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Tandoori Chicken Skewers

Let’s make some delicious Tandoori Inspired Chicken Skewers! They’re the perfect 30 minute dinner that’s packed with flavor and that the whole family will LOVE.

What Is Tandoori Chicken?

Tandoori chicken gets its name from tandoor which is a cylindrical clay oven that the chicken is typically roasted in. It’s marinaded in a very bright and vibrant sauce thanks to the yogurt and citrus like lime juice. If you’ve ever ordered Tandoori Chicken from an Indian restaurant, you’ve probably wondered how they get that bright red color. The secret is actually adding a bit of red dye which is optional. In this recipe, the turmeric, mild chili powder, and paprika give it a nice natural color. If you’d like to go for that restaurant-style look, add a drop or 2 of red dye.  

To add on, more traditional Tandoori Chicken is typically made with bone in chicken legs or drumsticks. That’s why I say this recipe is only inspired by Tandoori Chicken. It has all the amazing and beautiful flavors of Tandoori Chicken but just presented differently. 

How to Make Tandoori Chicken Skewers?

To make tandoori chicken skewers, the process is super simple! The chicken can be marinaded a day in advance to save you time the next day. If you don’t have time to let it marinade, you can spice them up and throw them onto skewers to cook right away and it’s still delicious. That’s how you know we’ve packed so much flavor into this recipe.


1. Season the chicken: Feel free to use boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breast! Chicken thighs can cook longer in the oven without drying out, allowing you to get more browning but as long as you follow this recipe, the chicken breast comes out super juicy too! The cubed chicken is seasoned to perfection using:

  • Fresh Ginger: Make sure it’s a puree or finely minced. If you don’t have fresh ginger, you can add 1 teaspoon of ground ginger. I’ve also made this recipe without using any ginger once and it was amazing.
  • Fresh Garlic: Minced! Make sure to use fresh. It makes so much of  difference here.
  • Garam Masala: A popular spice blend found in Indian cuisine. It is sold at most grocery stores.
  • Salt: Of course!
  • Turmeric: This gives it a beautiful bright orange color!
  • Coriander: To brighten the flavor with a citrus taste. This is the ground spice not the fresh herb cilantro.
  • Cumin: It adds a lot of depth to this flavor profile.
  • Paprika: Just regular paprika, not smoked.
  • Mild Chili Powder: Also known as Kashmiri Chili Powder, it adds a lot of flavor without adding spiciness. It also helps the marinade develop a red color. If you would like to add some heat, you can use a bit of cayenne pepper to taste.
  • Lime Juice: Juice from 1 whole lime. It adds such a nice tang to balance out all the spices.
  • Olive Oil: This can also be swapped for vegetable oil.
  • Plain Yoghurt: The secret to keeping the chicken super tender.
  • Optional Red Dye: If you would like a deeper red color, add a drop or two of red dye to the marinade.

2. Cover and let it marinade: The longer you let it marinade, the longer the flavors can develop. You can prep it the day before and let it sit in the fridge or just for 30 minutes to an hour right before you cook them. There’s also the option of cooking them right away which I have tried and still LOVED.

3. Thread the chicken on to skewers: After marination, it’s time to thread onto skewers. If using wooden skewers, just make sure to soak them in warm water for 25 to 30 minutes to prevent them from burning. Don’t worry about this if using non-wooden skewers. Depending on how many chicken pieces you thread on to a skewer, this recipe can make 5 to 7 skewers. 

4. Cook! Last but not least, it’s time to cook. You have the option of cooking them in the oven, on the grill, or on a stove top grill. Either way, they’ll turn out great! Half way through cooking them , I like to baste them with any juices that leak into the pan along with ghee. 

What to Serve It With?

My favorite way to enjoy this is with some garlic naan, basmati rice, and a cilantro sauce that’s so easy to make. To make the cilantro sauce, I add a whole bunch of cilantro, two whole jalapeños with the seeds and stem removed, plain yoghurt, mayonnaise, Mexican crema, garlic cloves, paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper, and some lime juice all to taste. Once you try it, you’ll want to put it on everything.

Tips & Notes

  • Make sure to soak wooden skewers in warm water for 20 to 30 minutes before placing them in the oven or on the grill. This will prevent them from burning.
  • If you like it spicy, add cayenne pepper to taste.
  • You can cook these on the grill or in the oven. The grill will give you more charring but it’s still flavorful and juicy when you make it in the oven.
  • If cooking in the oven, collect the juices in a tray and use them to baste the skewers. Also baste with ghee in the oven or on the grill for extra flavor and juiciness. 


Tandoori Chicken Skewers

Let's make some delicious Tandoori Inspired Chicken Skewers! They're the perfect 30 minute dinner that's packed with flavor and that the whole family will LOVE.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6


  • 1.5 pounds chicken breast or boneless, skinless chicken thighs cubed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger minced or paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons mild chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder optional
  • juice of 1 whole lime
  • ghee for basting, optional


  • In a large bowl, add the cubed chicken along with the olive oil, plain yogurt, ginger, garlic, all the spices, and lime juice. Mix well and allow the chicken to marinade for at least 30 minutes. The longer the better!
  • Soak wooden skewers in warm water for 20 minutes to prevent them from burning in the oven or on the grill.


  • Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Make sure to grease the grill by brushing it with oil to avoid the skewers from sticking.
  • Add the skewers to the grill and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Optional, baste the skewers by brushing with ghee on each side once while they cook. Once cooked through, take off the grill and serve hot!


  • If using chicken thighs, preheat oven to 450°F. Line a tray with foil and add a wire rack on top. Spray the wire rack to avoid any sticking and place the skewers on. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through in the center. Take out of the oven and serve hot.
  • If using chicken breast, preheat oven to 450°F. Line a tray with foil and add a wire rack on top. Spray the wire rack to avoid any sticking and place the skewers on. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes. Then switch to broil just for 2 to 3 minutes to get some nice browning on the skewers. Take out of the oven when cooked through and serve hot.
Keyword 30 minute dinner, barbecue recipe, BBQ, indian food
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