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Air Fryer Chicken Tikka

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You will get fantastic results using this air fryer chicken tikka recipe.

Ever thought about making tandoori chicken tikka in an air fryer but weren’t sure if it can be done? I can assure you it can. Air fryers are becoming very popular these days. The things you can cook in them without having to heat up your oven makes them a cooking accessory that millions of people use daily. In this recipe, I use the same tikka marinade as I do in my sheet pan chicken tikka recipe but cook the chicken in 20 minutes in an air fryer. Any good tikka marinade will work with this recipe though.

Air fryer chicken tikka

All cooked and ready to serve in 20 minutes!

How this air fryer chicken tikka recipe works…

The problem with air fryers is that the cooking area is rather limited. Placing this much chicken tikka directly into the basket would mean cooking in several batches so as not to overcrowd the cooking surface.

So I prepared the chicken tikka by skewering the tikka onto wooden skewers. Not only does this mean you can cook a lot more chicken tikka in one go, it also adds to the presentation when served.

To do this, be sure to soak about 20 wooden skewers in water before skewering the chicken.

About the marinade.

The tikka marinade used for this air fryer chicken tikka is one I have been using for many years. It’s simple but gets excellent results.

Many tandoori chicken tikka marinade recipes call for quite a lot more yoghurt. The yoghurt is used not only as a flavouring but to tenderise the meat.

In the west, tenderising the meat is not as important as it is in India as our farmed chicken is already very tender. So marinades are used more as a flavouring than a tenderiser in most cases.

For this reason, you will use only a small amount of yoghurt in this air fryer chicken tikka. It is still be enough to flavour the chicken. When large amounts of yoghurt are used in an air fryer, it has a tendency to cake some as it cooks. That won’t happen with this air fryer chicken tikka recipe.

Can the air fried chicken tikka be frozen?

Yes. Once the chicken has been air fried, you can freeze it for later use. This is especially so if you plan to use the chicken tikka in one of my curry house style recipes. Adding prepared and nicely charred chicken tikka adds another delicious layer of flavour to a curry.

I don’t recommend freezing the marinated chicken before cooking. The yoghurt does not freeze well so be sure to cook it up in your air fryer and freeze if that is convenient for you. 

What do you serve air fryer chicken tikka with?

In addition to being the perfect chicken for use in curry house style curries, this air fryer chicken tikka is excellent served as a main or starter on its own. It is delicious wrapped into homemade chapattis and naans which can be prepared using the pan method on the stove.  

You might also enjoy this air fryer chicken tikka with coriander chutney or raita.

Working ahead.

This air fryer chicken tikka recipe is one that can easily be prepared a couple of days before cooking. In fact, if you prepare the marinade 2 days ahead of cooking, the chicken will be much more flavourful. 

So this air fryer chicken tikka is a good one to prepare ahead of time. Once marinated, you just need to skewer and air fry it for 20 minutes and that’s job done! You do not need to marinate the chicken that long though. You can get away with marinating the chicken for just 30 minutes. 

Can other ingredients be added to the chicken skewers?

Yes, absolutely. Just like I did in my sheet pan chicken tikka recipe, you can add vegetables to the skewers. 

Marinate the vegetables with the chicken and skewer them up too. Vegetables such as red onion, tomatoes, chillies and bell pepper all work well and will cook to perfection in the air fryer. 

Will this air fryer work with other meats and paneer?

Yes. Paneer works perfectly well and will get a nice char to it. If using red meat, I recommend using leg of lamb or sirloin/ribeye of beef as these cuts are quite tender and will cook well in the air fryer in 20 minutes. 

 

How to make air fryer chicken tikka…

Ingredients for air fryer chicken tikka

Get all of your ingredients together before you start preparing the chicken. It’s a lot easier that way.

Step 1.

Chicken tikka marinating in the first marinade

Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl and add the mustard oil, garlic and ginger paste, salt and lemon juice. Mix well with your hands so that it is all equally coated. Set aside.

Step 2.

Whisking the second marinade ingredients together

In another bowl, whisk the ingredients for the second marinade together.

Step 3.

Adding second marinade to the chicken.

Stir the chicken into the second marinade, rubbing the marinade into the flesh.

Step 4 – Your air fryer chicken tikka is almost ready!

Chicken skewered onto wooden skewers.

When ready to cook, thread the chicken tikka onto wooden skewers.

Step 5.

Skewered chicken in air fryer.

Place the skewered chicken into your air fryer and place secure the top. Cook on the highest heat for 20 minutes.

Step 6.

Basting the chicken with butter.

Baste the chicken a couple of times as it cooks toward the end of cooking. 

Step 7 – Time to eat delicious air fryer chicken tikka.

Air fryer chicken tikka cooked to perfection.

After 20 minutes of cooking, the chicken tikka should be cooked to perfection. If you want to char it a bit more, go for it. But remember that good chicken tikka is a mixture of charred exterior and juicy centre so don’t overcook that chicken!

Step 8.

air fryer chicken tikka

Enjoy! Your air fryer chicken tikka is ready and you didn’t even need to heat up your barbecue or oven. 20 minutes and the flavours are amazing!

Dipping chicken tikka into a coriander raita.

Try it with coriander chutney. Amazing.

Chicken tikka wrapped into a chapatti.

Or make a wrap! You are going to love this chicken tikka recipe. 

 

Yield: 6

Air Fryer Chicken Tikka

Air fryer chicken tikka
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1kg (2 ½ lbs) chicken breasts or thighs, but into bite sized tikka
  • FOR THE FIRST MARINADE
  • Juice of two lemons
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil or rapeseed (canola) oil, I use mustard oil
  • FOR THE SECOND MARINADE
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 generous tbsp thick full fat yoghurt
  • TO SERVE
  • 8 chapattis
  • 2 tbsp melted ghee or butter
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Soak about 20 wooden skewers in water for at least 30
    minutes.
  2. Place the chicken pieces in a large mixing bowl and add the lemon juice, salt, garlic and ginger paste and
    oil. Mix well with your hands or a spoon and set aside for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients up to and including the yoghurt and mix well to coat the chicken pieces equally. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  4. When ready to cook, thread the chicken onto the wooden skewers and place in your air fryer. Secure the top and cook on the highest temperature for 20 minutes. Toward the end of cooking, baste the chicken a couple of times.
  5. Season with salt to taste if needed and serve.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 2160mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 8gSugar: 13gProtein: 14g

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 I hope you enjoy this air fryer chicken tikka recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. 

Debarun Ghosh

Saturday 23rd of March 2024

Hi, the recipe is Delicious and very easy to follow. But you have not mentioned the temperature you set the Air Fryer to. Please do mention that in your guide.

Jessica Owen

Wednesday 13th of March 2024

Is the first brine necessary before moving on to the yogurt marinade?

Dan Toombs

Monday 18th of March 2024

It does improve the flavour as it soaks in but not absolutely necessary. Thanks Dan

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