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Whole Roasted Masala Chicken

Whole Roasted Masala Chicken

Marinated in a yogurt sauce, roasted, then served with roasted potatoes, cool yogurt and coriander, and naan bread, this masala chicken is about to become a staple chicken recipe in your kitchen.

This recipe for Whole Roast Masala Chicken made its way to me via a Telegraph article written by Diana Henry about quick Indian dishes to make at home. The sound of the recipe was just too good for me not to try and it is absolutely fantastic.

Roasted Masala Chicken

Roasted Masala Chicken

The kicker in this recipe is the overnight yoghurt marinade and the incredibly delicious masala butter that you spread underneath the chicken skin. The yoghurt tenderises the meat and the masala butter flavours the meat with the curry spices. I often cook and bake with yoghurt and have a number of recipes on the blog that I absolutely love : Yoghurt Marinated Lamb Curry, Apple Yoghurt Cake and this delicious No Churn Banana Peanut Butter Frozen Yoghurt.

Roasted Masala Chicken

I have to say that this recipe is certainly one of the best chicken dishes I have made.

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Granted that an overnight marinade is not a quick meal but with a bit of preplanning it is so worth it. It smells absolutely amazing while it roasts and the meat is soft, juicy and melts in the mouth. I did not make my own masala mix and used store bought which I had in the cupboard. But taste the strength of the masala you use and add a bit more chili if needed. The better the spice mix the better the flavour of the chicken.

Roasted Masala Chicken

I served the chicken with crispy roast potatoes, plain yoghurt and fresh coriander. Piled onto a warm naan bread you will be in food heaven.

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Roasted Masala Chicken

  • Author: Hein Van Tonder
  • Total Time: 25 hours 10 minutes


Marinated in a yogurt sauce, roasted, then served with roasted potatoes, cool yogurt and coriander, and naan bread, this masala chicken is about to become a staple chicken recipe in your kitchen.


Units Scale
  • 1.8 kg about 4 pounds chicken

For the yogurt marinade:

  • 500 g 17.6 ounces plain full fat yoghurt
  • 6 fat cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 2 cm piece ginger (peeled and finely grated)
  • 1/2 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric or 2cm fresh (peeled and finely grated)

For the masala butter:

  • 100 g 3.5 ounces softened butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garam masala mix OR make your own :
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 23 fat cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 cm piece ginger (peeled and grated)


  1. Mix the yoghurt with the other marinade ingredients
  2. Place the chicken in a large freezer bag and spoon the yoghurt over the chicken and into its cavity.
  3. Leave for at least two hours but ideally overnight, in the fridge turning occasionally.
  4. Mix the butter with the spices, garlic and ginger
  5. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
  6. Remove the chicken and leave to sit at room temperature for about 45 minute
  7. Remove the chicken from the marinade and wipe off the excess
  8. Carefully make a pocket underneath the skin of the breast by slipping your fingers in between the skin and the flesh and loosen the skin over the legs and thighs.
  9. Spread the masala butter underneath the skin, down over the legs, thighs and breast on both sides
  10. Spread the remaining butter on top of the skin and sprinkle with sea salt and place on a roasting tray.
  11. Roast the chicken for one hour and 10 minutes, basting with the butter a few times
  12. Cover the chicken lightly with foil if it browns too dark
  13. When it is cooked, the juices between the leg and the rest of the bird should run clear, with no trace of pink
  14. Cover the bird with a double layer of foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes before serving with the cooking juices
  15. Serve with roast potatoes, plain yoghurt, fresh coriander and naan bread
  • Prep Time: 1 day
  • Cook Time: 70 mins
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: chicken, roasting, indian food, masala, curry

View Comments (3)
  • You should drop everything and make this chicken now. Well, start it now and serve it tomorrow. I’m a roast chicken fanatic and make it at least 3x/month, but even though I’m not the biggest fan of Indian-style spices, this was the best chicken I’ve made in … well, a very long time. I let the bird marinate a full 24 hours, and used a commercial garam masala amped up with some added fresh ginger and fresh garlic (both grated), putting half the spiced butter under the skin and half on the exterior of my spatchcocked 4lb chicken. Holy moley, was this ever delicious.

    My only note is watch it carefully as the exterior spices can burn quickly. My bird took 50 minutes at 425F degrees to get to 165F internal, and the spices were alllllmost ready to blacken. Next time I’ll try my own DIY masala mix, probably even better that way.

  • Thank you so much Jay and Maggietoo. I am so happy you loved it – it is so good! And yes, you have to keep a bit of a watch and cover it lightly with foil if it starts to blacken.

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