Grilled Tandoori Chicken

Sometimes the best meat is the cheapest meat.

If you want pulled pork, do you need to use pork tenderloin? Of course not. A cheep pork shoulder or butt is the perfect cut of meat to create tender pulled pork on a bun.

If you are making beef stew should you get the most expensive cut of beef? Now way, a nice marbled chuck roast is what is needed.

Making tandoori chicken…… should you get boneless skinless chicken breast. Nope. Instead, get chicken drumsticks and you will not be disappointed.

Tandoori chicken is an amazingly simple way to make grilled chicken drumsticks. All that is required is about 5 minutes to make the marinade a couple hours prior to grilling time. Make the marinade, mix it with the chicken, wait a couple hours, grill and that is all!

Some recipes use annatto seed, red chili pepper or paprika to give the red colour, but that deep red seen on a lot of tandoori chicken is, many times, food colouring.If you do not care whether it is red or not then simply omit it from the recipe.

Yield: 8 people

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

Grilled Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori chicken is easy to make with only 5-10 minutes of prep. Tandoori chicken is typically deep red in colour and full of Indian spice and flavour! Easy instructions for how to grill chicken drumsticks.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes


  • 16 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 inch ginger, peeled
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • red food colouring, (optional)


  1. Prepare the tandoori marinade by blending everything except the yogurt, food colouring and chicken in a food processor. Process until a smooth paste is formed. Blend in the yogurt and a few drops of red food colouring.
  2. Mix the marinade in with the chicken drumsticks and marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.
  3. Cook on a grill set to medium high until cooked through, around 30 minutes.


About Steve Cylka

Steve is the author of The Black Peppercorn. He is a recipe developer and food photographer. His recipes have been featured on websites like Bradley Smoker, Times Picayune, Buzzfeed, and Basil & Salt. He has also authored and co-authored a couple cookbooks.


  1. Great recipe! and wallet friendly too! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Hi Steve, These look great and sound tasty. On my to try list for sure.


  3. This just looks so darn good, Steve. Chicken drumsticks are perfect for grilling and that spice rub does a great job of dressing them up.

  4. HAD to pin this one, those look incredible.

  5. Those drumsticks look amazing! I love tandoori chicken and this looks like a great recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Love tandoori and this one seems not to stick to the grill.

  7. Steve this looks fantastic!! The grill really makes the tandoori chicken look beautiful with it’s slight char and grill marks. That is the one dish I have to do in the oven and it never looks this good!! Well done!

  8. I concur….cheap meat can be the best meat. just needs some love.

  9. Oh my, that looks to die for. What a lovely marinade 🙂

  10. These sound so flavorful…great recipe…thanks!

  11. Sounds good and love that it looks simple to make!

    Want to come add it to our March @IndianFoodPalooza…would love to have it be a part of the foods we’re sharing.

  12. Very unique yet simple method of preparation…!!
    great job!!!

  13. I am looking to try my hand at Tandoori chicken (and this one looks wonderfully simple, thank you for being clear and concise) but I have a question about the yogurt. Is there a particular kind I should use? If it is a kind that is easily obtainable (existing at grocery stores or a not too uncommon specialty shop, for example), that would be great.
    Any help is appreciated! Thanks!

    • I would just use a plain yogurt. Not flavoured (i.e. french vanilla, etc). Just a simple, plain 2% yogurt found in any supermarket should do the trick.

    • I would just use a plain yogurt. Not flavoured (i.e. french vanilla, etc). Just a simple, plain 2% yogurt found in any supermarket should do the trick. I would also marinate the chicken overnight rather than just the two hours recommended in the recipe.

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