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Honey Roast Chicken

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This honey roast chicken can be cooked in the oven or on your barbecue

As I write this, the weather is dreadful outside and a bit depressing. That’s not going to stop me from firing up the Kamado Joe though to make this honey roast chicken. This is a tandoori style honey roast chicken and it taste amazing cooked over an indirect fire on the barbecue.

Honey roast chicken on a serving plate with vegetables.

About this honey roast chicken recipe

As tandoori chicken goes, this is a good one. You may not have seen a tandoori recipe like this before as it isn’t your typical tandoori chicken recipes. You will, however love it as the method you will see here is typical of Indian cooking.

One thing you might like is that the skin is left on the chicken. Most tandoori chicken recipes call for the skin to be removed but this honey roast chicken is different. You will get an amazing crispy and mildly sweet skin using the following cooking instructions.

Is this honey roast chicken recipe difficult?

Not really but it does take some preparation. First you separate the skin from the chicken by running your fingers between the skin and meat.

Then you carefully score the chicken several times on the breasts and thigh. That is the most difficult part of this honey roast chicken recipe but it is essential to making the recipe work.

The chicken is then marinated for at least 30 minutes but a longer marination time of up to 24 hours is best.

Can you work ahead?

Yes. In fact, as I mentioned above, it is best to allow the chicken to marinate for 24 hours. You could actually let the chicken marinate for 48 hours so if working ahead is more convenient, go for it.

How do you roast this chicken in the oven?

Below I have given barbecue instructions for the cooking heat you are aiming for. The same heat is required in an oven so simply set your oven to 250c (480f) and follow the recipe.

It’s that easy.

Which charcoal is best for cooking this honey roast chicken?

Stay away from cheap charcoal that is drenched in fire lighter fluid! This will affect the flavour negatively. I use restaurant grade lump wood charcoal and also restaurant grade briquettes from Big K. (<– I get paid a small amount if you make a purchase using these links).

Big K charcoal is excellent quality and I highly recommend it. You can use another good quality charcoal though.

What do you serve with this honey roast chicken?

Think of this honey roast chicken like you would any chicken dinner. Serve it with whatever sound good, from roast potatoes and a couple of veggie sides to chips (fries).

You might also like to try some serving it with a simple Basmati rice or mushroom fried rice.

The chicken meat is delicious torn up and served in  Instant naans, Peshwari naans, stove top naans, keema naans, garlic naans, tandoor naans (if you have a tandoor oven), or if you’re cooking outdoors, karahi naans

You could also serve the chicken in homemade chapatis.

A good dal is also nice and I have  tarka dal or slowly simmered dal makhani for you as well as a few others..

Want to start your tandoori honey roast chicken off with a good starter? How about fried shop bought poppadoms or if you’re feeling ambitious, make your own poppadoms from scratch and serve them with coriander chutney, red onion chutney, and/or tamarind chutney.

Step by step photos…

Ingredients for honey roast chicken

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

Pushing the spatchcock chicken down to flatten it.

Slice the chicken straight down between the breasts. Then place it breast side up on a clean surface and put it down to flatten.

The ingredients for the first marinade in a bowl.

Place the oil, lemon juice, garlic and ginger paste and chilli powder in a bowl and whisk until smooth.

Applying the first marinade to the chicken.

Run your fingers beneath the skin of the chicken to separate it from the meat. Then make scores in the meat and rub it with the first marinade all over.

Applying the marinade all over the chicken including in the slits in the meat.

Be sure to get the first marinade all over the chicken, in the slits, under the skin and all over the exterior. Allow to marinade for 20 minutes.

Frying the onions in ghee.

Fry the onions in the ghee until they are turning a golden brown.

Second marinade in a food processor ready for blending to a paste.

Place the fried onions, garlic and ginger paste and ground spices in a food processor and blend to a paste. You can use a drop of water to assist in blending if you need too.

Pouring the melted ghee from the pan into the honey.

Pour the ghee from the pan into the honey and whisk to combine.

Adjusting the spiciness of the marinade

At this stage, you could add more chilli powder or fresh green chillies to the marinade if you prefer a spicier chicken.

Just add more chilli powder and chillies to your own personal taste preference. 

Onion paste and yoghurt ready to be whisked to make the second marinade.

Whisk the onion paste with the yoghurt until creamy smooth.

Applying the marinade to the chicken.

Rub the marinade all over the chicken including under the skin and in the slits you made in the meat. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 48 hours.

Placing the chicken on the barbecue.

When ready to cook, heat your barbecue to 250c/480f and cook the chicken over indirect heat for 20 minutes.

Half cooked chicken on a metal rack, drying and dripping.

After 20 minutes, remove the chicken from the BBQ and place on a metal rack to drip and dry for about 10 minutes.

Applying the ghee and honey mixture to the chicken.

Apply the honey and ghee mixture thinly all over the skin and underneath the skin.

Placing the honey roast chicken back on the cooking grate.

Now ensure your barbecue is up to heat and place the chicken back on the grate. Cover and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes.

How do you ensure the honey roast chicken is cooked?

I recommend using the Meater meat thermometer. You don’t want to be lifting the lid during cooking and with the Meater, you can watch the temperature through your mobile phone. That’s the Meater above stuck in the side of the chicken.

You could also use a Theramapen which I love too. 

If you don’t have a meat thermometer, chicken the chicken after 20 minutes. If the juices are running clear when pricked with a knife or fork, your chicken is ready. The cooked temperature for chicken is 75c/165f. 

Honey roast chicken

After 20 to 30 minutes, your chicken will be crisp and ready. Give it another brush of the honey if you like during or after cooking. 

Honey roast chicken

Dig in!


Yield: 4

Honey Roast Chicken

Honey roast chicken
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1 x 1.5kg (3 lbs) whole chicken
  • Juice of two large lemons
  • 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 5 tbsp ghee
  • 2 medium red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 3 green finger chillies
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 100g (1/4 cup) Greek yoghurt
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) honey


  1. Using a sharp chefs knife or kitchen scissors, cut the back bone of the chicken out. Place the chicken breast side up on a clean surface and crush it down with your hands. You should hear it crackle as a few bones break.
  2. Move your fingers under the skin of the chicken so that it is left on but not attached to the meat. Using a small, sharp knife, score the chicken meat all over the breasts, legs and thighs being very careful not to rip the skin.
  3. Whisk the first marinade ingredient together in a bowl and then apply it to the chicken, inside, under the skin and on the skin too. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes or up to 2 hours while you prepare the second marinade.
  4. Heat the ghee in a frying pan and add the chopped onions. Fry for about 10 minutes over a medium high heat until the onions are golden brown and turning a bit crispy.
  5. Transfer the fried onions to a blender with a slotted spoon and add pour any remaining ghee into a bowl with the honey which will be used later. Set aside.
  6. Add the chillies, ground cumin, salt, pepper and garam masala to the blender with the onions and blend to a paste. You can add a drop of water to do so if you must but try not too. Pour this paste into a bowl and add the yoghurt. Whisk it all until creamy smooth.
  7. Apply this marinade to the chicken inside, under the skin and over the skin, rubbing it right into the shallow scores you made in the meat. Allow to marinate for 4 hours or up to 24 hours. If time is an issue, you can go straight to cooking but the longer you can marinate the chicken, the better.
  8. Prepare your barbecue for indirect heat. You are aiming for a cooking temperature of 250C (480F). When your barbecue is up to heat, place the chicken breast side up over the cooler side of the barbecue and close the lid. Allow to cook for 30 minutes.
  9. Transfer the chicken to a wire rack and allow to drip for a few minutes to dry and then apply the honey all over the skin. Place the chicken back on the barbecue and continue roasting for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 75C (165F). If you don’t have a meat thermometer, the chicken is ready when the juices run clear when pricked with a knife or fork.
  10. Season with flaky salt and more black pepper to serve.


This honey roast chicken can also be cooked in your oven. Just set your oven to 250c/480f and follow the cooking instruction above.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 639Total Fat: 49gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 3989mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 4gSugar: 23gProtein: 14g

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