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Stovetop Tandoori Chicken

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This stovetop tandoori chicken tikka is delicious on its own or stirred into a curry.

I am often asked if you can make smoky tandoori chicken tikka on the hob (stove top). The answer is yes!

I make stovetop tandoori chicken tikka all the time and use it in my curry house style curries.

Stovetop tandoori chicken tikka

The perfect tandoori chicken tikka, smoked as if it were cooked in a charcoal tandoor oven.

About this stovetop tandoori chicken tikka recipe…

This recipe will get you excellent results and if you use my charcoal smoking method below, it will taste deliciously smoky just like what you get at your favourite curry houses.

If you would rather cook in the oven, simply place the marinated chicken on a wire rack in an oven that has been pre-heated to 200c (400f) and roast until cooked through, turning once for about 20 minutes or until nicely charred.

20 minutes is usually enough but please check that the chicken is completely cooked through.

Which chicken cuts?

I have used chicken thighs cut into bite sized tikka but you can use any chicken pieces you like.

If you want to cook a starter of tandoori chicken legs and or thighs on the bone, this recipe will work for that too.


Whatever you are trying to achieve, this recipe will work. Small chicken tikka for curries or large pieces on the bone, it’s your choice.

What do I need to make this chicken tikka?

You will need a pan with a tight fitting lid for this recipe if using the charcoal smoke method below. This is optional, however.

Forward Preparation

You could get away with just marinating the chicken for about 30 minutes.

That said, you will get much better results if you allow the tandoori chicken time to marinate. I have marinated the chicken for 72 hours and you really do taste the difference!

Will this stovetop cooking method work with your other chicken tikka recipes?

You bet! I wanted to show you how this is done on a stovetop. But any of my chicken tikka recipes can be cooked in this way. 

So are you ready to give stovetop tandoori chicken tikka a try? Go for it! These delicious chicken is so good served with homemade stovetop naans

Step by step photographs…

Ingredients for tandoori chicken tikka

Get all your ingredients together before starting. It’s easier that way.

Marinating the chicken in lemon juice, garlic and ginger and salt

Marinate the chicken tikka with the lemon juice, salt and garlic and ginger paste for about 10 minutes.

Adding ground spices to yogurt and cream cheese.

Whisk the cream cheese and yoghurt until really smooth. Then add the ground spices.

Spices whisked into the cream cheese and yoghurt mixture.

Whisk the spices in until the marinade is really creamy.

Chicken tikka marinating in the marinade

Add the chicken tikka and allow to marinate for 30 minutes or longer.

Charcoal burning in the chicken tikka

When ready to cook, place two lit pieces of charcoal on a double folded piece of foil and place it in the centre of the chicken.

Chicken smoking in the pan

Drizzle the charcoal with about 1/2 tsp oil. It will begin to smoke. Cover the pan and let sit until the smoke subsides.

Chicken tikka frying

Heat a pan over medium high heat and stir in the ghee. When hot, add the chicken tikka.

Frying chicken tikka after smoking.

Allow to char on the underside and then flip over to char the other. Season with salt to taste.

Smoky stovetop tandoori chicken tikka

All done. Really easy and tastes amazing

Stovetop tandoori chicken tikka

Try this stovetop tandoori chicken tikka in you next curry house style curry.

Try these similar stovetop and tandoori recipes:

Chicken Tikka Masala
Low fat tandoori chicken tikka
Easy tandoori garlic naans
Tandoori wild duck and pheasant
Stovetop tandoori chicken
Tandoori style chicken lollipops
Tandoori prawns
Tandoori roast whole chicken
Tandoori turkey
Tandoori partridges

My favourite stovetop tandoori chicken recipe follows!

Yield: 4

Stovetop Tandoori Chicken

Stovetop Tandoori Chicken
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 kg (2 lbs) chicken cut into bite sized pieces
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 3 generous tbsp ghee or rapeseed oil
  • 200g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp tandoori masala
  • 1 tablespoons ginger and garlic paste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 - 2 pieces of charcoal
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 onion cut into thin slices
  • coriander leaves
  • 2 limes - quartered


  1. Place the chicken in a mixing bowl and mix well with the lemon juice, garlic and ginger paste and salt.
  2. Whisk all of the marinade ingredients until you have a smooth emulsion. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, this can be done by hand.
  3. Pour the marinade over the chicken and rub it into the flesh.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. The longer the better.
  5. When ready to cook, light two pieces of charcoal and let them turn white hot.
  6. Place the chicken into a pan with a tight fitting lid and put the charcoal in the pan on a piece of folded over silver foil. Pour a one half teaspoon of oil on the charcoal and it will start smoking heavily.
  7. Allow to sit in the smoke until almost all of the smoke has subsided. About 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Then, melt the ghee in a frying pan over medium high heat. When visibly hot, place the chicken pieces in the pan. Don’t over crowd your pan as the chicken will release water and it won’t char correctly. So do in batches if necessary.
  9. Fry on the first side for about two minutes. This should brown the chicken. Turn them over and fry again on the opposite side for another two minutes.
  10. You should now have a nice crust on both sides. Reduce the heat if needed and continue frying for about eight more minutes, turning from time to time until the chicken is cooked through.
  11. Try a small piece and season with salt to taste.
  12. Garnish a warmed plate with the sliced onion, lime quarters and coriander and serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 600Total Fat: 70gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 48gCholesterol: 364mgSodium: 2477mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 67g

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Stovetop tandoori chicken

This stovetop tandoori chicken tikka recipe can also be used for other cuts of chicken such as whole chicken thighs or legs.



Tuesday 7th of May 2024

How do you remove the yoghurt before cooking? Mine seemed to have a thick coating which I did not enjoy.

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 14th of May 2024

Shake off as much yoghurt as you can before cooking so it’s not thickly coating the meat. That should work. Thanks Dan


Friday 29th of September 2023

Hi, can you cook this chicken tikka the day before, then add to your curry sauce the next day? Thanks

Dan Toombs

Friday 29th of September 2023

Yes,that works well and a lot of people do that. Thanks Dan


Thursday 25th of June 2020

Hi Dan,

I tried the Stove Top Tandoori Chicken. It was perfect and it came out really well. Everyone in my family loved it. Thank you so much For the recipe. I will be happy to see your reply.

Dan Toombs

Friday 3rd of July 2020

Great to hear, I am glad everyone loved it. Dan


Friday 20th of July 2018

Where have you learned South Asian cooking?

Dan Toombs

Thursday 17th of January 2019

Hi Asma

A lot of it I learned from cookbooks and just practicing with flavours at home. I've also met with chefs all over the UK, Sri Lanka and India and learned so much from them.

Thanks, Dan


Thursday 25th of May 2017

Amazing it turned out to be. Easy healthy n yummy. Thank u :)))

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 31st of May 2017

Thank you very much Bhavna! I'm really happy you liked the recipe. :-)


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