Quick Spatchcock Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori chicken is a south Asian chicken dish marinated in yogurt, lemon juice, and spices, and traditionally baked in a tandoor, or clay oven. The flavors are unique and delicious and perfect for when you want to make a tasty and easy chicken dish.

Generally, tandoori is made with bone in, skinless chicken legs. However, the marinade is very versatile and can be used for any cut of meat, even seafood and vegetables! I like to spatchcock whole chickens, marinate them, and then grill them!

Spatchcocking Chickens

Cut out backbone to spatchcock chicken

Cooking whole chickens can be tricky since the legs take longer to cook than the breasts, and by the time the legs are cooked the breasts can be over cooked and dry.

Spatchcocking chicken can help with that. It is a simple method of removing the spine or the backbone from a whole chicken. This leads to move even and quick cooking.

To spatchcock a chicken simply find the backbone of the whole chicken. Use kitchen shears and cut along each side of the backbone until it is detached and removable. My video tutorial can be found here. Now the chickens are ready to marinate

Tandoori Marinade

Tandoori Marinade

My spatchcock tandoori chicken marinade is made with only a few ingredients: Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, tandoori spice mix, salt, and a little oil to bind it all together.

Mix the ingredients well, then massage onto the chicken. Since I’m using a bone in, skin on whole chicken, I also make sure to spread some marinade under the skin too so it soaks into the meat itself. If you are using a skinless chicken, make slices in the flesh and massage the marinade into them.

Grilling the Chicken

Grill Chickens

I like to use my wood chip grill to cook my chicken because of the delicious smokey flavor it imparts. Of course you can also make this in an oven or even an air fryer if it fits.

If you are using a grill like me, heat it up to 475° Fahrenheit. Once it reaches temperature, add your chicken with the breast side up. Close the lid and allow the chicken to cook for 30 minutes before checking on it. I flip the chicken over at this point and let it cook skin side down for about ten minutes. Then flip the chicken again and cover and cook until the thickest part of the thigh and breast both reach 165° Fahrenheit. You may need to check periodically until then.

Serving Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken Platter

Tandoori chicken can be enjoyed in many ways. The traditional ways are with cooked basmati rice, buttered naan, and some fresh vegetables, like sliced onions and tomatoes or a salad.

They can also be enjoyed with sautéed peppers, roasted potatoes, different sauces and chutneys, and so much more!


Makes 2 whole spatchcocked chickens

Time: 1-2 hours of marinating

  • 2 whole chickens, spatchcocked
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 6 heaping tsps tandoori spice mix
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp grape seed or any neutral oil


1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and massage onto the chicken, going under the skin too

2. Marinate for an hour (optional) then grill until internal temperature on the thigh (without touching bone) and breast reaches 165° Fahrenheit

3. Remove and rest for 15 minutes, then enjoy!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: