Grilled Tandoori Chicken Skewers – A Chicken Recipe Worth Making

Jul 7, 2021 | Chicken and Poultry, Recipes

Here on the east coast of Canada, the grilling season is short. You have to make the most of it while you can. Becasue of that, it is easy to get stuck in a rut grilling the same things repeatedly. I hope to help you break free from that rut with this delicious and surprisingly simple Grilled Tandoori Chicken Skewer recipe. Tandoori Chicken is an Indian dish of chicken marinated in yogurt and spices and then cooked in a very hot clay oven known as a Tandoor. You don’t have a Tandoor oven. Neither do I. But, using a hot grill, we can create a very similar dish to what you’d find in an Indian restaurant.

Directly below you will find the written recipe. So, if all you want is the recipe, it is easy to find. If you want more detail, keep reading beyond the recipe for the full walkthrough. Either way, enjoy the post. Let’s get to it!

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Skewers

A staple of Indian restaurants the world over. Now you can make delicious Tandoori Chicken at home with this surprisingly simple recipe. Who knew it could be so easy?
Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Chicken, Chicken curry, Curry, Indian Food
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly


  • 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder or paprika more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 2 tsp Grated Ginger
  • 2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • Cilantro for garnish


  • Cut the chiken in to 1-inch cubes.
  • In a medium mixing bowl combine the yogurt, spices, lemon juice, and salt. Mix well.
  • Add the chicken to the marinade, cover, and let it sit in the fridge for at least two hours.
  • Skewer the chicken onto four 12-inch metal or wooden skewers. If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 1 hour first.
  • Grill the chicken on medium-high heat for 4 to 6 minutes per side.
  • Finish the tandoori chicken skewers with a squeeze of lemon juice, and garnish chopped cilantro.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

How To Make Tandoori Chicken Marinade

The first step to making Tandoori Chicken is to make a marinade. This marinade is yogurt-based. The yogurt is seasoned with spices, ginger, garlic, and lemon juice. We’ll talk in a little more detail in a minute about the benefit of marinating in yogurt, but for now, let’s get to making the marinade.

Ginger and Garlic

The marinade starts with ginger and garlic. These two ingredients are part of a quartet of ingredients that comprise the base of countless Indian dishes. The other two ingredients in the group are onion and chilli. If, for example, you want to make a curry, but you aren’t sure where to start. Purée an onion, a few garlic cloves, an equal amount of ginger, and green chilli. Sauté that mixture in a bit of oil or clarified butter, and you’ve got the base of your curry. From there, it’s just deciding what spices to use. You can read more about that in my post, The Basics of Curry. But I digress. For this Tandoori Chicken marinade, you will need two teaspoons each grated ginger and minced garlic.

Tandoori Spices

Garam Masala

Ginger and garlic make a great starting point for our Tandoori chicken marinade, but they need some help. That’s where the spices come in. The first spice is actually a spice blend known as Garam Masala. I’ve talked about Garam Masala a lot in the past. So, I’m going to go deep on it now. To learn more about it and make it yourself take a look at this post about 5 Essential Spice Blends You Should Master.

Other Spices

The second spice is Kashmiri Chili Powder. This is a powder made from ground Kashmiri Chilies. Go figure. If you don’t have Kashmiri Chili powder, you can use half as much cayenne for the heat and the same amount of paprika for the colour. Rounding out the spices, we have cumin and coriander. These spices are found in Garam Masala, but I like to add a little more for a bit more flavour. Finally, add a bit of salt.

Yogurt and Lemon Juice

The two remaining marinade ingredients are yogurt and lemon juice. The lemon juice adds a little extra acidity and a fresh flavour. The yogurt is what really does the heavy lifting. I’m not really sure of its science, but there is an enzyme in the yogurt that helps keep the meat moist, and that adds a lot of flavour. Mix the yogurt and lemon juice with the other marinade ingredients, and you’re good to go.

What yogurt to use for your marinade?

Normally, I would recommend using a full-fat Greek yogurt, obviously with no flavourings added. However, I used a 0% fat Greek yogurt, and it worked very well. For any other cooking application, go with full fat. For this, it’s up to you.

Prepping the Chicken

Despite what I said in my post about how to grill chicken breast a few weeks ago, I used chicken breast for this recipe. Why? Because of the yogurt. The yogurt will help keep the chicken breast moist and tender. Plus, between the yogurt and spices, there is going to be loads of flavour. Having said that, if you want to use chicken thighs, go for it. You’ll be happy you did.

Cutting The Chicken Breast

To prep, the chicken breast, cut it into evenly sized pieces. People often make a big deal about what size the chicken has to be cut to go on skewers. I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that the chicken is all cut about the same size so that it cooks evenly. So, if you want to cut your chicken breast in strips, go for it. If you want to make really small cubes, so the skewers cook quickly, again, go for it. I went for cubes about 1-inch square, but you do you.

Marinate The Tandoori Chicken

Once the chicken is all cut, add it to the marinade. Make sure to stir the chicken well to ensure that every piece is evenly coated in the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least two hours. You can let this marinate overnight, but you don’t really want to go much longer than that. The yogurt will start to break the chicken down, and the lemon juice will start to cure it, making it tough on the outside and mushy inside.

Put It On A Skewer

Once the chicken has had enough time to marinate, put it on a skewer. I’ve been making a lot of skewered foods lately, so I went out and bought these nice metal skewers. If you are using wooden ones, make sure to soak them in water for an hour before skewering the chicken. My skewers are 12-inches long, which made them big enough to hold one chicken breast each. If you use smaller skewers, you will have more skewers. That’s math.

How To Grill Tandoori Chicken Skewers

Before you start skewering your chicken, turn on your grill and get it hot. Essentially, put it on high, and leave it alone while you skewer the chicken. When I talked about grilling chicken breast a few weeks ago, I said that as long as you let your grill get hot and give the chicken time to cook before you flip it, you don’t need to oil your grill or chicken. I stand by this, but it is essential to let the grill get hot and give the chicken enough time to cook and release from the grill naturally when cooking with yogurt. What I’m trying to say is that the yogurt will make the chicken stick unless you are very diligent. So, if ever there was a time to oil your grill a little bit, this might be it.

How long do you cook the Tandoori Chicken Skewers?

How long you cook your skewers really depends on how thick you cut your chicken. For me, it took about 6 minutes per side. However, it was really windy, which lowered the temperature of my grill. But, for 1-inch cubes of chicken on a hot grill, 5 to 6 minutes per side seems about right. When in doubt, use a probe thermometer to check the temperature of the chicken to ensure it is cooked (165°f).

Serving The Tandoori Chicken Skewers

You can serve the chicken skewers right off the grill, or you can drizzle them with some yogurt thinned with lemon juice and some cilantro leaves. This is especially helpful if you take pictures of them for social media (tag me! @chefbenkelly). When I finally got around to eating my Tandoori Chicken, after all the pictures had been taken, I served it with basmati rice cooked with onion, ginger, garlic, chilli (call back to earlier there) and madras curry powder. I also made some vegetable skewers to go along with the rice and chicken.

The Wrap Up

If you’re looking for something a little different to throw on your grill this weekend, look no further. And before you say to yourself, “But they look spicy.” remember that you are making them. You’re in control of how hot they are. A little heat isn’t a bad thing (I actually like a lot of heat), but more than heat these Tandoori Chicken Skewers have loads of flavour. I think that this is a recipe that you will come back to over and over. But, as always, don’t take my word for it. Try them for yourself. And, if you have any leftover Tandoori Chicken you can use it to make this delicious Butter Chicken Soup.

Thank you for reading, and have a great week. Remember to subscribe below, so you never miss a post and share this on Facebook or Pinterest if you enjoyed it.

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