Chicken Tikka Masala

Tested & Perfected Recipes
Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken tikka masala is a dish of yogurt-marinated broiled chicken in a creamy, spice-infused tomato sauce.

Chicken Tikka Masala with Basmati Rice

Chicken tikka masala is a dish of yogurt-marinated and broiled chicken in a creamy, spice-infused tomato sauce. It’s surprisingly easy to make, and it’s a great intro to Indian food for kids, as it’s not too spicy. The sauce is seasoned with garam masala, a fragrant Indian spice blend typically made from peppercorns, mace, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg. You can find it at most large supermarkets (McCormick makes it as part of their Gourmet Collection), but feel free to substitute curry powder if need be. Serve with basmati rice, buttered peas, and naan for a fabulous family feast.

What you’ll need to make chicken tikka masala

ingredients for chicken tikka masala

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by chopping the chicken breasts into chunks. Feel free to substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs if you like, but I prefer white meat for this recipe since the sauce is quite rich.

cutting chicken on board

In a bowl large enough to hold the chicken, combine the yogurt, salt and spices.

marinade ingredients in bowl

Whisk to combine.

whisking marinade ingredients

Then add the chicken and mix until it is evenly coated. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.

mixing raw chicken with yogurt marinade

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat the broiler and set an oven rack in the top position. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack on top; spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray.

arranging chicken on cooking rack

Place the chicken on the prepared rack, spooning any marinade left in the bowl over the chicken. Broil for 7 to 8 minutes, until browned on top. (The chicken does not need to be flipped over.)

broiled chicken pieces

While the chicken cooks, start the sauce.

chopped ginger and onions on board

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pan. Add the onions and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not brown; reduce the heat if necessary.

sauteing vegetables

Add the spices and cook 2 minutes more.

vegetables cooking with spices

Add the tomatoes, heavy cream, salt, sugar, pepper and 1/2 cup water.

making chicken tikka masala sauce

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 15 minutes.

simmering chicken tikka masala sauce

Add the broiled chicken to the sauce and simmer until the chicken is warmed through and fully cooked, a few minutes.

adding chicken to chicken tikka masala sauce

Sprinkle the cilantro over the chicken and serve with buttered Indian basmati rice and/or naan.

finished chicken tikka masala

Enjoy!

Chicken Tikka Masala with basmati rice in serving bowl

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Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken tikka masala is a dish of yogurt-marinated broiled chicken in a creamy, spice-infused tomato sauce.

Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour, plus at least 1 hour to marinate the chicken

Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (okay to substitute curry powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch chunks

For the Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons garam masala (okay to substitute curry powder)
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 (14-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. In a bowl large enough to hold the chicken, whisk together the yogurt, salt, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin. Add the chicken and mix until it is evenly coated. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat the broiler and set an oven rack in the top position. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack on top; spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Place the chicken on the prepared rack, spooning any marinade left in the bowl over the chicken. Broil for 7 to 8 minutes, until browned on top. (The chicken does not need to be flipped over.) While the chicken cooks, start the sauce.
  4. To make the sauce: Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pan. Add the onions and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not brown; reduce the heat if necessary. Add the spices and cook 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes, heavy cream, salt, sugar, pepper and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (I usually add a bit more salt and sugar).
  5. Add the broiled chicken to the sauce and simmer until the chicken is warmed through and fully cooked, a few minutes. Sprinkle the cilantro over the chicken and serve with buttered Indian basmati rice and/or naan.
  6. Make Ahead: Feel free to make this dish entirely ahead of time. Reheat the chicken in the sauce on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 475
  • Fat: 31 g
  • Saturated fat: 18 g
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Protein: 38 g
  • Sodium: 745 mg
  • Cholesterol: 201 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Hi Jen –
    Let me start by saying I am HUGE fan!!! I’ve made several of your recipes and all are winners. Thank you for sharing your talents with us and making us feel like superstars in the kitchen.
    Your tikka masala is one of my family’s favs and is requested on a monthly basis. With that said, is there a way to make it a bit healthier without sacrificing the yumminess factor? I cut the butter in half and use olive oil to saute onions and ginger, but I feel a little guilty with the amount of heavy cream. Any suggestions?

    • — Ilse on January 14, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! You could replace the full fat yogurt with 2% and use 1/2 & 1/2 in place of the heavy cream. It will still be good – just not as rich. Please LMK how it turns out with these tweaks!

      • — Jenn on January 15, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made this dish for my son who does not like spicy dishes. It was absolutely spot on. Perfect. It is a wonderful dish for a Friday night supper party. The rice recipe was perfect as well. Next time I will try the naan bread. Thanks again for a delicious recipe.

    • — Susan on January 13, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is another winner, Jenn!! This is the third time I’ve made this in the last couple of months, and my husband raves about it each time. I’ve been using Greek yogurt to marinate the chicken—since that’s what I usually have around. I may try with regular yogurt next time to see if my marinade is more saucy. I don’t think regular yogurt is necessary as the result is already perfect, but I’ll see if becomes a six star recipe 😉

    • — Alex S. on January 11, 2021
    • Reply

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