Cheesy Tandoori Chicken Garlic Bread is about to be a hit side dish at your next game day party! Crunchy, crusty bread is slathered with heaps of garlic butter, and then topped with delicious homemade Indian tandoori chicken. Add a ton of mozzarella cheese, and you've got the best cheesy chicken garlic bread with an Indian twist.
This might just be my favorite chicken dish that I've ever made. Tandoori Chicken has always been my absolute favorite growing up! My mom is fully vegetarian, but we would go to an Indian restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona growing up that had the absolute best tandoori chicken drumsticks. It was an obsession.
For reasons completely justified, garlic bread has been trending this year! I've seen a ton of buffalo chicken garlic bread, but decided we needed room for tandoori chicken garlic bread.
The spices that flavor the tandoori chicken and the bit of char that adds so much flavor is complimented SO well by the heaps and heaps of garlic. You will absolutely be fighting people off for the last slice of garlic bread. I guarantee it.
Then we top all of it with tons of mozzarella cheese to make it especially cheesy garlic bread! It's the best side dish and would make for a perfect game day appetizer.
Ingredients - Notes and Substitutions
To marinate the chicken, I've denoted the spices which may require a trip to the Indian grocer with an asterisk* and included substitutions if you can't find them. A lot of businesses also sell readymade tandoori chicken marinade, which will work just as well.
- Chicken - I prefer to just buy chicken tender cuts so that the tandoori masala has more surface area to cover and bring flavor to. You can also cut chicken breasts into smaller sizes. Chicken thigh will work as well.
- Ginger garlic paste - A must in every Indian dish. Use equal amounts of finely minced ginger and garlic instead.
- Kasuri methi* - Or dried fenugreek leaves. This can be omitted, but imparts a bit of flavor. It can also be substituted with dried cilantro.
- Lemon juice - For freshness and acidity
- Yogurt - Preferably dahi, or Indian curd yogurt. Plain yogurt, or Greek yogurt works as well. It adds a bit of tang and coats the chicken in the marinade.
- Tandoori masala* - An absolute must! I prefer store bought mix, but you can also make your own at home. The tandoori masala brings the vibrant red color to tandoori chicken. If it's not red enough, add more Kashmiri chili powder. A lot of people also use red food coloring to get the red color. There's really no substitutions for this masala. It's a must.
- Garlic - Please use fresh garlic! I find 3 heads of garlic to be the minimum necessary, and would even go up to 4.
- Bread - Use a crusty loaf! Whether it's homemade sourdough or baguettes. My preference is Italian bread.
- Butter - Unsalted or salted butter works here. If you're using salted butter, just omit added salt.
- Cheese - I think mozzarella cheese goes so well with tandoori chicken. I would also love shredded paneer on this, but keep in mind that it won't melt.
How to Make Garlic Bread
I absolutely love making garlic bread at home so I can make it as garlicky as humanly possible. This means 3-4 heads of garlic for me. Whole Foods also has unbaked garlic bread available for $5.
If you don't want to spend time roasting the garlic, finely mince the garlic in a food processor.
- Roast the garlic. Slice off the top of the heads of garlic so that it exposes the garlic cloves. Transfer the heads to foil, and drizzle them with olive oil. Close up the foil, and roast the garlic in an oven for an hour at 400°F.
- Make the garlic butter. Start with softened butter, unsalted or salted works depending on your salt preferences. Mix the butter with the roasted garlic and chopped parsley. You can also add parmesan cheese, chili flakes, basil, etc.
- Brush the garlic butter mixture on to the crusty bread.
How to make Easy Baked Tandoori Chicken
This is, admittedly, an abridged version of making tandoori chicken. But, rest be assured we are still getting the full impact of the flavor! We are just skipping a few steps (i.e. cutting slits and basting in chili oil) that I would generally do for maximum flavor and getting the vibrant red color.
Also, 98% of people don't have a tandoor at home, which feels like a must for tandoori chicken. An oven is super easy and accessible. Alternatively, if you have a grill, then grilled tandoori chicken is the next best alternative to a tandoor!
If you're juggling a few tasks, then I would get the garlic roasting in the oven and the begin marinating the chicken. While the chicken bakes, begin prepping the garlic bread so it's ready for toppings and baking.
- Marinate the chicken. Use a ziploc bag, a bowl, whatever you have to marinate your chicken. Add the ginger garlic paste, kasuri methi, lemon juice, oil, yogurt, and tandoori masala into the bowl and whisk it together. Slice the chicken into tenders, or into half so it gets more surface area. Place the chicken into the bowl with the marinade and toss it thoroughly so the chicken is completely coated. The tandoori masala is key to getting the red color, so add more Kashmiri chili powder as necessary or red food coloring. The yogurt balances out the spiciness. Cover the chicken and refrigerate it for a minimum of 1 hour.
- Bake the chicken. If you have a tandoor, please invite me over. Otherwise, bake the chicken at 400°F for 20-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature has reached 165°F to ensure it has fully cooked. The chicken should char in a few places, which is where all the delicious flavor is! Be careful not to overcook it, otherwise the chicken will be very dry.
- Shred the chicken. Once the chicken is ready, pull it out of the oven. Use two forks to shred the chicken into smaller, bite-size pieces. Alternatively, toss the chicken into a bowl and use a stand mixer or handheld mixer to shred the chicken quickly. Be careful not to overshred.
The chicken and garlic bread are now ready, so let's prep the tandoori chicken garlic bread and bake it.
Prepping Tandoori Chicken Garlic Bread
Here's the best part - assembly and baking! You're one step closer to glorious garlic bread.
The garlic bread should already be prepped with the garlic butter mixture. Start with an initial layer of chicken to coat the top of the bread. Then top it with about half a cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Add another layer of shredded tandoori chicken, and then the remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake the tandoori chicken garlic bread in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400°F. The butter should fully melt into the bread, the cheese will have melted, and the bread should be crusty for optimal crunch. Broil for an additional 2-3 minutes to get that bubbly mozzarella cheese.
Remove the garlic bread from the oven. It's easiest to cut into slices with a bread knife while it's still hot.
How to Serve
Serve the Tandoori Chicken Garlic Bread on a platter, pre-cut into desired slices. Serve the garlic bread while it's warm, right out of the oven so the cheese is still melty.
Garnish with a bit of chopped cilantro, and if desired with a bit of cilantro-mint chutney for drizzling or dipping.
Storage and Reheat Instructions
Store the garlic bread in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. The FDA recommends consuming cooked chicken within 4 days.
To reheat, toast it in the oven for 5 minutes at 350°F for 5-10 minutes, or until it's fully warmed through.
More Indian Side Dishes to try
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Cheesy Tandoori Chicken Garlic Bread
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- cilantro, for garnish
- 3 heads garlic
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- ½ loaf crusty bread, i.e. baguette or italian bread
- 4 oz butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 tablespoon chili flakes, (optional)
- salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Cut off the top of the garlic heads to expose the garlic cloves. Place them in foil and coat them in olive oil. Wrap up the foil and roast for an hour in the oven at 400°F for an hour (see notes).
- In the meantime, add the ginger garlic paste, kasuri methi, lemon juice, oil, yogurt, and tandoori masala into a bowl and whisk it together. Slice the chicken breasts into tenders (into half) and place them in the bowl. Toss the marinade and chicken to coat it completely. Cover the chicken and marinate it in the fridge for a minimum of an hour.
- Add the butter, parsley, chili flakes, and salt into a bowl. Remove the garlic from the foil and squeeze out the roasted garlic into the bowl and discard the peel. Mix until fully combined.
- Remove the marinated chicken from the fridge and transfer it to a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake the chicken for 20-25 minutes at 400°F, or until the internal temperature has reached 165°F. The chicken will be charred in certain areas.
- Using two forks, shred all of the chicken into small pieces.
- Brush the loaf of bread with the garlic butter mixture. Layer half of the chicken to cover the entire loaf, then with half a cup of mozzarella cheese. Add another layer of chicken, and then more mozzarella to top it.
- Bake the garlic bread at 400°F for 10 minutes, or until the butter has melted, the cheese has melted, and the loaf is crusty. Broil for an additional 3 minutes to get a char at the top, then remove it from the oven.
- Slice the garlic bread into desired size using a bread knife. Serve with chopped cilantro.