Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken | A Brown Table

I had a hard time finding thai chili peppers at almost every farmer’s market or grocery store in my vicinity this year. Since they’re pretty easy to grow, I sun dried a couple of peppers (from the one time I found them) and sowed them into a small pot. Some made it while some didn’t but I’m now the proud dad to a few plants with tiny little white flowers that eventually morphed into tapering little green and red chilis. Some of which found their way into this chicken roast. 

This roast also saved me a lot of time in the kitchen during an intensely busy week. It might take some time to prep (which I do over the weekend) but it’s a tasty chicken to eat during the week. 

Yogurt makes everything better and it flavors this chicken pretty darn good. There’s a generous amount of turmeric and a few spices that might sound intimidating but it will be well worth it.

You might notice that I’ve kept the skin on this bird which is something I do less often because the skin is considered unclean in Indian cooking. But in a roast the skin helps to keep the chicken juicy and it will get crispy!

And before I forget, the winner of Food52‘s latest Baking cookbook is Sarah! She wants to make the Arnold Palmer cake which has been on my mind ever since I saw Christina Tossi make it on TV!

Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table

Thai Chili Peppers | A Brown Table

Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table

Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table

Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table

Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table

Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table

Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table

Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table

Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table

Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this chicken,

  • Marinade the chicken overnight but if you’re short on time, a 2 hour interval will do.
  • Choose low-fat or full-fat yogurt, fat-free doesn’t do as good a job. 
  • I use Le Creuset’s 5 quart braiser to roast the chicken. The heavy base of the pan does great job evenly cooking the bird. 
  • While roasting the chicken and basting the liquid might start to dry out, you can add a little warm water to prevent it from drying. (I add warm water over cool water as the latter will increase the time required to cook the chicken).
  • I’ve suggested two options below when it comes to serving the left over sauce in the braiser. You can serve it as is or blend it to get a smooth gravy like consistency. 
  • This recipe also works for a turkey, just adjust the amounts of the ingredients based on the weight of the bird.

Turmeric and Yogurt Spiced Oven Roasted Chicken| A Brown Table

turmeric and yogurt spiced oven roasted chicken (adapted from Indian cooking – Hamlyn)

yields: 4lbs chicken


1 1/2 cups full fat or low-fat yogurt

2 cups red onion, diced

4 garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, freshly ground

3 red thai chili peppers

1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder

1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt

4 lb whole chicken with skin

2 tablespoons ghee (or olive oil)

2 inch piece cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon garam masala

8 cloves, lightly crushed

8 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed

2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and cut into thin strips

2 cups low-sodium chicken stock

4 lemon wedges, for garnish

1 bunch of fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

1. Place the yogurt, 1 cup of the diced red onions, garlic, black pepper, chili peppers, turmeric and salt in a blender and pulse until completely smooth and combined. Keep this marinade aside until ready to use.

2. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan or glass bowl. Dab it dry with clean paper towels. Insert your fingers between the skin and the flesh of the chicken to create space between the two. Make a few deep cuts in the chicken using a sharp paring knife. Pour the marinade (from step 1) over the chicken and using your fingers coat the chicken completely with the marinade. Take care to rub the marinade between the skin and the flesh of the chicken. Cover the chicken in the roasting pan with cling film or transfer it to a large bowl or place it a turkey oven bag. Refrigerate this overnight, taking care to coat the chicken every few hours with the marinade (if you’re using the oven bag, just shake the bag gently to recirculate the marinade, if you use a bowl or roasting pan, using a large spoon to spread the marinade).

3. After the chicken has marinaded for the appropriate time, place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 375F. Heat the ghee in a large braiser on medium-high heat. Add the remaining onions and sauté until light pink and translucent. Then add the rest of the spices from the cinnamon to the ginger strips and cook for 1 minute with constant stirring. Pour the chicken broth into the pan and increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the stove.

4. Place the chicken in the center of the pan. Pour the leftover marinade over the chicken. Place the pan in the oven, baste it with the liquid in the pan and cook for 2 hours or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F.  Remove from oven and allow to rest in the leftover gravy that sits at the bottom of the braiser for at least 10 minutes before serving. You have two options here, you can serve the roast chicken as is with the gravy/sauce that’s left behind in the pan, or alternatively, transfer the sauce to a blender and pulse to get a smooth gravy. Serve the roasted chicken with the sauce on the side. Garnish with the fresh lemon wedges and cilantro before serving.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Le Creuset for sponsoring this post, all opinions stated here are solely mine. 


13 Responses

  1. Congrats on successfully parenting some peppers, I’ve had some experience with gardening myself and my peppers were never very grateful for my climate’s frosty mornings so they usually took it out on me by committing suicide. This chicken and the way you captured it are equally incredible!

  2. oh my gosh, this sauce! these flavors literally have me drooling right now. cannot wait to make this sometime soon! xo

  3. your pictures are stunning. i love roasted Indian chicken, it’s something we don’t do much of in our culture though. Nicely done.

  4. Thanks for this recipe, Nik, it looks amazing! This also would be a good alternative to turkey at Thanksgiving, I think. I love roast chicken leftovers too, they are so versatile and can save a ton of time on a busy weeknight.

  5. This is absolutely perfection…I have been looking for variations to the normal roast chicken and this sounds perfect. The spices have my mouth watering! Thanks for sharing and your photos are absolutely lovely!

  6. Congrats on the pepper babies, Nik! It’s the perfect climate down here to grow peppers, but I’ve always been too lazy, so I applaud your efforts and success! I love the way this recipe sounds, whole chickens are the best thing to have around the house for week night dinners!

  7. I made this for a dinner party this weekend. It was AMAZING! Both kids and adults were licking their fingers! The sauce was incredible and the chicken was tender and juicy. This recipe is a keeper. THANK YOU!!

  8. I loved this recipe, but the flavor seemed a little watered down. My liquid evaporated only about have way. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but I may try a little less chicken broth next time or cook the broth down a little more before adding the chicken. Also, I cooked the chicken with the breastside up, the pic looks like it’s breastside down. Not sure if that would make a difference either. But I would like to try this recipe again.

    1. Hi Linda,
      I’m not sure why this would happen but I’m not sure if it flipping the chicken over would make a difference. If you try it again and change anything let me know how it turns out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read the Privacy Policy for more details.

Order your copy of the best-selling James Beard nominated cookbook, The Flavor Equation.