Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala

This easy stovetop chicken tikka masala tastes just like your favorite Indian takeout and is ready in under an hour. Leftovers are even better the next day!

My husband is British so is incredibly picky about Indian food. He laments the lack of restaurants in our neighborhood that serve “proper curries.”

So on our annual trip back to the UK to visit his family over the holidays, we started the tradition of going to an Indian restaurant on New Year’s Eve. We skip the champagne, the glitter, and the countdown in favor of gorging ourselves on spicy curry.

To make sure we don’t have to give up Indian food for the rest of the year, I’m learning how to cook more Indian dishes at home. I’ll start with the typical British Indian dish: Chicken tikka masala.

Video: How to make chicken tikka masala


chicken tikka masala

What is Chicken Tikka Masala?

This dish consists of chicken marinated in a spicy curry sauce with plain yogurt and cooked with tomatoes, spices and more plain yogurt. You can use breasts or thighs and it’s great when served with rice.

Chicken Tikka Masala vs Butter Chicken

How to make chicken tikka masala

Prepare this tikka masala in just a few (easy!) steps – the whole dish is ready in less than 45 minutes!

  1. Marinate chicken with yogurt. This will tenderize the chicken and add flavor.
  2. Boil the chicken.
  3. Make the masala sauce. This involves cooking onions, spices and tomatoes, adding a little yogurt at the end for creaminess and tangy flavor.
  4. Combine the sauce and chicken. And you’re done!

Tips for making the best chicken tikka masala

This easy chicken tikka masala recipe calls for a number of spices, but all contribute to the characteristic deep flavors. This recipe is worth the raid on your spice cabinet.

Here are some tips for this recipe:

  • Adjust the seasoning! My husband and I both preferred the chicken tikka masala with 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. However, if you prefer less seasoning, you can reduce this to just a quarter teaspoon or omit it altogether.
  • Be sure to marinate: For the best flavor, you should also marinate the chicken for 4 to 6 hours or even overnight. This gives the meat time to fully absorb the flavorful marinade. However, if you’re pressed for time, you can simply marinate the meat for about 30-45 minutes.
  • Plain yogurt is best: For this recipe, avoid Greek yogurt if possible; Plain plain yogurt is best. Greek yogurt tends to be too low in fat and also too thick for this recipe and can have a tendency to separate during cooking.
  • When Greek yogurt is all you can find, buy the highest fat Greek yogurt you can find and mix it with some whole milk to get the consistency of regular yogurt. This gives the sauce some security against separation.

What do you serve with Chicken Tikka Masala?

Before you start cooking the tikka masala (since it cooks so quickly!), place a pot of rice on the stove. Spoon the tikka masala over a scoop of rice and sprinkle with cilantro!

Do you want something special? Try making Indian style rice or savory coconut rice!

Make-ahead and freeze instructions

Yes! You can prepare the chicken up to 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Dishes like this improve when the flavors are allowed to blend.

Chicken tikka masala freezes for up to two months. Store in large ziplock bags and lay flat in the freezer.

My husband gave this chicken tikka masala recipe his seal of approval. I hope you like it too!

Looking for more Indian recipes?

  • Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu (Indian Spinach and Tofu)
  • Turmeric Cauliflower Curry
  • Indian Butter Chicken
  • Red lentil dal
  • How to make naan

chicken tikka masala

preparation time
15 minutes

cooking time
20 minutes

total time
35 minutes

up to 6 servings

Leftover chicken tikka masala tastes phenomenal the next day because the spices develop more flavor overnight.

If possible, avoid using Greek yogurt in this recipe. If it’s all you can find, buy the highest fat Greek yogurt you can find and mix it with some whole milk to get the consistency of regular yogurt. This gives the sauce some security against separation.


For the chicken:

  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breastThighs or a mix

  • 6 tablespoon normal whole milk yoghurt

  • 1/2 tablespoon grated Ginger

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Salt

For the tikka masala sauce:

  • 2 tablespoon rapeseed oildivided

  • 1 small Onionthinly sliced ​​(about 5 ounces or 1 1/2 cups sliced)

  • 2 teaspoon grated Ginger

  • 4 clove garlicchopped

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

  • 1 (14ounce) can mashed fire roasted tomatoes (normal tomato passata also works)

  • 6 tablespoon normal whole milk yoghurt

  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

  • Cooked riceserve

  • corianderfor garnish


  1. Prepare the chicken:

    Trim excess fat from chicken thighs. Cut into bite-sized pieces about 1/2 to 1 inch wide. Place the chicken thigh pieces in a medium-sized bowl.

    Add yogurt, ginger, garlic, cumin, paprika and salt. Using your hands, combine the chicken with the seasonings until the chicken is evenly coated.

  2. Marinate Chicken:

    Cover the bowl with cling film and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes or overnight. (Marination for 4 to 6 hours is perfect.)

  3. Cook chicken:

    In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thigh pieces and cook until cooked through, about 6 to 7 minutes. Pour onto a plate and set aside.

  4. Roast the spices:

    Wipe down the pan you cooked the chicken in. Heat the remaining canola oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

    Add the grated ginger, minced garlic, cilantro, paprika, garam masala, turmeric, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper. Let the spices cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute.

  5. Make the sauce:

    Put the tomato passata in the pan with the spices and let everything cook for 4 minutes, stirring often. Add the yogurt and stir to combine.

  6. Boil sauce:

    Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the sauce simmer for another 4 minutes. Place the chicken pieces in the pan and brush with sauce.

  7. Surcharge:

    Serve with cooked basmati rice and garnish with coriander.

nutritional information (per serving)
324 calories
10g Fat
25g carbohydrates
34g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!