Chicken Tikka Masala

My Indian tastebuds were tingling for some home cooking, so while rummaging through my cupboards I came across a packet of Chicken Tikka Masala my mom bought me when she last visited and then I was craving it.  It’s Indian comfort food at it’s best.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Indian cuisine, Chicken Tikka masala is chunks of spicy marinated chicken pieces grilled and simmered in a creamy tomato sauce. It’s a staple on any Indian restaurant menu and is hugely popular in the U.K. In fact, it’s even been dubbed as Britain’s National dish. It’s boldly flavored  and rich, which makes it perfect with plain long grained rice or Indian flat bread called Naan (recipe coming up next).  While it feels complicated dish because of the use of a number of spices, it’s relatively simple, really! Apart from 1/2 a teaspoon of garam masala, which is a blend of roasted whole spices like, cumin, cloves, peppercorns, star anise, corriander seeds, nut meg and mace (available at any Indian store), I stuck to using ingredients easily available here in the U.S. So you guys should really give it a try.

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

For the marinade-
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 Cup of Plain yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp fresh grated garlic
1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper (or Kashmiri Chili powder)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt

For the sauce-
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 (8oz) can of tomato sauce.
1/3 cup of heavy cream
1 tsp sugar
A handful of chopped fresh cilantro

– In a mixing bowl, add all the marinade ingredients- Yogurt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin, black pepper and salt and stir well.
– Then add the chicken pieces and mix well so that all the pieces are well coated with the marinade and let it sit for a couple hours (or overnight).
– After the chicken has marinated pre-heat the oven to 400F then spread the pieces out one at a time on a well greased baking sheet. Pop them in the oven for 15-20 mins then switch the oven to broiler and let the chicken brown or even develop a few burned spots for another 5-6 minutes.
– While the chicken is cooking, you can prepare the sauce. Start by melting 2 tbsp of butter in a skillet/ deep fry pan.
– Add to it the minced garlic and finely chopped jalapeno pepper (add only 1/2 for a less spicy sauce).
– Then add the spices- cayenne pepper, garam masala and cumin powder. Stir and fry the spices for a few seconds. Then pour in a small can of tomato sauce.
– Season with salt and let it bubble for a few minutes.
– Then turn the heat to low and pour in 1/3 of a cup of heavy cream.
– Add a tablesppon of sugar for sweetness, stir well, cover and let the sauce simmer for 5-10 minutes.
– Your chicken should be done by now. Simply add the chicken to the sauce with a handful of roughly chopped cilantro and mix well.
– Garnish with some more fresh cilantro and serve hot with Indian flat bread (naan) or plain long grain rice.


  1. Blair says

    What kind of yogurt would you suggest using? Greek plain, regular plain? There’s so many types of yogurt, I’m afraid of getting the wrong one.

  2. says

    I am a huge fan of Indian food, and I think this was a delicious version of Chicken Tikka Masala, I have made this recipe a few times and it jsut keeps getting better.

  3. Steve says

    Going to try this when I get home, but Chicken Tikka Masala is not actually an Indian dish; it’s an Indian-inspired British dish that originated when a diner at a restaurant in Glasgow asked for some sauce for his Chicken Tikka (a dry dish). This is what the chef came up with, and is the reason why there’s no standard recipe (or even colour) for the dish.

  4. Kate says

    I made this recipe on Sunday, I’m not one for very spicy dishes and most of the chicken tikki masala I’ve had have not been this spicy. I will definitely try this again, the meat was very tender and flavorful, but I’ll be using much less cayenne pepper!

    • Noreen says

      I guess I’ve only had Chicken Tikka Masala in India…and we’re big fans of spicy hot foods.Like you said a lot less Cayenne and maybe skip the jalapeno and the dish would be much milder on the palette. =)

  5. Loretta says

    Haven’t tried it as yet. But have gone thru it n can tell it will me delicious. Will try it this week.

    All I can say you are not only a darned gd cook but also very thorough in yr recipes. Take care and love to both of you.

    A .Loretta

  6. Bethany says

    I made this once for my Indian boyfriend and his roommate, and since then I’ve lost count of how many times I had to make it again! It’s seriously one of the most delicious recipes in my arsenal, and surprisingly non-time consuming :D Thanks so much!

  7. Shirley says

    this is, by far, the tastiest Indian dish I have ever made… and better than most tikka masalas I have had in restaurants! Thank you!

  8. says

    Hi Noreen,

    We made this tonight and are eating it now. :) It just occurred to me that I only used 1 tsp of sugar, because that’s what was listed in the ingredient list, but your directions actually say to add 1 “tablespoon” of sugar. Just FYI in case you wanted to fix it.

    It is delicious.



  9. Maritza says

    Hi, I swapped the sugar for raw honey, it came out very good. I realized with my oven it needed to cook more like 11 minutes, then broil for 2. The jalepeno, it ended up really, really hot, too hot and we eat very hot foods all the time, so I’d recommend the 1/2 or omitting it since cayenne is used throughout. Thanks.

  10. pam says

    Found this recipe thanks to pinterest and tried it tonight. Holy Crow this stuff ROCKS! I cut down significantly on the cay pepper in the marinade. The only thing i will do different next time is double the sauce. Delicious.

  11. Efrah says

    Wow, I just finished making this and my mouth is on fire and I love it. This was so easy to make and tasted out of this world!!! Thank u for the recipe and I felt that it was super flavorful. Yummmmmy

  12. Lauren says

    We just made this for dinner and it is AMAZING! My fiancée’ smother is Indian and he grew up with lots of homemade curry… So he’s always skeptical when it comes to a recipe other than his mammas lol. But I found this months ago and we decided to try it tonight… He pretty much kicked the sauce pan clean lol! We added a ton of chili powder along with the jalapeño cause we LOVE spicy! It was so good- thank you for sharing!

  13. Oana says

    Could you please tell me if it’s possible to cook the leftover marinade and have it as a sauce over rice or with naans? I don’t know exactly how to cook it, but i read something like boiling it for at least 3 minutes. Thanks!

  14. Christina Giovenco says

    I know this blog post is a little old, But I made this last night and it was by far one of the best, easiest Tikkas I’ve made! It served 3 perfectly. I added bassmati rice as a side to pad it out a little bit. The spice level was just right. I also made a Raita because it is my favorite sauce for curries!
    Thank you!

  15. Dawn says

    This is a really exceptional recipe. I have been working on finding a chicken tikka masala recipe that was something like the Bombay grill restaurant version, and I have tried *many* over the last year. I learned a lot from all those tries but this one comes the closest for me by far. Much appreciated. I wish I had found this first!

    I reduced the cayenne pepper and added some Greek yogurt and apple sauce to the sauce as well as a tsp of brown sugar, ground cardamom, ground coriander seed and a tsp of vinegar. We have a little sweetness addiction going. Can’t beat sweet hot and tangy. I put the whole thing in the crock pot at the end for a few hours with about half a cup of water and a tsp chicken bullion to get my chicken a little more tender and it was just awesome. This recipe was a the perfect base for the changes I had found I liked from all the other versions I had tried. There’s no substitute for your marinade and broil steps and pan cooking the sauce first.

    I’d found recipes recommending skewer and grill the chicken which I might have gotten desperate enough to do eventually but your method tastes great and develops great texture and is so much easier for me. Thank you for sharing!

  16. kathy walthall says

    made this tonight……way too spicy. I love spicy food but this was over the top. I will make it again with way less cayenne pepper.


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