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If you love flavorful recipes that are easy and delicious then my Air Fryer Tandoori Inspired Chicken Legs needs to be on your next weekly menu. They showcase some great Indian Spices that make this chicken recipe anything but boring!
What is Tandoori Inspired Chicken Legs?
If you’re not familiar with Tandoori Chicken you may not know that it is usually chicken that has been marinated in yogurt and lots of spices then it gets cooked in a large clay pot or oven called a Tandoori oven.
It’s all about the marinade and spices with tandoori-style chicken though, so although I won’t be teaching you how to cook these chicken legs in one of those huge clay pots, you won’t be disappointed.
Trust me, we are bringing in all those delicious flavors from the traditional tandoori chicken and transforming it into an easy-to-make-at-home meal the whole family can enjoy.
Tandoori dishes, like this chicken, typically have a bright color profile that is typically red or yellow depending on the marinade ingredients used on the chicken.
My chicken legs have a beautiful yellow hue due to the turmeric that I add to my spiced coating. Sometimes the yellow comes from saffron, but that spice is so expensive and I wanted to save money to make this meal more cost-effective.
Of course, you can always sub the saffron for the turmeric in the recipe if you prefer. My recipe also features a traditional spice called garam masala, which is one of my all-time Indian spice combinations.
Garam masala is a combination of roasted and ground cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and black pepper. It has a very distinct flavor and it seems to be one of those spices that you either enjoy or you don’t.
But if you enjoy Indian Inspired flavors and recipes then you’re in for a treat with these simple yet delicious chicken legs that are cooked to perfection in the air fryer.
How To Make a Tandoori Marinade
The flavor of this recipe needs some time to sink into the chicken legs. So you’ll need to plan ahead so that the chicken can marinade in the fridge for a few hours.
For the absolute best flavor I highly recommend you mix up the marinade and add the chicken the night before so it can sit in the fridge until dinner the next evening.
But if you don’t have that much time you can leave it in for an hour or two and be good to go. You’ll still have some pretty amazing flavors.
In the traditional tandoori marinade, the base of the marinade is a thick plain yogurt, like Greek yogurt. However in my recipe so I use a Keto non-sweetened plain yogurt or if I don’t have that I use real mayo.
While the mayo isn’t typical it is really delicious so you can choose with one you’ll use in this recipe. Just don’t use Miracle Whip or those sweet salad dressings as that would not taste good at all.
So once you choose your base (the yogurt or mayo) the rest is simple Just add your spices, and lemon juice, and mix it really well.
Next, it is time to add it to your chicken. I like to do this in a large gallon-size ziplock baggie to make for easy clean-up later. Just add the chicken legs into a bag and pour over the marinade.
Remove the air from the bag and then zip it closed. Massage the marinade mixture into all the chicken legs before placing it in the fridge to set for as long as possible.
Can You Freeze Tandoori Chicken Legs?
If you are looking for a great freezer meal to prep really quickly these Tandoor Inspired Chicken Legs are perfect for that. The process is super easy and you can have them ready for the freezer in no time flat.
Before you get started make sure you get your freezer bag out and use a sharpie marker to add the title of the recipe and the date you are preparing this freezer meal to the outside of the bag.
You can even write the cooking instruction on the bag if you wish to, but I just keep my recipe cards for my freezer meals in a little box in the kitchen. Then we pull them out when we pull out the meal from the freezer.
Once you have your bag labeled and ready to go you are now prepared to assemble the chicken and marinade for the bags.
All you need to do is to follow the recipe directions up to the point where you add the chicken and marinade into a gallon-size freezer bag and remove all the air. Massage the chicken and marinade to ensure all the chicken is coasted.
Press the bag as flat as possible and make sure to get all the excess air out of the bag. This will help the bag’s freezer flatter and take up less space in your freezer.
How To Cook Chicken Legs In The Air Fryer
These chicken legs turn out so well in the air fryer. They are juicy and flavorful. You can have these cooked in the air fryer for about 30 minutes depending on the size of your chicken legs.
If you are finding the larger thick chicken legs in the grocery store you’ll need to cook them a little longer to ensure the chicken teachers an eternal temperature of 165 degrees, making it safe to consume.
I recommend always keeping a meat thermometer hand in your kitchen so you can take the temperature. This will help keep you from under or over-cooking your meats.
If you are cooking the chicken legs from your freezer meal you’ll need to make sure they are thawed before putting them into the air fryer. I like to take them out the night before and let them thaw in the fridge until I’m ready to cook them.
When you are ready, simply place the chicken legs in one even layer in your air fryer. I have one of the larger oven-type air fryers so I usually do two racks and change their position halfway through cooking so they can both brown evenly.
If you are using one of the basket-type air fryers just add as many as you can to your basket so they are not overcrowded. You may have to do a couple of batches if you have a small basket.
If you want the chicken legs nice and golden brown on each side be sure to flip them halfway through the cooking process.
I don’t always do this honestly, but it is just a matter of preference really so I’ll let you decide if you want to flip them or not.
As far as the temperature for cooking these chicken legs go, I set it to my “Wings” setting which is about 430 for 30 minutes and they come out perfectly.
What To Serve With This Tandoori-Inspired Chicken
This chicken will pair well with many different side dishes, but one of our favorites is a simple Citrus Cauliflower Rice as you see in the photos in this recipe.
I just cooked my cauliflower rice in a skillet with one tablespoon of oil and add in some seasoning like pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and a squeeze of lime.
If you would like more inspiration for side dishes take a look at these below:
- a leafy green salad
- Easy Greek Salad would be a great fresh addition
- steamed veggies like broccoli or cabbage
- Indian Cauliflower Rice
One thing is for sure, no matter what you pair these chicken legs with you are in for a treat. A great and healthy main dish that is sure to please anyone around your table.
Chicken legs get marinated in a Tandoori style sauce then cooked in the air fryer for a delicious and easy main dish.
- 10 chicken legs
- 1/2 cup of mayo for lower carbs or Greek Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of Garam Masala
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 teasoon of ground turmeric or saffron
- In a small bowl add the yogurt (or mayo), lemon juice, and all the remaining spices. Mix well.
- Add the chicken legs to a gallon-size zip log baggie. If the legs are big you may need to split them between two bags.
- Add the yogurt/mayo mixture to the bag of chicken and close it. Try to get some of the air out of the bag as you are closing it.
- Gently massage the marinade into the chicken legs and place them into the fridge to marinade for two hours. Overnight will give you the best results but at least a few hours will work.
- When ready to cook the chicken, place the chicken legs in one layer on the air fryer wrack or basket depending on the type of air fryer you have.
- Set the air fryer to 430 degrees and cook them for 15 minutes. At this point, you can flip them if you desire to.
- Return them to the air fryer and cook for an additional 15 minutes or until they reach an eternal temp of 165 degrees,
- Serve with cauliflower rice or your favorite side dish.
The nutrition card will reflect numbers using real mayo. If you use a full-fat Greek Yogurt the nutrition will be closer to these numbers: 507 cal 37 fat grams, 212 sodium, and 2,2 net carbs depending on your ingredients I would suggest using an online calculator to calculate your own numbers.
Serving Size2 chicken legs
Amount Per ServingCalories 630Total Fat 51gTrans Fat 0gCholesterol 212mgSodium 305mgCarbohydrates 1.5gNet Carbohydrates 1.5gFiber 0gSugar 2gProtein 37g
I am not a nutritionist. If you have strict dietary needs I always recommend using an online nutrition calculator to calculate your totals using your exact brands you're using in this recipe as values may vary per brand.
I am a southern girl through and through that loves to laugh, cook, read and spend time with family. My passions outside of home schooling my son are ministering to those in need and creating art in the kitchen! Every day is an adventure in our little house and I wouldn’t trade it or the chance to share here with you for anything!