Tandoori chicken (Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters) is a popular Indian dish that is made by marinating chicken in a blend of spices and yogurt, and then grilling or baking it to perfection. The dish is named after the traditional clay oven, called a tandoor, in which it is typically cooked. But instead of baking in a tandoor, we are going to create the same results in an air fryer.
See our Air Fryer Recipes section for quick and easy meals.
Why You Will Love These Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters (Tandoori Chicken)
- Flavor: Tandoori chicken is bursting with flavor from the blend of spices used in the marinade.
- Once the chicken is set to marinate, all that is left is to let the air fryer roast it to perfection. Your meal is cooked in under 30 minutes.
- Tandoori chicken can be served as a main dish, as part of a larger meal, or even as a snack. It can also be used as a protein in salads or sandwiches.
- Leftover chicken can be dunked in tomato-based sauce to make butter chicken.
- This recipe can also be cooked on charcoal, on a grill, pan-fried, or oven roasted.
- Air fryer chicken legs are a healthier alternative to fried chicken legs since they are cooked with little or no oil, which reduces the amount of fat and calories.
- Air fryer chicken legs come out crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, creating a delicious texture and flavor.
- Excellent Keto / Low Carb recipe – good enough to eat every day for a quick protein hit!
Ingredients for Tandoori Chicken Marinade
There are two simple marinades for this Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters.
Marinade #1 – Brining and tenderizing
Salt: Salt is the only ingredient that can penetrate meat thoroughly, seasoning the meat all the way through, not just on the surface. This method of using salt is called dry brining. Salt also helps to retain moisture in the chicken, preventing it from drying out during cooking.
Lemon Juice: Apart from adding a tangy flavor to chicken, the acid in the lemon juice can help to break down the proteins in the chicken, making it more tender and juicy.
Marinade #2 – Adding bursts of flavor and color!
A lot of restaurants add artificial red color to give the chicken that flaming red/pink hue. Another more natural way is to use beetroot juice, turmeric, or even some saffron in the marinade. I do not, however, like the stains from beetroot, and frankly do not always have beets lying around in the fridge. So I use the following chili powder in oil trick, which deepens the color a bit.
Kashmiri Chili: This chili powder is available in Indian stores. It has mild heat and a bright red hue. This is further enhanced by heating it in oil. You can substitute with plain or smoked paprika or cayenne pepper (for more heat).
Cooking Oil: Any neutral-smelling cooking oil or ghee to heat up the chili powder. You can skip this step if you do not care much about the color.
Ginger Garlic Paste: Where possible, please use a fresh paste made from ginger root and garlic pods. Bottled pastes do not have the same aroma as freshly made ones.
Greek Yogurt: Traditionally yogurt is hung in a muslin cloth to drain out the whey water. This makes marinade less wet, and perfect for a dry bake or roast. Greek yogurt is a good substitute for hung yogurt.
Garam Masala: One of the most commonly used spice mixes, Garam masala is a blend of several spices, including cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cumin, and coriander. The combination of these spices provides a warm and aromatic flavor to the chicken.
Black Salt/Rock Salt(Optional): Rock salt has a distinctive, slightly earthy flavor. Use regular salt as an option.
Dried Fenugreek Leaves: Also known as Kasuri Methi, fenugreek leaves are a common ingredient in tandoori chicken marinades. Adding fenugreek leaves to the marinade gives it a slightly bitter, nutty flavor that can add depth and complexity to the marinade.
How to make Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters (Tandoori Chicken)
How to Make Air Fryer Tandoori Chicken Leg Quarters
1. Remove skin from the leg quarters, and with a sharp knife, cut deep slits on both sides. This will enable the marinades to reach deeper into the meat.
2. Rub salt and lemon juice well on all sides. Leave aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Heat oil, and add the chili powder to it. Mix well.
4. Add all remaining ingredients. With a fork or a whisk, make a smooth paste.
5. Add the chicken leg quarters to this marinade, and apply to all sides till well coated.
6. Place the leg quarters in the air fryer basket. Space them well, so that they are not sticking to each other.
7. Air fry for 15 minutes at 350 F or 180 C. Brush with melted ghee or butter on both sides and air fry for another 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 F to 74 C.
Here are some serving suggestions:
- With naan (flat bread): Tandoori chicken pairs well with fresh, warm naan.
- With rice: Serve tandoori chicken with biryani rice or this spiced rice with peas.
- With chutney: Tandoori chicken can be served with mint chutney, tamarind chutney, or coriander chutney for added flavor and freshness.
- With yogurt sauce: Mix yogurt with a little salt, pepper, and lemon juice to make a refreshing and cooling sauce for the spicy tandoori chicken.
- In a salad: Tandoori chicken can be sliced and served with cucumber, onion, and tomato salad for a light and healthy meal.
- In a wrap: Roll tandoori chicken, lettuce, tomato, and onion in a warm tortilla wrap for a quick and easy lunch or dinner.
- On skewers: Thread tandoori chicken onto small skewers or toothpicks. These make for a fun and festive appetizer or party food.
Regardless of how you choose to serve tandoori chicken, it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser with its bold and spicy flavors.
Some Useful Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
Keep the second marinade for 4 hours or overnight in the fridge. This ensures succulent chicken with robust flavors.
Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C for 10 minutes. Line a baking tray with baking paper or foil. Place the marinated chicken on this tray and bake for 15 minutes. Brush with melted butter or ghee on both sides and bake for another 15-20 minutes till the internal temperature reaches 165F or 74C.
You can bake these chicken leg quarters in an oven, barbequed on a charcoal or gas grill, or even pan-fried.
This is a very mildly spiced recipe. The chillis do not have much heat, and they are further dulled down by the yogurt.
HUNGRY FOR MORE?
Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
Tandoori Chicken (Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters)
- 1 Knife
- 1 Brush for basting
- 1 Large Mixing Bowl or Sauce Pan
- 1 Pair Of Tongs
- 2 Chicken Leg Quarters Skinless
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 2 teaspoons Oil
- 1 teaspoon Mild Chilli Powder See Notes
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic Paste See Notes
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger Paste See Notes
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1/2 teaspoon Fenugreek Leaves (Kasuri Methi)
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Salt/ Chaat Masala See Notes
- 1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt See Notes
- 1 teaspoon Ghee or Melted Butter
- With a sharp knife, make 3-4 cuts on the chicken thighs. Flip and repeat on the other side as well.
- Rub salt and lemon juice on all sides.
- Keep aside to marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- While the chicken marinates, prepare the second marinade.
- In a saucepan, heat the oil, till almost smoky.
- Take off the heat, and add chili powder. Stir well.
- Add the remaining ingredients to this chili oil.
- With a fork or a whisk, make a smooth, lump-free paste.
- Add the chicken to this paste and massage to coat well.
- Let this marinate for 1-3 hours.
- Place the chicken leg quarters in your air fryer basket. Space well, so they are not touching.
- Air Fry at 356 F / 180 C for 15 minutes.
- Open the air fryer basket, and using the brush, baste the chicken with ghee or melted butter.
- Flip the chicken and baste the other sides as well.
- Air Fry the chicken quarters for another 10-15 minutes – till the internal temperature reaches 165 F/ 73 C.
More Content You Might Enjoy:
More Air Fryer Vegetable Recipes
More Air Fryer Recipes
Our nutritional values are calculated by Spooncular API. While we try our best to ensure these values are correct, please confirm these independently. All information shared here is for general purposes only. Please consult your doctor if a particular ingredient or way of eating is suitable for you.
6 Comments on “Tandoori Chicken (Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters)”
Love the flavors used to make this. Tandoori chicken is so yummy.
Loved loved loved this recipe! So simple and easy and came out perfect! I also threw in some roasted vegetables from your other recipe and it turned out perfect. Very easy and simple dinner.
What a time saver – Tandoori in the air fryer. Love the flavour the fenugreek adds.
I love the taste of a good Tandoori Chicken! This is one of my favorites, and the air fryer makes it even easier to prepare!
Your Tandoori chicken was a hit at my house. I will definitely be putting this recipe in our monthly meal plan rotation. Your spice level was spot-on.
My kids loved these!!! The flavour on the chicken was delicious. Not too spicy, but with a bit of oomph to it.
We had it with rice and veggies and a curry gravy!
I am going to make it again with chicken thighs.