Chicken Tikka Masala

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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.

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

  • I just made this amazing dish following the recipe exactly as written. I also let the chicken marinate for 2 days in the yogurt marinade and the finished dish is absolutely amazing. The sauce is delicious!!!
    A definite recipe keeper!
    Thank you Jenn

    • — Jennifer on June 10, 2021
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  • Made this tonight – it was amazing. Grandkids that do not eat vegetables did not hesitate to eat up that sauce. The combination of the Basmatic Rice and this together – homerun!!

    • — Angela Massey on May 19, 2021
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  • Holy moly! This recipe was delicious!! I made it exactly as directed except my husband doesn’t like cilantro so I skipped that. Turned out great and is definitely a keeper! Thanks Jen for yet another perfect recipe!

    • — Swati on May 3, 2021
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  • Made this tonight and everyone really enjoyed it! I used half cream and half coconut milk as I did not have enough cream. Easy recipe and excellent result!

    • — Alberta Karen on May 2, 2021
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  • Hi! I am making this tonight for my family. My oven has a broil feature where you can select the exact temperature. What temperature do you recommend for the broil? (Or even, low, medium or high?) I can find the corresponding temperatures online. Also, where are you placing the oven grate relative to the top? A few inches away from the broiler, in the middle of the oven? Thank you so much!!

    • — Megan on April 22, 2021
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    • Hi Megan, I’d set your broiler to high and put the oven rack in the top position. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 22, 2021
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  • Hi Jenn! I am in the middle of a food elimination challenge and I am wondering if I could just swap out the cream for full-fat coconut milk? I think the yogurt is okay and I can use dairy free butter. I know it will change the flavor profile a bit, but I am having trouble finding gluten, soy and dairy free recipes. Any suggestions are welcome!!

    • — Marybeth Fiden on April 15, 2021
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    • Yes, full-fat coconut milk will work here. As you mentioned it will change the flavor a bit, but will still be delicious. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 15, 2021
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  • I love this so much. My whole family does. I seriously can’t stop tasting the sauce as it simmers. It’s so good I want to drink it! Probably my favorite recipe from Jenn and almost everything I cook is from the site or her cookbook!

    • — Lesley K. on April 7, 2021
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  • Try it with shrimp!! I broiled the shrimp for 4 minutes, and it was perfect! Yay for “meatless Monday” 👍🏼

    • — Alex S. on March 1, 2021
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    • 👍

      • — Jenn on March 2, 2021
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  • This recipe is awesome!! If I wanted to use a seafood versus chicken, what would you suggest? Shrimp? Would you make any other changes? Thanks, Jenn, for all your amazing recipes!

    • — Alex S. on February 28, 2021
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    • So glad you like it! I think shrimp would work nicely here, but they won’t need to cook as long. I’d broil them briefly to get a little browning and then finish them off in the sauce as you do with the chicken. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on March 1, 2021
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  • Any suggestions for making ahead or freezing? My thought was cook chicken and sauce but stop before putting chicken in sauce, freeze separate. Your recipes are fabulous!

    • — Theresa on February 26, 2021
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    • Hi Theresa, Typically, I’d hesitate to freeze this because of the dairy it contains. That said, some readers have commented that they have frozen it and were happy with the results. And I think you could go either way in terms of freezing everything together or keeping chicken separate and then adding when reheating the sauce. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 1, 2021
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  • I absolutely love this Recipe! It has become one of my family’s favorite. It introduced my husband and son to Indian cuisine and now it gets requested often. Thank you!

    • — Adrienne Cooper on February 23, 2021
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  • Don’t hesitate, it’s amazing!! The list of spices sounded intimidating, I had to stock up in the spice aisle, but I’m so glad I did. I made this yesterday with your naan recipe and my boys couldn’t eat it fast enough! They even fought over the naans to soak up every last drop of sauce!! This was so flavorful, definitely adding it to the list of favorites!!!

    • — Katie on February 18, 2021
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  • Just delicious. I’m eating it right now with your naan and it definitely filled my craving for Indian food. Really fantastic.

    • — Debbie Harris on February 17, 2021
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  • I bought your cookbook last year and have loved making recipes enjoyed by all. I just make this Chicken Tikka Masala…delicious! Wouldn’t change a thing!! This weekend I’m making your Beef Stew and Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli. I’m a collector of cookbooks and love entertaining. Once Upon a Chef cookbook and her other recipes are a favorite of mine. Thank you!

    • — Tammy on February 13, 2021
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  • Hi, I love your recipes! I have a question- can this recipe be made without dairy? What would you suggest? Thank you!

    • — lisa morgenstern on February 3, 2021
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    • Hi Lisa, I’ve only made this with dairy products, but I think coconut milk will work in place of the heavy cream. It will change the flavor profile a bit, but will still be good. And I haven’t tried this with dairy-free yogurt, but I think it should work. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on February 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • A family favorite which is requested each week now! Love the chicken marinade particularly– wonderful smells from the fridge while marinating. Sauce is delicious!! I have one main suggestion which is (after already marinating) to start the sauce first, then place the chicken on baking sheet while in various stages of sauce preparation. Right before the sauce is in its 15 minute next to final cook stage put the chicken under the broiler for 8-9 minutes (slightly longer than the recipe calls for). My broiler is skinny so only one pan can go in at a time– so about 16 minutes to cook! Then the final sauce and chicken time happens without the cooked chicken getting cool. Better than the Indian restaurant in town!!

    • — ann greeley on February 1, 2021
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  • My daughter-in-law made this for us one night, along with the home made naan, and it was one of the best family-style dinners I’ve ever had. She is an amazing cook, so I was sure I couldn’t replicate it, but I’ve now made it a couple of times and it comes out perfectly each time. I wouldn’t change a thing. And, that naan…..

    • — Polly Elkin on February 1, 2021
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  • This is the best chicken tikka masala recipe! I’ve made it a few times now, exactly following each step, and it’s always a big hit. Broiling the marinated chicken really gives it a great flavor. I like to pair it with basmati rice and curry roasted carrots! Everyone comments that it’s better than takeout!

    • — Michelle on January 30, 2021
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  • This is an exceptional recipe. Definitely restaurant quality. A new family favorite . The flavors are amazing . We saved the leftovers and found it just as delicious the second time around. The chicken and sauce freezes well.
    I was concerned about using heavy whipping cream and considered replacing it with coconut milk or 1/ and 1/2 . Since I have followed Jenn Segal’s recipes for a year and have been consistently happy with every one I have tried, I decided to stay with the recipe as written. Happy I did so. It was delicious .. Would give it 10 stars .

    • — Marion on January 30, 2021
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    • Thanks for your review! Any tips on freezing?

      • — Maura on February 24, 2021
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  • I make this recipe and oh boy my family love it they said its a keeper. I love your cooking. I use your recipes all the time. I also have your book. Try it guys won’t regret it.

    • — Anthea on January 30, 2021
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  • Delicious and easy-to-make recipe (just one of so many from Jenn). My family appreciates it all the more now that we are all eating at home (due to the dreadful COVID-19), and cuisine variety throughout the week is appreciated. I’d love to get some suggestions on ways to spice this up a bit for guests who like an extra kick.

    • — Lydia on January 30, 2021
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    • Hi Lydia, Glad you enjoyed! If you want to add heat, I would add 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper to the sauce.

      • — Jenn on January 31, 2021
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  • I’ll always wanted to make my own Tikka Masala but thought it would be too complicated…this recipe was easy and delicious. I do like my Indian food spicy so added quite a bit of chili powder. Rice and lentil soup to accompany it. I’m putting it in my rotation for sure.

    • — Leticia on January 30, 2021
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  • Delicious. I’ve followed the recipe exactly the first time and the 2nd time had to use diced tomatoes. Both times my kids ate it and liked it. We normally cook roasted cauliflower as a side with rice also. This is a keeper.

    • — Melissa on January 30, 2021
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  • Excellent recipe. Never thought to start with broiling the chicken like this. Gave it that restaurant style appearance.

    • — Shahnaz Khan on January 29, 2021
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  • This is the best Tikka masala. We love that it’s super flavorful yet not too spicy like many Indian dishes, which makes it perfect for kids. Look no further, it’s good stuff!

    • — Priscilla on January 29, 2021
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  • We enjoy Indian food, but don’t have a good restaurant nearby. I have made several Indian dishes and this one has become our favorite. It is wonderful just as printed. To reduce calories I have also made it with low-fat coconut milk. ( occasionally I will add 1 Tbsp. of dry heavy cream to the coconut milk for a richer flavor) I have marinated the chicken and left it overnight to absorb the flavors better. The sauce comes together quickly. I have also made Jen’s easy naan recipe. It too, is yummy.

    • — Nancy Mintz on January 29, 2021
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  • I have made Chicken Tikka for several years using a very good Indian recipe. And while well pleased with that dish, I thought I would try your version. From a technical standpoint, I felt your recipe was somewhat easier and less time consuming. From a taste perspective I felt it was excellent and perhaps I sensed a bit of an light-Asian tone to it. Just my palette, I suppose. This was not a detraction at all and I thoroughly enjoyed this recipe and will use it again. Thanks.

    • — Ken on January 29, 2021
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  • This is probably my favorite recipe from your website. I’ve made it so many times and every time is delicious. I still have to try and make your homemade naan to go with it, which I’m sure it’s just as good. Maybe next time 🙂

    • — Elsa on January 29, 2021
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  • I made this for my family yesterday and it was amazing. I paired it with the accompanying recipes (Homemade Naan, Perfect Basmati Rice, and Minted Cucumber Salad) and they were all 5 stars as well. It was a long day in the kitchen, but well worth it.

    • — Tom K on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    I’ve just discovered your site last week through your Potato Leek Soup recipe, which was absolutely incredible, and now I’m on a tear printing out other amazing-looking recipes to try! I would love to give this one a go as it sounds delicious and chicken tikka masala is my husband’s go-to Indian takeout dish. However, I don’t have a broiler on my oven. What alternative preparation would you suggest for the chicken? Thank you!

    • — Summer on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Summer, Do you have a grill?

      • — Jenn on January 30, 2021
      • Reply

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