How to use a tandoori oven

Updated February 21, 2017

A tandoori oven, or tandoor, is a clay oven that uses traditional Indian methods to cook food. Typically, traditional tandoori ovens use charcoal to fuel the high cooking temperature that is a feature of the clay oven. Tandoori ovens marketed for home use are often set-up outside and used in a similar way to a barbecue. It is important to learn how to use a tandoori oven correctly in order to plan your cooking time effectively and maximise the clay oven's heat.

Set the tandoori oven on a level surface in an open space in your garden or yard. Ensure that the overhead space is clear of any flammable material as the oven emits heat levels up 750 degree Fahrenheit.

Space out firelighter cubes on the bottom of the clay oven via the side oven door. Place 0.907kg. of charcoal loosely on and around the firelighters. Light the firelighter cubes with a long match through the open side door of the tandoor.

Place additional charcoal on top of the lit charcoal so that you have a total depth of 2 to 3 inches. Close the tandoori oven's side door after an hour, or when all of the charcoal is aglow. Begin cooking when the charcoal no longer produces any flames.

Push similar-sized marinated meat or vegetables onto each tandoori oven skewer. Leave 4 to 6 inches clear at the top and bottom of the skewer. Vertically position each skewer inside the tandoori oven through the open top. Lean the skewer against the top rim of the oven. Wear oven gloves.

Cook meats and vegetables for half the time that's required of a conventional oven. Remove the skewers from the oven using oven gloves. Slice open a piece of skewer meat or vegetable with a knife to make sure the food is cooked all the way through.


Marinate the meat 24 hours in advance to provide maximum flavour.


Use extreme caution when cooking with a tandoori oven to avoid burn injuries from the high heat.

Things You'll Need

  • Firelighters
  • Charcoal
  • Long matches
  • Marinated meat and/or vegetables
  • Tandoori oven skewers
  • Oven gloves
  • Knife
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About the Author

Residing in the coastal county of Devon, England, Jane Humphries has been writing since 2004. Writing for "British Mensa" nationally and regionally, Humphries has also held key roles within the High IQ Society. She received a Bachelor of Science, honors, in psychology with combined studies covering biology, statistics, economics, politics and sociology.