Tandoori turkey recipe

(281 ratings)

This spicy marinade makes sure this is a Christmas turkey with a real kick. It's a deliciously different way to spice up Christmas dinner.

Preparation Time10 mins (plus 24 hours for marinating)
Cooking Time3 hours 45 mins
Total Time3 hours 55 mins
Cost RangeMid

Marinade your turkey in a cornucopia of pungent spices for a fabulous tandoori turkey roast.

Turkey curry is the most traditional way to use up your turkey leftovers. But when those curry spices work so well with the delicate turkey flavour - why not make them the main event? This tandoori turkey is certainly a Christmas feast with a difference, but it also proves turkey isn’t just for Christmas. You can enjoy it at any time. Smothered in an aromatic paste of Indian spices and left to marinate overnight, the skin and meat of the bird take on an incredible flavour and gorgeous golden colour that is just irresistible. 


  • 1 medium turkey, 6-7kg (13½ to 15¾lb)
  • For the marinade:
  • 500g (18oz) yogurt
  • 200ml (7fl oz) mustard oil
  • 50g (2oz) ginger paste
  • 40g(1½oz) garlic paste
  • 50g (2oz) red chilli powder
  • 50g (2oz) turmeric powder
  • 60g (2¼oz) cumin powder
  • 40g (1½oz) coriander powder
  • 50g (2oz) chopped green chilli
  • 100g (4oz) chopped coriander leaves
  • 40g (1½oz) fenugreek leaves
  • Salt




  1. Score the turkey with a knife.
  2. Mix the ingredients for the marinade together to form a paste. Rub the marinade all over the turkey. Set the turkey in the roasting tin and cover with foil, ready to go in the oven the next day.
  3. Chill for 24 hours.
  4. To cook the turkey, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7, then cook for 40 mins.
  5. Turn oven down to 170°C/325°F/Gas 3 and cook for a further 3 ½ hrs.
  6. Finally remove the foil and brown at 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 for 35 min.

Top tips for making tandoori turkey

Why not give your trimmings a bit of an Indian twist as well? Spice up your roast potatoes with turmeric, or try our spiced roast potatoes.

Learn how to cook a turkey with our handy step-by-step guide

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Octavia Lillywhite
Food and Lifestyle Writer

Octavia Lillywhite is an award-winning food and lifestyle journalist with over 15 years of experience. With a passion for creating beautiful, tasty family meals that don’t use hundreds of ingredients or anything you have to source from obscure websites, she’s a champion of local and seasonal foods, using up leftovers and composting, which, she maintains, is probably the most important thing we all can do to protect the environment.