Oven Baked Tandoori Chicken


by Shubhra Ramineni


Posted on May 22, 2012 at 7:08 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 23 at 7:15 AM

Oven Baked Tandoori Chicken

Recipe courtesy of Shubhra Ramineni from her Indian cookbook,

“Entice with Spice – Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People”


  •  This is my version of tandoori  chicken—the red-hued oven-baked chicken served at almost every Indian restaurant. The bright red hue usually comes from artificial food coloring, but I like to get a hint of natural color by using paprika.  As the name suggests, tandoori chicken is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, which is an open fit pit heated with coal or wood, but you can get similar results in an oven, or you may even use an outdoor grill. I like to make this dish when having a dinner party, since it is so easy to make. I marinate the chicken the day before, and then an hour before the guests arrive, I ask my husband to cook the chicken. Then I place the cooked chicken in a serving platter, cover it with foil, and keep it in the warm oven until dinner is served. This way it does not dry out, stays warm, and make cooking dinner a breeze! Tandoori chicken goes well with the Indian breads Tandoori Roti or Naan and a side of Mint Chutney, along with a curried vegetable dish of your choice. You may even serve this with Fragrant Basmati Rice or Cumin and Peas Rice instead of with bread.

Serves 3 to 4

Prep time: 15 minutes + 1 hour marinating (you may marinate up to 1 day in advance)

Cook time:  30 minutes

Refrigerator Life: 3 days

Freezer Life: 1 month

Reheating Method: Place the refrigerated or defrosted chicken in a warmed oven (about 350°F) and heat. A less preferred method is to heat the chicken in a microwave.


  • Approximately 2 lbs bone-in chicken pieces (thighs and drumsticks)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 onion, sliced into thin circles



  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted and ground (see Tip below)
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons plain yogurt


1. Remove the skin from the chicken pieces. Wash the pieces with cold water and cut deep diagonal slashes in the pieces.

2. Place all of the ingredients for the Marinade in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the chicken to the bowl with the Marinade and mix well, making sure all sides of the chicken and the inside of the slashes are coated with the marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day.

3. Preheat the oven to 500°F. While the oven is heating up, remove the chicken from the refrigerator to allow it to come to room temperature or at least warm up a bit for faster and even cooking.

4.  Spread 1 tablespoon of the oil evenly on a baking sheet.  Place chicken pieces on the oiled baking sheet and pour any excess Marinade over them. Bake for 15 minutes.

5. Using tongs, turn the chicken. Brush on the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Bake for 15 minutes more, or until there are no signs of pink when you insert a knife though the chicken.

6. Remove the chicken from the oven. Sprinkle the lime juice evenly on the chicken. Enjoy now or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze for later! Serve with the onion slices.


On the Grill:  Heat a grill on medium-high heat.  When the grill is heated, place the chicken directly on the grill rack. Close the grill, and check back after 15 minutes to turn the chicken. Close the grill and cook for 10 to 15 more minutes, or until there are no signs of pink when you insert a knife though the chicken. Remove from grill and sprinkle the juice of the remaining lime evenly on the chicken. Serve with the onion slices. Enjoy!


 Tip to Making Ground Roasted Cumin:

1.  Place a small skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is heated, add the cumin seeds.  Roast the seeds until they are dark brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Do not let the cumin seeds burn and turn black. Remove from skillet and place aside.

2.  In a mortar and pestle, add the roasted seeds. Grind to a fine powder. Alternatively, put the seeds on a small piece of foil, fold the foil over the seeds, and roll a rolling pin over them with some force.

3.  Use now or place in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 months.