Healthy and Easy Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Healthy Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Chances are you have heard of Tandoori chicken, but do you know where it originated? You may have already guessed Tandoori chicken hails from India. You may not know it was first popularized by the Moti Mahal restaurant in New Delhi in the late 1940s.

Traditionally, this dish is marinated in various spices, including (but not limited to) garam masala, cayenne pepper, turmeric, paprika, ginger, and garlic. When I’m making it for a larger group, though, I tend to forego the cayenne pepper and allow folks to add the heat at their desired level. I also like to double up on the turmeric for its health benefits.

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This dish gets its name from the cooking method—that is, in a Tandoor oven.

Not to worry if you’re like me and can’t get your hands on one. You can also cook in the oven, stovetop, grill, or flattop. I prepare mine in the oven first and then transfer it to the grill for a nice sear and crispy finish.

Since the tandoor oven gives this dish its signature smoky flavor, you can add some liquid smoke if you like, which would offer a similar flavor profile.

I like using drumsticks for this recipe, which one could argue is reserved for frying chicken. However, this recipe is much lighter and doesn’t contain any heavy cream or gravies, making it a healthier way to enjoy drumsticks with fewer calories, more protein, and healthier fats.


Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Healthy Tandoori Chicken

Tasty and healthy Indian food at home.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: tandoori
Servings: 4
Calories: 228kcal


  • 8 chicken drumsticks skin removed
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp lemon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper optional


  • Remove the skin from the chicken drumsticks and score them with a knife.
  • Combine all marinade ingredients in a sealable bag or a bowl.
  • Add chicken to marinade and cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour but no more than 24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F for 30 – 35 minutes, covered.
  • Remove from oven and grill until desired sear.


Chef Note: You can also simply cook start to finish in the oven or the grill or your preferred cooking method.
Chef Note: You may notice the color of my dish is not the traditional “red” color that you are accustomed to. This is due to the removal of the cayenne pepper and the addition of the extra turmeric.  😉 If you add the full tablespoon of cayenne, it will look more traditional.


Calories: 228kcal | Fat: 11g | Protein: 27g | Carbohydrates: 6g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!