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whole tandoori chicken served on a white platter with grilled red onion wedges, chilies, cilantro and lemon wedges.
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4.54 from 54 votes

Instant Pot Whole Tandoori Chicken

Whole Tandoori Chicken, smothered in a spicy tandoori spice mix served with a flavorful gravy.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Marinating Time8 hrs
Total Time9 hrs
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 8
Calories: 368kcal


  • 4 to 5½ pounds whole chicken


  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ large yellow onion chopped




  • Remove the bag of giblets from inside the chicken. Pat dry the chicken from outside and inside with paper towels and remove any excess moisture. Trim any excess fat from the chicken.
  • Make small slits on the chicken so that the marinade can reach inside the chicken
  • Stuff the inside of the chicken with onions, lemon slices, whole black peppercorn, cloves, and a cinnamon stick. Tie the legs with kitchen twine.
  • Spread the marinade evenly on both sides of the chicken. With the breast side up, spread the marinade under the chicken skin with a spoon. Allow the chicken to marinate for 6 to 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, take out the chicken an hour before so it comes to room temperature.
  • Lightly brush or spray the chicken with oil. Set the Instant Pot to saute mode and heat ghee or oil. If you are making gravy with the tandoori chicken, add onions and garlic cloves and saute for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth. Place the chicken on the trivet and carefully put the trivet inside the Instant Pot.
  • Close the lid and pressure cook for 30 minutes. Allow 10 minutes of natural pressure release and then open the Instant Pot. Carefully take the chicken out and blend the gravy using an immersion blender. Mix all-purpose flour in water and stir in to thicken the gravy and bring it to a gentle boil. Serve the chicken with the hot gravy.



Instant Pot size and cook times to make whole tandoori chicken:
  • If making whole tandoori chicken in a 6-quart Instant Pot make sure your chicken is no more than 4 pounds as it may not fit the pot
  • I have tested this recipe with 5 to 6 pounds of chicken in my 8-QT Instant Pot
  • Cook time for 1 pound of bone-in chicken is 6 minutes. So for a 5-pound chicken, the pressure cook time is 30 minutes and for a 4-pound chicken it will be 24 minutes
  • 10-minute natural pressure release is recommended
  • Pat dry the chicken completely inside and out
  • Trim any excess skin and fat. I like using kitchen sheers for this and I do it directly in the pan that I use for marinating
  • Traditionally yogurt is also added to tandoori marinate. I have tried this recipe with and without the yogurt and there was not much difference in taste
  • Use the mild Kashmiri red chili powder that adds a brilliant red hue to the final dish
  • Homemade garam masala adds a more authentic flavor and aroma to the chicken
  • Try to spread the marinade under the skin with breast side up
  • Make sure to marinate the chicken overnight or at least 8 to 10 hours
  • Lightly spray the chicken with oil before broiling for smokey flavors
  • Do not broil the chicken for too long as that would overcook and make the chicken dry


  • If you do not want to make the gravy, simply add 1 cup of water to the inner pot and place the trivet with chicken inside the pot
  • Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt


Calories: 368kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 1516mg | Potassium: 360mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 215IU | Vitamin C: 10.9mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2.1mg
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