Healthy Curry marinade for chicken – 2 Ways

Spice up your chicken with a healthy, homemade curry marinade! This recipe offers two delicious curry marinades (quick & easy or flavour-packed homemade curry paste) to take your chicken from boring to amazing. It’s the perfect addition to a healthy meal plan, midweek dinner or BBQ!

sliced oven baked curry and yoghurt marinated chicken breasts

Chicken is a staple in many healthy meal plans, and for good reason! It’s versatile, protein-packed, and cooks quickly. But sometimes, a plain piece of chicken is a little boring and this easy curry chicken marinade will make your chicken more succulent and delicious.

Not only does marinating chicken in a flavorful curry paste infuse it with delicious spices, but the addition of the yoghurt and lemon also helps to tenderise the meat, resulting in the tastiest chicken to add to your lunches and dinners. Oh, and this is a great marinade recipe for your summer BBQs, just like my easy and delicious marinated halloumi.

slices of marinated chicken breasts on a rice bowl with vegetables

Why Choose a Homemade Curry Marinade?

While pre-marinated chicken can be a convenient option, it often comes loaded with hidden sugars, unhealthy fats, and additives. When you make your own marinade, you have complete control over the ingredients. This means you can tailor the spice level to your preference, and ensure the marinade aligns with your healthy eating goals and I find it’s so much better for managing diabetes and blood sugar control.

Plus, marinating your chicken doesn’t require any fancy skills. Just a little planning goes a long way as you need time for te marinade to work its magic on the meat. Meal prepping with marinades is also a fantastic way to save time during the week, as it ensures you always have healthy, flavourful options on hand.

Looking for more meal-planning inspiration? Check out my 7-Day Healthy Meal Plan, designed with diabetes management in mind!

What you will need for the CUrry chicken marinade

Chicken

  • I prefer to use chicken breasts as they are a leaner cut of meat
  • Make sure all skin is removed
  • But you can use any cut of chicken you prefer or even, cuts of beef, lamb or pork if you prefer

FOR THE Quick & Easy Curry Yogurt Chicken Marinade:

Shop-bought Curry Paste

  • Read the label to ensure no unnecessary sugars or additives have been added
  • I like the curry pastes by Patak’s as there are no unnecessary ingredients added
  • Choose any flavour paste, we often opt for their balti curry paste

Greek Yogurt

  • The yoghurt adds a creaminess to the marinade without adding lots of fat
  • It is also a great ingredient for tenderising the chicken breast

Lemon Juice

  • Adds a wonderful zesty zing to the marinades and tenderises the meat
  • Plus it adds a little extra dose of vitamin C

Salt & Black Pepper to taste

FOR THE Green Tikka chicken MARINADE:

Green Tikka Curry Paste

  • Full of fresh ingredients that give your meat an extra vibrant flavour explosion
  • It only takes 5 minutes to make and can be stored for weeks (perfect for meal prep)

Greek Yogurt

  • The yoghurt adds a creaminess to the marinade without adding lots of fat
  • It is also a great ingredient for tenderising the chicken breast

Lemon Juice

  • Adds a wonderful zesty zing to the marinades and tenderises the meat
  • Plus it adds a little extra dose of vitamin C

Salt & Black Pepper to taste

how to marinate chicken for curry

Marinating chicken for curry is incredibly easy. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

1. Choose your chicken – Skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs both work well. Chicken thighs tend to be a bit more flavorful and naturally tender, but breasts are a leaner option.

2. Prepare the paste – If you are going for the homemade Tikka paste then place all green tikka curry paste ingredients (cilantro, chilli pepper, ginger, garlic, lemon & spices) into a food processor or blender. Pulse until a relatively smooth paste forms, scraping down the sides as needed.

3. Make the Marinade – In a bowl, combine the curry paste, yoghurt, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Then add the chicken and toss to coat completely.

chicken breat cotaed with the 2 differen marinades in bowls

4. Marinate the chicken: Place your chicken in a sealable container or zip-top bag with the marinade. Make sure the chicken is well coated. Refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours or overnight for maximum flavour.

5. Cook your chicken: Once marinated, you can cook your chicken using your preferred method – grilling, BBQ, pan-frying, baking, or even using it in a slow cooker curry. See below for more information.

Tip: Don’t reuse leftover marinade that has been in contact with raw chicken. Discard it after marinating.

Cooking the Curry Chicken

No matter which Indian chicken marinade you choose, the cooking method is up to you! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Pan-Seared Curry Chicken: Heat a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Sear the chicken for a few minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through.
  • Grilled Curry Chicken: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken for 5-7 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
  • Baked Curry Chicken: Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Place marinated chicken on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through.
  • BBQ Marinated Chicken – Either cook as whole pieces or chop the chicken into chunks and thread the Indian marinated chicken onto skewers. Sear the chicken for 3-5 minutes per side, or until it has nice grill marks and is starting to brown. Then move the chicken to indirect heat. This will help cook the chicken without burning the outside. Cover the grill and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C) as measured with a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part.
  • Slow Cooker Indian Chicken: Add marinated chicken, tinned tomatoes or coconut milk, with lentils, chickpeas and vegetables to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the chicken is tender.

Serving Up Your Delicious Curry Chicken:

Pair your flavorful curry chicken with a variety of healthy sides. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Basmati Wholegrain Rice – This fluffy rice is a classic accompaniment to Indian curries. I choose a wholegrain version as it’s less dramatic on blood sugars. Alternatively serve with Quinoa, a protein-rich grain.
  • Indian Salad – Serve with a Kachumber Salad for a nutritiously balanced and delicious meal
  • Roasted Vegetables – Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and pairs perfectly with the savoury curry flavours in the meat.
  • Add to a curry sauce – My healthy and creamy base curry sauce with roasted vegetables goes perfectly with this marinated chicken
marinated chicken in a bowl with holgrain rice and vegetable curry
  • Chickpea Curry – a big dollop of chickpea curry makes a delicious side to this grilled chicken
  • Create a delicious Nourish Bowl – Packed with whole grains, vegetables and plenty of slices of marinated chicken for an easy midweek meal
slices of marinated chicken breasts on a nourish bowl with vegetables and rice

Diabetes Note

Both marinades in this recipe are free from added sugars, making them a great option for those managing diabetes. if you’re using a store-bought curry paste make sure to read the label. Look for pastes with no added sugars and additives. Choose brands that focus on natural ingredients.

Remember to pair your curry chicken with healthy, low-glycemic sides like roasted vegetables or quinoa to help manage blood sugar levels.

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Healthy Curry marinade for chicken - 2 Ways

Healthy Curry marinade for chicken – 2 Ways

Recipe by Michelle

Spice up your chicken with a healthy, homemade curry marinade with 2 delicious options. Perfect for healthy meal plans!

Course: Mains, Sauces, Dips and Other BitsCuisine: British IndianDifficulty: Easy
5.0 from 3 votes
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Marinating

2-4

hours
Total time

10

minutes
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • 4 large 4 chicken breasts

  • For The Quick Curry Marinade
  • 2 tbsp 2 curry paste

  • 150 g 150 greek yoghurt

  • 1/2 small 1/2 lemon juice

  • salt & black pepper to taste

  • For The Green Tikka Curry Marinade
  • 2 tbsp 2 green tikka curry paste

  • 150 g 150 greek yoghurt

  • 1/2 small 1/2 lemon juice

  • salt & black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Prepare the paste – If you are going for the homemade tikka paste then place all the green tikka curry paste ingredients (cilantro, chilli pepper, ginger, garlic, lemon & spices) into a food processor or blender. Pulse until a relatively smooth paste forms, scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Make the Marinade – In a large bowl, combine the curry paste, yoghurt, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Then add the chicken and toss to coat completely.
  • Marinate the chicken – Place your chicken in a sealable container or zip-top bag with the marinade. Make sure the chicken is well coated. Refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours or overnight for maximum flavour.
  • Cook your chicken – Once marinated, you can cook your chicken using your preferred method – grilling, pan-frying, baking, or even using it in a slow cooker curry

Equipment

Tips and Notes

  • Tip: Don’t reuse leftover marinade that has been in contact with raw chicken. Discard it after marinating.
  • Diabetes Note – Both marinades in this recipe are free from added sugars, making them a great option for those managing diabetes. if you’re using a store-bought curry paste make sure to read the label. Look for pastes with no added sugars or additives. Choose brands that focus on natural ingredients.

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I’m on a mission to prove that eating for health and managing diabetes can be easy & incredibly flavourful.

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