Chicken Tikka Masala

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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

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! 
4.74 from 41 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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  1. 5 stars
    I love easy dinner recipes, especially when they turn out to be something my whole family loves!. This one also looks tasty. That looks delicious! Comfort food recipes will always find a way to me eventually, I love trying new things. This is literally one of the most delicious things I have made! thank you for the sharing a great recipe!!

    1. I can’t wait to make this! Looks amazing! While typical tikka masala is made with canned diced tomatoes, as yours is, do you suppose I could leave it out? I don’t like tomatoes, but I’m wondering if it’s needed to provide liquid to the recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Chicken Tikka Masala is one of my favorite chicken recipe. Your dishes looks delicious. Thanks for sharing the awesome recipe.

  3. Hi Maria!  This sauce looks so good and I love Indian!  Would it be good w vegetables instead do you think?  It’s the first Indian I’ve seen that doesn’t look intimidating but I want to make it vegetarian.  Better to sub cauliflower or a meat substitute which I can still marinate?  Thanks for any suggestion!  Love your recipes! 

  4. 5 stars
    I made this for my Valentines tonight and they all LOVED it!!! Thank you so much for this delicious recipe. I will be making this often! YUM!!!

  5. Looks amazing but need dairy free option please. While I can find coconut or almond milk yogurt, not sure what I could substitute for heavy cream?

  6. 3 stars
    Easy to make, despite all of the ingredients. But thought it was just okay- it seemed like it was lacking some flavour.  I checked and re-checked the recipe to make sure I didn’t miss anything.  Looked great when it was done, just wish it packed more flavour! Recipe was well written, super easy to follow! 

  7. I have made this in the past with a different recipe but this looks so much better.  Do you think I could put the marinated chicken in the crock pot with the sauce and let it cook all day?  

  8. 5 stars
    I loved this!  My chicken made so much juice it took much longer to sauté and I had to drain some. But- got a “this is excellent” from the hubs and I agree, it was so good!  A good timesaver,since so many spices are  in both the marinade and sauce, measure the dry spices for each at the same time and set the sauce ones aside for when you need them.  Two thumbs up!

  9. 5 stars
    Made this the other night exactly as written and it was incredible. So full of flavor and perfectly spiced. I will be sure to get Petite diced tomatoes next time but this is our new favorite dish at our house!! Also made your chocolate chip cookie bars that were a fantastic end to the meal.  Thank you!

    1. I can’t wait to make this! Looks amazing! While typical tikka masala is made with canned diced tomatoes, as yours is, do you suppose I could leave it out? I don’t like tomatoes, but I’m wondering if it’s needed to provide liquid to the recipe.

  10. 5 stars
    At my place the chicken tikka masala is quite normal but the recipe you shared is completely bang on.

  11. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe but I did make a few changes. As I had no chicken available I used Pork Loin Steaks and they were fantastic. I traded out the cream for coconut milk and it enhanced the flavor even more. This recipe is a keeper! Thank you.

  12. I made this the other night and everyone loved it, including my dad who’s not a big fan of Indian food. Not too spicy for the kids, but full of flavor. Although the recipe looks intimidating, with the long list of ingredients, it was easy to make.

  13. I’m not very familiar with traditional Chicken Tikka Masala but I was interested in trying out a homemade recipe after tasting a yummy free sample. This recipe was pretty good. I cut the cayenne to less than half of what the recipe called for because of my toddlers and felt like the spice level was just right. Everyone in my family ate this, and enjoyed it but I wasn’t wowed by it. I might find another recipe if I attempt to make this dish again. My favorite part was using the Naan to soak up all the leftover sauce at the end!

  14. 5 stars
    This was the best chicken Tikka masala recipe I’ve made so far! The only change I’d make is to add the cream before reducing the sauce. Thanks!

  15. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was amazing! Thanks for another great recipe!!! The seasonings were on point and it had the right amount of tomato flavor.

  16. 5 stars
    Phenomenal. I used coconut milk instead of cream and added 1/2 t of cinnamon. I wanted to bathe in the sauce. I’m already thinking about leftovers for tomorrow!

    P.S. I just found your site because of this recipe on pinterest… you’re definitely a soul sister to me!

  17. 5 stars
    My husband loved this. I did have concerns about the tomatoes. I used diced and they seemed to over power the dish. Anyone use petite diced? Also curious what veggies to add for a side…any thoughts?
    Great recipe, easy to follow, turned out delicious!

  18. 5 stars
    My husbands favorite. I have a dairy free friend joining us for dinner. Would the coconut milk swap for yogurt and heavy cream be a 1:1 swap?
    Thanks !!

  19. Love the recipe. One thing I’m not sure about. When you cook the chicken after it’s been in the yogurt mixture, do you scoop out just the chicken, or cook it with the marinade? I have poured it all in and there is a lot of liquid after the chicken cooks. I hope that question makes sense.

  20. 5 stars
    I’ve never cooked nor eaten Indian food and decided to step out of my box. This is incredibly delicious!!! Followed the recipe perfectly and it came out great. My husband absolutely loved it! Thanks so much

  21. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! It was a huge hit by my whole family. I was so surprised when my children actually asked for seconds, and said that I should make this more often. Delicious!

  22. 5 stars
    This is an easy masala since it doesn’t require toasting and grinding all the spices individually. It’s on the stove right now, the house smells amazing! Hint I learned from an Indian cookbook on how to make a lower carb basmatti rice: boil pot of water (say 8 cups water to 1 cup rice), pour in rice, and boil 9-10 minutes, then drain in a strainer. Perfect every time.

  23. 5 stars
    i made this thrice already,, we love it so much! thank you for thinking this up and sharing it with us,,

  24. 5 stars
    I made this last night and it was very good! I had to make a couple subs with what I had on hand (ghee instead of butter), half and half (instead of cream), and added golden raisins and green peas for a pop of color. Everyone loved it! Served with brown rice, naan, and marinated cabbage and it was a flavor fest! 🙂 Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!

  25. Does subbing in the coconut milk make the dish taste like coconut? My hubs doesn’t like coconut, but I’m trying to avoid the calories of the cream. Also, is it unsweetened coconut milk? I’m excited to make this – one of our faves – for this weekend.

  26. 4 stars
    The flavor of this was delicious! I don’t recall chicken tikka masala having such large chunks of tomatoes so that seemed a little off to us. I’d want to try maybe crushed tomatoes instead, not sure if anyone has tried that?

  27. This is one of our favorite recipes. I make it often in my meal plan rotation. Thank you for sharing.

    P.S. Have you ever tried to freeze this? Does it freeze well?

  28. 4 stars
    Good recipe that my family enjoyed. A couple of notes though on things I would change about the recipe. Mine looked a whole lot different from the pictures above…..many, many more diced tomatoes in mine and I used the amount designated. The tomatoes overtook this recipe. I would use crushed tomatoes next time. Additionally, like other commenters, I would up the spices to add more flavor, especially the garam and the chili powder. Otherwise, it is very good and was enjoyed by my family of 6.

  29. I want to make this delicious-looking recipe this weekend! The recipe states whole milk yogurt, NOT Greek yogurt. Can I ask why? Greek yogurt is normally what I have on hand. Thanks!

    1. You can use Greek yogurt if that is what you have. It will have a more tangy flavor.

  30. Fantastic! My only tweak for next time will be to omit the lemon juice at the end, add just a hair more cream, and maybe more butter with the onion sauté. It was delicious as is though! So many flavors!

  31. 5 stars
    Such an explosion of flavor! It’s time consuming, so I usually make 2-3 “spice packets” of all the spices and store for quick use! All time favorite in the house!!!

  32. 5 stars
    Oh my! This is a recipe we will keep on repeat! It turned out so well with the perfect amount of spice and flavor. Thank you for sharing!

  33. Hi, when do you suggest putting in the lemon juice and heavy whipping cream? I’m probably overlooking it, I’m pretty bad at reading recipes