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Tandoori Chicken

Make this Indian-inspired classic in an air fryer.

tandoori chicken with lemons and red onions
Mike Garten

Searching for a better-than-takeout Indian-inspired dish? Enter: Tandoori Chicken. This flavorful meal consists of juicy, tender chicken loaded with warming, savory spices sure to satisfy any weeknight craving. 

The classic Indian dish is traditionally cooked in a cylindrical clay oven called a tandoor, which gives the chicken a delicious smoky flavor. No tandoor? No problem! This delicious dish can be made at home in an instant pot, a broiler or in our favorite: the air fryer. The fryer keeps the chicken juicy and tender while giving a crisp, golden-brown exterior, all in under 30 minutes! 

There are a few secrets to giving the chicken its signature texture and flavor: the type of chicken used and the marinade. Bone-in dark meat chicken, like legs or thighs, stay juicy during cooking while chicken breasts will dry out more quickly. Tip: The chicken can be marinated for a minimum of 20 minutes, but letting it marinate longer really lets that spicy and irresistible flavor sink in. Plus, with a creamy yogurt marinade filled with garlic and cayenne, you won’t want a drop of it to go to waste! 

If you’re looking for an easy appetizer to please a crowd, a summer chicken recipe, or a new air fryer recipe, look no further than Tandoori Chicken. Serve the flavor-packed dish up with some naan, rice pilaf or a refreshing cucumber salad for some cooling contrast. Trust us, this is a weeknight winner that you’ll be coming back to again and again.

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Cal/Serv: 440
Yields: 4 servings
Total Time: 0 hours 55 mins
1/2 c.

plain yogurt


cloves garlic, grated

1/2 tbsp.

grated fresh ginger

1 tbsp.


1 tsp.

garam masala

1/2 tsp.

ground turmeric

1/2 tsp.

ground coriander 

1/4 tsp.


1 tbsp.

fresh lemon juice


small chicken legs, split

1 tbsp.

olive oil, plus more for air fryer basket

Kosher salt and pepper


small red onions, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges

Lemon wedges and fresh cilantro, for serving 

  1. In medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, garlic, ginger, paprika, garam masala, turmeric, coriander, cayenne, and lemon juice. Add chicken, turn to coat and let sit 20 minutes (and up to 4 hours).
  2. Coat air fryer basket with oil. Remove chicken from marinade, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and arrange, skin side up, in basket. Air-fry at 400°F for 12 minutes. 
  3. Toss onions with oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and scatter around chicken pieces. Air-fry until chicken is cooked through and onions are golden brown and tender, 8 to 12 minutes more. 
  4. Transfer to platter along with lemon wedges and sprinkle with cilantro if desired. 

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per serving): About 440 calories, 23.5 g fat (6 g saturated), 48 g protein, 565 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber

Did you make this recipe? Comment below!

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