Jan 30, 2023

Prep Ahead Oven Baked Tandoori Chicken

Wanna switch to a spice-filled marinade for the usual oven baked chicken? Here's one Indian recipe that you can prep one day ahead. Once ready to eat, simply pop the chicken to the oven and brush more marinade a couple more times during the process, then you'll have a delicious main for dinner.

Prep ahead oven baked tandoori chicken -

Prep ahead oven baked tandoori chicken


  • 3 whole bone-in and skin-on chicken leg 
  • Some mint leaves (optional)
  • Some quinoa basmati rice, saffron rice, or turmeric rice (optional)


  • 1 cup plain yogurt 
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon light-tasting oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala 
  • 1 tablespoon Kashmiri chili powder or regular chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt  


Mix all the ingredients under the "marinade" section to a big container. 

Tandoori chicken marinade

Add in whole chicken legs. Massage and make sure both front and back are covered with the marinade. Put the lid on and store in the fridge overnight.

Marinating tandoori chicken

When ready to cook the next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 degrees Celsius. Line a baking sheet with foil and top with rack.

Rack, foil, and baking sheet

Remove excess marinade from the chicken and lay them over the rack. However, save the marinade, which we will have to reapply them to the meat during the baking process. Into the oven for 20 minutes.

Tandoori chicken in the making

Carefully take out the baking sheet.

First round of baking the tandoori chicken

Brush both sides of the chicken with the marinade. Back to the oven for another 20 minutes. Remember to check on the meat and make sure not to over-burn the surface. You might have to adjust the heat accordingly.

Reapplying marinade for the tandoori chicken

Once ready, take out the baking sheet again. 

Half way through baking the tandoori chicken

This time, switch the oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius. Brush the chicken one final time with the remaining marinade. I actually used them all here. 

Back to the oven and bake till the top seemed charred but not seriously burnt, about 10 minutes. Once done, remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the meat reset for 10 minutes.

You can serve the tandoori chicken with quinoa basmati rice like me, or saffron rice, turmeric rice will do. Don't forget to chop some fresh mint leaves and garnish on top.

Prep ahead oven baked tandoori chicken

The center of the chicken remains juicy, partly thanks to the bone-in chicken we used. Every time I bake or roast chicken with bones, it's safe to say that 99% of the time they turned out juicy. The remaining 1%, probably a couple failures during my early days of cooking. 

Juicy bone-in chicken

Either way, bone-in chicken gives much more flavor to the final result. That's a must, no substitutes. 

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