Crispy Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks with Mango Chutney

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Deliciously spiced with super-crispy skin, this chicken tandoori is a family favorite.

tandoori chicken

Chicken tandoori is a traditional Indian dish of chicken marinated in yogurt, citrus, and spices, and then grilled or broiled. The name comes from the cylindrical clay oven, or tandoor, in which the dish is traditionally prepared. This is my favorite version: the chicken is deliciously spiced with super-crispy skin, and the mango chutney served alongside adds fruity, tangy flavor. The chicken is best marinated overnight, but if you’re in a time crunch, a few hours will do just fine. Serve with Homemade Naan, Basmati Rice Pilaf with Dried Fruits and Almonds or a refreshing Cucumber Mint Salad. Kids love this one too!

What you’ll need to make Tandoori Chicken


Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by combining the spices in a small saucepan.


Toast for a few minutes until the spices are fragrant. This step really enhances the flavor.


Next, chop your fresh ginger and garlic. Both will go in a blender or food processor, but they won’t fully pulverize unless you give them a rough chop first.


Combine the toasted spices, ginger, garlic, yogurt, lime juice, lime zest, oil and salt in a mini food processor or blender.


Pulse until smooth.


Then, using a sharp knife, make slashes in the drumsticks. This increases the surface area of the chicken, so the marinade can penetrate the meat.


Place the drumsticks in a large bowl and pour the marinade over top.


Toss the drumsticks with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.


Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil and place an oven-proof rack over top. Arrange the marinated drumsticks on the rack, leaving a bit of space in between them.


Cook for 45 minutes, turning once, until the chicken is cooked and the skin is quite crisp.


Finally, flash the chicken under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until the skin is super-crisp and a bit charred. Serve with mango chutney and lime wedges on the side.


My starting point was this recipe from Food & Wine. In addition to changing the process a bit, I increased the garlic and ginger, added marinading time to boost flavor, added cayenne pepper for a little heat, provided a specific salt measurement, replaced the fat-free yogurt with whole milk yogurt, and replaced the lemon juice with lime juice and zest. I liked the Cilantro-Shallot relish in the original recipe (definitely worth a try) but enjoyed the chicken more with mango chutney.

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Crispy Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks with Mango Chutney

Deliciously spiced with super-crispy skin, this chicken tandoori is a family favorite.

Servings: 12 drumsticks, 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes, plus 12-24 hours to marinate


  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (substitute curry powder if you can't find it)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (use ¼ teaspoon for less heat)
  • 3 tablespoons peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • Zest and juice from one lime (about 1 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2½ teaspoons salt
  • 12 chicken drumsticks (about 4 pounds)
  • 1 (9 ounce) jar mango chutney, for serving
  • A few sprigs cilantro, optional for garnishing the platter
  • Lime wedges, optional, for serving


  1. In a small pan over medium-low heat, combine the paprika, garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes, until spices are fragrant.
  2. Add the spices to a blender or mini food processor, along with the ginger, garlic, Greek yogurt, lime zest and juice, oil and salt; process until smooth.
  3. Using a very sharp knife, make 2 or 3 slashes in each drumstick (be careful; they are slippery). Place the drumsticks in a large bowl and toss with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) and set an oven-proof rack over top. Spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray or grease with vegetable oil.
  5. Arrange the chicken on the rack, leaving a bit of space between the pieces. Spoon any marinade left in the bowl evenly over the drumsticks. Roast for 45 minutes, turning once midway through, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through (be sure to turn on your exhaust fan as the oven will get a little smoky). Turn on the broiler and broil the chicken about 6 inches from the heat for 3-5 minutes, until lightly charred and crisp all over. Serve with mango chutney on the side.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 3 drumsticks (nutritional data does not include chutney)
  • Calories: 807
  • Fat: 53g
  • Saturated fat: 11g
  • Carbohydrates: 8g
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 73g
  • Sodium: 1884mg
  • Cholesterol: 369mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • I made this yesterday with a combination of boneless thighs and breasts. We grilled them, and they came out beautifully! I have been a fan of your blog for years, and I am STILL finding new treasures to add to my favorites. Thank you!

    • — Cheryl on May 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Fantabulous!

    • — Rhona on May 11, 2022
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  • Another amazing recipe! I made this along with the mint & onion cucumber salad. I went ahead and marinated it for 24 hours. The only change that I made was that I cooked it in the air fryer instead of the oven because it crisps up the skin so nicely. In case anyone wants to try it – Air fryer: 400 degrees until it reaches 165 degrees, about 15-20 minutes, flipping once or twice while it’s cooking. I also basted it after about five minutes into cooking with a little avocado oil. It came out picture perfect and everyone loved the flavors and thought the cucumber salad was really refreshing. I served it with mango chutney but my wife didn’t think it needed it because it was so good on its own. I’ll definitely be making this again. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Turtle on April 26, 2022
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  • Amazing!!! You just nail it every time Jenn. Everyone loved this dish. So flavoursome, juicy and delicious. 5 stars.

    • — Melissa on April 26, 2022
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  • Amazing!!! These drumsticks have so much flavor and are tender. I made it per the recipe without modifications (although I did only marinate for 7 hours, not overnight).

    • — Rachel on February 27, 2022
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    • Hi Jenn,
      Is it possible to freeze some of the uncooked drumsticks in the marinade and then defrost them before cooking? I wasn’t sure because of the yogurt and I only need about 5-6 drumsticks.

      • — Turtle on April 23, 2022
      • Reply
      • Yes, I think that should be fine. 🙂

        • — Jenn on April 24, 2022
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  • Hey Jenn! Just wanted to add that this technique (slashing/marinating/cooking on 450) works beautifully for any marinade! I had some leftover General Tso sauce I made so I used your technique, slathered it on and cooked according to your directions. It turned out perfectly!

    • — Angie A on February 13, 2022
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  • This recipe turned out perfect. For Garam Masala, I used my homemade Garam Masala. It consists of one part freshly ground cardamom, one part freshly ground cloves and one part cinnamon powder. I used fresh ginger garlic paste. Thanks Jenn. This recipe is now going to become a regular with naan.

    • — Sucheta Sikdar on January 25, 2022
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  • Made this recipe this weekend with a few tweaks – 1/4 tsp. cayenne (my dad can’t take much heat), more cumin in place of the turmeric, and no broiling at the end. It came out great! Crisp skin, juicy interior, and just the right amount of spice. Most of the family enjoyed these plain, but a couple of the crew liked the drumsticks with duck sauce. Thanks, Jenn! This recipe’s one for the regular rotation. 🙂

    • — Mary on January 23, 2022
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  • Hi! I’d like to make this recipe with chicken breasts. I saw someone asked about skinless and you said it wouldn’t work. I’m wondering if I can use bone-in, skin on, chicken breasts. Also, can I use fat free yogurt? Thank you! This looks delicious.

    • — Krista on January 23, 2022
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    • Hi Krista, bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts should work (although cook time will be different). And the whole milk yogurt adds more richness to this, but you can get away with fat-free. Please report back with how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on January 24, 2022
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  • OMG, this recipe is fabulous! I was a little intimidated by all the spices, since some were new to me, but in the end it was easy and the chicken was so delicious! The flavor and texture of the chicken was so good–who knew drumsticks could taste so good. I served it with Basmati rice pilaf with dried fruit & almonds, and homemade naan, both from this website. What a great meal! Thanks so much for the delicious recipes.

    • — Dorothy on January 14, 2022
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  • Cooked the yoghurt marinated chicken drumsticks
    Really tasty and so easy
    Thank you

    • — Suchitra Radia on January 8, 2022
    • Reply
  • Amazing recipe! I’ve made it a few times now using drumsticks but I want to switch it up and use skinless, boneless chicken thighs. I read through the comments and you mentioned bone in chicken thighs will cook the same, however how long should I bake them without the bones? Thanks again!

    • — Catherine on November 14, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Catherine, so glad you like this! If you’d like to use boneless chicken thighs, I’d cook them at 425° for about 35 minutes. Please let me know how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on November 18, 2021
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  • Hello! I would love to make this recipe, but we have a dairy allergy in the house. Could I sub in anything else or should I just leave it out? Thank you, Jenn, for your fantastic recipes!

    • — Amanda W on August 8, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Amanda, A non-dairy yogurt should work here. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi, making this tonight with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, would I need to change up anything?

    • — Kelly on July 4, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Kelly, I think I’m weighing in too late to help, but for thighs (assuming the thighs have bones in them), the timing should be similar. Please LMK how they turn/ed out!

      • — Jenn on July 5, 2021
      • Reply
  • This is an awesome recipe, I have taken it to friends (when we could do that) and it is the star of the show. Toasting spices is key to this. One time had only 4 hours to marinate and still was excellent but overnight is best. Fabulous!

    • — JS on April 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • We tried this once and it turned out great! We’d like to make again but I’m wondering if we can use something besides drumsticks. Like chicken thighs? If so, how would we modify the cooking time and temperature?

    • — MM on April 3, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi MM, glad you enjoyed it! For thighs, assuming the thighs have bones in them, the timing should be similar (and keep the temp the same). Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on April 5, 2021
      • Reply
      • We tried it tonight with bone in chicken thighs. It turned out great! I much prefer thighs to drumsticks, so this is how we will be making it from now on. Thank you for the tips!

        • — MM on April 18, 2021
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        • Glad to hear it — thanks for reporting back!

          • — Jenn on April 19, 2021
          • Reply
        • Delicious!!! Definitely worth marinating more than 3 hours

          I served with roasted potatoes

          • — Vanessa on May 18, 2021
          • Reply
      • It worked great! Thank you!

        • — MM on August 25, 2021
        • Reply
        • Glad to hear it — thanks for the follow up!

          • — Jenn on August 25, 2021
          • Reply
  • Looking forward to trying this. Btw the spelling is turmeric. 😉

    • — MA on March 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Thanks for pointing that out — just fixed it! Hope you enjoy if you make it. 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 30, 2021
      • Reply
  • These are amazing!!

    • — Deborah on March 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Can I use chicken wings?

    • — Lynda on March 8, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! If I wanted to try this recipe with skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into smaller pieces are there any adjustments you would suggest making? I’m assuming the cook time would be different but not sure by how much. Thank you!

    • — Alyssa on March 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Alyssa, I wouldn’t recommend boneless, skinless breasts here; I think they will dry out. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on March 2, 2021
      • Reply
  • Another recipe that hit it out of the park! So delicious and easy!!

    • — Mary Jo Thomas on February 25, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this last night and my family loved it! I only had 3 hours to marinate. It was enough. Super juicy and so tasty. I paired it with the cucumber onion mint salad, also from once upon a chef. Delicious and I will definitely make it again!

    • — Nadia on February 25, 2021
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  • This was absolutely delicious. Best chicken I’ve had in a very long time. Thank you!

    • — Mary on February 19, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious and so easy!

    • — Bina Indelicato on February 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • Another fabulous recipe, Jenn! They will be a regular on our rotation from now on. Really delicious. Thank you so much!

    • — Corinne on February 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this for a date once. I remember how impressed he was! There was so much flavor in the chicken, it could be just as good without the mango chutney if you don’t have any. I saved any of the leftover sauces that dripped onto the pan after baking and made a type of gravy out of it to put over the rice. Delish!

    • — Lara Cobia on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • What an amazing flavour profile. Loved it

    • — Karen Harrison on January 30, 2021
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  • This is one of my favorite recipes of all time!!! I make 1 batch but save 1/2 of it for dinner another night. Once I get to the marinating stage I will divide the chicken into two bags. I put one in the freezer fro later and one in the fridge for dinner later. Sometimes I will double the recipe and have 3 bags in the freezer for quick dinners later. I make this with the basmati rice. Delish is dinner every time!!! Thank you Jenn for your amazing recipes. I share them with anyone who will listen.

    • — Natalie on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • what could i say more than the ingredients itself…. i could feel the desi touch being an asian.. the spicy chicken with tangy sauce..the best combo ever i have had..much reminds me of home:) thanks for such a reminiscing receipe 🙂

    loads of love:)

    • — Radhulya on January 28, 2021
    • Reply

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