tandoori chicken kebabs

$3.95 recipe / $1.32 serving

Ahhh, I’m really excited about this one. This has to be one of the best chicken marinades I’ve ever made. The best part is, you could use this marinade for just about anything, you don’t have to make kebabs! Marinate whole chicken breasts, chicken thighs, vegetables or even tofu… The marinade is just plain fantastic.

The tandoori marinade comes together fairly quickly but you’ll want to let it sit, soak and marinate for at least four hours if not over night. So, think ahead just a bit and prepare this the night before. Then when you’re ready to cook, just take it out, slap it on the grill (or George Foreman) and you’ll be eating in no time.

If you don’t have any turmeric, I’d be confident saying the marinade will still be killer. Curry powder would also be pretty awesome in there.

Oh yeah, I buy large, 5 lb. packs of chicken breasts for the discounted price and then freeze packs of two. So, this recipe calls for two breasts which gave me about three servings (2 kebabs each). The amount of marinade that this recipe makes could easily support four chicken breasts. Any more than that and you’ll want to double the marinade ingredients.

Tandoori Chicken Kebabs

tandoori chicken kebabs

tandoori chicken kebabs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $3.95
Cost Per Serving: $1.92
Serves: 3
  • 2 large chicken breasts $2.48
  • ½ cup plain yogurt $0.25
  • 1 med lemon, juiced $0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.14
  • ½ med yellow onion $0.16
  • 2 inches fresh ginger $0.31
  • ½ tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala $0.15
  • ½ tsp paprika $0.05
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • ½ tsp turmeric $0.05
  1. Trim the fat from the chicken and slice into thin strips. Place the chicken strips in a large freezer bag or glass dish for it to to hold the marinade.
  2. Finely dice the onion and garlic and peel and grate the ginger. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and the rest of the ingredients to the bag with the chicken. Close the top and mix all of the ingredients well. Place in the refrigerator to marinate at least four hours or over night.
  3. After marinating, place the chicken strips on skewers and grill (I put two chicken strips per skewer). If using a George Foreman grill, preheat the grill for five minutes. Place the kebabs on the grill and cook for three minutes. Flip the kebabs and cook for three minutes more to achieve grill marks on both sides.


Serve the kebabs over jasmine rice or with dal nirvana and naan.

Step By Step Photos

frozen chickenI always buy a huge 5 lb. pack of chicken because it’s at least a dollar less per pound. Then, when I get home, I split it up into bags of two breasts each and refreeze.

trimmed chickensliced chicken breast stripsTrim the fat off of the chicken and cut into thin strips.

marinade ingredientsThese are the ingredients for the marinade: yogurt, lemon, onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala, paprika and cayenne. Plus salt and turmeric (I forgot to put those in the picture).

grate gingerTo easily “mince” the ginger just peel with a vegetable peeler then run it across a cheese grater. It takes seconds and there is no fumbling with a knife!

marinade bagAdd all of the ingredients to the marinade bag, close it up and then mix really good. Dice the onion and garlic as small as possible so the maximum amount of flavor leaches out of them. Marinate the chicken over night or for at least four hours in the refrigerator.

turmericI ended up adding a teaspoon of turmeric for that classic yellow tandoori color. Just beware, turmeric will stain everything… even your finger nails.

skewered tandoori chickenString the marinated chicken strips onto skewers… or just grill them by themselves. They’ll taste the same either way!

tandoori chicken on grillPreheat the grill for five minutes then place a few skewers on. Close the lid and cook for three minutes.

flip and grill moreFlip the skewers and grill for three minutes more. I did this because the bottom side was in contact with all of the liquids dripping off and therefore did not achieve nice grill marks. After flipping and cooking longer, both sides had grill marks.

tandoori chicken kebabs
These kebabs were made for laying on top a bed of rice pilaf.

Kebabs are really difficult to photograph but I forgive them because they taste so good.


  1. Vans says:

    I cant seem to find any Garam Masala anywhere, I wonder if I can do without it or would the whole recipe taste different? Also can anyone suggest any substitutes for this? Thanks!!

    • Yes, the garam masala is very important to the flavor of this, but you can make up your own blend if you can’t find it. Here is a simple recipe for the blend, so even if you don’t have all of the ingredients you can wing it with at least some of them.

  2. Jennifer says:

    We tried something similar with another recipe (like but different) and made the peanut sauce and laid the chicken in Bibb lettuce leaves with the peanut sauce and some cilnatro. Like lettuce wraps.

  3. Lauren – You could try cooking them under the broiler in your oven (a few inches from the heat), although I’ve never tried that. As always with broiler cooking, keep a close eye on them. It cooks fast!

  4. Hmmm. How should we cook the chicken if we don’t have an indoor grill?

  5. Erin says:

    I’ve made this a few times now and it is so delicious. My young kids eat it up. Fabulous recipe.

  6. This is a fantastic recipe that I have made twice now. My boyfriend absolutely LOVES it. I also include the lemon zest in the marinade, because I figured, why not? Extra lemony goodness can never really be a bad thing.

    I serve my kebabs with basmati rice and a summer veggie saute. The veggie saute I make to accompany the kebabs consists of zucchini and yellow summer squash sliced into half-moons, corn (you can use frozen, canned & drained, or already cooked corn on the cob, just slice the kernels off and throw ’em in at the end), a drizzle of olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a few dashes of thyme. The veggies are naturally sweet and flavorful, and they complement the spicy kebabs perfectly in my opinion!

    Thanks again for the awesome recipe Beth! I always look forward to trying more of them. I believe that (not) butter chicken is next on the list :)

  7. Ooops, yes, it is the lemon juice… I will write that in. Thanks for catching that!

  8. Anonymous says:

    What did you do with the lemon? Use the juice? Zest? Both?

  9. Anonymous says:

    You used free range chicken I hope? Cheap chicken is cheap for many reasons – none of them good.

  10. I think the red color of the tandoori chicken you often see in restaurants is the result of food coloring. Just add a few drops if you want to see red!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Tandoori Chicken look truly yum and mouth watering.

  12. I’ve never seen yellow tandoori either…but this looks and sounds delicious! We keep our pantry stocked with Indian ingredients, so this could easily be made with what’s on hand…my favorite kind of recipe. I am definitely going to try it!!

  13. Fargo – hmm, all of the tandoori I’ve had has been yellow but it could be a simple case of paprika/turmeric ratio! Just add more paprika or cayenne if you like a red tandoori.

    I think I’ll be adding more cayenne next time. Although there was TONS of flavor, it wasn’t exactly hot… and I like spicy :D

  14. That looks delicious and so easy. I love Indian food.

  15. Fargo says:

    This looks great, and I love your blog, but whenever I get tandoori chicken it’s red, not yellow, so your comment about that confuses me some.

  16. Seth says:

    Sweet! I didn’t know you could do tandoori without a tandoor! Foreman FTW? Score! 8-1

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