These instant pot tandoori chicken drumsticks make the perfect easy weeknight meal. The blend of Indian spices is quick to prepare and the chicken will satisfy anyone who’s eating Paleo, Whole30, Keto (low-carb), or just a real food based diet! With 10 minutes of prep work and few minutes in your instant pot, these tender, flavorful chicken drummies are ready to eat!
Traditional Indian Tandoori
Tandoori is typically made with a marinade mixture comprised of a delicious blend of spices and yogurt. However, to make a dairy-free version for Paleo and Whole30 purposes, we’re going to skip the yogurt. Instead, to replicate the creaminess and meat tenderizer, we’re replacing the yogurt with coconut milk.
If you’re not a huge fan of the coconut taste, I assure you the heavy Indian spices that are combined with it will cover up any coconut taste. The coconut milk is also discarded prior to cooking, so the chicken isn’t doesn’t actually get cooked in it!
Traditional tandoori chicken is also grilled. While you totally can grill these drumsticks, which is what the tandoori cooking method is, for these specific Whole30 and Paleo ones the instructions are for cooking in the instant pot. Cooking these in the instant pot cuts down on cook time so they make a super simple weeknight meal when you get home on a busy day, or a quick option for meal prepping. The high pressure of the instant pot also helps really flavor the meat!
How to Make Instant Pot Tandoori Drumsticks
The key to this recipe is to make sure you marinate the chicken drumsticks long enough in the coconut milk and spice mixture. Between 4-6 hours is the minimum I’d recommend, but overnight is ideal. This makes these Whole30 chicken drumsticks a really great recipe to prepare the night before and have ready to just pop into the instant pot when you’re ready for dinner.
If you don’t have an instant pot yet, you can oven bake these Whole30 drumsticks, and you can find those instructions in the “notes” section of the recipe. For cooking both in the instant pot or oven, I do recommend using the broil function of your oven after you remove them from the instant pot to crisp up the skin a bit. 3 to 5 minutes under the broiler should do the trick, just watch carefully!
I love keeping it simple and serving these with side salads, a vinegar cucumber salad, green beans or other easy veggies. I tend to go for quick options to serve with because I can prepare them in the same time it takes the chicken drumsticks to cook in the instant pot, and a Whole30 or low carb dinner is ready in under twenty minutes.
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- 2 pounds chicken drumsticks
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp white pepper (black pepper will work also)
- In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk, juice from 1 lemon and all spices. Stir well to completely mix spices and coconut milk together
- Place the drumsticks into a large bowl or ziplock bag and pour the marinade over them. Mix the chicken around so the marinade is coating all sides. Cover the bowl if using, or ziplock the bag tightly and place in the refrigerator
- Marinate 4-6 hours, or overnight
- Once you’re ready to cook, insert the wire steaming rack into the instant pot and add 1/2 cup of water, or more if needed. (The water should be covering the bottom, but not touching the surface of the steaming rack)
- Add the chicken into the instant pot by stacking the drumsticks on top of the rack and discard excess marinade left in bowl or bag. Place the lid on, close the sealing valve and set to high pressure for 12 minutes
- Once done, do a quick release and remove the drumsticks with tongs. Serve as is, or place on a baking sheet and broil for 3-5 minutes to crisp up the drumsticks
- Oven instructions: Line a baking sheet with foil or oven-safe parchment paper. Place chicken drumsticks spaced out in a single layer and bake on 400 degrees F for 40-45 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Keywords: Instant Pot, Whole30, Paleo, Keto, Low Carb, Chicken, Tandoori Chicken
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