Easy Tandoori Chicken Air Fryer

Try this tandoori chicken air fryer to easily make a flavorful chicken tandoor that tastes exactly like the original. Spicy, juicy, tender chicken with a slightly charred exterior!

Tandoori chicken air fryer.

Tandoori Chicken Air Fryer Recipe

This delicious tandoori chicken cooked in an air fryer is incredibly easy to make and has a flavorful taste. Juicy, tender chicken with a crispy, smoky, and charred exterior! It’s a delicious low-carb meal that tastes precisely like authentic chicken tandoori! 

Air fried tandoori chicken.

Everyone in my family loves homemade tandoori chicken! Why wouldn’t they? The tasty grilled chicken with the lovely aromas of traditional Asian spices goes perfectly together. On top of that, it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare such a tasty meal at home. 

Curious about how it’s possible?

Let me introduce you to the gadget of the decade: air fryer.

An air fryer is an excellent option for a lighter way to make tandoori chicken. This recipe is easy to follow and yields a savory, delectable tandoori chicken that will fulfill your hunger. The pleasure of fried food can still be enjoyed without the excess oil and calories when you use an air fryer. Additionally, it’s a fuss-free meal that’s quick and simple to make.

What is Tandoori Chicken?

Tandoori Chicken is a popular Indian dish that is usually made with bone-in chicken, marinated in a yogurt-based marinade, seasoned with garam masala, fresh chili, ginger, garlic, and onion, and then grilled in a tandoor or clay oven.

I used boneless, skinless chicken legs for this recipe because my boys prefer boneless chicken, which cooks faster than bone-in chicken.

Still, the tandoori marinade masala is versatile enough to be used with other chicken parts like bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks.

When it comes to cooking, I don’t have a tandoor at home. I don’t think many people have it nowadays, anyway. So I cook this tandoori chicken in the oven, grill, or air fryer. The latter is my favorite as it is the most energy-friendly kitchen gadget, in my opinion.

In essence, this grilled chicken is similar to chicken tikka. The difference is that chicken tandoori uses food coloring to give that vibrant red or orange color. Chicken tikka has a yellow color from turmeric.

The extension to these succulent chicken dishes is butter chicken and chicken tikka masala, which both have added masala sauce once the grilled chicken is done.

This recipe will help you make incredible tandoori chicken in an air fryer. If you like air fryer recipes, try these crispy and spicy roast potatoes in air fryer and air fry butternut squash with feta cheese.

Why You’ll Like This Tandoori Chicken Recipe

  • Flavorful: The combination of spices in the marinade gives the dish a burst of flavor.
  • Quick & Easy: After letting the chicken marinate, all that’s left to do is cook it in the air fryer until it’s done. So it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare your dinner.
  • Versatile: There are many ways to serve this delicious chicken. It can be the main dish (if served with naan or rice), a side dish, or even a snack. You can also add it to salads or sandwiches as a source of protein.
  • Leftover: The leftover chicken tandoori can be used to make butter chicken by cooking it in tomato sauce.
  • Various Cooking Methods: You can bake, pan-fry, grill, or cook this recipe over a barbecue.
  • Nutritious:  Air frying involves no oil, so this air-fried chicken has less fat and calories.
  • Texture: When you cook chicken legs in an air fryer, the outside gets crispy while the inside stays juicy. The texture and taste are both excellent.
Tandoori chicken air fryer.

Ingredients

Surprisingly, a few ingredients are required to make this delectable restaurant-style tandoori chicken at home. The following ingredients will help you quickly put a tasty dinner on the table:

  • Chicken: I usually prefer and suggest using boneless skinless chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts because breasts are easier to overcook, making them dry and rubbery, whereas thighs stay soft and juicier. 
  • Salt: Everything is brightened by a pinch of salt.
  • Lemon Juice: The flavor of freshly squeezed lemon juice is far greater than that of bottled juice.
  • Yogurt: Use plain, full-fat yogurt. For lactose intolerance, you can use dairy-free, plain, full-fat yogurt.
  • Onion: Gives a pleasant sweetness.
  • Garlic: For more flavor, use fresh.
  • Ginger: An additional essential component that enhances the marinade’s peppery flavor.
  • Fresh chili: To give the dish an extra burst of flavor.
  • Garam masala: To bring out authentic flavors, use homemade garam masala.
  • Yellow food coloring (optional) 
  • Red food coloring (optional)

How To Make Restaurant-Style Tandoori Chicken?

Prepare the Chicken: First, clean, rinse, and cut the chicken with a sharp knife. Add the salt and lemon juice to the chicken. Stir to coat the chicken evenly. Pierce every piece of chicken with a fork or skewer.

Prepare Tandoori Chicken Marinade: To make the marinade blend, put the yogurt, roughly chopped onion, ginger garlic paste, fresh chili, and garam masala together in a food processor. Blend all ingredients thoroughly until a vivid, silky marinade.

Marinate the Chicken: Add the chicken thighs to the marinade and flip to coat in the sauce. Make sure the chicken is well-coated with the tandoori marinade. If using food coloring, add it now and stir once more. Cover the bowl with cling film and let it marinate for at least twenty minutes.

Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer for 5 minutes at 356°F/ 180°C. By doing so, the chicken will cook evenly and get the right crispiness.

Chicken on Skewers: When you’re ready to cook, take the chicken out of the marinade and put it on skewers. If preferred, use a parchment paper liner to line the air fryer. 

Air Fry The Chicken: In the air fryer basket, arrange the chicken skewers and cook the chicken for 25 minutes until the chicken is done and the juice runs clear. Brush the excess marinade to baste the chicken.

Photo collage of how to make tandoori chicken in air fryer.

If using chicken with bones, place it on the air fryer basket or liner and follow the above cooking instructions.

Take the chicken out of the air fryer when it is cooked through. Serve with salad, chutneys, and naan bread. 

NOTE: Please use these times as a guide. As every air fryer is different, you may have to adjust the temperature and cooking time according to the model you have. See your manual for more instructions.

Pro Tips For Easy Tandoori Chicken

Here are some pro tips to make juicy tandoori chicken at home:

  • Take the chicken pieces that are similar in size every time. If not, cook the larger, thicker pieces first, then add the smaller, thinner pieces halfway through. Avoid overcooking and having stringy chicken.
  • Don’t have an air fryer? You can still make this recipe using a skillet. Heat a skillet over high heat, add ghee with a high smoke point, and cook for 4-5 minutes per size.
  • Before you begin, ensure you have the correct size bamboo skewers – will they fit inside your air fryer? Yes, excellent! No, simply cut them.
  • To avoid over-cooking, use a meat thermometer.

Variations & Suggestions

  • Use paprika or Kashmiri chili powder for heat and lovely color.
  • Using oil in the marinating and the baste helps the chicken stay moist.
Chicken tandoori cooked in air fryer.

Storage Suggestions

Store: You can store leftover chicken in the fridge for up to four days. Refrigerate cooked chicken in a clean, airtight container.

Reheat: When ready to eat, reheat in the oven or a pan over the stovetop, then serve!

Freeze: Honestly, if we’re talking about freezing cooked or grilled chicken, I’d say NO.

It would be better if you freeze the marinated chicken or marinade in sections in zipper freezer bags or a clean, airtight container.

Before air frying, defrost it overnight in the fridge. Continue cooking according to your preferred method, and then enjoy. The marinated chicken will keep well in the freezer for up to three months.

What To Serve With Tandoori Chicken?

You can enjoy this delicious chicken in a variety of ways. Here are some variations of serving chicken tandoori, just like what you get from your favorite Indian restaurant.

  • Serve as an appetizer on its own.
  • Serve as an appetizer with green cilantro mint chutney, tomato chili chutney, or with your favorite dip.
  • Serve tandoori chicken with naan bread, your favorite grain, rice, and salad.
  • Dip into raita or tzatziki.
  • Add to wraps: Wrap some chicken in a warm tortilla with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions for an easy and quick meal.

FAQS

What Makes Tandoori Chicken Fire Red?

Although the spices certainly play a role in the chicken’s color, red food coloring is typically used to give it its fire-red hue.

Can I Add Veggies To Tandoori Chicken Skewer?

Yes, adding roasted vegetables is a great idea and very easy. Add broccoli, onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, and yellow squash. Because cooking times differ between meat and vegetables, it’s sometimes easier to build skewers with similar items on the same skewer.

What Can I Make With Leftover Chicken Tandoori?

Cut the extra chicken for chicken salad and mix it with yogurt, cucumbers, and nuts. Add some chaat masala or other spices to make it spicier.

For chicken wraps, put chicken chunks, cucumber pieces, and either curry sauce or yogurt dressing in the flour tortillas.

Flavorful Tandoori Chicken!

Without a doubt, you will like this classic Indian flavorful Chicken Tandoori Recipe, regardless of whether you choose to make it in an air fryer, oven, or on the stove. Remember to share this great recipe with your Facebook and Pinterest friends so they may try it out for themselves!

Tandoori chicken air fryer.
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5 from 1 vote

Chicken Tandoori Recipe

Try this tandoori chicken air fryer to easily make a flavorful chicken tandoori that tastes exactly like the original. Spicy, juicy, tender chicken with a slightly charred exterior!
Author: Devy Dar
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Marinate20 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Side Dish, Snacks & Starters
Cuisine: Indian, Pakistani
Servings: 3 people

Equipment

  • Kitchen knife
  • Chopping board
  • Food processor or food chopper
  • Skewers
  • Air fryer Or Instant Pot that has an air fryer feature
  • Air fryer liner/ parchment paper

Ingredients

  • 1.3 pounds boneless skinless chicken or chicken legs
  • ½ salt or to taste
  • ½ lemon
  • ¾ cup milliliters natural yogurt
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 1 clove garlic peeled
  • ½ inch ginger peeled
  • 1 fresh chili
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon yellow food coloring optional
  • ¼ teaspoon red food coloring optional

Instructions

  • Prepare the chicken and cut it into 1.5-inch chunks. Place the chicken pieces in a bowl.
  • Add the salt to the chicken and squeeze the lemon juice. Stir the poultry to ensure every piece is covered with salt and lemon juice. Using a fork or a skewer, pierce every piece of chicken. This will help the chicken to absorb the marination. Set it aside.
  • Peel and roughly chop the onion and garlic. Then, put them in a food processor or chopper’s bowl.
  • Add yogurt, ginger, garlic, chili, and garam masala to the food processor. Blend until everything becomes a smooth sauce.
  • Add the yogurt spice to the chicken. Stir well until all chicken pieces are coated with the spice mix. Add the food coloring (if using) and mix again. Leave it to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
  • When you are ready to cook the chicken, put the chicken pieces on skewers.
  • Line the air fryer with the parchment paper liner if you like.
  • Arrange the chicken skewers inside the air fryer basket liner.
  • Set the air fryer to 15 minutes at 392°F/ 200°C and start.
  • If you use chicken with bones, arrange them on the air fryer basket (or liner). And follow step 9.
  • Serve your chicken tandoori with naan bread, salad, and chutneys.

Notes

  • Some air fryers work more powerfully than others. Please use the cooking time as guidance and check if your chicken is cooked thoroughly at the end of the cooking time.
  • The cooking time in this recipe is based on cooking boneless chicken cut into small pieces (1.5 inches). If your chicken is bigger or if you use chicken with bones, the cooking time will be longer. 
  • Food coloring is used to give the chicken a vibrant color. You can opt-out if you like and add ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder.
  • The longer you marinate the chicken, the better. You can prepare the chicken the night before you want to cook it. This way, the flavor will develop even better.
  • You can use Instant Pot to cook the chicken. Just use the air fryer function on your IP.

Nutrition

Serving: 200grams | Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 279mg | Potassium: 1019mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 211IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 1mg

Disclaimer

Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.

Author: Devy Dar

Title: Food Writer, Recipe Developer, and Digital Content Creator.

Bio:

Devy Dar founded So Yummy Recipes and Drizzling Flavor to share her love of food after exploring various cultures and cuisines for more than two decades. Her mission is to help others easily recreate traditional and non-traditional food with readily available ingredients. Her works have been featured in Reader’s Digest, Al Jazeera, MSN, Yahoo, Bon Appetit, and more. 

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