Tandoori Chicken – without a Tandoor



Tandoori Chicken is a very popular dish in India traditionally made in a Tandoor i.e., a clay oven. At home the same can be achieved using a conventional oven or a barbeque grill. I have used a conventional oven here.


Prep time: 20 minutes to make the marinade and about 5 to 6 hrs to refrigerate

Cook time: 45 to 50 mins at 500F

Serves: 4 to 6



– Chicken drumsticks – 6 or 8

– Turmeric powder – 2 tsps

– Red Chilli powder – 2n1/2 tsps

– Cinnamon powder – 1/4 tsp

– Cloves whole or powdered – 1/4 tsp

– Coriander powder – 1/4 tsp

– Cumin powder – 1/4 tsp

– Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tsp

– Salt – 1n1/2 tsp or as per taste

– Yogurt – 2 tsps

– Lime juice – 1n1/2 tsp

– Onions – 1 small (optional)

– Green chillies – 3 or 4 (optional)

– Coriander/Cilantro – few for the marinade, few for garnish


1. In a mixing bowl, take all the spices (turmeric + red-chilli + cinnamon + cloves powder + coriander + cumin + ginger-garlic paste + salt) and mix well. To this, add some coriander leaves, lime juice and yogurt. If using chopped onions, green chillies and whole cinnamon sticks and cloves add all of these to a blender to make a smooth marinade.

2. Wash the chicken drumsticks under running water thoroughly. Its your choice whether to use the skin or not. I have tried it both ways – with the skin and without it. Pat the drumsticks dry with a paper towel. Take a knife and make a few cuts on each drumstick and set aside.

3. Once, the marinade is ready add the drumsticks to the marinade. Rub the marinade onto each drumstick emaking sure the marinade goes into the cuts made. This will give a nice flavor after cooking them.

4. After making sure the drumsticks are properly coated with the marinade, refrigerate for at-least 5 to 6 hours or overnight.

5. When its time to cook, preheat the oven to about 500 degrees F.

6. In the meanwhile, remove the drumsticks from the refrigerator. Take a baking sheet and line it with aluminum foil. Rub on about 1 or 2 tsps of oil on the aluminum foil so that the pieces don’t stick to the foil while cooking.

7. Making sure there is no excess marinade dripping from the drumsticks place all of them on the baking sheet and place into the oven. If you oven has a timer setting, set it to 35 to 40 minutes or keep a check on the time. When the timer beeps, using oven mitts remove the baking sheet from the oven. Using a fork check if the chicken is properly cooked. Else, place it back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes.

8. When done, remove the drumsticks onto the serving plate with onions and limes on the side. Garnish with few coriander leaves.



Serve with naan or with pulav and mirchi ka salan.




– Usually some red food color is added to the marinade to get the desired orange/red color. I haven’t used it as the spices added gave the required color. Its your choice whether to use the food color or skip it.

– If you don’t have all the required spices, you can as well use store bought masala mix for Tandoori chicken. You should be able to find it in any Indian grocery store.