One pan meals are a staple in our household and among AK readers. Not only do they require minimal cleanup (omg yes) but they’re also such a fun way to experiment with different flavors, veggies and proteins all in one pan or skillet. Plus, they’re the perfect recipes to meal prep for the week. Win-win-win.
This tandoori chicken recipe just so happens to be one of those one pan meals you’ll come back to time and time again. It has the coziest spices, is packed with protein and cooked with a warming yellow coconut rice that pulls the whole dish together. Oh, and did I mention kids LOVE it, too?
While I’m sharing my take on a traditional Indian recipe, please consider donating to help families and individuals in India who are battling a deadly second wave of COVID. Give India is a great resource that’s raising money to donate oxygen supply, feed families, support families of the deceased and so much more. Every little bit counts!
What is tandoori chicken?
Traditional tandoori chicken is an Indian recipe that involves marinating chicken in yogurt and warming spices, then cooking it in a clay oven called a tandoor oven. It’s often bright red in color from spices like chili & cayenne, and even food coloring.
An AK twist on a classic
In my take on tandoori chicken, I marinate chicken thighs in greek yogurt, lemon juice and a variety of spices like cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper and garam masala. You’ll then cook it in one pan right on the stovetop with creamy spiced coconut rice for a flavorful and delicious dinner!
Everything you’ll need to make tandoori chicken
This wonderful one pan tandoori chicken uses the coziest spices and delicious flavors for both the chicken itself and the creamy coconut rice. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Chicken: I like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs because they tend to be more flavorful.
- For the chicken marinade: you’ll need plain greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, fresh ginger and then lots of warming spices like coriander, cumin, paprika, ground turmeric, cayenne pepper, garam masala, salt & pepper.
- For the rice: the creamy coconut rice is made with white basmati rice, a can of lite coconut milk, red pepper flakes, turmeric, cumin, coriander salt & pepper.
- Greens: I also love adding frozen peas to the dish for a boost of veggies and texture, plus a sprinkle of fresh cilantro on top.
Can I use brown rice?
I would not recommend using brown rice in this recipe as it will take much longer to cook. Alternatively, you can use the same amount of cauliflower rice for a low carb option, or 2/3 cup quinoa.
Make this tandoori chicken your own
Because this healthy tandoori chicken recipe is made with tons of pantry staples, it’s a great base for adding your own customizations and making it your own.
- Add extra veggies. Along with the peas, I think green beans, broccoli or even snap peas would be delicious.
- Turn up the heat. While this recipe does have some cayenne pepper in it, it’s not very spicy as-is. Feel free to add extra heat by upping the amount of cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes.
- Balance with sweetness. If you like a sweet and savory bite, try garnishing with golden raisins or chopped dates.
How to make tandoori chicken on the stovetop
As I mentioned before, traditional tandoori chicken is made in a clay oven or a tandoor. I decided to try my version of tandoori chicken in one pan on the stovetop to make weeknight dinners a breeze:
- Marinate your chicken. You’ll first want to add the chicken thighs and the tandoori marinade to a large bowl. Marinate it for at least one hour or overnight so that it gets super flavorful.
- Brown the chicken. Next, brown the marinated chicken in your large skillet with some olive oil. No need to cook it all the way through just yet.
- Prepare the rice. In that same skillet (this is why it’s a one pan meal!) you’ll add the coconut milk and spices. Bring it to a simmer then fold in the rice and peas.
- Cook it all together. Finally, add the browned chicken on top of your coconut milk & rice, reduce the heat, cover the skillet and cook everything together.
- Garnish and serve. After about 20-25 minutes the liquid will be absorbed and the rice will be nice and tender. Garnish with fresh cilantro, green onion and extra yogurt if you’d like, then serve warm!
Grill it or bake it
That’s right, you can easily bake or grill this tandoori chicken without the rice and use it with your favorite sides like naan or roasted sweet potato!
- To grill tandoori chicken: marinate your chicken as instructed in step 1, then preheat your grill to medium high and lightly oil the grates. Grill your chicken thighs for 6-8 minutes per side, flipping once. When the internal temp reaches 165 degrees F your chicken is done.
- To bake tandoori chicken: again, marinate your chicken, then preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake your chicken thighs for about 25-30 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees F.
See how to make the tandoori chicken
Storing & meal prep tips
The best part about this recipe? It’s perfect for meal prep! Simply let the pan cool completely, divide the whole thing into 4 separate meal prep containers and place them in the refrigerator to enjoy all week long. It’s a wonderful dinner that even kids will love — just limit the spice by omitting the cayenne pepper.
More one pan meals you’ll love
- One Pan Thai Coconut Yellow Curry Chicken & Rice
- Mama’s Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice (Arroz con Pollo)
- One Pan Creamy Thai Peanut Chicken Couscous
- One Pan Ginger Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce
- One Pot Vegan Coconut Curried Brown Rice with Tofu
Get all of our delicious one pan meals here!
I hope you love this one pan tandoori chicken as much as we did. If you make it be sure to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. You can also upload a photo to Instagram and tag #ambitiouskitchen! xo.
One Pan Tandoori Chicken with Spiced Coconut Rice
Wonderful tandoori chicken made in one pan with a savory spiced yellow coconut rice. This delicious and easy tandoori chicken recipe is made without an oven and is perfect for meal prepping or serving for a weeknight dinner!
- For the marinade:
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ tablespoon garam masala
- 3/4 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
- Juice of 1 small lemon
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the dish:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 (15 ounce) can lite coconut milk
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup uncooked basmati white rice
- ¾ cup frozen green peas
- Add chicken, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, garam masala, greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger and salt and pepper to a large bowl; mix with a spoon to combine and coat the chicken and then cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for anywhere from 1-8 hours to marinate the chicken.
- Place a large deep 10 inch skillet over medium high heat. (If you do not have a skillet a large pot will also work very well!) Add in oil; once hot, add in chicken and season generously with freshly ground salt and pepper.
Cook until browned 4-5 minutes, then flip and and cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to a plate.
- In the same skillet, add in coconut milk, red pepper flakes, turmeric, cumin, coriander and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then fold in the uncooked rice and peas, making sure it is evenly distributed.
- Add browned chicken on top. Reduce heat to low, cover the skillet immediately and cook for 20-25 minutes.
- After 20-25 minutes, most of the liquid should be absorbed and rice should be cooked. Serve immediately. Garnish with cilantro and serve with extra yogurt if you'd like.
- To meal prep: This meal serves four. Place rice in a meal prep containers and top with 1 chicken thigh. Garnish with cilantro and green onions.
Do not use brown rice. It takes a lot longer to cook and I would NOT recommend. Cauliflower rice works well in this recipe!
If you are looking for an alternative, I would recommend subbing about 2/3 cup quinoa. The cooking time will stay the same.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
Post originally published on January 15, 2018, and republished on April 28, 2021.