Tandoori Chicken Kebabs + Cucumber Raita Recipe

Tandoori chicken kebab and cucumber raita

Tandoori chicken is one of my go-to’s when I eat at an Indian restaurant. The chicken is always so flavorful and never ever dry; this is due largely to the yogurt-based marinade that the chicken sits in overnight before getting cooked at very high temperatures in a tandoor oven. I’m sure you are like me and do not have a tandoor sitting at home ready for this chicken, but not to fear, it’s super easy to make on the grill (or even in a grill pan on the stove) and makes for an easy weeknight dinner.

This recipe is quick to put together and is extremely delicious as well as nutritious. I used chicken thighs because they have more flavor than chicken breasts and are much less prone to drying out – they can be a bit time consuming to trim of fat, but I promise you the effort is worth it in the end. Some of the spices in the marinade, like garam masala, might not be one you keep in your spice cabinet. If this is the case, you can just up the amount of the cumin, coriander, black pepper, and cardamom (if you don’t have cardamom, just omit this as well). The original recipe was more slanted toward cilantro/lemon and I changed it to mint/lime – I personally despise cilantro, but if you enjoy it, sub out the mint; the lemon and lime could be used interchangeably with either combination depending on your preferences.

The end result was absolutely amazing and just a slight hint of spice. Feel free to adjust the proportions I used below depending on how much heat you prefer. If you really like spice, up the cayenne and sub out sweet paprika for hot paprika. Have fun with it!

Tandoori Chicken Kebabs + Cucumber Raita

Adapted from The Foodie Physician


Tandoori Chicken

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, depending on how spicy you want it to be)
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil (or another neutral-flavored oil that you prefer)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into roughly 1-inch pieces
  • Grill spray
  • Mint leaves for garnish
  • Lime wedges for garnish

Cucumber Raita

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ an English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced finely
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8-10 mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Plate of tandoori chicken, naan, basmati rice and cucumber raitaTandoori Chicken

Place the first 12 ingredients in a food processor (the yogurt through the canola oil) and blend until smooth. Place the chopped up chicken in a glass baking dish and pour the marinade on top; stir together to fully combine.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Heat the grill to medium high and spray with nonstick grill spray so the chicken doesn’t stick. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and grill the kebabs anywhere from 10-20 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time. For me, it took closer to 20 minutes for the chicken to cook fully.

Serve with naan, raita, and basmati rice and garnish with mint leaves and lime wedges.

Cucumber Raita

Mix together all the ingredients in a small bowl. I like this to sit overnight in the fridge before serving so the flavors really have a chance to meld, but this isn’t necessary. If you aren’t letting it sit overnight, simply chill in the fridge and take it out when you’re ready to serve.