Yogurt Chicken Recipe

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This yogurt chicken is a delicious option for making either chicken breasts or chicken thighs. In fact, you can make just about any cut of chicken with this recipe. Prefer drumsticks? Go for it! Yogurt-marinated chicken is delicious!

If you love the creamy texture and versatility of yogurt, try marinating chicken breasts or thighs in it. As they cook, the yogurt tenderizes them and leaves an awesome flavor behind.

A close up of a serving spoon holding a piece of yogurt chicken over a skillet.

What Is Yogurt Chicken?

Yogurt marinated chicken is a creamy chicken dish made by adding seasonings to yogurt and then marinating chicken pieces in that yogurt for several hours, to overnight. It’s a delicious way to season chicken and leaves behind a creamy sauce that you can serve with brown rice, pasta, or even cauliflower rice.

What Does Yogurt Do For Chicken?

Yogurt is an excellent tenderizer for chicken. Chicken marinated in yogurt is some of the most tender chicken you’ll have. It’s soft, well-flavored, and pairs well with many different dishes. And the best part is, you can play around with the spice to get a different dish every time you make it!

How Long Can Chicken Marinate In Yogurt?

The longest you can marinate chicken in yogurt is 24 hours. If you marinate it longer than that, the chicken will get too soft and take on a mushy texture.

The shortest amount of time to marinate chicken in yogurt is 20 minutes, though personally, I recommend at least 2 hours for the best flavor.

An overhead view of a cast iron skillet show a pan full of Yogurt Chicken, baked and garnished with fresh, chopped parsley.

Do You Wipe Off Yogurt Marinade?

It depends on how you plan to cook the chicken. If you bake it in a dish like this recipe calls for, then you want to save every bit of it to bake the chicken in.

However, if you’ll be grilling this chicken, you’ll want to remove the excess yogurt marinade so you don’t gum up your grill grates. If you do this, do not save the marinade. Discard it! You don’t want to smear raw chicken juice on your grilled chicken!

Can You Air Fry Yogurt Chicken?

Meat with a wet coating doesn’t do very well in an air fryer. But if you really want to give it a shot, you’ll have to make a small bowl out of aluminum foil to set in your air fryer basket. Make sure it’s well folded so you don’t end up with sauce all over your air fryer. A small cake pan that fits in your air fryer could work too. Total time for cooking will vary by appliance. But generally speaking, you can start off with about 20 minutes, and check it from that point forward.

A spoon picks up a piece of yogurt chicken from a cast iron skillet.

Other Spices To Try

There are so many different flavor combinations you can try in a yogurt marinade! But for the purposes of this recipe, I’ll suggest spices you could add to this particular recipe to round out the flavors. That said, it’s delicious just the way it is. But feel free to play with these!

  • Coriander
  • Turmeric
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Curry powder
  • Taco seasoning (avoid the other spices if you use this with the exception of the cayenne pepper)
  • Lemon zest – if you like a strong lemon flavor

More Spices To Try

These are spices I can recommend that won’t necessarily go with the recipe below but can be fun to play around with to make any number of yogurt chicken marinades.

  • Oregano
  • Greek seasoning for a Greek yogurt chicken marinade – great for wraps!
  • Basil or Italian seasoning

How To Serve Yogurt Chicken

  1. This recipe should leave you with plenty of sauce. It’s great for serving with pasta, rice, or any other grains. Any type of veggie side will go well with this too.
  2. Salads – Shred this chicken and put it in a salad. The sauce can make a yummy dressing or can be mixed with salad dressing, as you like.
  3. Wraps – Both the chicken and the sauce are wonderful in wraps of any kind. Makes for a great way to use up leftovers for lunch the next day!
A close up of Yogurt Chicken in a cast iron skillet garnished with fresh parsley.

Recipe Cost

Here’s my best estimate of the cost for each ingredient in the recipe:

  • 2½ lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs: $10-$15
  • 1 cup plain yogurt: $1-$2
  • 2 tablespoons oil: $0.20-$0.40
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika: $0.20-$0.40
  • 1 tablespoon cumin: $0.20-$0.40
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder: $0.20-$0.40
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder: $0.20-$0.40
  • 1 teaspoon salt: $0.05-$0.10
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander: $0.20-$0.40
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon: $0.05-$0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger: $0.05-$0.10
  • 1 tablespoon honey: $0.25-$0.50
  • Juice of ½ lemon: $0.25-$0.50

The total cost for the adjusted ingredients may range from $13.60 to $22.75, depending on the location, time of year, and where you purchase the ingredients. So that’s $1.70 to $2.84 per serving if a serving is 1 chicken thigh with a bit of sauce.

Please note that these are rough estimates and the actual cost may vary depending on the store, location, and availability of ingredients.

About The Ingredients

Boneless skinless chicken thighs – I used thighs because they are the more affordable cut of chicken. They also get super tender in this recipe. However, you can use any cut of chicken you’d like to use. They will all work fine here. Boneless skinless chicken breasts are quite tasty here, but different cuts of chicken may require different cooking times. So aim for the proper temperature on a meat thermometer, or instant-read thermometer, no matter what cut you use.

Plain yogurt – This can be regular yogurt, Greek yogurt, or dairy-free yogurt. The choice is yours, so long as it’s not flavored or sweetened.

Oil – Whatever type you are comfortable using.

Smoked paprika – You can use regular paprika too, if you wish. But the smoked paprika takes things up a notch.

Cumin

Garlic granules – Garlic powder works too. Just don’t use garlic salt or this may get too salty for you.

Salt

Ground ginger – You can use fresh ginger too. About a half teaspoon of fresh, grated ginger will get the job done if you prefer a stronger ginger flavor. Or add more if you wish!

Black pepper

Lemon juice – Fresh squeezed tastes best, but bottled will work.

How To Make Yogurt Chicken

A mixing bowl filled with yogurt and various spices. A whisk rests in the bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, spices, lemon juice, and oil. Whisk well.

Chicken added to yogurt sauce in a mixing bowl.
Chicken mixed into yogurt sauce in a mixing bowl.
Chicken in yogurt sauce in a mixing bowl, covered with a wrapper.

Place the chicken breasts in the bowl with the marinade and coat well on all sides. Cover with a lid, plastic wrap, or a natural wrapper and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. And if you don’t have room in the fridge for a mixing bowl, you can marinate this in a zip top bag as well.

An oven display shows the oven is set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Yogurt chicken sitting in a cast iron skillet with yogurt sauce evenly spread over the top of the raw chicken.

Scrape the entire contents of the marinade bowl into a cast iron skillet or casserole dish.

A cast iron skillet holds a full pan of just-baked Yogurt Chicken. It is garnished with chopped parsley.

Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165°F. (About an hour, maybe a bit more) Serve hot with your favorite side dishes.

Storage

Store this in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Freezing

You can freeze the chicken without the sauce. I don’t recommend freezing the sauce because yogurt doesn’t really freeze well. The texture changes when it thaws.

Reheating

This can be reheated in a microwave, in the oven, or on the stovetop.

Recipe Supplies

For this recipe, you’ll want a mixing bowl you can mix the marinade in as well as marinate the chicken in overnight. You’ll also want either a casserole dish or a cast iron skillet to bake the chicken in. (Affiliate links)

Mixing bowl set with lids sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)
Casserole dish set sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)
Cast iron skillet sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)

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An overhead view of a cast iron skillet show a pan full of Yogurt Chicken, baked and garnished with fresh, chopped parsley.

Yogurt Chicken Recipe

Delicious chicken with tons of flavor that will appeal to everyone at the dinner table.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Indian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 236kcal
Author: Tiffany McCauley

Ingredients

  • lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (approximately 8 thighs)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (any type you wish as long as it's plain)
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tps. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. honey (or sweetener of choice)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (approximately half a lemon)

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, spices, lemon juice, honey, and oil. Whisk well.
    Yogurt marinade mixed together and sitting in a mixing bowl.
  • Place the chicken breasts in the bowl with the marinade and coat well on all sides. Cover with a lid, plastic wrap, or a natural wrapper and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. And if you don't have room in the fridge for a mixing bowl, you can marinate this in a zip-top bag as well.
    Chicken mixed into yogurt sauce in a mixing bowl.
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F.
    An oven display shows the oven is set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Scrape the entire contents of the marinade bowl into an oiled cast iron skillet or casserole dish.
    Yogurt chicken sitting in a cast iron skillet with yogurt sauce evenly spread over the top of the raw chicken.
  • Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165°F. (About an hour, maybe a bit more) Serve hot with your favorite side dishes. Serve hot with your favorite side dishes.
    A cast iron skillet holds a full pan of just-baked Yogurt Chicken. It is garnished with chopped parsley.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 236kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 434mg | Potassium: 452mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 330IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2mg

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2 Comments

  1. How do you think this would be without the sweetner?

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