Crispy Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks with Mango Chutney

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Deliciously spiced tandoori chicken with super-crispy skin and fruity, tangy mango chutney to go alongside.

tandoori chicken

Chicken tandoori is simply chicken marinated in yogurt, citrus, and spices, 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

ingredients

How to make Tandoori Chicken

Begin by combining the spices in a small saucepan.

toasting-spices

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

toasting-spices-1

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.

chopped-ginger

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

mariande-ready-to-blend

Pulse until smooth.

marinade

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.

slashing-chicken

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

adding-marinade-to-drumsticks

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

chicken-coated-with-marinade

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.

ready-to-roast

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

ready-to-broil

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.

Tandoori-Chicken-Drumsticks-1

My starting point for this recipe 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 tandoori chicken with super-crispy skin and fruity, tangy mango chutney to go alongside.

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

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (substitute curry powder if you can't find it)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use 1/4 teaspoon for less heat)
  • 3 tablespoons peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • Zest and juice from one lime (about 1 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2-1/2 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

Instructions

  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, Edamam.com. 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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Reviews & Comments

  • This sounds yummy. Do you have a mango chutney recipe?

    • — Lisa on December 31, 2020
    • Reply
    • I don’t have one of my own – sorry! I will add it to my list of recipes to potentially develop. Hope you enjoy the chicken if you make it. 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 31, 2020
      • Reply
  • Great recipe! Can I use ginger garlic paste in place of the fresh ginger and garlic? If so, how much? Would I still need to blend with masalas in a blender since I’m using paste?

    • — Sk on December 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • I don’t recommend it, Sk – sorry!!

      • — Jenn on December 26, 2020
      • Reply
  • Epic, fabulous. Definitely make again!

    • — Joe on December 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe last night. It was absolutely delicious! I woke up thinking about it which is always a good sign. I tried both the chutney and and the cilantro shallot sauce from Food and Wine. They were both wonderful – very very different but both nice additions and very complimentary to the chicken.

    • — Max on November 12, 2020
    • Reply
  • The fragrances released by heating the spices perfumes the house is for hours..
    A simple and rewarding dish.

    • — Peter deSanctis on October 9, 2020
    • Reply
  • These are amazing! You’d think that 45 minutes at 450, plus another 5 under the broiler would turn the drumsticks to leather, but they are so moist.

    • — Mary on October 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • Delicious! My family and I loved it. I made it just like the directions, except that we only had 7 drumsticks, and there was plenty of extra marinade. Next time we’ll make more because I think it would be great cold the next day too. I didn’t make the chutney because we didn’t have mango. I made a curried cabbage side dish, and my stepson made naan. It was a great meal and really hit the spot since we don’t have a nearby Indian restaurant.

    • — DebF on September 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • this recipe was easy, delicious, and most importantly….AMAZING. so much flavor. My husband and I were scraping the plate for the leftover sauce. well done!

    • — Kendyan Shavers on August 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi, please suggest a substitute for coriander.

    Thanks

    • — Accidental home cook on August 7, 2020
    • Reply
    • You could just replace it with more cumin. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 8, 2020
      • Reply
      • Can I use ginger garlic paste if I don’t have fresh ginger or garlic? If so, how much? Also would I still need to blend together in blender if using paste? Excited to try this recipe!

        • — Ofi on December 21, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Ofi, I don’t have any experience with ginger garlic paste so I can’t say for sure, but I think you can probably get away with it. I Googled it and it looks like if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of minced ginger and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, use 2 tablespoons of the paste instead (I’ll let you do the math for this one). 🙂 And yes, I would still include it in the blender with the other ingredients. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

          • — Jenn on December 22, 2020
          • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, Do you think it would work to marinate the drumsticks overnight and then freeze the marinated drumsticks raw; then thaw and grill when my company arrives in a few days? Thank you!

    • — Becky on July 31, 2020
    • Reply
    • Yes, I think that will work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 3, 2020
      • Reply
  • Really Really appreciate this recipe. Easy, great flavor, and my teenager that won’t eat anything liked it so much she’s mixing me up a batch of garam masala.

    • — May on July 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • How would I cook these on a gas grill – it is just too hot to bake. I have ten bone-in chicken thighs marinating, the house smells wonderful from all the spices.

    • — Marilyn Segal on July 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Marilyn, Yes, this can be grilled. For both bone-in thighs and drumsticks, I’d grill them over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes per side. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, would the flavour profile of your roasted tomato-peach jam be a good match with this tandoori chicken recipe? I’m thinking of serving it in place of the suggested mango chutney. I’ve tried out a couple of your recipes recently and love them! Your instructions, step-by-step photographs, and specific salt measurements in particular are super helpful to an inexperienced cook like me.

    • — Alina on July 8, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Alina, I think it would pair nicely with the chicken!

      • — Jenn on July 8, 2020
      • Reply
  • Another great recipe from Once Upon a Chef!! I made these tonight and the family gave it a thumbs up to add to my dinner rotation. My chicken was cooked in about 30 minutes. Didn’t have the mango chutney and it was delicious on its own. I’m loving everything that I’ve tried so far. Thanks Jenn.

    • — Verna on July 6, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’m not usually a fan of drumsticks but everyone in the family loves this recipe, myself included. I stopped using the chutney with it, they don’t need it IMO.

    • — Judy on June 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn
    I did your chicken Tandoori recipe for dinner this evening (First time) doubled ingredients. Used 20 drumsticks instead of twelve. It turned out absolutely perfect our guests were impressed (one said I knew you could weld didn’t know you could cook ) I think the secret is slicing drumsticks and putting in marinades overnight. Every bite was full of taste and moisture!
    Thanks for your emails every week!

    • — Andre Blais on June 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • Cook these drumsticks up last night, after marinating them for 24 hours. My boys (53, 16 and 12) all loved them!! I only put a 1/4 tsp cayenne in as my 12 year old and I are pretty weak in the heat department. I will definitely up that next time I make these. Family rating – 5 stars!!

    • — Barb on June 11, 2020
    • Reply
  • HI Jenn
    can I use chicken thighs instead of drumsticks? Would the cooking time change?

    • — Kelly on June 7, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Kelly, Sure thighs would work here. Assuming the thighs have bones in them, the timing should be similar. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on June 8, 2020
      • Reply
  • I want to make this marinade tonight but don’t have turmeric…will it work or what can I substitute?

    • — Liz on May 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Liz, I’d use an additional 1/2 tsp. of cumin in place of the tumeric. Hope that helps and that you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 11, 2020
      • Reply
  • Fantastic! I followed the recipe “as is” and marinated overnight, which I highly recommend. I love lemon, but I use it in so many recipes. These drumsticks worked well with the change to limes. Paired perfectly with some General Grey’s Mango Chutney. I served it with sides of Indian Spiced Roasted Potatoes, and a Zucchini Curry.

    • — Vera on May 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • Can u use coconut yogurt instead of regular yogurt? Thanks

    • — Talie on April 14, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Talie, that should be fine. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 14, 2020
      • Reply
  • Greetings from Canada.
    This recipe of yours is a definitely a keeper. Very good. Thank you.

    • — Belinda on April 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • Last night I made this recipe for the second time. With no yogurt on hand, I used mayonnaise instead. It was as delicious as the first time! Thank you, Jenn, for a great recipe. I’m making the chocolate banana bread today.

    • — Donna on March 31, 2020
    • Reply
  • Absolutely marvelous, delicious, easy and delightful.
    Thank you!

    • — Louise Samson on March 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • Delicious, marinated overnight. …. everyone loved it served with all the linked suggestions…. will make again

    • — Mamma E on February 26, 2020
    • Reply
  • Has anyone tried this with a broiler pan?

    • — MammaE on February 26, 2020
    • Reply
  • Amazing recipe!! My very picky teenager loved this recipe. I actually cooked them in the air fryer for 25 min at 400 and they came out nice and crispy. Thank you for your great blog and recipes!

    • — Lexi on February 18, 2020
    • Reply
  • Made this last night. My husband ate 7 drumsticks (I know, I know, right?!). Was juicy and just the right amount of spice. Skin was crispy. I didn’t have mango chutney but didn’t really miss it- I just served with a bit of yogurt on the side. I used lemon in the marinade instead of lime because I didn’t have any. I marinated this overnight- I think it makes a difference. Another stellar recipe!

    • — Chithra on February 5, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi,
      Can I use the same recipe for marinating the whole chicken? Was thinking to grill whole chicken. Thank you 🙂

      • — Afia on July 15, 2020
      • Reply
      • Sure!

        • — Jenn on July 15, 2020
        • Reply
  • I made this tonight exactly as written. It was fantastic! Great flavor and crispy skin. My 7yr omg son even loved it, and he doesn’t like anything! I will make this again. Thank you!

    • — Tina on January 19, 2020
    • Reply
  • I am always making this recipe. It’s perfect. Thanks

    • — Ola on December 20, 2019
    • Reply
  • Have you ever tried this with shrimp?

    • — Heidi on December 16, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Heidi, I can’t say that I have. If you try it, I’d reduce the marinating time to 20-30 minutes. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on December 18, 2019
      • Reply
  • Update:

    This recipe was amazing. I followed the directions and didn’t add a thing. I marinated the chicken overnight and they came out crispy, flavorful and really pretty. :). Thanks Jen.

    • — Alicia H on December 1, 2019
    • Reply
    • Loved this! I made this exactly according to recipe and turned out fabulous.

      My husband and I aren’t even big drumstick fans, but the flavor and crispy skin made it a big hit.

      • — Brooke on July 21, 2020
      • Reply
  • I am having a surprise birthday party. for my husband and of course, I am coming to Jen for another great recipe. I used 3 bags of chicken drummettes and doubled the marinade. They are in the oven now and the aroma is everything!

    • — Alicia H on November 30, 2019
    • Reply
  • I have tried a lot of tandoori recipes and this is the best I’ve tried. I also added a 2 tbsp of kasoori methi and it came out fantastic. This will be our new go to recipe.

    • — Nupur on November 12, 2019
    • Reply
  • Wow! These are fantastic. Your recipes never disapppoint. I am excited to have the leftovers for lunch this week. Thank you again for a wonderful new meal idea!

    • — Darlene on September 10, 2019
    • Reply
  • I made these about a month ago, and came back for the recipe again. FANTASTIC! I even bought your book after trying this recipe. thank you

    • — Lorraine on August 30, 2019
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed the chicken and thanks for purchasing the cookbook! 💗

      • — Jenn on August 30, 2019
      • Reply
  • Best drumsticks ever!!

    • — Nims on July 7, 2019
    • Reply
  • Do you think I could use a different type of oil? I have olive oil and coconut oil. Thanks!

    • — Madison on May 27, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Madison, I like vegetable oil here because it’s very mild tasting, but you can get away with using either olive or coconut oil. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 27, 2019
      • Reply
  • This was absolutely fantastic!! Perfect!

    • — Vicki on May 15, 2019
    • Reply
  • Another wonderful meal which surprisingly the kids enjoyed too. Made for a quick weeknight meal after making the marinade the night before – just needed to pop the chicken in the oven the next day.

    • — LisaR on May 7, 2019
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious, made exactly as written. The only thing I did since I did not have a baking rack was place the chicken pieces directly on a baking pan which I covered with foil. Am making it again this weekend.

    • — Irene on April 11, 2019
    • Reply
    • If I don’t have fresh ginger can I use powdered ginger

      • — Kg on July 31, 2020
      • Reply
      • Yes, but you’ll need significantly less; I’d suggest about 3/4 teaspoon. Hope you enjoy!

        • — Jenn on August 3, 2020
        • Reply
  • I wanted to try something new for dinner and so glad I picked this recipe. I used both chicken drumsticks and thighs, just removed the drumsticks a little sooner. Roasting the spices beforehand was new and smelled delicious. I did not have fresh ginger but used ground ginger and it worked just fine. It did set off the smoke alarm which sent my dog and cat scurrying to the basement-poor things! I thought it was delicious and best of all, my sister who is the real cook of the family, thought so too!

    • — Kate on April 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • Jenn – thank you for this excellent recipe; it’s easy to follow, simple to make and most importantly delicious. I made this for my wife and we loved it, and are making it again tomorrow. Cheers!

    • — Texas Desi on March 28, 2019
    • Reply
    • This recipe sound yummy and because I’ve got a function of 150 guests, my question is, is it possible if I baked it a day or 2 before the time and refrigerate ND reheat it will it still be delicious/ good

      Thank u

      • — Petronella (Patsy ) Van Wyk on June 21, 2019
      • Reply
      • Wow, that’s a lot of chicken! Yes, these can be made ahead and reheated. Hope everyone enjoys! 🙂

        • — Jenn on June 21, 2019
        • Reply
      • Hello, I am looking at doing this for a large group as well, (90-100 legs) did you try this in advance? If so, how did the reheating go and how long did you reheat for? Thanks!

        • — Beth W. on March 6, 2020
        • Reply
  • This was so good. Made as written. Did not have lime so did without. Will try next time with Lime.

    • — Irene on March 11, 2019
    • Reply

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