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Chicken Tikka Masala – How to Make This Restaurant Dish At Home

The chicken tikka masala recipe below is the same popular favorite one our readers have been loving for years. This fail-proof recipe is the one we make over and over again.

chicken tikka masala with rice and pita bread
Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala is simply amazing

Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala

To me, a delicious bowl of Chicken Tikka Masala is perfect comfort food.  Being from California, where diversity abounds, there’s never a shortage of ethnic favorites.

In fact, I grew up in a city that proudly features its own Little Indian Town.  Imagine Chinatown, but with a neighborhood full of Indian eateries and shops instead.

What Exactly is Chicken Tikka Masala?

A little known fact is that Chicken Tikka Masala doesn’t have any origins from India.  I was tickled to discover that the dish was actually invented in a London curry house.

Regardless of how it came about, it’s now one of the most popular curry-style chicken dishes served up in favorite Indian restaurants everywhere.  It boasts a deliciously seasoned profile, with plenty of seasonings and spices that create a wonderfully earthy aroma. Tasty chicken is smothered in a creamy tomato based sauce.

Chicken tikka masala is absolutely one of our family’s favorite dishes to order at Indian restaurants. However, where we’re currently based, really good Indian restaurants are few.  And the prices on those menus are double what I’m used to paying. Thankfully, homemade chicken tikka masala is absolutely amazing.

We’ve tried numerous Tikka Masala recipes

I made it my mission to find the very best homemade recipe.  If you can’t buy it, make it.  Or something like that.

In my quest, I have tried numerous recipes for chicken tikka masala – some recipes were more involved than others, some were fully homemade, and some were partly homemade.  But none of them really resembled the deep, rich, distinctive flavors of restaurant style chicken tikka masala. They all lacked that little something.

Until now.

chicken tikka masala on sheet pan rack
Perfectly broiled chicken, ready for the sauce

Finally, the perfect chicken tikka masala

Finally, finally a flavorful and robust chicken tikka masala that can easily be cooked up at home.

My boys are used to different spices, and they loved this stuff.  We often have super flavorful dishes like this robust Jamaican Jerk Chicken and tender Chicken Shawarma.

Some heavy cream aside, this dish is actually pretty healthy.  Chicken breast, a diverse array of good spices, plain yogurt, tomatoes… it’s all the good stuff!

Plus, the sides are deliciously fun – buy your favorite pita bread or try this incredible homemade Naan (Grilled Flatbread)…SO good.

chicken tikka masala with rice and pita bread
Stir seasoned chicken with sauce and serve with basmati rice

Serve Chicken Tikka Masala with Basmati Rice or Naan

Chicken tikka masala goes fabulously with Basmati rice.  Add a little saffron to your rice before cooking, and you’ve got the best accompaniment to your dish.  You’ll want to pour the yummy sauce all over that rice and slurp it up, right down to the last grain.

A side of soft, chewy naan bread is classic with chicken tikka masala. Buy your favorite brand of naan bread or try this easy, homemade Naan, which results in a wonderfully soft and warm grilled flatbread that tastes amazing fresh off the stove.

For your vegetables, try this Easy Indian Style Creamed Spinach. It’s bright, creamy, and nutritious.

Common Questions and Answers

Is Chicken Tikka Masala gluten-free?

Yes, chicken tikka masala is gluten-free, as it’s seasoned with many herbs, spices, and has a creamy tomato based sauce.

Is Chicken Tikka Masala spicy?

Our version of chicken tikka masala is only mildly spicy. You can take the spice level up or down, by adjusting the cayenne and chili powder amounts.

Do I have to use all the spices and seasonings?

Each spice lends a special flavor to the overall dish, with the individual spices melding together perfectly. Try not to skip anything, if at all possible, as it will affect the final flavor of the dish.


See this chicken tikka masala, in action:


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chicken tikka masala

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

5 from 1 reviews

This Chicken Tikka Masala is the only one we’ve tried that tastes just like it came from our favorite Indian restaurant. No need to go out for this anymore; make your own big batch at home and watch it disappear.

  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Yield: 6 1x

Ingredients

Scale

FOR THE CHICKEN:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts – dried well, pounded evenly flat
  • 1 cup plain (unsweetened) whole milk yogurt
  • 2 TB vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 TB ground garlic

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 3 TB vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger (peeled)
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 TB tomato paste
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • dashes of kosher salt to taste

Instructions

  1. For the Chicken: Combine salt, cumin, coriander, and cayenne in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of dry, evenly-pounded chicken with spice mixture, pressing in so mixture sticks. Place chicken in single layer and set aside. Whisk yogurt, oil, ginger, and garlic together in large bowl and set aside.
  2. Prepare the Sauce (can be done up to 2 days in advance): Heat oil in large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, tomato paste, and cook about 3 minutes. Add the rest of sauce ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce to medium low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lastly, stir in cream and return to simmer a few minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
  3. Broil: While sauce is keeping warm, place oven rack 6 inches from heat broiler. Dip chicken well into yogurt mixture, coating with thick layer of yogurt. Arrange each piece on wire rack set in foil-lined baking sheet or broiler pan. Broil chicken about 5-9 minutes, flip over halfway, and broil another 5-9 minutes. The exterior will be lightly browned in spots.
  4. Rest: Let chicken rest 5 minutes. Cut into bite size chunks and stir into warm sauce when ready to eat. Do not simmer chicken in the sauce. If sauce needs warming, warm it up first and then toss the chicken in when ready to serve. Lastly, season with kosher salt to taste, toss in fresh cilantro, and serve immediately over Basmati rice.

Notes

Leftover chicken tikka masala is delicious the next day. Simply stir over stovetop just until warmed through and serve. 

Try our simple, homemade Naan or grilled flatbread, which is wonderfully soft, chewy, and perfect for soaking up the chicken tikka masala sauce. 

If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating 🙂 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 408
  • Sugar: 9.5 g
  • Sodium: 477.8 mg
  • Fat: 22.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20.2 g
  • Fiber: 2.8 g
  • Protein: 32.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 109.8 mg
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: bake, broil
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: chicken tikka masala

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Recipe rating

90 comments

    • Lyosha

    chicken tikka masala is perfect. I think it is one of the most versatile dishes and it liked by every person who eats the ingredients. The spice mix is super balanced and very pleasing despite the differences in the blend. I like your recipe, it reminds me to cook it soon as well

      • Amy Dong

      Aww, that is fantastic!

    • Glass Mosaic Tiles

    I’ve never thought cooking chicken tikka masala would be that easy, omg…I am doing it for sure…Thank you so much.

      • Amy Dong

      SO totally do-able! 🙂

    • Healing Oils

    This is one of my favorite dishes, but I never thought I could make it. This recipe looks very doable.

    • Ed Morris

    I have never made an Indian dish that I thought was worth making again. Until this one. Thank you for share

      • Amy Dong

      That’s fantastic, Ed!

    • Katie

    Yummy! We’ve made this a few times but never from scratch. Tikka Masala is such a tasty meal to make during colder weather, partly because of its zest!

    • Nina Bosken

    Wow this recipe looks amazing. The idea of using a yogurt base to make the sauce is such a good idea. I definitely want to try this at home!

      • chewoutloud

      Thank you so much!

    • Natural Beauty And Makeup

    Wow, your Chicken Tikka Masala looks so delicious! My husband is fond of tikka masala and mine is butter chicken I will surely try your recipe!

    • Heather

    This looks like a great unique recipe to add to the lineup!

    • Heather Barber McMechan

    This is delicious. I’ve been meaning to give it a try at home.

    • Paula Stewart

    I really love all the spices in this recipe and will be trying it soon. Eating chicken several nights a week we need a great Indian recipe and this sounds like one that we will love.

    • A Nation of Moms

    I have never made Tikka Masala, but this looks delicious! I would love to give this a try. I have been craving food like this now that the weather is getting cooler.

    • Samar

    I tried it last night, and it was really amazing.

    Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe

      • chewoutloud

      That’s fantastic! SO happy you guys liked this recipe 🙂

    • Ellie Plummer

    I love cooking different curries and this sounds delicious. I’ll definitely try this with my boyfriend.

      • chewoutloud

      I love all the curries, too!

    • alex vitte

    I loved that you added the fact that the dish has no origins in India!

      • chewoutloud

      🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Chastity

    This is an interesting dish but also a fabulous one! I eat chicken often and get tired of cooking it the same way! This just give me a new way of making a common dish in my home!

      • chewoutloud

      Yes, common ingredients but uncommonly delicious! 🙂

    • Kuntala Banerjee Bhattacharya

    I love chicken tikka masala. I am from India and just like the taste of it. Thanks for sharing , will try it out at home

      • chewoutloud

      Hope you guys love it!

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