Chicken Tikka Masala

Tested & Perfected Recipes
Chicken Tikka Masala

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.

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

You may also like

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

  • ½ cup whole milk yogurt
  • 1½ 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
  • 1¼ teaspoons garam masala (okay to substitute curry powder)
  • 1¼ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1¾ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 (14-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ 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 ½ 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.

See more recipes:

Comments

  • Delicious and better than many Indian restaurants I ordered Tikka Masala from! Thank you for your perfect recipe!

    • — Lina on June 26, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have not used a baking sheet and wire rack (as in cookie cooling rack?) I
    under a broiler. Do I need a certain type to prevent warping?
    Thanks!

    • — Kate on June 16, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Kate, I believe that most cooling racks are oven safe as they often serve a dual purpose of going into the oven as well. Here’s what I have. If you know what brand it is, you could look it up online to ensure that it’s oven safe. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on June 16, 2022
      • Reply
  • I’ve made this recipe twice now; first with leftover chicken thighs from a previous meal and then tonight with chicken breast as the recipe calls for. Both were fantastic. I add some frozen green peas right before serving, and just let the heat from the dish bring them to temperature. One of my favorites from this site.

    • — Katherine on April 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • OMG this is incredible! Once Upon a Chef has become my go-to for weekly dinner recipes. I’ve never found another recipe creator to be so consistent with amazing recipes that I want to eat again and again. This Chicken Tikka Masala recipe is a perfect example. This is packed with flavor, but felt like it came together so easily – I love a low effort high impact recipe! I will be making this again for sure.

    • — Joseph on April 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • My husband and I loved this! I’ve always been better at making sweets, but since getting married I’ve been trying to broaden my horizons as far as making meals. This tasted just like it does when we go to our favorite Indian restaurant. Thank you!

    • — Emma Gilkerson on March 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • I love this recipe too but I didn’t have heavy cream this time around so used milk and some cornstarch and it was fantastic! I might switch over to this for the less fat.

    • — Jr on March 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • I think this is the recipe I’ve made most often from this site. The first time I made it was a real “wow” moment, and it truly helped me build trust in Jen and her recipes, because my previous few attempts at Indian recipes (from an Indian food cookbook) had been pretty disastrous. My husband and I like Indian food, and I knew I hadn’t gotten it right. So I was already unsure of myself with this one because of those past failures… but this one turned out GREAT. My kids call it “chicken with yummy sauce”, and my oldest asks for it on a regular basis. I double the sauce; fresh naan or plain old flatbread are excellent for sopping it up, it’s great over both roasted cauliflower and rice, and it’s hard for me to find 14-oz cans of crushed tomatoes anyway. 🙂 Recipes that the whole family loves are such a rarity. This is one of those special few, and I’ll be making it for years to come.

    • — Anne on February 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made this last night. It was a HUGE hit! I made everything but the rice ahead. I have never made a bad meal when I follow your recipes.

    • — Sue Munson on February 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Another great recipe from Jenn! A note: The flavor noticeably improved after this sat in our fridge for a day. If you have time, I’d make this a day ahead and reheat. I also like the idea of adding a little heat (e.g., 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper); the recipe tasted good, I just felt it could use something extra.

    • — Mary on February 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Has anyone tried this for Vegans? I’m cooking dinner for some friends who are vegan next week. My friends who are not vegan who I’ve made this for, LOVED it. And they requested it at this dinner next week (but vegan friendly for the sake of our other guests) I’m thinking maybe using coconut milk yogurt, coconut cream, and either chickpeas or firm tofu….has anyone tried these alterations?

    • — Rachel on February 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Just a few week ago I did this for Vegans! They loved it. Both had lived in India and said they thought the spicing was perfection–Jenn really knocked it out of the park with this creation. Made the sauce subbing a small amount of vegetable oil for the butter (mostly steam sauteed the onions) and used coconut milk instead of cream. Of course, I left the chicken/yogurt component completely out. I steamed carrots, then cauliflower, then broccoli and added to the sauce along with garbanzo beans. Let it sit overnight. Before we ate I gently reheated and added frozen peas just before serving with the rice. (My husband, the meat-eater added cooked chicken I had pre-made to his–might be a good option for your carnivore friends.) All the prep and steaming of the veg took a long time but end result was worth it. I also doubled the spices b/c so many additional things in the sauce. Hope this helps.

      • — Diane on February 18, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn
    I made this last night for company and it was so delicious everyone enjoyed it. I made the sauce early in the day and refrigerated. Also marinated the chicken. Then broiled the chicken and simmered the sauce just before eating. Did jasmine rice and plain steamed broccoli and a green side salad.
    I need to perfect the broiling of the chicken part as it was not slightly burnt. Will work on that.
    Thanks for an amazing recipe!

    • — Jacqueline on February 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • Amazing
    Another great recipe from Jennifer!

    • — mikermeals on January 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Greek yoghurt?
    Thanks

    • — Diana on January 17, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Diana, I use regular yogurt here, but Greek will work just fine too. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 17, 2022
      • Reply
  • Absolutely fabulous!! Thanks Jen

    • — Lyne on January 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • Best Tikki Masala recipe I’ve tried. My 3 year old loves it too. I do add 1/2 the cream but that is the only thing I change.

    • — Rebeca Snow on December 29, 2021
    • Reply

Add a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]