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Chicken Tikka Masala

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:


chicken tikka masala

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

5 from 62 ratings
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 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients  

FOR THE CHICKEN:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ 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 TB tomato paste
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • dashes of kosher salt to taste

Instructions

  • 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.
  • 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 remaining "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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.2g | Protein: 32.8g | Fat: 22.3g | Saturated Fat: 13.4g | Trans Fat: 0.6g | Cholesterol: 109.8mg | Sodium: 477.8mg | Fiber: 2.8g | Sugar: 9.5g
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free
Method: Bake, broil

Did you make this?

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Recipe Rating




91 comments

    • Julia – Vintage with Laces

    I made this yesterday and we both loved it. It will go into my recipe box and will be made again soon. Thank you for sharing!

      • chewoutloud

      You’re so welcome, Julia! Thanks for coming over 🙂

    • PJ

    Pinterest is blocking your recipes 🙁 Says they lead to Spam (which obviously they do not. Thought you might not know this. Hoping you can contact them to correct this. I want to be able to Pin your recipes for easy access (as I am sure do many others!)

      • chewoutloud

      Wow, thank you so much for letting me know, PJ! I’m on it, emailed their team. I really hope they rectify it soon. I appreciate your note; I would never have known it until much later!

    • andrea

    have you ever marinated the chicken in the yogurt before cooking?

      • chewoutloud

      Andrea, I just do it exactly as written and it turns out super 🙂

    • jen

    Just made this tonight. It was outstanding! Thank you so much!

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, Jen! So happy to hear it 🙂 Thanks for coming over to let us know!

    • Kelsey Laroe

    Maybe I missed something but I was wondering how much chicken you use with this recipe. I’m new to making Indian Food and not quite sure what to be looking for.

      • chewoutloud

      Look under ingredients list “For the Chicken” and it specifies amounts 🙂 I hope you’ll love this recipe as much as we do! Enjoy!

    • Jessica
    • 5 stars

    This was REALLY good! Not much like what I’m used to at Indian restaurants but still a really good flavor! For some reason mine turned out much more red than yours? I even added a tad extra cream thinking that was it but nope!

    No matter, still wonderful! Chicken turned out really tender

      • chewoutloud

      Great to hear it, Jessica. Glad you guys liked it 🙂

    • corhascorey

    I can’t thank you enough for this recipe. We are eating it NOW and felt like we had to comment instantly on it’s greatness. Thanks!

      • chewoutloud

      Awesome 🙂 Thanks for letting us know – we love to hear how people like the food!

    • Aravind

    It looks absolutely perfect..gonna try this recipe.. for more Indian chicken recipes http://chicken.org.in/

    • Eli
    • 5 stars

    Made this tonight for dinner. So, SO tasty! It wasn’t quite the same as most chicken tikka masalas that I’ve had before, but I think it was better and even more full-bodied. YUM!

      • chewoutloud

      Yay! So happy to hear it 🙂

        • Perry

        Real newbee on the cooking scene but this is to die for! Its as good as any curry I have had if not better! Is a lot of work but well worth it!

    • spenser

    Does your masala have curry and cinnamon in it? I always make sure to add extra of both of those two when making my own, and was curious.

      • chewoutloud

      Hi, Spenser! Yes, it has all the ingredients of a usual “curry powder.” Curry is typically comprised of such spices and cumin, coriander, tumeric, etc. I’m sure you can go ahead and add more of whatever spices you love, and it will work for you 🙂

    • Amie

    This is maaagnificent! It tastes so authentic, a real good curry! My friend came over and were both only 17, we followed your recipe and it came out perfect! We were so proud, the creamy sauce is to die for. At first I was worried about just the can of tomatoes because it seemed that there wasn’t enough for the sauce, but after simmering for 10 minutes it flowed with juices. Thank you so much 🙂

    • Kat

    I just got an electric pressure cooker. How do I adapt this recipe to use it?

      • chewoutloud

      I don’t own a pressure cooker, as I haven’t fully recovered from the scary memories of my dad’s old fashioned one. Heard the modern ones are less scary 🙂 Found this page for you, which is full of pressure cooker ideas, which might be helpful for you. Congrats on your new pressure cooker! http://peggyunderpressure.com/2011/01/tikka-masala/

    • Janelle McNeil

    Thank you very much for sharing this recipe! It’s definitely a hit and you deserve great credit. Thanks, also, for stopping by my humble blog. =)

    • Nelly

    Most amazing recipe! I made it tonight and actually felt compelled to comment on its greatness <3

      • chewoutloud

      Soooo glad you guys liked it! 🙂

    • Subtlekate

    This looks delicious. I’ve written it in my book. Thanks.

    • Jordyn @ butterthantoast
    • 5 stars

    This looks awesome! I’ve been looking for a homemade chicken curry-like recipe. Now all you need is some hot and crispy naan to go with it!

    • jordyn @ butterthantoast

    This looks awesome! I’ve been looking for a great homemade chicken curry-like dish. Now all you need is some hot and crispy naan bread to go with it!

    • Helene

    I know what I am eating for Dinner tomorrow. Thanks so much, looks insane.

    • epicureantease
    • 5 stars

    This looks fabulous!! I will be giving this recipe a try! I tried making Chicken Tikka Masala about a year ago at a friends urging. I had never had it before and it’s one of his favorite dishes. I used a recipe I found on allrecipes. I should have read the reviews. It was sooooo over the top salty!! And I’m a bit of a salt fein! It called for like 7 teaspoons of salt! Against my better judgement, I used 5 not being familiar with the dish. Needless to say, it looked and smelled delicious but was a fail in the taste department. At least we’ve had a number of laughs over it! LOL!!!

      • chewoutloud

      Hope you have a massive success this time around! Kitchen bloopers are funny… but only after one has recovered from it, right? 😉

        • epicureantease

        I tried this recipe tonight and it was fabulous!! Absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for sharing! No bloopers this time around. LOL!

          • chewoutloud

          Yay!! Success 🙂

    • Star Fashion Addict

    Probably my most favorite dish to order when out for a meal. Can’t wait to try making at home, how exciting.

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