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Air Fryer Chicken Tikka | Kebab or Wrap

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Air fryer chicken tikka is an easy Indian inspired dish that’s perfect when you just need something delicious and easy to prepare. It’s flavored with aromatic spices and packed with flavor from the yogurt marinade.

I include two different serving ideas for these  juicy, tender chicken pieces. Enjoy chicken skewers or  create an easy wrap. Both are tasty and let you enjoy the flavors of the east at home.

This is a classic Indian appetizer that is modified and adapted to make in your air fryer. The recipe contains step-by-step instructions to make it easy for you to cook, even if you have never made Indian food before.

chicken kebabs on a plate

Why This Indian Inspired Recipe Works

Traditionally chicken tikka is chicken pieces marinated in yogurt and spices and baked in a tandoor oven. Now I don’t have a tandoor oven, but an air fryer can create a similar flavor to a clay oven because its high heat will char the meat quickly.

The yogurt based marinade keeps the cubes of meat tender and seals in the flavor. This is a quick recipe that can be used for either an appetizer, lunch or a meal!

This is not an authentic Indian recipe since I leave out a number of Indian spices that are traditionally used in the marinade. I wanted to make a marinade that is easy to make for a basic American kitchen. If you want a more authentic recipe I like this Tandoori Chicken Tikka recipe.

Two Ways to Serve for Simple Weeknight Dinner

The traditional way to serve chicken tikka is to thread it on a skewer and serve it as an appetizer or meal. The chicken tikka kebab can either be just meat or include vegetables like bell peppers and onions. The first time I made this recipe that is how I served it, along with Indian naan bread.

holding a chicken tikka kebab in front of air fryer

The second time I made it I looked at my bowl of marinated meat and decided I did not have the time or energy to put it onto skewers and air fry it in batches. So I just dumped it all in the air fryer and cooked it in one big batch.

Then we wrapped it up in tortillas with veggies and ate chicken tikka wraps. This was very tasty and less work! So I’ve included the wrap option in this post even though it isn’t the traditional way of serving this recipe.

wraps on a plate

Love Indian food? Check out my recipe for classic Chicken 65 made in the air fryer!

Key Ingredients

Chicken – Either chicken breast or thighs work fine in this recipe. Cut them into bite sized chunks.

Vegetables – Vegetables are optional with chicken tikka kebab. If you do decide to include them then colored bell peppers and onions are the most common ones.

Yogurt – Yogurt is the main ingredient in the marinade. Make sure you use plain yogurt, not flavored! Greek yogurt works best because it is nice and thick so it sticks to the meat better than thin yogurt.

Lime juice – The lime juice flavors the marinade and adds acid which helps tenderize the meat. Substitute lemon juice if you don’t have lime.

Garam masala – Garam masala is a spice blend used in many Indian dishes. It is not the same thing as curry powder and has a warmer, deeper flavor. You can buy it in the spice section of most grocery stores or order it online. Curry powder does not make a good substitute since it has a completely different flavor profile.

Chili powder – The chili powder makes this a little bit spicy and gives it a reddish color. If you don’t want it to be spicy you can substitute paprika and still get the classic red color.

Other  – Other flavors I include in the marinade are garlic, coriander, salt and black pepper.

How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Tikka

1. Make the Yogurt Marinade

In a large bowl combine the yogurt, lime juice, garam masala, chili powder, coriander, salt, pepper and minced garlic. Whisk until everything is well combined.

Dice the chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes. Add the cubes of meat to a medium bowl and stir so that it gets coated all over with the yogurt and spices.

marinating the chicken

Marinade it for at least 30 minutes or longer. The meat will start to get mushy after about 24 hours, so don’t leave it too long, but an overnight marinade is fine.

If you are making kebabs on wooden skewers put them in water to soak as the meat marinades. This will keep them from burning in the air fryer.

Tip: Don’t forget to make sure your skewers fit in your air fryer basket! I use 6 inch long skewers for air frying. If you have longer skewers you can cut them to make them fit.

2. Add Veggies (optional)

If you are using vegetables chop them into bite size pieces. Stir them into the marinade right before cooking so they are coated with it for air frying.

adding veggies to the chicken

3. Make Kebabs (optional)

Thread the chunks of meat onto bamboo skewers alternately with vegetables. Don’t squish the pieces too tightly together, leave room for the air to circulate.

kebab before cooking

4. Air Fry

I don’t always preheat my air fryer but I find it makes a difference in this recipe! So preheat it at 350 degrees F for 3 minutes.

If you are making kebabs then place them in the air fryer basket in a single layer. With kebabs I need to cook this recipe in two batches to fit them all in the basket of my 5.8 quart Cosori air fryer

cooking the chicken in air fryer

If you aren’t making kebabs then just put the pieces in the air fryer basket and spread them out so they are in a one layer. I can fit 1 pound of chicken cubes in the basket of my air fryer.

Air fry at 350 F for 5 minutes. Then open the basket and rotate the kebabs or flip the pieces. Air fry at 350 F for another 5 minutes.

chicken tikka kebabs in air fryer

Kebabs will probably be done at this point. I find the chicken cubes which are not on skewers need another 2-3 minutes of cooking since they aren’t as spread out and the air doesn’t circulate as well. The meat will be light brown with darker brown edges when it is done.

chicken tikka in air fryer basket

Check the internal temperature of the meat with an instant read thermometer and make sure it has reached 165 degrees F. Check more than one piece, especially the larger ones! If it isn’t done continue to air fry it at 350 F until it is done.

Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, don’t try to cook based just on time. A thermometer is not expensive and the peace of mind they give you is priceless. Food poisoning is not fun! This is my favorite inexpensive meat thermometer, which you can buy on Amazon.

Serving Chicken Tikka Kebab

Chicken tikka kebab makes a tasty appetizer or dinner. Traditionally it is garnished with lime and red onions. Serve them with basmati rice or naan for a tasty Indian inspired family dinner.

top view of chicken tikka

Making a Chicken Tikka Wrap

To make the wraps I mixed some mint chutney with mayonnaise for a simple sauce.

making the wrap

Then I put some of the sauce on a tortilla, added veggies and cooked meat and wrapped it up for a quick handheld dinner.

closeup of chicken tikka wrap

Find More Air Fryer Recipes!

How to Store

Leftovers can be store in an airtight container for 3 days in the refrigerator or about 2 months in the freezer. You can make it ahead of time for meal prep and then make wraps for lunch or dinner.

What is the difference between chicken tikka and chicken tikka masala?

Chicken tikka is just the marinated chunks of cooked meat. A masala takes the chicken tikka pieces and cooks it in a tomato based sauce curry sauce.

Find More Easy Air Fryer Chicken Recipes

Yield: 4

Air Fryer Chicken Tikka

chicken kebabs on a plate

Air fryer chicken tikka is an easy Indian inspired dish that's delicious and easy to prepare.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinade 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs

Chicken Tikka Marinade Ingredients

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

To Serve as Kebab

  • 1 bell pepper, optional, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, optional, cut into chunks

To Serve as Wrap

  • 6 tortillas
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tablespoons mint chutney
  • 1 red pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 cups lettuce

Instructions

Marinade

  1. In a bowl mix the yogurt, add minced garlic, garam masala, chili powder, coriander powder, salt, pepper and lime juice, and whisk it together.
  2. Dice the chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces. Add them to the bowl and mix to coat the meat in the marinade. Let it rest for 30 min - 8 hours.

To Make Chicken Tikka Kebab

  1. Put bamboo skewers in water to soak for 30 minutes. You can also use metal skewers.
  2. Cut the onions and bell pepper into chunks if using. Stir them into the marinade with the meat right before making the skewers so that the marinade coats them also.
  3. Thread the chicken onto skewers, alternating with veggies if using.
  4. Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 350-degree F.
  5. Spray or brush the basket with oil to prevent sticking and make clean up easier. Or use parchment paper in the bottom.
  6. Put the kebabs in the basket. You will likely need to cook them in batches.
  7. Cook for 5 minutes on one side then turn and cook for another 5 minutes or until golden brown. Use an instant read thermometer to make sure the meat has reached 165 degrees F internally.
  8. Garnish with limes and red onions. You can also sprinkle with lime juice or lemon juice.

To Make Chicken Tikka Wraps

  1. Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 350 degrees F. 
  2. Spray or brush the basket with oil to prevent sticking and make clean up easier. Or use parchment paper in the bottom.
  3. Put the chicken in the basket, spreading it out in a single layer.
  4. Cook for 6 minutes at 350 F. Then flip the cubes over and cook for another 6 minutes, until golden brown. Use an instant read thermometer to make sure the meat has reached 165 degrees F internally.
  5. To make the wraps mix the mayonnaise with mint chutney in a bowl. Lay out a tortilla, then add chutney mix, cooked chicken tikka, bell pepper or other veggies and lettuce down the center. Wrap the tortilla up and serve.

Notes

Alternate Cooking Methods

You can also cook these in the oven, on a backyard grill, in a cast iron grill pan or on a flattop griddle.

Oven: Bake the chicken skewers in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes.

Grill or Flattop Griddle: Grill on high heat, turning every 3 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 760Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 144mgSodium: 1263mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 5gSugar: 11gProtein: 53g

Nutrition facts are estimates.

chicken tikka wrap
By on October 24th, 2021

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