Air Fryer Whole Tandoori Chicken: restaurant-style, extremely juicy in every bite, easy, and quick whole tandoori chicken recipe in an air fryer using basic Indian spices, ghee, yogurt, and herbs. Includes lots of pro-tips for perfect tandoori chicken at home including ‘homemade tandoori masala recipe’.
Air Fryer Whole Tandoori Chicken
This is one of my MOST Requested and one of my Personal Favorite chicken recipes ever … the very juicy, crowd-pleaser, no-fuss ” Air Fryer Whole Tandoori Chicken ” !!!
It’s been the ‘star dish’ for many of our family and friends’ festive occasions or gatherings and everytime there are literally no leftovers.
‘Tandoori Chicken’ is an extremely popular Indian dish both nationally and internationally, made in clay ovens (called tandoor’s in restaurants), and marinated in a thick paste of Indian spices, fresh herbs, ghee, yogurt, cream, and besan (chickpea flour).
Most of the time, we used to skip making it at home because of the laborious and time-consuming cooking and also as most of us do not have ‘tandoor clay ovens’ at home.
But with the Air Fryer, this particular problem is taken care of, also the quick and even cooking resulted in a restaurant-style dish right at your own kitchen/room.
So “YES”, you can make succulent Tandoori Chicken in Air Fryer’s too.
Air Fryer Whole Tandoori Chicken Ingredients:
Here are the ingredients for the dish and I’m even mentioning the options that can be used incase you do not have any of the required ingredients:
Whole Tandoori Chicken – you can use chicken thighs, breasts or even boneless chicken for the same.
Plain Yogurt – also known as ‘Dahi’ in India, if you are allergic to milk, you can use coconut yogurt too.
Cream – you can use storebought or homemade malai (cream), if allergic, please use almond milk/cashew milk.
Ghee – it needs 2-3 tbsp of ghee for that perfect golden-orange crispiness, color, and flavor.
Oil – you do need 2-3 tbsp of oil too for that even cooking.
Indian Spices – all powder (turmeric, red chili, coriander, cumin, garam masala, salt, Kashmiri lal mirch/degi-mirch for color or paprika, kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
Fresh Herbs – paste of ginger and garlic, shredded onions. You can use powdered ginger+garlic+onion too incase you do not have fresh ones.
Fresh Lemon Juice – you can use lime juice or store-bought ones too.
Chickpea Flour – also known as ‘besan’ in India, for binding the marination paste and proper browning.
: OPTIONAL :
Store-Bought Tandoori Masala – incase you do not want to add individual spices, you can use any store-bought Tandoori masala.
Making Tandoori Masala at Home – Here’s 1 Pro-Tip:
You can make the ‘dry’ Tandoori Masala and keep it in an air-tight jar for later use. This stores well for a year and can be used in any kind of recipe that requires ‘tandoori masala’ whether it’s vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
The steps to make this chicken can be broken into 3 basic sub-steps:
Clean the Whole Chicken:
Just make sure it’s clean and nicely washed (you can use skinless or with skin chicken as per taste).
Remove and cut any bones/skin or parts not required (I usually throw away the giblets and liver – also known as ‘gurda and kaleeji’ in India).
Then pat the chicken dry using a paper towel (please throw away any towels used while handling raw meat and wash hands with soap-water to prevent any infection).
Keep the chicken aside.
Marination of Whole Tandoori Chicken:
I like using a large whisk to mix the marination ingredients, but you can use a spoon or fork too.
First, take the whole chicken and make deep cuts all over it using a knife, this helps soak up the marination and evenly cook.
Take a large bowl and whisk together yogurt + cream in it.
Now add all powdered spices + fresh herbs and whisk again.
Add, melted ghee + vegetable oil + lemon juice and whisk to form a smooth thick paste.
Now, take a large pastry brush or using your hand, spread the marination on the top, sides, bottom, and inside of the chicken.
Keep the marinated chicken in a large bowl/pot covered with foil/plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4-5 hrs or overnight (this is best to have it soak up all the flavors).
** I like to use a glove and massage the marination all over the chicken to make sure no nooks or crannies are missed. This helps in even spread of the paste and then at last, I brush the leftover paste all over the top of the chicken.
whole tandoori chicken marination
Cooking the Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken:
Once the chicken is nicely marinated and you are ready to make it, remove it from the fridge and let it come to room temperature (20-30 minutes).
Preheat the air fryer for 375°F (190°C).
Sprinkle some oil on the marinated chicken (for crisper cooking and that golden glow).
Now, place the marinated chicken gently on the fryer basket (making sure there is an even gap all around it for the air to circulate and cook).
Cook this for 15 minutes and then remove the basket, check if the chicken is cooking evenly or if it’s looking too dry, then brush or spray some oil on it.
Air fry it again for another 15-20 minutes depending on how big the chicken is.
Once cooked, remove the basket and using a large spatula/ fork /meat knives/tongs, remove the cooked tandoori chicken to a large platter.
Check the bottom and side for even cooking or if you have a food thermometer, check if the internal temperature is 165°F (74°C).
How to Serve Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken:
Once the chicken is ready, we can serve and pair it with our favorite side.
I usually serve it on a large platter with green leaves on the bottom (baby spinach or lettuce) and then place the Tandoori Chicken on top.
Add freshly circular chopped red onions and lemon slices.
Brush or Spray the cooked chicken with some ghee (for that moist and deep flavors).
Then I squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top.
Sides to Serve:
You can serve the recipe along with any or 2-3 of your favorites:
Indian Tawa Roti
Sauteed Mixed Veggies: like beans, potatoes, cauliflower, or even Brussels sprouts.
So this Festive Season, make this family-favorite recipe and surprise your loved ones.
Air Fryer Whole Tandoori Chicken: restaurant-style, extremely juicy in every bite, easy, and quick whole tandoori chicken recipe in an air fryer using basic Indian spices, ghee, yogurt, and herbs. Includes lots of pro-tips for perfect tandoori chicken at home including 'homemade tandoori masala recipe'.restaurant-style, succulent, easy, and quick whole tandoori chicken recipe in an air fryer using basic Indian spices, ghee, yogurt and herbs.
Prep Time5 hours
Cook Time40 minutes
Additional Time15 minutes
Total Time5 hours55 minutes
1 whole chicken (approximately 4 lbs)
2 cups plain yogurt
3 tbsp cream - check notes
4 tbsp ghee - check notes
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
2 medium red onions - shredded
1 large lemon - juiced
Homemade Tandoori Masala:
1.5 Tsp Turmeric Powder
1 Tbsp Red Chili Powder - add as per taste
2 Tbsp Coriander Powder
1 Tbsp Cumin Powder
1 Tbsp Kashmiri Lal Mirch - can use paprika powder