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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

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
  • Author: Amy | Chew Out Loud
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: bake, broil
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: chicken tikka masala

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Recipe rating

85 comments

    • Mudpiefridays

    That looks so amazing! I will have to try this with my family. I can’t wait to try it! I bet it’s going to be delicious.

      • chewoutloud

      Yay!

    • Terri Steffes

    I had no idea that this dish isn’t originally from India! I think it’s awesome that you shared some fun facts along with the recipe. I’d love to make this for dinner one of these days.

    • Jay Mih

    This looks so delicious. I wanted to make the Asian Scallion Pancakes but it’s made with butter. Can I substitute with Olive Oil?

      • chewoutloud

      Some recipes have you use shortening instead of butter, for a non-dairy option. I’d go with that rather than the oil. Enjoy, Jay!!

    • Eli

    Chicken tikka masala is one of my favorite things to eat! I love finding new recipes for it. I’ll have to try this one out.

      • chewoutloud

      I think you’ll really love this one!

    • Norma

    I love to eat a delicious bowl of Chicken Tikka Masala. It’s the perfect comfort food. Great recipe!

    • Emily Fata

    I an a sucker for a good tikka masala, although I do mine with tofu. And some warm naan to accompany it? YES, PLEASE!

    • Ashley Rollins

    I’m usually not a huge fan of Indian food, but you make this look so tremendously delicious! I love this! I definitely have to try this recipe.

    • IG:Suetanyamchorgh (@suetanyamchorgh)

    Oh man this Chicken Tikka Masala recipe looks so tasty. I can’t wait to get the ingredients to try it on my own.

    • Celebrate Woman (@DiscoverSelf)

    A beautiful and easy recipe to follow and enjoy. I love Indian food, and we eat chicken masala frequently.

    • Gervin Khan

    Wow, this look so delicious and I am so excited to try making this at home I am sure my husband would love this.

    • kumamonjeng

    I love spicy food and chicken masala seems great and glad I have found the recipe here.

    • Kiwi

    I love Tikka Malala! I eat it veggie style and the naan bread is the best.

    • Lohas Canada

    This recipe looks amazing. I can’t wait to try it out. I always get the premixes but it will be great to make my own spice blend.

    • Joyce

    My sauce came out looking red instead of yellow like the picture. Am I doing anything wrong?

      • chewoutloud

      Joyce, I’m guess it might just be the color of specific brands of spices; or perhaps the tomato paste amounts were off? The color shouldn’t affect flavor, though, so hopefully it turned out yummy. Thanks for coming over and happy cooking!

    • Debbi

    Going to try this recipe next weekend and just wondering if it is greek yogurt that should be used?

      • chewoutloud

      Debbi, Greek or whole plain yogurt will work. Excited for you to try it! 🙂

    • Ellen Anderson

    Thank you for the Chicken Tikka Masala recipe! It is delicious! I am trying to expand my culinary experiences – breaking from the typical meat and potatoes of the Midwest. I made this with the assistance of my 8-year old grandson who loves to cook. He had a blast measuring and mixing all those spices! It smelled complex and lovely and a bit out of our comfort zone. The end result was a huge hit! My 6 year-old granddaughter, who doesn’t like meat and survives on fruits and veggies, had 4 small helpings! I have made it multiple times, following the recipe except for one single change – just a bit less grated fresh ginger as we are new to using it and are a bit timid on the heat spectrum for the little ones. I was anxious about so much garam masala because it smells like something that belongs in cookies – but oh my, what a rich, flavorful, sophisticated, but easy to make dish! I will be serving it again, and sharing the recipe with friends! Can’t wait to try another recipe from your collection. Thank you for sharing!

      • chewoutloud

      What a wonderful story, Ellen – thank you! Your comment brought a smile to my face 🙂 So very glad your family loved this, and so happy to hear you’re expanding your culinary fun 🙂

    • T

    Made this tonight! Oh my yum! I’m a ex Londoner living in Sydney and this recipe is the best I’ve eaten since I’ve been here!!! Thank you 🙂

      • chewoutloud

      Yay! So glad to hear it, Tina! 🙂 Thanks for coming over today.

    • Nicole

    Hello want to make this now and was wondering if you put the broiler on low or high?

      • chewoutloud

      Hi, Nicole! I always put it on high broiler but watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn. Enjoy! Hope you guys love it! 🙂

    • Patricia

    I was just wondering if it would be possible to marinate the chicken in the yoghurt and spice mixture the day before ?

      • chewoutloud

      Patricia, I haven’t tried marinating that long before, but I’m guessing that you probably can. If you try it, I’d love to hear back on how it turned out 🙂 Thanks so much for being here today!

    • jenn

    Will make this tomorrow but was wondering if you meant cover the wire rack with foil or line the pan with foil under the rack?

      • chewoutloud

      Oh, that’s a great Q, Jenn. I just updated the instructions to be a bit more clear. Use a wire rack that’s set in a foil-lined baking sheet. A broiler pan works great, too. Hope that helps. Thanks so much for coming over today. I hope you’ll absolutely LOVE this dish as much as we do! 🙂

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