Deliciously Crispy: Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Written by: Najma A.



Time to read 6 min


When it comes to cooking, there's something magical about combining spices and flavors to create a dish that leaves your taste buds dancing. One such culinary delight that has captured hearts worldwide is Tandoori Chicken. Traditionally cooked in a tandoor (a clay oven), this Indian classic is known for its smoky and flavorful profile. However, only some have access to a tandoor. That's where the Air Fryer comes to the rescue!  This blog will explore the art of making Deliciously Crispy Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken. With the help of your trusty air fryer, you can enjoy the same mouthwatering, smoky flavors without the need for a tandoor or a restaurant visit. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with this authentic yet easy-to-make recipe.

Ingredients for Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken

Creating the perfect Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken begins with the proper selection of ingredients. Here's a concise list of the critical components you'll need:  

For the Marinade:  

  1. Chicken: You'll want approximately 1.5 pounds of chicken for this recipe. Bone-in pieces like drumsticks or thighs work exceptionally well, as they stay tender and juicy during cooking. 
  2. Plain Yogurt: 1 cup of plain yogurt serves as the base of the marinade. It adds creaminess and helps tenderize the chicken. 
  3. Ginger-Garlic Paste: 2 tablespoons of ginger-garlic paste provides a robust and aromatic flavor to the marinade. 
  4. Tandoori Masala: 2 tablespoons of tandoori masala are essential for that authentic, smoky taste. This spice blend typically includes cumin, coriander, paprika, and more. 
  5. Ground Cumin: 1 teaspoon of ground cumin contributes earthiness and depth to the marinade. 
  6. Ground Coriander: 1 teaspoon of ground coriander complements the flavor profile with a mild citrusy note. 
  7. Paprika: 1 teaspoon of paprika is primarily used for its vibrant red color, giving the chicken that iconic tandoori appearance.
  8. Turmeric Powder: Add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder for a subtle earthy flavor and a beautiful yellow hue. 
  9. Chili Powder: To adjust the spice level to your preference, include 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder or more if you prefer it spicier. 
  10. Salt: Season with salt according to your preference, typically around 1-2 teaspoons. 
  11. Lemon Juice: 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice provide a tangy element to the marinade. 
  12. Vegetable Oil: Include 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to help bind the spices and coat the chicken evenly. 

For Garnish:  

  1. Fresh Cilantro: Fresh cilantro leaves are used as a garnish to add a touch of freshness and color to the dish. 
  2. Lemon Wedges: Serve your Tandoori Chicken Air Fryer with lemon wedges for an extra citrusy flavor. 

These ingredients combine to create a mouthwatering marinade that infuses the chicken with rich flavors and helps achieve that deliciously crispy exterior when cooked in the air fryer. Gather these essentials, and you'll be well on your way to making a memorable and authentic Tandoori Chicken dish from the comfort of your kitchen.

Ingredients for Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken

Instructions for Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken

Step 1: Prepare the Chicken

Start by cleaning the chicken pieces thoroughly and making a few deep slashes on each piece. These cuts will help the marinade penetrate deeper, infusing the chicken with flavor.

Step 2: Prepare the Marinade

Combine the yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, tandoori masala, ground cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric powder, chili powder, salt, lemon juice, and vegetable oil in a mixing bowl. Mix everything well until you have a smooth, vibrant marinade.

Step 3: Marinate the Chicken

Place the chicken pieces into a large ziplock bag or a bowl. Pour the marinade over the chicken, ensuring that each piece is well-coated. Seal the bag or cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or ideally, overnight. The longer you marinate, the more flavorful your Tandoori Chicken will be.

Step 4: Preheat the Air Fryer

Before cooking, preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C) for about 5 minutes. This step ensures that your chicken cooks evenly and gets that perfect crispiness.

Step 5: Air Fry, the Chicken

Remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. This will prevent the chicken from becoming too cold, which can affect cooking times. Place the marinated chicken pieces in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Avoid overcrowding to ensure proper air circulation. You may need to cook the chicken in batches, depending on the size of your air fryer. Cook the chicken at 375°F (190°C) for 15-20 minutes, flipping the pieces halfway through. Cooking times may vary slightly depending on the thickness of your chicken pieces and the specific air fryer model you're using. To be sure, use a meat thermometer to check if the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Step 6: Garnish and Serve

Remove it from the air fryer once the chicken is beautifully crispy and cooked. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with lemon wedges on the side. The lemon's brightness perfectly complements the tandoori chicken's smoky flavors.

Step 7: Enjoy Your Deliciously Crispy Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken!

Serve your Deliciously Crispy Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken hot, straight from the air fryer. It's perfect as a main dish with some naan bread, rice, or a flavorful appetizer for your next gathering.

Instructions for Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken

Tips and Variations for Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken

Enhancing your Air Fryer Tandoori in Chicken experience involves experimenting with tips and variations that suit your taste buds. Here are some valuable suggestions to elevate your dish:


  1. Marinating Time: Patience is vital. Marinate your chicken for at least 2 hours for the most flavorful results, but overnight is even better. This allows the spices to penetrate the meat thoroughly.
  2. Room Temperature Chicken: Before air frying, let the marinated chicken sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. This ensures even cooking and reduces the risk of a cold center.
  3. Preheat the Air Fryer: Always preheat your air fryer for 5 minutes at the recommended temperature (375°F or 190°C). Preheating ensures that your chicken starts cooking immediately and achieves the desired crispiness.
  4. Don't Overcrowd: Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking and less crispy results. You may need to cook in batches.
  5. Use a Meat Thermometer: Invest in a meat thermometer to guarantee your chicken is cooked to perfection. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C).
  6. Spray with Oil: If you want an even crispier texture, consider spraying the marinated chicken pieces with a light coat of cooking oil before air frying. This helps achieve that beautiful golden exterior.


  1. Boneless Chicken: While the recipe typically uses bone-in chicken for added flavor, you can also use boneless chicken pieces. They cook faster and can be an excellent option for wraps or sandwiches. Add a pinch of smoked Paprika to the marinade to replicate the smoky essence of a traditional tandoor. It imparts a delightful smokiness to your dish.
  2. Mint Chutney: Serve your Tandoori Chicken with a side of mint chutney. Its cooling and refreshing taste balances the spices in the chicken.
  3. Greek Yogurt: For a creamier marinade, substitute plain Greek yogurt for regular yogurt. It adds a thicker consistency and a tangy kick.
  4. Tandoori Skewers: Instead of placing the chicken directly in the air fryer basket, thread the marinated chicken pieces onto skewers. This method can mimic the traditional tandoor cooking style and provides a beautiful presentation.
  5. Vegetarian Options: Apply the same marinade to vegetables, paneer (Indian cottage cheese), or tofu for delicious vegetarian alternatives. These can be air-fried or grilled for a smoky flavor.
  6. Low-Fat Version: If you want to reduce the fat content, opt for leaner chicken cuts and low-fat yogurt in the marinade. You can still achieve a fantastic taste with fewer calories.

By incorporating these tips and exploring various flavor variations, you can customize your Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken to suit your palate and dietary preferences. Whether you prefer spicy, smoky, or mild, this versatile dish has plenty of room for experimentation and creativity.

Tips and Variations for Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken

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Deliciously Crispy Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken is a fantastic way to enjoy the rich flavors of traditional Tandoori Chicken in the comfort of your kitchen. With the convenience of an air fryer, you can achieve that perfect crispy texture that makes this dish irresistible. So, gather your ingredients, fire up your air fryer, and treat yourself to a mouthwatering culinary experience that will become a favorite in your home.

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