Oven Baked Tandoori Chicken

Whole tandoori chicken

Whole tandoori chicken

Recipe: Whole Tandoori Chicken

Categories: Main Dishes; chicken

Accompaniments: Serve with roasted potatoes, vegetables, garden salad and garlic bread

Servings: 4-6


  • 1 small whole chicken (skinned, about 3 lbs)*
  • 2 Tbsp tandoori masala
  • 3 Tbsp unflavored yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ginger paste, divided
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste, heaped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 peeled potato, whole (that fits into the cavity of the chicken)

*This recipe works with cut up chicken too. Cut the chicken into 8 pieces + wings. Adjust cooking times accordingly.

Cooking tools:

  • A deep pan, lined with aluminum foil
  • smaller tray with holes
  • 1 thin metal or bamboo skewer (if using bamboo skewer, soak in water for 20 mins)


  • I usually ask the butcher to skin and gutt the chicken. Also get the neck removed. You really don’t want to be doing it yourself!
  • Wash the whole chicken, trimming off any excess fat. Rub lots of salt on the raw chicken and let it stand for a couple of minutes, then rinse it again. This helps any slick film wash off.
  • Mix together the tandoori masala, yogurt, garlic paste, only 1 Tbsp of ginger paste, lemon juice, chili powder, paprika powder, salt, oil and only 2 Tbsps of the tomato paste to make the marinade.
  • Taste check, add any more of the ingredients if you would like.
  • With the tip of a sharp knife, poke holes all over the chicken, front and back.
  • Rub the marinade all over the chicken, including inside the cavity. Save any marinade for later.
  • Pierce the skewer through the thighs of the chicken to keep them together while they cook.
  • Place the chicken breast up in the pan, cover the chicken with cling film, and let it marinate for a couple of hours in the fridge.
  • Pre-heat the oven on 375° F, remove the cling from the chicken.
  • Stuff the cavity with sliced onions and the potato. The potato will help the chicken hold its shape.
  • Place the tray with the holes in the larger pan. This is to allow the heat to circulate at the bottom. If you do not have a tray with holes, place some peeled potatoes to elevate the chicken from the bottom of the tray.
Raw chicken on holed tray

Raw chicken on holed tray

Skewer the thighs together and tuck the wing into the thigh to help the chicken hold its shape

Skewer the thighs together and tuck the wing into the thigh to help the chicken hold its shape

  • Place chicken on tray breast side down. Save any marinade for later.
  • Cover the pan loosely with foil (like a tent) and let the chicken bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and broil for 5-7 minutes for the chicken to develop some color.
  • Lower the heat back to 375° F,  turn the chicken over, so the breast is up.
  • Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes more. Remove potato from cavity.
  • Check the chicken if it is done. To do this poke a knife through the thickest parts of the breast and thigh and see if it is all white for the breast and slightly grey for the leg, not pink. Also, if any ‘juices’ run out, they should be clear. If it is all cooked, turn up the oven to broil setting and let the chicken broil for 5-7 minutes. Remove skewer
Tandoori chicken

Tandoori chicken

  • Now to make the gravy, heat some oil in a small pot. Add all the left over marinade, the remaining tomato paste (2 Tbsp) and 1/2 Tbsp ginger paste. Add 1/4 cup water.
  • Keep stirring and let most of the water evaporate. Taste check again. You can adjust spice as you like. The consistency of the gravy should be on the thicker side.


  • Place the nicely browned chicken into a serving platter and garnish with onions and cilantro.



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