Tandoori Chicken with Preserved Lemons – A tandoori chicken recipe with a twist. The preserved lemons add an intensity of lemon flavour that I just love. In my opinion it takes tandoori chicken to a whole new level. 

Tandoori Chicken legs with Preserved Lemons in a baking tray on a blue background with small bowls with yoghurt. 

This recipe is basically a standard tandoori chicken recipe that is extra lemony. I know that a lot of tandoori chicken recipes have pictures of glow in the dark red chicken thighs but that is usually achieved using methods that are not natural. Here is an example pic of when I have done that myself. Hanging my head in shame right now. I will be updating that recipe soon!

Preserved lemons are a staple in Indian, North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. They are used in everything from eggs to stews to salads to rice. 

It’s so easy to preserve lemons too. All you need to make them are lemons, salt and a jar. Then, it’s as simple as scoring washed lemons, stuffing them with salt, packing them tightly into a jar until they release their juices, and letting them rest for a month. Some say they are better off in a dark corner for 3 months, some say leave them on your counter for a month and one technique I read talked of freezing them for a month. Some don’t score the lemons but cut them instead. In my experience, this really takes away from their intensity and leaves them a sloshy, watery mess almost like washing a lemon under the tap before you use it. What’s the point of that?

However long they take to make (I really am a poet) after the waiting period has passed you’ll end up with a jar of mellow yellow (told you) lemons to use for as long as six months. Or until you’ve used them all up, which can happen quicker than you think if you are as obsessed as I am.


5 from 1 vote

Tandoori Chicken with Preserved Lemons

Tandoori Chicken with Preserved Lemons - Tandoori chicken with the amped up flavour and intensity of preserved lemon

Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Mariande 3 hours
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 375 ml Yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 inch Ginger grated
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 6 Garlic Cloves crushed
  • 1 - 2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 2 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 - 2 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
  • 2 tsp Paprika or Smoked Paprika
  • 2 small Preserved Lemons chopped finely
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 - 1/3 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 lb Chicken Drumsticks and Thighs mixed Skinless and slashed all over


  1. Combine all the ingredients for the marination in a food processor and whizz till combined. Add to a large bowl with the chicken. Marinate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

  2. Preheat oven to 180 C/Gas Mark 6. Line a tray with foil and place a rack on the tray.

  3. Remove chicken from the Marinade, shake off excess. Set the remaining marinade aside. Place chicken on rack. Bake for 20 minutes, then brush on more Marinade all over.

  4. Bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove chicken from the oven, brush with more marinade and spray with a little oil. Bake for 10 more minutes or until cooked.


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