This Tandoori Chicken Marinade is incredibly flavorful and creates tender, delicious chicken without much work. Not only is it Whole30, but it is gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, and egg-free. An easy and tasty main dish for any night of the week!

Created by Punjab native, Kundan Lal Gujral, Tandoori Chicken gets its name from traditionally being cooked in a clay oven called a tandoor. For this recipe, you can use either a grill, oven, or air fryer (see instructions below for each). 

Tandoori chicken is traditionally marinated in yogurt, spices, and herbs. No dairy is allowed on Whole30, so we used coconut yogurt with no added sweeteners. We combined the coconut yogurt with freshly ground ginger, minced garlic, garam masala, fresh lemon juice, coriander, chili powder, cumin, salt and oil to create this simple but delicious marinade.

Recipe & photos by Autumn Michaelis

This Whole30 Tandoori Chicken Marinade only takes 10 minutes to prep!


Simply just whisk together all the ingredients except the chicken. Add the marinade to chicken breasts or thighs and marinate for at least 30 minutes. For an even more flavorful result, you can marinate the chicken for up to 24 hours. 

You can use bone-in chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts with this marinade. For chicken breasts, we recommend using pounding them into thinner, uniform pieces, or cutting them in half horizontally for quicker and more even cooking. You can also pierce each chicken breast with a fork a few times to help the marinade infuse the chicken even more.

Recipe & photos by Autumn Michaelis

If you are meal prepping, you can throw it into the freezer to pull out on a busy week. Marinated chicken can go straight into the freezer after combining the chicken with the marinade. We use reusable zip-top bags or glass containers with a lid, but a ziplock bag works just as well! (No need to marinate it before freezing, as it will marinate in the freezer and as it thaws.)

Note that frozen chicken must be fully thawed before cooking, so pull it out the night before to ensure it’s ready for prep time. (Chicken should not be left to marinate for over 24 hours, as raw chicken will begin to break down and become mushy).

Whole30 Tandoori Chicken Marinade

Recipe & photos by Autumn Michaelis
Whole30 Tandoori Chicken Marinade

Whole30 Tandoori Chicken and Marinade

4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Marinade Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course dinner, lunch, seasonings

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup compatible dairy-free yogurt
  • 3 tbsp olive or avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic minced (about 2 tsp)
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken thighs or breasts

Instructions
 

  • WHISK together all the ingredients in a small bowl except the chicken.
  • ADD chicken and combined marinade into a zip-top reusable bag or glass container. Seal or cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours.
  • TO GRILL – Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Brush the grill with oil so the chicken won’t stick. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side until chicken has sear marks and is cooked through, with an internal temperature of 165 °F. Remove from the grill and cover with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes to let juices redistribute before cutting.
  • OVEN BAKE – Preheat your oven to 425 °F. Pour the marinade and chicken into a 9×9 pan. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Cook until lightly browned and is no longer pink inside or has reached an internal temperature of 165 °F. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it.
  • AIR FRY – Add the chicken to your air fryer basket and air fry at 400 °F for 9-10 minutes, flipping halfway if the chicken overlaps. Cook until lightly browned and is no longer pink inside or has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it.
  • TO FREEZE – Marinated chicken can go straight into the freezer after combining the chicken with the marinade in either a sealed reusable zip-top bag or glass container with a lid. No need to marinate it before freezing, as it will marinate in the freezer. The frozen chicken in the marinade does need to be thawed fully before cooking, so be sure to pull it out the night before you want to cook.
Keyword Air Fryer, chicken, grilling
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Published by Lindsay Rhodes

Lindsay Rhodes currently lives in Chicago. She attended Butler University where she received her B.S. in Marketing and a minor in Strategic Communication. Previously, Lindsay has worked for management consulting firms as a marketing consultant and as a campus recruiter.

Autumn Michaelis

Recipe Creator | Whole Food for 7

Autumn Michaelis is an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, with a B.S. in Exercise Science from BYU. Though exercise was her first love in the health world, nutrition has become her passion. She created the blog Wholefoodfor7, sharing easy and budget-friendly Whole30, Paleo, and gluten-free + dairy-free recipes for families. In August 2022, Autumn released the newest Whole30 Endorsed cookbook, Whole Food for Your Family. She is mom to 5 boys (yes 5!) and when not in the kitchen can be found adventuring, hiking, and tearing up the dance floor.