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a whole chicken tandoori placed on a black cutting board, with a bowl of green chutney and a couple of lemon wedges on the side

How to Make Whole Chicken Tandoori | Whole Tandoori Chicken Recipe

step by step whole tandoori chicken recipe in home oven
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 395kcal


  • 5 pounds whole chicken

First Marination

  • 5 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon salt

Second Marination

  • ½ cup hung yogurt
  • 4 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 3 tablespoon kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon tandoori masala powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala powder
  • 2 tablespoon kasoori methi dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 tablespoon cornflour
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • teaspoon red food color optional

For Crust

  • 1-2 tablespoon oil for basting
  • 1-2 tablespoon cornflour for dusting


Prep the Chicken

  • Remove the skin & the giblets (in case they come with the chicken) and discard them. In case you want to use the giblets, clean them, apply the leftover spice mix to them & bake them alongside the whole chicken. But remove all the skin, though you can keep the skin on the wings, if you want to.
  • Clean the chicken thoroughly - inside and out.
  • Pat it completely dry, using a paper towel.
  • Make several gashes through the chicken (for the spices to absorb better).

Marinate the Chicken

  • Make the first marinade (to tenderize the chicken), by mixing 5 tablespoon lemon juice / extract with 2 teaspoon salt. 
  • Let the chicken sit in this lemon-salt mix for 20 mins. 
  • Make the second marinade (to spice the chicken) by mixing together 1/2 cup yogurt, 4 tablespoon ginger garlic paste, 3 tablespoon kashmiri chilli powder, 1 tablespoon garam masala powder, 1 tablespoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1 tablespoon tandoori masala powder, 1 teaspoon chaat masala powder, 1.5 tablespoon cornflour, 2 tablespoon kasoori methi powder, 1 teaspoon salt & 3 tablespoon oil, till it forms a smooth paste.
  • Dump out the excess liquid from the first marinade & apply the second (tandoori masala) marinade all over the chicken, especially inside the gashes made earlier.
  • Set the chicken aside to marinate in the fridge for 18-24 hrs. If you are in a rush, you can marinate it for lesser time, but no less than 4-6 hrs.
  • Once the chicken has marinated well, take it out of the fridge & set it on the counter to thaw for 30 mins, to let it come close to room temperature, before you put it in the oven.

Prep The Oven for Whole Chicken

  • Before you heat the oven, re-arrange the oven racks so that the rack on which you will place the chicken is positioned right in the center of the oven, just so that there is enough place for the whole chicken to fit in comfortably, and everything cooks evenly.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 425 F.

Making Whole Chicken Tandoori in the Oven 

  • Place the whole chicken face up on the roaster (which you will put in the oven to bake).
  • Put a few drops of oil on the chicken, and then, using a tea strainer, sprinkle cornflour on the chicken.
  • Place the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • At the 30 minute mark - take the chicken out, flip it to the other side, and add a few drops of oil & sprinkle cornflour to this side.
  • Put the chicken back in for another 30 minutes.
  • At the 1 hr mark - take the chicken out, flip it back to the side you first put it in, and put the chicken back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
  • This 15 minute mark is approximate, and only to be used as an estimate if there is no other way to check if the chicken is done.
  • The best way to know if the chicken is done, is to insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh.  If the temperature reads 165 F to 170 F – the chicken is cooked.
  • Once the chicken is done, set the roaster on the counter, and let it cool down a bit for 15-20 minutes, before you carve and serve.



  1. Do not forget to dump out all excess liquid from the first marinade before you apply the second marinade.
  2. Do not forget to re-arrange the oven racks - before you pre-heat the oven - so that the rack on which you will place the chicken to roast is in the center of the oven. This is important to ensure the roaster and the whole chicken will fit well and cook evenly.
  3. Drizzling oil & sprinkling corn flour on the chicken before putting it in the oven is optional, but HIGHLY recommended. Especially if you want to get the crisp, restaurant like texture on the outside.

Please note: The nutrition values are best estimates provided as a courtesy. The exact values can vary depending on the exact ingredients or brands used. If you rely on them for your specific diet and/or health issues, please consult a registered dietician or nutritionist.


Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 1027mg | Potassium: 369mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1106IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 2mg