Chicken Tikka Masala

By Maria Lichty

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Chicken Tikka Masala-Chicken in a Creamy Tomato Curry Sauce is the Perfect meal for any night! make your favorite Indian dish at home, it is easy and SO good!

Chicken Tikka Masala

Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala is Josh’s favorite Indian dish, he orders it every time we go out for Indian food. Going out for dinner is harder with two little kids, date nights just don’t happen as often as we would like. So we decided it was time to learn how to make Chicken Tikka Masala at home and guess what? It is SO easy to make at home, like SO easy.

We should have been making Chicken Tikka Masala at home from the get go. It is just as good as going to any Indian restaurant or getting Indian takeout. Josh loves this recipe so much he will even eat the leftovers for breakfast.

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

Chicken Tikka Masala Ingredients

Chicken Tikka Masala is an Indian chicken dish that has a creamy tomato curry sauce. It is similar to butter chicken, but has a more complex flavor because all of the spices. It has a more intense flavor, thanks to the following ingredients:

  • onion
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • garam marsala
  • chili powder
  • turmeric
  • cumin
  • paprika
  • cayenne pepper

What is garam marsala? Garam marsala is a blend of ground spices used in Indian cooking and it means warm spice. The spice mixture usually includes includes coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You can find garam marsala in the spice aisle at almost every grocery store. It is a MUST for chicken tikka masala, it gives the dish so much flavor.

How to Make Chicken Tikka Masala

There is no need to be intimidated by this chicken tikka masala recipe, you only need ONE pan to make it! It really is SO easy!

  • Use boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe, they will be more juicy than boneless skinless chicken breasts. You can use chicken breasts if you really want to, but we recommend chicken thighs.
  • Marinate the chicken in plain whole milk yogurt (not Greek yogurt) and spices for at least 30 minutes before cooking the chicken. It will make the chicken super tender and juicy. You can marinate the chicken overnight in the fridge. Store in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or in a Ziploc plastic bag.
  • When the chicken is done marinating, cook the chicken in a large skillet or pot over high heat. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  • In the same skillet you cooked the chicken, melt the butter and cook the onion. Stir in the tomato paste, ginger, garlic, garam masala, chili powder, turmeric, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Cook until the tomato paste and spices are well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices and chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
  • Pour in the heavy cream and lemon juice and stir. Return the chicken to the pan and cook until heated through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro.

What to Serve with Chicken Tikka Masala

Serve the rich, flavorful chicken and sauce over fragrant basmati rice. Cook the rice while you are making the chicken and sauce. You can use an Instant Pot, rice cooker, or cook the rice on the stove.

We also like to heat up naan bread to serve along with the sauce. It is the perfect bread for dipping into the creamy sauce. You can buy naan at most grocery stores. Heat it up in the oven, according to package instructions.

The next time you are craving Indian food, make easy Chicken Tikka Masala at home! It is so easy and so delicious! And make sure you try our Vegetarian Tikka Masala too! It’s SO good!

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

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Chicken Tikka Masala

Forget Indian takeout or going out to eat, homemade Chicken Tikka Masala is easy to make! Serve with basmati rice and naan for a delicious Indian meal at home! 
4.77 from 51 votes


For the chicken:

  • 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam marsala
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or grapeseed oil

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves optional
  • Basmati rice and naan bread for serving, optional


  • In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, garam marsala, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken pieces and stir until the chicken is well coated. Let the chicken marinate in the yogurt sauce for at least 30 minutes. You can refrigerate the chicken overnight. 
  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken to the hot skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. 
  • In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, ginger, garlic, garam masala, turmeric, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper and cook until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the diced tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes
  • Stir in the cream and lemon juice. Add the cooked chicken back into the pan and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. 
  • Serve warm with rice and naan, if desired.


Garam masala is an Indian spice and can be found in the spice aisle at most grocery stores. Will keep covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. 


Serving: 6g, Calories: 308kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 138mg, Sodium: 798mg, Potassium: 597mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 910IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 80mg, Iron: 2.5mg
Keywords chicken tikka masala

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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4.77 from 51 votes (25 ratings without comment)

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  1. What kind of Chile powder do you use – regular Chile or Kashmir? And do you wipe off chicken before adding to skillet or drain off marinade and discard? Thank you.

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