Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken Legs

This Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken recipe is made with juicy chicken drumsticks marinated in a mix of spices, yogurt, and herbs, and cooked in the air fryer for a delicious, updated version of this popular Indian-inspired dish. And it’s ready in 30 minutes or less, after marination!

More Chicken Recipes To Try

Hui Hui Hawaiian Chicken
Korean Crispy Chicken Wings
Indian Butter Chicken From Scratch
Creamy Marry Me Chicken
Easy Ground Chicken Burgers

Why you’ll love this recipe

Endless flavors: The blend of spices, yogurt, and herbs creates a burst of delicious and authentic Tandoori flavor.

Time-efficient: The air fryer cooks the chicken faster than some conventional methods, making it a quick and convenient choice for busy schedules.

Easy preparation: The recipe simplifies the cooking process, making it a great introduction to Indian-inspired cooking at home.

Minimal cleanup: The air fryer’s easy cleanup adds to the appeal, as there’s less mess in the kitchen compared to traditional cooking methods.

Ingredient notes and substitutions for this recipe

Chicken drumsticks: You can substitute with chicken thighs or a mix of drumsticks and thighs. Adjust cooking times accordingly.

Greek yogurt: Use whichever plain yogurt you have on hand, the thicker the better.

Oil: Use any neutral cooking oil like vegetable or canola oil. For a richer flavor, consider using ghee (clarified butter).

Lemon juice: Lime juice can be a substitute for lemon juice.

Fresh garlic and fresh ginger: If fresh is not available, you can use equivalent amounts of garlic and ginger paste or powder.

Green chilies: Adjust the quantity based on your heat level preference, or leave them out completely. Jalapeños or serrano peppers are good alternatives.

Coriander seed powder: Ground coriander seeds can be used as a substitute.

Garam masala: If you don’t have garam masala, you can make a quick substitute by combining ground cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.

Kashmiri chili powder: This is a mild, vibrant red chili powder. A mix of regular chili powder and paprika for both color and heat is a good substitute.

Turmeric powder: No direct substitute for turmeric, but you can omit it if necessary. It mainly contributes to the color.

Dried chili flakes: Omit if you don’t have them, or prefer a milder flavor.

Cumin seeds: Ground cumin or cumin powder can be used as a substitute.

Red and orange food coloring powder: These are optional for color enhancement.

How to make Airfryer Tandoori Chicken: Step by step

I’ve made this air fryer chicken tandoori recipe so many times, and I swear it gets better each time! Here’s how to make Chicken Tandoori in 5 easy steps.

Step 1: Prepare Chicken

Clean and pat dry the chicken drumsticks.

Step 2: Marinate Chicken

In a bowl, combine Greek yogurt, oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, minced garlic, grated ginger, chopped green chilies, and salt.

Add coriander powder, garam masala, Kashmiri chili powder, turmeric powder, dried chili flakes, cumin seeds, and red and orange food coloring powders if using. Mix until well combined.

Step 3: Marination Time

Coat the chicken thoroughly with the marinade, ensuring each piece is well covered.

Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or ideally overnight for maximum flavor.

Step 4: Preheat Air Fryer

When you’re ready to cook, preheat the air fryer to 400°F or 200°C).

Step 5: Arrange in Air Fryer & Cook

Place the marinated chicken drumsticks in the air fryer basket, ensuring they are not overcrowded for even cooking.

Cook the drumsticks in the air fryer for approximately 20-30 minutes, turning them halfway through to ensure even cooking.

Adjust the cooking time based on the size of the drumsticks and the specific model of your air fryer.

Serve when done.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

Pat dry chicken: Ensure the chicken drumsticks are completely dry before marinating to help the marinade adhere better.

Marination duration: For optimal flavor, marinate the chicken for up to 8 hours. This allows the spices to penetrate the meat thoroughly.

Avoid overcrowding: Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking.

Turn midway: Flip the chicken drumsticks halfway through the cooking time to ensure both sides are evenly browned and cooked through.

Baste during cooking: I prefer to baste the chicken with some of the marinade reserved before coating the raw chicken pieces, for an extra layer of flavor and moisture.

Serve with accompaniments: Pair the Tandoori Air Fried Chicken with naan, french fries, cilantro rice, or a refreshing side salad for a substantial meal.


Refrigeration: Store leftover tandoori chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freezing: For longer storage, freeze the air fried chicken in a freezer-safe container, ensuring it is well-sealed, for up to 2-3 months.

Reheating: Just pop the chicken into the air fryer for a few minutes until heated through.

Airfryer Tandoori Chicken FAQs

Can I use boneless chicken for this recipe?

Yes, you can use boneless chicken, adjusting the cooking time as needed for the specific cut.

Can I marinate the chicken for less than 2 hours?

While longer marination enhances the flavor, you can marinate for at least 30 minutes if pressed for time. However, the longer, the better for a richer taste.

Can I make this recipe without yogurt?

Yogurt contributes to the dish’s tenderness and flavor, but you can substitute it with buttermilk or a non-dairy alternative like coconut yogurt for a lactose-free version.

Can I make the marinade ahead of time?

Absolutely. Prepare the marinade and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Marinate the chicken when ready to cook for the freshest flavor.

Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken Legs

An Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken recipe, using a marinade of spices, yogurt, and herbs, for a delicious Indian-inspired chicken dinner.
Prep Time2 hours
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time2 hours 25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: air fryer tandoori chicken drumsticks, air fryer tandoori chicken legs, tandoori air fryer chicken pieces


  • 4 lb Chicken drumsticks skinless and scored
  • 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 4 Tbsp Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh garlic finely chopped or paste
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh ginger finely chopped or paste
  • 2-4 Green chilies finely chopped
  • ½ Tbsp Salt
  • ½ Tbsp Coriander powder
  • ½ Tbsp Garam masala
  • ½ Tbsp Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Dried chili flakes
  • ½ tsp Cumin seeds
  • ¼ Red food coloring powder optional
  • ¼ Orange food coloring powder optional


  • Clean and pat dry the chicken drumsticks with kitchen paper.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine Greek yogurt, oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, minced garlic, grated ginger, chopped green chilies, and salt.
  • Add coriander powder, garam masala, Kashmiri chili powder, turmeric powder, dried chili flakes, cumin seeds, and red and orange food coloring powders if using. Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
  • Coat the chicken drumsticks evenly with the marinade.
  • Cover the bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat your air fryer to 400°F or 200°C.
  • Place the marinated chicken in the air fryer basket in a single layer.
  • Air fry for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through for even cooking. Serve when cooking time is done.

And now you can enjoy the most flavorful air fried chicken tandoori you’ll ever make! If you make this recipe and love it, I’d love to know!

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