinary masterpiece!

Selecting the Perfect Chicken for Tandoori

In my quest to master the art of crafting tandoori chicken, I’ve discovered that the type of chicken you choose can significantly influence the outcome. After numerous trials and a fair share of errors, I’ve concluded that chicken legs strike the perfect balance for this recipe.

Why chicken legs, you ask? Well, chicken legs consist of two parts – the drumstick and the thigh. This dark meat is more flavorful and juicier than the white meat found in chicken breasts. The rich taste of the dark meat pairs splendidly with the intricate spice blend of the tandoori marinade, and its inherent fattiness ensures the meat remains moist during high-heat roasting.

Furthermore, the leg portions are more forgiving when subjected to the intense heat of the oven (or a traditional tandoor, if you’re fortunate enough to have one).

While chicken breasts can swiftly dry out if slightly overcooked, legs are less susceptible to this culinary mishap. The result is tender, juicy meat imbued with the flavors of the marinade.

That said, it’s imperative to note that the best chicken for your tandoori chicken recipe is the one you and your family relish the most. After all, the most significant ingredient you can add to any recipe is a sprinkle of love and a dash of joy!

Dairy Substitutes in Tandoori Chicken

Diving into the world of tandoori chicken, you’ll discover that yoghurt plays a pivotal role in the recipe. The creamy tang of yoghurt harmonises beautifully with aromatic spices, and its acidity aids in tenderizing the chicken, resulting in a delectably tender and succulent dish.

But what if dairy isn’t your preference? Fear not, for I’ve tried and tested alternatives that work just as wonderfully. One of my top choices is coconut yoghurt.

Its consistency closely mirrors that of regular yoghurt, and the subtle sweetness it brings complements the spices in the tandoori marinade beautifully. It also holds its form well under heat, akin to regular yoghurt, ensuring a delightful char on your chicken.

Another dairy-free alternative I’ve found success with is almond yoghurt. It shares characteristics with coconut yogurt, including thickness and the ability to withstand heat. It doesn’t impart any discernible almond flavor to the dish, allowing the spices to retain their position as the stars of your tandoori chicken.

While traditional tandoori chicken uses dairy yogurt, these alternatives extend the opportunity for everyone to savour this dish, irrespective of dietary constraints.

Whether you’re lactose intolerant, following a vegan path, or simply exploring a fresh twist on the traditional recipe, these dairy substitutes enable you to savour a scrumptious tandoori chicken!

Achieving the Iconic Red Hue in Homemade Tandoori Chicken

When it comes to tandoori chicken, one characteristic that instantly catches your eye is its radiant red hue. I must confess that, initially, achieving this at home seemed daunting to me.

However, I discovered the secret ingredient to be Kashmiri chilli. Its vibrant colour and mild heat make it the perfect candidate for adding that iconic redness without setting your palate ablaze!

The beauty of Kashmiri chilli is its ability to offer a unique blend of color and flavor.

It possesses a very mild level of heat, making it perfect for dishes like tandoori chicken, where the goal is to impart color without overwhelming spiciness. Its distinct flavor, a fusion of sweetness and pungency, seamlessly complements the other spices in the marinade.

However, Kashmiri chilli may not always be readily available. In such cases, don’t worry, for there are alternatives! I’ve found that a combination of paprika and cayenne pepper does the job.

Paprika, especially the sweet or mild variety, imparts a lovely red colour without introducing any heat. Meanwhile, cayenne pepper brings a touch of spiciness. Adjust the proportions of each according to your heat tolerance.

Nevertheless, remember that food isn’t just about visual appeal. While the red hue of tandoori chicken is iconic, the most crucial aspect is the flavour. So, don’t fret too much about achieving the perfect colour. After all, the joy of cooking lies in the process and the satisfaction of creating something scrumptious!

Check Out My Other Recipes!

As we’ve journeyed together through the aromatic alleys of chicken tandoori, you may find yourself irresistibly drawn to the allure of other delectable offerings within the realm of Indian cuisine. Allow me to tease your taste buds with a sneak peek of what could be your next culinary conquest.

Let’s start by acquainting you with chicken jalfrezi, a delightful fusion of tender chicken chunks and vibrant bell peppers, gently simmered in a luscious tomato-based sauce. The intricate tapestry of spices in this dish will choreograph a flavorful ballet that promises to dazzle your senses.

Now, picture yourself savoring succulent chicken chapli kebabs, a symphony of ground chicken harmoniously blended with aromatic spices and shallow-fried to a mouthwatering golden perfection. Each bite whispers a tale of culinary decadence like no other.

Our gastronomic adventure would be remiss without mentioning the legendary butter chicken. Its velvety, creamy, and exquisitely flavored tomato cream sauce enveloping tender chicken pieces is bound to become a cherished staple in your kitchen, worthy of applause.

Shall we explore contrasting textures next? Enter the aloo pakora, a crispy on the outside and soft on the inside delight that can transform any day into a festive occasion. A harmonious ensemble of potatos and onions embraced by a spiced gram flour batter, these pakoras achieve that perfect crunch with each bite.

And to conclude, let’s revel in the allure of spicy lamb chops – a dish that effortlessly transports the rustic charm of India to your plate. The smoky, succulent lamb chops with their tantalizing charred edges and tangy spice marinade are bound to leave you longing for an encore.

But, my friends, this is merely the tip of the culinary iceberg. The world of Indian appetisers is a vast and captivating realm, teeming with even more enchanting flavors waiting to be discovered. I encourage you to embark on further explorations and, most importantly, share your thoughts and culinary experiences in the comments section below. Your culinary tales and feedback are invaluable contributions to our shared gastronomic adventure.

Tandoori Chicken Legs

Tandoori Chicken Legs

Chicken tandoori is a traditional Pakistani dish full of bold and delicious flavours. Flavoured with yoghurt and a mix of spices this tandoori chicken recipe will taste just as if it were cooked in a tandoor.
4.50 from 6 votes
Sadia Halimah Aziz
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 303kcal


  • 4 Chicken Legs
  • 60 g Yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Tandoori Masala
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • ½ tsp Ginger Powder
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper


  • Add 2-3 deep cuts into each chicken leg piece
  • In a bowl add the yoghurt, olive oil, lemon juice, tandoori masala, Kashmiri chilli powder, salt, chilli powder, ginger powder, garlic powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and black pepper then mix until well combined
  • Add the chicken legs to the marinade and ensure each chicken leg is coated evenly with the marinade
  • Set aside and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour
  • Add the chicken legs onto a foil lined deep pan tray
  • Cook at the top of a preheated oven at 230°C/445°F/gas mark 8 for 10 minutes
  • Flip the chicken legs over then cover with foil and cook for another hour in the oven
  • Your tandoori chicken legs are ready!



Calories: 303kcal
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3 months ago

5 stars
This was SO delicious! We put them on the BBQ instead of in the oven and they were moist and full of flavour! Will be making this again.

The Aziz Kitchen

Salaam and hello everyone!

I’m Sadia, the person behind The Aziz Kitchen. A 20-and-some year-old Muslim aspiring doctor and writer who loves to experiment with cooking, baking and all things food. On this blog you will find my favourite, delicious, family-friendly recipes.

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