I have a few recipes that require marinating meat in yogurt (usually poultry), but none of them are particularly clear on what to do with the meat after marinating, but before cooking. For example, I have a chicken tikka masala recipe that essentially states:

  1. Remove chicken from marinade
  2. Put on skewers and grill; begin cooking sauce
  3. Remove chicken from skewers and add to sauce

In this example, every time the chicken goes from the grill to the pan of hot sauce, the excess yogurt on the chicken immedietely curdles, giving the sauce an almost gritty look to it. Given this dillema, I have a few questions regarding the yogurt marinade:

  • As a general rule, are you supposed to rinse the yogurt marinade off of the meat prior to cooking it?
  • If not, what is the best way to prevent the excess marinade from curdling in the pan?
  • Is there any particular type of yogurt that is better for marinades?

3 Answers 3


Don't Rinse

You should not need to do more than shake the excess marinade from your chicken, or if you want to be very thorough, pat it down with towels lightly.

If you rinsed, you would be washing away from of the flavor developed by your marinade, and the seasoning at the surface of the chicken.

Cook on

The goal is to not put the chicken on the grill with so much left over marinade that it fails to cook through and dry. By the time you are done grilling, the chicken should be essentially dry at the surface with nothing left to curdle.

The other goal of the grilling (or putting in the tandoor, I imagine, if you have one) is to develop the nice browned and delicious flavors, and that won't happen if there is still liquid yogurt on the surface.

Type of yogurt

The particular type of yogurt you use should not be a factor, since it should be fully cooked in the grilling phase.

However, in general, very high fat dairly products (like cream, or a yogurt made from full cream).


Normally when you grill the chicken to a cooked state, nothing wet (such as yoghurt) survives the experience.

In this case, it seems that the chicken is going to finish cooking in the sauce and you may be removing it from the grill before it's fully cooked (to prevent overdone meat in the stew).

What you may wish to do is to make sure the marinade coating isn't thick and run the grill at slightly higher temperature to make sure the marinade evaporates and the chicken picks up some colour from the grilling (this will mean a thin layer of the chicken will be done as well).

That way when it finishes in the pot you'll end up with a cooked and tender chicken with look and taste hints of the grilled chicken.


There are several ways to use the yogurt marinade. First would be to submerge your meat into the plain yogurt with "no seasoning". Let plain yogurt tenderize the meat then remove,wash yogurt off with Luke warm water,pat dry,then season meat thoroughly with sea salt,pepper garlic powder and olive oil let sit for an hour or so then cook. The second choice would be to season the yogurt, marinade your meat ,leave the yogurt on and cook. I tend to only leave the yogurt on if im preparing an ethnic dish such as satay but for instance if I'm making BBQ chicken breast id rather not have any yogurt on the meat. Washing the yogurt off of your meat does not effect the tenderized product at all. Any yogurt will work fine..

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