Tandoori Chicken Tikka

Chicken skewers cooked with saffron, chilli, garlic & garam masala

Tandoori-Chicken Undoubtedly Tandoori chicken is the king of all tikkas in the tandoor repertoire. Amidst all the street food, kebabs, tikkas, biryanis and grilled meats I’ve scoffed down over the years in India and the UK; this dish is a firm fixture on every restaurant and street cart menu. There is an array of tandoori chicken dishes on offer and a few I have covered on the blog as well including Kali Mirch Murgh Tikka cooked with crushed black pepper and also my favorite recipe Kandhari Murgh Tikka cooked in pomegranate molasses and spices.

Easy to cook, healthy and always a crowd pleaser it’s perfect for this (dare I say sunny!) weather. Nothing better than brightening up a warm day with sunshine, tikkas on the bbq. The smells of the marinated chicken cooking with its moist juices is mouth wateringly good. Sprinkled with chaat masala served in flat bread with a dollop of freshly made mint chutney and some salad.

I recently cooked this for my BBC Newcastle Radio Food chat with Simon Logan and needlessly to say the team in the studio polished it off in no time.

The natural red colouring in my recipe comes from the paprika and chilli powder I use. To enhance the taste as well as the colour add a pinch of crushed saffron strands to the marinade. I prefer chicken thighs which are a more succulent cut though chicken breast works equally well.

This is also the basic marinade that is commonly used to cook the chicken before making Butter Chicken (aka Chicken Tikka Masala).


  1. Add the ginger, garlic and green chilli in a wet grinder and blend to a smooth paste. Mix the yoghurt with the gram flour in a bowl to get rid of any lumps to form a thick paste like consistency. Add the ginger, garlic chilli paste, paprika, chilli powder, garam masala and coriander powder. Also mix in the ground cinnamon, saffron and salt. Stir well and tip in the chicken pieces and mix well making sure to coat them in the thick marinade. Leave to marinate for a few hours or even overnight if you prefer.

  2. Soak wooden skewers in water. Preheat the grill on medium. Shake off the excess marinade and thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers and place them on a wire rack. Cook under the grill for 15-20 minutes. Turn the skewers every 5 minutes & baste with melted butter until the juices run clear and they are cooked through slightly charred around the edges.

    Tandoori chicken (2)

  3. Serve warm over roti or parathas sprinkled with chaat masala and lemon juice along with mint chutney and salad

  • http://www.ursinecuisine.com Vicky @UrsineCuisine

    Wonderful pictures – they make me want to get in the kitchen straight away! I plan to take out the chilli powder and chilli and make it for our 11mth old, with some dhal – gourmet Indian baby food!

    • maunika

      Thanks! One of my fav recipes and easy to cook as well. Maunika.

  • http://www.lounge10.co.uk Katie Lounge 10

    This looks simply delicious! I’m hoping the weather holds out over this bank holiday weekend so I can wheel out the barbecue for a bit of dining entertainment and cook these beauties. Great blog, by the way!

  • http://akulovetravel.blogspot.com/ zila

    some ingredient i never know before..such as mild paprika, garam masala powder and chaat masala

  • Hannah P

    Hi Maunika, I unfortunately don’t have a wet grinder to use for this recipe. Is there an alternative way you could suggest to get the same outcome?
    Thank you in advance 🙂

    • maunika

      Hi Hannah, You could make the paste in a pestle and mortar. Make sure to add a pinch of salt to help with a fine consistency. It will take a little longer and might not be as fine but it will still taste delicious!

    • Nate

      I have no idea what a wet grinder is so i finely grated the ginger, finely chopped the chilli, crushed the garlic then smooshed it all together in a pestle and mortar. Worked great!

      • Maunika Gowardhan


  • Andy

    Recipe looks lovely, could you use normal white flour instead of the gram flour.

  • Chris

    im going to make that this weekend. How do you make the mint chutney?

  • Jennie

    I made this last night and it was delicious! My husband says it’s a keeper 🙂

  • jeff

    This recipe says garam masala but the video with Jamie says cumin? pls advise.
    PS However I’ve been making it, it is delicious!

    • maunika

      Thank you for your comments and glad your have enjoyed cooking this dish. Feel free to follow the recipe on the website for the Butter Chicken.

  • Joseph

    Could you cook this in an oven instead? What temperature and for how long?

    • maunika

      Hi the instructions are for oven assisted. Temperatures and cooking timings in the recipe.

      • Shanaya Hydari

        Hello Maunika! I could not find any instructions for oven use either.

        • Maunika Gowardhan

          Please check the Tandoori Chicken link in the notes above!

  • Sadia Shamima Begum

    Hi maunika, in restaurants the tandoori chicken is red, how can I achieve that color thanks

    • schmin

      in a lot of restaurant they add red food colouring to give it that red colour!

      • Maunika Gowardhan

        Thank you! Best way to achieve that is using the right kind of chilli powder and saffron when making this at home.

        • Kris Williams

          I believe Kashmiri chilli powder has a deeper red colour than most.

          • Maunika Gowardhan

            Yes it does and thats what gives this tikka the required colour!

          • Kris Williams

            Thanks Maunika. Maybe yoy could change the recipe to reflect this?

  • Ankita

    Can we cook this chicken kebab with grill? I don’t have grill at home. So if I want to do shallow fry will that be possible?

    • maunika

      You can shallow fry although adjust cooking times accordingly. Enjoy!

  • Sandra Szabo

    how many does this serve? Thanks.

    • maunika

      Serves 3-4 people. Enjoy!

  • pallavi

    hi…is the gram flour roasted ? can i cook it in the oven instead of a grill?

  • Nadia

    Hi, can I use this recipe with paneer?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes ofcourse! Hope you enjoy it.

  • Qued

    This looks delicious!

  • Eduardo

    Hi, i will try this recipe as soon as i get all the ingredients. Is there any way i can substitute the chat masala powder?
    This looks wonderfull, will share my results 🙂

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Just add lemon juice instead of Chaat Masala.

  • JughedJones

    Is it as easy as doubling or tripling the whole recipe to go 2 or 3 times more?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes you can double it!

  • Natasha Sharma

    hello, can we make this on a pan instead of a grill? would the method be the same?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes you can. Fry on a medium heat until cooked through.

      • Natasha Sharma

        Thank you very much. I know this is the thread for tandoori chicken but i only found tomato paste (passata) and not thick puree so could I use that for butter chicken, would it still be 3 tbsps or more would be required? Thank you

        • Maunika Gowardhan

          Passata would work for the gravy just make sure to sieve it so you get a smooth consistency. Enjoy!

  • Martin Kirwan

    Hi Maunika, should you still use the chaat masala and lemon juice if you are using this recipe for the butter chicken? Thanks!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Add the lemon juice to the makhani gravy just to finish it off well.

  • andyoldlabour

    Maunika, Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, it is so much better than the one I have been using – which was already better than most of the ones I had tried from commercial sources.
    Chicken tikka is so versatile, such good value for money and can be used in so many curries.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Glad to hear this:)

  • Katie Blake

    Best recipe ever, I couldn’t find any chaat masala or saffron but was still amazing. Thank you

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      So glad to hear you’ve enjoyed it!:):)

  • L.K

    Can I substitute the chickpeaflour with regular flour?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes you can although half the quantity!

  • Jeremy

    I recently found your recipe from the Jamie Oliver video on Youtube where you cooked butter chicken. In the video you use cumin powder in the marinade for chicken marinade. I don’t see it in this recipe. Is it necessary to include that? Thanks! Excited to make this!

    • Benny V

      I added it and it tasted great.

  • Harry

    Do you need to wear gloves

  • Sally

    The first time I made this in a pan, it was perfect. The second time turned out a little bitter. I am using a grill pan. Do you think might be the reason or do you think I am using too much of a spice?

  • Arian Oraj

    Is there anything you can do with the remaining marinate? I mean,…a sauce or something?

    • Chef Sankkalp

      I use the leftover marinade with fresh mushrooms and cauliflower/broccoli florets for a vegetable tikka option. Give it a go.

  • Pankaj

    Which one is better, chicken breast or chicken thigh fillets?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Either is good!

  • Ashu Tandon

    Hi Maunika – I love this recipe and have a question. I’ve never seen a tikka recipe with gram flour and while i love the overall taste, I keep wondering why we would add gran flour to a grill item. I thought it would be better used if frying?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      The gram flour thickens the marinade. Also it is not a large quantity so blends well in the marinade.

  • Martin

    Hi – is 2 tablespoons of yoghurt correct? There seems to be much more in the with Jamie. Also, there are a few differences in spices and quantities.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      The recipe listed here is correct and 2 tbsp is sufficient yoghurt. You want a rich creamy marinade that will coat the chicken so a little yoghurt goes a long way.

  • Sophia

    Hi Maunika, loved the recipe (it’s become a family favourite!). If I wanted to make it with paneer instead for my veggie friends, how would I tweak the recipe or ingredients?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Hi Sophia, Thank you for your comments so happy to hear you’ve enjoyed it! Yes follow the same recipe for paneer. Just cook it for a little less time as paneer cooks very quickly. Enjoy!

  • Siddhant

    Hi, I don’t have the oven bowl but I instead have a flat oven plate. Is it okay if the chicken is simply placed on the plate rather than on skewers? Also I don’t have chat masala…what can I use instead of it?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Lemon juice instead of chaat masala!

  • gsn

    For anyone wondering, in the UK “medium heat grill” is about 350F/175C. It will be helpful to know exact temperatures in the future.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Grills vary for most people so it can be tricky to give precise temperatures! Hope you enjoyed the recipe;)


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