Spice Up Your Kitchen with This Delicious Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

Hello there, fellow foodies! Are you on the lookout for a new recipe to spice up your kitchen? Look no further, because this chicken tikka masala recipe is sure to become a new favorite. This classic Indian dish is a popular choice at restaurants but can be easily recreated at home, with a few ingredients and a bit of patience.

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

Chicken tikka masala is a dish that is typically made with boneless chicken marinated in yogurt and a blend of spices, then grilled or baked. The chicken is then simmered in a spicy tomato-based sauce that’s rich in flavor and creamy in texture. The dish is traditionally served with steamed rice or naan bread and garnished with fresh cilantro. It’s a perfect dish to serve at dinner parties or for a cozy night in, as it’s sure to warm you up on a cold night.

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe: A Guide

What is Chicken Tikka Masala?

Chicken Tikka Masala is a popular dish that originated in India. It is a flavorful and aromatic dish that is made with marinated chunks of chicken that are grilled to perfection and then simmered in a creamy, spiced sauce. This delicious dish has become so popular in the western world that it is now considered a national dish of the United Kingdom.

This dish has an interesting history. It is believed that Chicken Tikka Masala was invented in the 1970s by a Bangladeshi chef in the UK who was trying to please a customer who had ordered chicken tikka but complained that it was too dry. The chef then added a tomato and cream-based sauce to the chicken tikka to make it more flavorful and satisfying, and the result was a hit.


To make Chicken Tikka Masala, you will need the following ingredients:

For the Marinade:
– 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
– 3 tbsp plain yogurt
– 1 tbsp lemon juice
– 1 tsp ground cumin
– 1 tsp paprika
– 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
– 1/2 tsp ground coriander
– 1/2 tsp garam masala
– 1/2 tsp salt

For the Sauce:
– 4 tbsp unsalted butter
– 1 large onion, finely chopped
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
– 1 tsp ground cumin
– 1 tsp paprika
– 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
– 1/2 tsp ground coriander
– 1/2 tsp garam masala
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes
– 1 cup heavy cream
– Chopped cilantro for garnish

If you are unable to find some of the ingredients for the marinade and sauce, here are some substitutions:
– Greek yogurt instead of plain yogurt
– Lime juice instead of lemon juice
– Chili powder instead of paprika
– Curry powder instead of garam masala

Preparation and Cooking

1. Marinating the Chicken
– In a large bowl, mix together the plain yogurt, lemon juice, ground cumin, paprika, ground turmeric, ground coriander, garam masala, and salt.
– Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and toss to coat.
– Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours).

2. Cooking the Chicken
– Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
– Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and grill for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through and slightly charred.

3. Making the Sauce
– In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the unsalted butter.
– Add the chopped onion and cook until softened (about 5-7 minutes).
– Add the minced garlic and grated ginger and cook for another minute.
– Add the ground cumin, paprika, ground turmeric, ground coriander, garam masala, and salt, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes.
– Pour in the crushed tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
– Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the heavy cream. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Combining Chicken and Sauce
– Add the cooked chicken pieces to the sauce and stir to coat.
– Simmer for another 5-10 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through and the sauce has thickened slightly.

5. Serving
– Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with steamed basmati rice or bread, such as naan.

Enjoy your flavorful and aromatic Chicken Tikka Masala that you made right in the comfort of your own kitchen. It might be an intimidating recipe at first but with the correct ingredients, steps followed properly and experimentation with different spice combinations, it will become easier to master.

Tips for Perfect Chicken Tikka Masala

Marinating Chicken

Marinating the chicken is a crucial step in making chicken tikka masala, and it determines the final taste and texture of the dish. Ideally, allow the chicken to marinate overnight, but if you’re short on time, marinate the chicken for at least 2-3 hours.

To marinate the chicken, you will need a mixture of yogurt, spices, and lemon juice. The yogurt tenderizes the chicken, while lemon juice helps to add a tangy flavor to it. You can use any spice blend that you prefer, but the most common ones include cumin, coriander, paprika, and garam masala.

Make sure that you thoroughly coat the chicken with the marinade and store it in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to grill or bake the chicken, remove it from the marinade and discard any excess marinade.

Sauce Consistency

The consistency of the sauce is another crucial aspect of chicken tikka masala. The sauce should be creamy, thick, and perfectly balanced in terms of spices and flavors. If you want a thicker sauce, you can add more cream or yogurt. Conversely, if you prefer a thinner sauce, add water or chicken stock.

You can also adjust the taste of the sauce according to your preferences. For instance, if you want a slightly sweet taste, you can add a tablespoon of honey or brown sugar. On the other hand, if you prefer a more tangy flavor, you can add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Serving Suggestions

The best way to serve chicken tikka masala is with rice or naan bread. The rice should be fluffy and light, and the naan should be soft and chewy. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try making your naan at home.

You can also serve chicken tikka masala with a side of vegetables, such as roasted cauliflower, sautéed spinach, or grilled eggplant. These dishes complement the flavor of the chicken and add a healthy dose of nutrients to the meal.

When it comes to garnish, you can choose to add some cilantro or coriander on top of the dish. Some people like it, while others do not. It’s purely optional, and you can skip it if you don’t like it.

In conclusion, chicken tikka masala is a delicious and simple dish that can be made at home. By following these tips, you can make sure that the dish turns out perfectly. Make sure to marinate the chicken well, adjust the sauce consistency to your liking, and serve it with rice or naan bread for a wholesome meal.

Variations of Chicken Tikka Masala

Vegan or Vegetarian Versions

If you are following a vegan or vegetarian diet, you can still enjoy the delicious flavors of Chicken Tikka Masala by making a few substitutions. Instead of using chicken, you can use firm tofu or chickpeas as a protein source. Marinate the tofu or chickpeas in the same spices as the chicken, and bake or grill until they are tender and slightly charred.

For the sauce, instead of using cream or yogurt, you can use coconut milk or cashew cream. Simply blend the cashews with water until it forms a creamy consistency, and use that instead of the dairy products. This will also enhance the nutty flavor of the dish.

Another option is to use vegan yogurt made from plant-based milk and add a squeeze of lemon juice to give it the tangy flavor of traditional yogurt.

Instant Pot Method

If you’re short on time or just want to simplify the cooking process, you can use an Instant Pot or pressure cooker to make your Chicken Tikka Masala.

Start by marinating your chicken with the spices and yogurt for at least an hour, or overnight in the refrigerator. Then, add the marinated chicken to the Instant Pot along with diced onions, tomato puree, and the rest of the spices. Pop on the lid, set the timer for 10 minutes, and let it cook.

Once it’s done cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then release the remaining pressure manually. Open the lid and stir in the cream or coconut milk to finish the dish.

Regional Variations

Chicken Tikka Masala is a favorite dish across India, but there are several regional variations in the preparation. Where you’ll find differences in the spices, cooking techniques, and even the method in which the dish is served.

For example, in the northern parts of India, the dish is served with a thick tomato-based sauce, while in the southern regions it is served with a thinner, coconut-based gravy. In the Hyderabad region, the spice mix includes tamarind and curry leaves, which add a sour and tangy flavor to the dish.

Incorporating regional variations into your cooking can add a new dimension to your Chicken Tikka Masala. It’s worth experimenting with different spice blends and cooking techniques to find the perfect balance of flavors for your taste.

Whether you’re a vegan or vegetarian, short on time, or looking to add regional flavors to your Chicken Tikka Masala, there are plenty of variations to suit your preferences. Get creative and experiment with different ingredients and cooking methods to create your take on this classic dish.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Overcooking the Chicken

One of the most common mistakes made when cooking chicken tikka masala is overcooking the chicken. Overcooked chicken can result in a dry and rubbery texture, which can ruin your dish. To avoid overcooking your chicken, it is important to know when it is done cooking. A simple way to check this is by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F (74°C) when fully cooked. If you do not have a meat thermometer, you can check the chicken by cutting into the thickest part of the meat. The juices should run clear, and the meat should no longer be pink.

Another way to prevent overcooking your chicken is to cook it on low heat. This will allow the chicken to cook through evenly without getting too dry. It is also important to not overcrowd the pan, as this can lead to uneven cooking and overcooking.

Not Using Enough Spices

Chicken tikka masala is a flavorful dish that is made with a blend of spices. Not using enough spices can result in a bland and unappetizing dish. To achieve the right balance of spices, it is important to use the correct measurements and add them at the right time. Start by measuring out your spices and add them to a bowl. Mix them together well to ensure that they are evenly distributed.

When adding the spices to the chicken, make sure to coat the meat well. It is important to note that the longer you marinate your chicken, the more flavorful it will be. If you are unsure about the amount of spices to use, start with a smaller amount and add more as needed.

Not Marinating the Chicken Long Enough

Marinating the chicken is an important step in making chicken tikka masala. It allows the chicken to absorb the flavors of the spices, making it more flavorful and tender. It is important to marinate your chicken for at least 30 minutes, but ideally, you should marinate it for a few hours or overnight.

When marinating the chicken, make sure to cover it completely with the marinade. This will ensure that the chicken absorbs as much flavor as possible. It is also important to keep the chicken refrigerated while it is marinating to prevent the growth of bacteria.

In conclusion, by avoiding these common mistakes, you will be able to make a delicious and flavorful chicken tikka masala. Remember to check the internal temperature of your chicken, use the correct measurements of spices, and marinate your chicken for at least 30 minutes for the best results.

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

Chicken Tikka Masala is a popular dish that comes from the Indian subcontinent. It is a delicious and flavourful dish that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. The dish is made by marinating chicken pieces in a mixture of spices and yogurt, and then grilling or baking them until they are tender and juicy. The chicken is then added to a rich and creamy tomato-based sauce, which is flavoured with a blend of Indian spices. This article will provide a step-by-step guide to making Chicken Tikka Masala at home, and will also explain why you should give this recipe a try.


In order to make Chicken Tikka Masala, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish

It may seem like a long list of ingredients, but they are all readily available in most grocery stores.


Begin by marinating the chicken. In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Season with salt to taste. Add the chicken pieces and mix well to make sure they are evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Next, preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the marinated chicken pieces on the lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and slightly charred.

While the chicken is baking, prepare the sauce. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the chopped onions and sauté until they are soft and lightly golden. Add the ground cumin, coriander, and garam masala, and stir for 1-2 minutes until the spices are fragrant.

Add the tomato puree to the saucepan and stir well. Simmer for 10 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and stir well. Simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Season with salt to taste.

Once the chicken is cooked, add it to the saucepan with the sauce. Stir well and let it simmer for another 5 minutes so that the chicken absorbs some of the sauce’s flavour. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Why You Should Try This Recipe

There are many reasons why you should try this Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. Firstly, it is a healthy and nutritious meal that is high in protein. Chicken is a great source of protein, and the marinade and sauce contain a variety of healthy spices that provide numerous health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and aiding digestion.

Secondly, making this recipe at home is a great way to control the ingredients and avoid the preservatives and additives commonly found in pre-made sauces and spice blends.

Finally, Chicken Tikka Masala is a great way to introduce new flavours and cuisines to your family and friends. It is incredibly delicious and flavourful, and always impresses guests with its unique spices and bold flavours.

Final Thoughts

To vary this recipe, you can substitute chicken with other types of meat, such as lamb, beef, or shrimp. You can also adjust the amount of spice according to your preferences, and add additional vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, or peas to the sauce.

When serving, Chicken Tikka Masala goes well with basmati rice or naan bread, and can also be paired with a refreshing side salad or cucumber raita.

In conclusion, making Chicken Tikka Masala at home is a great way to enjoy a healthy and flavourful Indian-inspired dish that is easy to make and always impresses family and friends. We hope you give this recipe a try!

Happy Cooking & Bon Appétit!

Congratulations, you have just learned how to cook an amazing chicken tikka masala recipe! We hope you enjoy making and devouring this delicious dish as much as we do. Remember, cooking is not just about following recipes, but about experimenting and enjoying the process. Don’t be afraid to add your own twist to this recipe, spice it up even more or make it milder depending on your taste.

Thank you for reading and spending time with us. We hope you join us again soon for more amazing recipes and cooking tips. From our kitchen to yours, happy cooking, and bon appétit!


1. Can I substitute chicken with another protein?

Yes, you can substitute chicken with tofu, paneer, or any other protein of your choice.

2. Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes, you can marinate the chicken a day before and refrigerate until ready to cook.

3. How spicy is this recipe?

It’s mildly spicy, but you can adjust the heat by adding more or less chili powder.

4. Can I freeze the leftovers?

Yes, you can freeze the leftovers in an airtight container for up to three months.

5. Can I use a grill instead of an oven?

Yes, you can grill the chicken on an outdoor or indoor grill. Just make sure to brush it with oil before placing on the grill.

6. What can I serve with this dish?

You can serve it with steamed rice or naan bread, and a side salad or vegetable.

7. Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, it’s gluten-free as long as you use gluten-free ingredients.

8. Can I use canned tomatoes instead of fresh?

Yes, you can use canned tomatoes, but we recommend using fresh for the best flavor.

9. How long does it take to cook the chicken?

It takes around 20-25 minutes to cook the chicken in the oven.

10. Can I use Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt?

Yes, you can use Greek yogurt, but it may make the marinade thicker, so adjust the consistency accordingly.