Spice Up Your Weeknight: The Ultimate Tikka Masala Recipe

Welcome to another edition of our weeknight recipe series! Today, we’re serving up a dish that’s sure to spice up your dinner routine – the ultimate Tikka Masala recipe. This beloved Indian dish is a crowd-pleaser for both meat lovers and vegetarians alike, and it’s easier to make than you think!

Tikka Masala Recipe

Tikka Masala is a classic Indian dish that originated in the 20th century. It’s a creamy tomato-based sauce loaded with aromatic spices such as cumin, coriander, garam masala and turmeric. Traditionally, chicken is marinated in yogurt and spices, then grilled and simmered in the sauce, but there are plenty of vegetarian and even vegan versions out there too. This recipe uses chicken thigh as the protein, but it can easily be swapped out for paneer, tofu or your favorite veggies. So, let’s get started!

Tikka Masala Recipe

What is Tikka Masala?

Tikka Masala is a famous Indian dish that has become popular in many parts of the world. This dish is made with marinated chicken that is grilled or baked, then simmered in a spiced tomato-based curry sauce. The origin of this dish is somewhat disputed, with some claiming it originated in India, while others believe it was invented in Scotland. Regardless of its true origin, it has become a beloved dish worldwide.

Ingredients for Tikka Masala

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

  • 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Preparing Tikka Masala

Here’s how you can prepare Tikka Masala:

  1. Begin by marinating the chicken. In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, paprika, coriander, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and salt. Add the chicken and mix well to coat. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or overnight for best results.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Arrange the chicken on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through. Alternatively, you can grill the chicken on skewers until cooked through.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the curry sauce. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute.
  4. Add the cumin, paprika, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper to the pan and stir well to combine. Cook for another minute or so, stirring constantly.
  5. Stir in the tomato sauce and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Puree the sauce in a blender, or use an immersion blender to blend it right in the pot, until smooth. Return the sauce to the pot if necessary.
  7. Stir in the heavy cream and cook for another 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Season with salt to taste.
  8. Add the cooked chicken to the sauce and stir to coat. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes to let the flavors meld together.
  9. Serve over rice or with naan bread, and garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

Tikka Masala is a delicious, flavorful dish that is perfect for any occasion. Follow this recipe and impress your friends and family with your culinary skills!

Creating Variations of Tikka Masala

Vegetarian Tikka Masala

For those who prefer to eat vegetarian, Tikka Masala can still be a delicious option. One way to make a vegetarian Tikka Masala is to replace the chicken with Paneer. Paneer is a type of cheese that is commonly used in Indian cuisine, and it has a similar texture as chicken. To make the vegetarian Tikka Masala recipe, start by cutting up the Paneer into small cubes. You can also add other vegetables such as peppers, and cauliflower.

To make the marinade, mix yogurt, lemon juice, and spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala. Marinade the Paneer and vegetables for at least 30 minutes, then grill them until they are slightly charred. In a separate pot, sauté onions, garlic, and ginger until they become translucent. Add the tomato sauce and cook for a few minutes. Then add the grilled Paneer and vegetables to the pot, stir well, and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Serve hot with rice or naan bread.

Seafood Tikka Masala

Seafood lovers can also enjoy Tikka Masala by using shrimp, scallops, and fish. Follow the same marinade recipe as the regular Tikka Masala, but use seafood instead of chicken. Once again, make sure to grill the seafood until it is cooked and slightly charred.

In a separate pot, sauté onions, garlic, and ginger until they become translucent. Add the tomato sauce and cook for a few minutes. Then add the grilled seafood to the pot, stir well, and let it simmer for 10 minutes. You can adjust the spiciness of the dish by adding more or less chili powder or cayenne pepper. Serve hot with rice or naan bread.

Tikka Masala Gravy

Tikka Masala Gravy is a versatile sauce that can be used as a dip or topping for other dishes. It is usually thick and creamy, with a rich tomato flavor. To make the sauce, start by sautéing onions, garlic, and ginger in a pan until they become translucent.

Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala. Let the sauce simmer for at least 10 minutes until it thickens. Add cream or coconut milk to the sauce to make it rich and creamy. Stir well and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to your taste and serve it hot as a dip for samosas, or as a topping for grilled vegetables or meats.

In conclusion, Tikka Masala can be made in many variations to suit different preferences. Whether you are a vegetarian, seafood lover, or just want a creamy dip, Tikka Masala Recipe has got you covered. Try these recipes at home and savor the rich flavors of this delicious Indian dish.

A Delicious End to Your Day

We hope you enjoyed reading our ultimate Tikka Masala recipe! It’s a great way to add some spice to your weeknight routine and impress your family and friends. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe is easy to follow and sure to impress.

Don’t forget to save this recipe for your next dinner party or family gathering. Share it with your loved ones and get ready to receive compliments. Thank you for choosing us as your cooking guide. We hope to see you again soon on our website for more delicious recipes and cooking tips. Until then, happy cooking!


1. What is Tikka Masala?

Tikka Masala is a creamy and spicy curry dish that originated in India. It’s made with marinated chicken, tomato-based sauce, and a blend of aromatic spices.

2. Can I use other meats besides chicken?

Yes! You can use beef, lamb, or even tofu as a vegetarian option. Adjust the cooking time accordingly depending on the type of meat you choose.

3. How spicy is the dish?

The spiciness level can be adjusted according to personal preference. If you’re sensitive to heat, you can reduce the amount of chili powder or omit it altogether.

4. How long does it take to prepare?

The prep time takes about 20 minutes, and cooking time takes about 30 minutes.

5. Can I make it ahead of time?

Yes, it can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat the leftovers on the stove or in the microwave with a splash of water.

6. Can I freeze Tikka Masala?

Yes, it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Allow it to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container or freezer bags.

7. What side dishes go with Tikka Masala?

Some popular side dishes include naan bread, basmati rice, and cucumber raita.

8. What type of yogurt should I use for the marinade?

Use plain Greek yogurt or regular plain yogurt. Avoid flavored or sweetened yogurt.

9. Can I use store-bought Tikka Masala paste?

Yes, you can use pre-made paste from the store. Adjust the amount according to the instructions on the package.

10. What if I don’t have all the spices in the recipe?

You can substitute some of the spices or omit them if you don’t have them. However, it may alter the flavor and authenticity of the dish.