Chicken Tikka Recipe (Tandoori Tikka Kabab)

Updated: June 27, 2024, By Swasthi

Make juicy and delicious Chicken Tikka Kebabs at home! Tandoori Chicken Tikka is a popular gastronomical delight from the North Indian Cuisine. Also known as Murgh Tikka, these are chunks of chicken marinated in a spiced yogurt and grilled to perfection. All thanks to the tikka marinade, it makes your Chicken super succulent and soft with bursting flavors of spices and herbs.

Chicken Tikka are boneless pieces of chicken, marinated in spiced yogurt, threaded on a metal skewer and cooked on live charcoal. The term “Tikka” translates to a piece or chunk. So you will find tikka being made with different kinds of foods. We have the Paneer tikka, lamb tikka, mushroom tikka and many more.

Tandoor a cylindrical clay oven consisting of live charcoal or wood fire is used for the purpose of grilling tikkas and kebabs. The temperature inside this oven can go very high. During the process, food juices and fats drip over the live coal and create a lot of smoke. This imparts an invigorating smoky flavor to the tikka.

Chicken tikka kebabs

About Chicken Tikka

The finished food is chargrilled and has absolutely fantastic and mouthwatering smoky aroma. Sounds so good right? This aroma is mesmerizing and you will instantly fall in love with the tandoori foods.

Since we don’t have such tandoor at home, for the homemade chicken tikka, we can simply grill the chicken in the oven, air fryer, on a stovetop griddle or a grill. To get a similar smoky flavor, you can optionally smoke the chicken after the tikkas are grilled.

To begin with, we briefly marinate the chicken with red chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala, cumin powder, salt, chaat masala, kasuri methi and lemon juice. Kasuri methi and chaat masala are optional ingredients but highly recommended to get the authentic Indian flavors. After a short time, Yogurt, ginger garlic paste and oil are added.

Marinated chicken is rested for a minimum of 8 hours, up to 48 hours, before grilling. I have been making chicken tikka for many years and have eaten the best to the average in Indian restaurants.

Make the Best

The ingredients used, double marinating and resting time, all 3 contribute to the best chicken tikka. Here are my key pointers

Kasuri methi and chaat masala are an absolute must and can’t tell you how big difference these 2 make to your tikkas. If you do not have chaat masala, you can use amchur (dried mango powder) and black salt.

Twice marinated chicken has the best flavors. The first marinade with spices, lemon juice and salt help the chicken to absorb the flavors well and removes the raw meat flavor instantly. Your chicken is not bland at all. Later we add the yogurt, ginger garlic and oil which help to tenderize the chicken and also prevent the meat from turning dry during the high heat grilling.

Resting time: Chicken thighs require only 20 mins and breasts require 3 to 4 hours of resting time. But resting for a minimum of 8 hours makes a huge difference to the flavor and texture of your tikkas.

Serve these chicken tikka kebab as an appetizer with Cilantro chutney, Mint chutney or Raita. Even more they go fantastically well as a filling in your Chapati or Butter Naan rolls/wraps, with a drizzle of chutney & salad veggies. I have many more serving idea below.

Similar Recipes
Chicken Reshmi Kabab
Chicken Kabab
Tandoori Chicken
Butter Chicken

Photo Guide

Step by Step Photo Instructions

1. Cut chicken thigh or breast to 1 to 1 ½ inch pieces and add them to a mixing bowl. For this recipe I used about 500 grams boneless chicken breast. You can also use thigh if that is your choice. Make sure there is no excess moisture (water) in your chicken. You may want to pat dry with a few kitchen tissues.

2. Add the following spices and herbs

  • 1 teaspoon salt (I use pink salt, you may reduce or increase according to the kind of salt you have)
  • ½ to 2 teaspoons Kashmiri Red chilli powder (To make it less spicy use ½ teaspoon)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¾ teaspoon roasted cumin powder (roasted ground cumin)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder (ground coriander)
  • 1 to 1 ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala (skip if you don’t have or 1/3 teaspoon amchur, dried mango powder)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper crushed

3. Add 1 tablespoon kasuri methi and 1 tablespoon lemon juice (skip lemon if your yogurt is even slightly sour).

4. Mix together and rest for at least 10 to 15 mins. If you are in a rush you may carry on with the next steps.

5. Add 1½ tablespoons ginger garlic paste (1 tablespoon each, ginger & garlic, minced and crushed) & 1 tablespoon oil (if possible mustard oil).

6. Add ½ cup Greek Yogurt (Hung curd, strained yogurt). You can make your own from this Hung curd recipe post. Don’t use sour yogurt, that makes your tikka sour.

7. Mix well. Your marinade has to be thick and not runny.

8. Cover and rest in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. If you are in a rush 30 mins works.

9. When you are about to grill the chicken tikka, add 1 ½ to 2 cups diced bell peppers (200 grams green and/or bell pepper) and 1 medium onion diced and layers separated. I used 1 green and 1 red medium sized bell peppers. You may skip but they add an extra mild sweet flavor to your grilled chicken tikka.

10. Mix well to coat the bell peppers and onions with the marinade.

11. Thread the bell peppers, onions and chicken cubes in alternating patterns on to metal skewers. If you want to use wooden skewers, make sure you soak them for 30 mins in water, pat dry and use.

12. Place them on a prepared tray and bake in a preheated oven at 240 C or 460 F for 9 to 10 mins, turn them and bake for another 9 to 10 mins. Brush them with butter as soon as you remove the tikka from the oven. If you want to char your chicken, broil for 2 mins or until slightly charred. You can also smoke the chicken tikka by following my recipe card below.

Serve Chicken tikka hot with Cilantro chutney or Mint Chutney. You can also shred these tikkas and make butter naan rolls/wraps with a drizzle of chutney and fresh salad veggies. Fill your tortillas and sandwiches with this or even more make a chicken tikka salad or top your pizza with partially grilled chicken tikka and finish cooking in the oven when you bake the pizza..

Chicken tikka recipe also known as tikka kebab

Air Fryer Chicken Tikka

You can also air fry the chicken tikka kebabs at 240C or 460 F for 12 mins, turning them half way to the other side. I prefer to brush them with the marinade or butter or with mustard oil and air fry for another 2 mins. Brush them again with butter before serving.

Grill or Stovetop

You can also grill them on a grill or on the griddle on the stove top. Grease your pan generously with oil and place the chicken cubes on the hot pan, you don’t need to thread them on a skewer. Cook the chicken until fully cooked and slightly charred. Repeat in batches. You have to do the chicken and veggies separately. I will update the pictures shortly.

Expert Tips

Chicken breast vs Chicken thighs for tikka: If you don’t have much time to rest the chicken, use chicken thighs. Chicken breasts are best marinated longer and used so they remain juicy even after grilling at high temperature.

Bell Peppers & Onions: You can skip the bell peppers and onions. But these are the key ingredients used in a restaurant Indian chicken tikka. Both these add so much flavor during the grilling and is in fact healthy to include them so you don’t miss out your veggies in the meal.

Skewers: If using bamboo skewers make sure you soak them for safety. Avoid using bamboo skewers on direct fire.

Spices: Using a lot of spices can make your tikkas bitter.

Besan (Gram flour): A lot of restaurants also use a small amount of roasted gram flour to impart a nutty aroma. You may consider that but I have not used it here.

skewed grilled restaurant style

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

chicken tikka kebab recipe

Chicken Tikka Recipe (Tandoori Tikka Kabab)

4.99 from 125 votes
Make this ever popular smoky and delicious Indian Chicken tikka kebabs at home. Serve them as an appetizer with Cilantro chutney, Mint chutney or Raita. Shred the chicken tikka and add it to your salads or wraps & sandwich fillings.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 1 pound bone-less chicken (450 to 500 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • ½ to 2 teaspoons Kashmiri Red chilli powder (for less spicy version, use ½ teaspoon)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¾ teaspoon roasted cumin powder (roasted ground cumin)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder (ground coriander)
  • 1 to 1 ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala (skip if you don’t have or 1/3 teaspoon amchur, dried mango powder)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper crushed or powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (skip if your yogurt is sour)
  • 1 ½ tablespoon Ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon oil (mustard oil if you have)
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt (hung curd)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter for brushing


  • 200 grams bell peppers (1½ to 2 cups, diced)
  • 1 medium onion (diced and layers separated)



  • Cut chicken to 1½ inch pieces and add them to a mixing bowl. If possible pat dry the chicken with a few tissues to remove any excess moisture.
  • Add chilli powder, coriander, cumin powder, garam masala, chaat masala, salt, kasuri methi and lemon juice. Mix well and rest for at least 10 to 15 mins. This helps the chicken to absorb the flavors well & this step is optional.
  • Next add ginger garlic paste, oil and yogurt. Mix well. Cover and marinate for a minimum of 8 hours and up to 48 hours in the refrigerator. If you are in a rush you may cut down the resting time to 20 mins.

How to make Chicken Tikka Kebab

  • If using bamboo skewers make sure you soak them for 30 mins and later pat dry before use.
  • Prepare a deep baking tray and line with aluminum foil, if you want to grill these in the oven. Preheat the oven to 240 C or 460 F for at least 15 mins.
  • Optional – If using bell peppers and onions, add them to the chicken marinade and mix well.
  • Thread the bell peppers, onions (if using) and chicken to the skewers in alternating patterns. (check photos in the post)
  • Place them on the prepared tray, spacing them apart and bake the chicken tikka for 9 mins. With the help of tongs, turn them to the other side and bake for another 9 to 10 mins, until completely cooked. Every oven is different so the cook time may vary.
  • Turn on the broil mode on your oven and broil for 2 mins. If your oven does not have this setting, simply move the chicken to the top most rack. This chars the chicken slightly.
  • Bring the tray out of the oven and check if the chicken is cooked thru. For this cut the chicken tikka to 2 parts, meat should not be pink in color in the center of the tikka. If it looks pinkish, it means it is still undercooked & bake for a little longer.
  • Brush them with butter. Serve chicken tikka kebab with Cilantro chutney, Mint chutney or raita. You can also sprinkle some chaat masala.

Air Fryer Chicken Tikka

  • Place the chicken tikka skewers in the air fryer basket or in a pan that fits your basket.
  • Air fry for 6 mins at 200 C or 400 F. Turn them to the other side and air fry for another 6 mins. Brush them with butter (or leftover marinade or mustard oil) and air fry for another 2 mins.
  • I prefer to brush the air fryer chicken tikka again with butter before serving.

Grill in a Pan

  • Brush your pan with oil or butter and place the chicken tikka over the pan. Grill them on a medium heat for 4 to 5 mins, turn them to the other side and grill for another 4 to 5 mins until fully cooked and the internal temperature reaches 165 F or 74 C.
  • If you want to char the chicken, take the chicken tikka on metal skewers, over direct fire and grill for 1 to 2 mins.

Smoking Chicken Tikka

  • If you want to replicate tandoori flavors, Place the hot grilled chicken tikka along with the tray on your kitchen counter. Place a small steel bowl in the center of this tray.
  • Hold a wood coal with a tong, over direct fire until hot and red. Put that in the steel bowl in your tray. Pour 1 tsp ghee over the hot coal. Immediately you will see a lot of smoke. Cover the tray with another tray or seal with foil to trap the smoke.
  • Leave it for 3 to 5 mins, depending on how smoky you want it to be. Your smoky chicken tikka is done!


  1. You may skip the bell peppers and onions, but that’s how these are made in Indian restaurants. They add a mild sweet aroma to the tikkas.
  2. Do not use bamboo / wooden skewers over direct fire. Instead use metal ones.
  3. Avoid using runny yogurt, we don’t want the marinade to drip all over in the tray or in the pan. Make your own Greek yogurt using regular one. For that follow this hung curd recipe
  4. You may skip chaat masala and kasuri methi from the recipe.
  5. You can also add 1 to 2 tablespoons of roasted besan (gram flour) to the marinade. 
  6. If you are a beginner please stay away from the Smoking/ dhungar technique.


Watch Chicken Tikka Video

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Tikka Recipe (Tandoori Tikka Kabab)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 242 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 81mg27%
Sodium 764mg33%
Potassium 634mg18%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 1828IU37%
Vitamin C 70mg85%
Calcium 55mg6%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

Follow Swasthi’s Recipes


Recipe Rating

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

5 stars
I’ve made this about 15 times and it’s perfect every time. I don’t have skewers and I bake it in the oven, and it’s better than the restaurants. I use chicken tenders and my wife taught me the hack of cutting them into cubes with a good scissor: no need to partially freeze the meat and it’s so quick. I also found the past few times I can get away with marinating for an hour in the fridge and I can’t tell the difference. Now I don’t have to plan the meal a day ahead of time. A very simple dish that tastes like it’s complicated.

5 stars
Great recipe. Kids and wife really enjoyed this! I had to skip the ginger and used minced garlic as well. Also went with chat masala. I ended up going with a the standard 2 lb chicken breast package (USA) and the same amount as the recipe.

5 stars
Thank you for sharing this recipe and indeed for all of your tips. Your Tikka is wonderful, light and very aromatic. Even my young children love it.

The marinade, with substituted powdered garlic, ginger and slightly more yoghurt (Greek strained), makes a delicious dip for the meal.

5 stars
This is really a delicious kabab! Thanks for the recipe

5 stars
Thank you ji

5 stars
Hi Swasthi, let me commend you on the well balanced spices of this recipe. The heat is just right for me . Some of my family members like it hotter with the addition of minced green chilli sauce! Personally I think that definitely defeats the beautifully balanced spicing . And all you have is heat. I normally add some ginger paste to my recipe. Which makes the tikka a little more punchy without heat. But I really think you have a great palate, and I have cooked a lot of your recipes. Here in London I find that most Indian restaurants are run by people of Bangladeshi origins, and the restaurants produce mostly concoctions aimed at customers that really don’t know! But the trend is for the truth of Indian cuisine! we have some exceptional restaurants that provide authentic dishes like yours

5 stars
Thanks Swasthi! This was outstanding! The chicken was juicy and packed tons of great flavors. I didn’t have the fenugreek leaves so I just used ground seeds. Will be making this dish many more times.

5 stars
This recipe was outstanding and easy to make! We cooked ours on a gas grill. I couldn’t believe how good it it turned out. Thank you!

5 stars
Your recipes are my go to card for any occasion .. such excellent and delectable recipes , so well explained. Hats off to you! Keep posting which in turn would help us serve our families with yummy nutritious food. You contribute a lot to good health of our families. Sending across warmest best wishes and lots of love your way!


5 stars
My family loved this recipe. Thank you!

Your recipes are excellent! I made pakora, chicken tikka and tarka dal .. all were fantastic, thanks so much

5 stars
Hallo Swasthi

5 stars
Hello maam,
I am hina..I mostly follow ur recipes and they always turn out to be delicious..ur recipes hve always been of great help to me…

I am hoping to make this tomorrow but just wanted to check something.. is the chicken put in the oven at 240° or is it done under the grill? Thanks

When do you put the besan and the ginger garlic paste?

5 stars
Mam I really enjoy cooking with your recipes , it always comes out very well. You describe it so well. I have tried your dal makhni , butter chicken, paneer butter masala, malai kofta and many more. Even if I know how to cook something I do check with your recipe what different you have added. Love your recipes. Keep cooking , keep posting and keep motivating all of us to enhance our flavours. Stay blessed always ?? love n hugs ❤️❤️

5 stars
whenever i want to try a dish , i look up to ur recipes. they are explained in an easy to follow steps and the dishes come out really well. Thank you.!

5 stars
Tried Chicken Tikka recepie today.. As every other recepie of your recepies this one came out outstandingly delicious.. My husband and kids loved it. Thank you so much ?

Tried Chicken Tikka recepie today.. As every other recepie of your recepies this one came out outstandingly delicious.. My husband and kids loved it. Thank you so much ?

Your recipe explanation and photos are very well presented.
Appreciated ??

5 stars
Hi Swasthi,

Your recipes are too good. I started following your recipes few days back. They are really easy and nice. Specially red pasta sauce recipe , my daughter loved it. If I want to make any new dish, I prefer to follow your recipe. Thank you very much for making cooking easy and delicious for us.