Tandoori-Style Grilled Chicken Thighs

Tandoori chicken originated in India’s Punjab region. Chicken is marinated in yogurt and spices and roasted in a buried clay pot oven fueled by wood or charcoal until it reaches temperatures up to 900°F. This version is about as close as you can get without building your own.


  • 2 pounds boneless skinless Smart Chicken thighs

  • 16 ounces Greek yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • Juice of 2 lemons

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

  • 2 ounces extra-virgin olive oil

Spice Blend Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 1 tablespoon salt


In a large shallow dish or bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, tomato paste, vinegar, and olive oil. Add all the spices to the yogurt mixture and whisk to combine.

Transfer the marinade into a large shallow dish, bowl, or sealable plastic bag, then transfer the chicken to the marinade and make sure it is coated completely. (Cube the chicken thighs if you plan to skewer them before grilling, or marinate them whole.) Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator overnight or about eight hours for best results.

Preheat a grill to high heat and use a pair of long-handled tongs with a couple paper towels soaked in oil to oil the grate. Grill the chicken over high heat until its thickest portion registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. Some charred edges are fine, as they add flavor and authenticity.

Serve over rice, couscous, or salad.

Recipe created by Russ Langstadt, Chef, Cana's Feast Winery, Carlton, Oregon