Grilled Tandoori Chicken (Keto)

A delicious keto grilled tandoori chicken recipe which is simple to make, doesn’t make a mess on the grill like traditional yogurt based tandoori and will make your tastebuds dance with delight.

keto grilled tandoori chicken recipe


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Having lived the low carb and keto lifestyle for many years, around our house chicken is a “go-to” protein… which sometimes gets a little boring. My family loves it when things are spiced up a bit and this modified tandoori recipe has a lot of spice. 

One of the many things that I love about this recipe is the reduced number of ingredients needed to creating the tandoori marinade. Most of the laundry list of spices required for a traditional tandoori chicken recipe are already included in store-bought garam masala. Just like that, a 20 ingredient recipe is reduced by half and keeps all the original flavor.

Why make this grilled tandoori chicken recipe?

Because it’s flippin’ delicious and different from just about any other grilled tandoori chicken recipe. How is it different? Here are just a few thoughts:

  • No yogurt tandoori marinade. Yogurt is used for the tangy flavor and to make the chicken more tender. I found that using yogurt in the marinade left a terrible mess on the grill that took forever to clean. This no yogurt tandoori marinade leaves the chicken just as tender and melt-in-your-mouth without all the mess. 
  • No food coloring in this tandoori. The easiest way to create that signature, bright red tandoori chicken found in restaurants is with red food dye. Around our house, we avoid food coloring whenever possible. You’ll find that this grilled tandoori chicken recipe has a delightful red brick color from the paprika, turmeric and chili powders. 
  • Tandoori with boneless chicken thighs. By taking out the bone, we also take out a tiny bit of flavor. I mean tiny. What we introduce by using boneless thighs is a massive time savings. Quicker prep time, less marinating time, shorter cooking time. Oh… and it’s also ready for use in so many different ways: on salads, in a wrap or even over eggs in the morning.

grilled tandoori chicken with Indian Roasted Vegetables

What to serve with grilled tandoori chicken

The perfect, Indian-style keto dinner would start with some Creamy Curry Cashew Dip scooped up with some Low Carb Chili Limon Chips to get the tastebuds going. It’s a fun and delicious way to start off the evening while keeping the carbs low. Please be careful how much cashew dip is devoured as cashews are sneaky with their carb count.

We love pairing the grilled tandoori chicken with Low Carb Maven’s Indian Roasted Vegetables. Everyone in our family loves the richness of the tomato sauce spiked with Indian seasoning. It’s the perfect side dish.

RECIPE NOTE: If you’re making the Indian Roasted Vegetables, consider making some Keto Low Carb Wraps too. Shred some romaine as a crunchy base layer into the wrap. Then scoop some of the vegetables onto the romaine, top with some sliced grilled tandoori chicken, a touch of sour cream, squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of cilantro. Out-of-this-world good.

Additionally, you could serve the tandoori chicken over cauliflower rice. When we have done this in the past, I found that it is best to cut the chicken into strips and top with a dollop of full fat sour cream and plenty of cilantro. Yummy.

tender grilled tandoori chicken for keto

How to make grilled tandoori chicken

Making grilled tandoori chicken is easy!

  • Gather up all the marinade ingredients, measure and mix well in a bowl.

ingredients for grilled tandoori chicken keto marinade

  • Add in just enough water so the marinade pulls from the bottom of the bowl. See the image below.

no yogurt grilled tandoori chicken marinade

  • Mix the chicken thighs with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

grilled tandoori chicken thighs in keto marinade

  • Preheat the grill with the burners on high heat.
  • Place the tandoori marinated chicken thighs on the grill with the smooth side down.
  • Cook, flipping the chicken at least twice for approximately 12 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165F.

grilled tandoori chicken thighs

NOTE: If you want a more spicy (read spicy as in cayenne chili spicy) tandoori chicken, increase the cayenne chili powder from 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon or slightly less. Using more overwhelms the recipe. If you are spice adverse, reduce the 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne powder to 1/4 teaspoon. For more flavor complexity, try using a smoked paprika. 

Thank you Scott from I’d Rather Be A Chef for this amazing recipe!

Scott is a LOW CARB and KETO believer who shares his recipes on I’d Rather Be A Chef in the hope that it will help others trying to find their way with this lifestyle. He embraced the low carb way of eating two years ago and has maintained more than a 130lb weight loss since then. Find him on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken (Keto, Low Carb)

Tender, melt-in-your-mouth Grilled Tandoori Chicken in half the time of traditional recipes! Dairy free too!

Main Ingredients

  • 12 Chicken Thighs (Boneless and skinless)

For the Grilled Tandoori Chicken Marinade

  • 2 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ginger (Minced)
  • 1 tsp Fresh Garlic (Minced)
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Lime Juice

For the Marinade

  1. Add all the ingredients except the WATER and LIME juice to a mixing bowl. Mix to form a stiff paste.

  2. Add the lime juice and mix. The paste will thin.

  3. Add in 1/2 the water to determine the consistency. Keep adding water until it thins and pulls from the bottom of the bowl.

  4. Add in the chicken thighs, coat well with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

For the Grilled Tandoori Chicken

  1. Preheat the grill with the burners on high.

  2. Add the marinated chicken thighs with the smooth side down. Cook for 3 minutes with the lid closed.

  3. Flip at least 2 more times and continue to cook for a total of 12-15 minutes or the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165F.

Makes 12 Grilled Tandoori Chicken Thighs. Serves 4 people as a main dish with 3 thighs per person. The NET CARB count per person comes to 1.5g. 

If you don’t have fresh garlic, use 1 tsp of granulated garlic. No fresh ginger? Try 1 tsp of ginger powder. Mix in with the other dry ingredients.

If you are using minced ginger or garlic from a jar, please check the ingredients as many manufacturers add in sugar. 

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