This Chicken Tikka Masala recipe is easy to make at home and tastes as flavorful and delicious as your favorite Indian restaurant. The creamy tomato sauce is full of earthy spices and juicy marinated chicken and tastes great served over basmati rice with a side of Naan bread.
Best Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe
Next time a craving for Indian food hits, try making this Chicken Tikka Masala recipe at home instead of heading out to dinner. Popular throughout India and Great Britain, this distinctive dish is surprisingly quick and easy to make. And at home, it's easy to adjust the level of spiciness to however you like.
I usually serve Chicken Tikka with fresh cilantro over basmati rice and a side of Naan bread. If you aren’t lucky enough to live near an Indian grocery store, you can find packaged Naan in the bread aisle at most grocery stores.
Chicken Tikka Recipe Ingredients
- Chicken Breast - you’ll need to cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into 1” pieces. Chicken thighs would work as well.
- Yogurt - make sure to use plain Greek yogurt. If you try to use regular plain yogurt, the marinade will be much too thin.
- Olive Oil - you’ll need about 2 tablespoons of olive oil for the marinade and another ½ tablespoon or so to cook the chicken. Avocado oil would work, too.
- Lime Juice - fresh lime juice has the best flavor. Lemon juice would also work.
- Garlic - you can use freshly minced garlic, or the jarred minced garlic.
For the Tikka Masala Sauce
- Spices: this recipe uses a combination of coriander, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne, and ground ginger. Garam masala would be another great spice to add, and you can adjust the level of spiciness by using more or less cayenne. If you like spicy, a touch of red chili powder tastes great, too.
- Butter - you’ll need this to cook the onions. It also adds creaminess and flavor to the sauce.
- Onion - for this recipe you’ll need about ½ of a yellow or white onion diced.
- Tomato Puree - you will need a 10.75 oz can of tomato puree, or crushed tomatoes.
- Water - this is to thin down the sauce a bit. You may need to add a touch more if it becomes too thick.
- Half and Half - if you don’t have half and half you can use ¼ cup milk and ¼ cup heavy cream.
- Salt - sea salt works great. Add about ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste.
How to Make Chicken Tikka Masala
- Marinate the chicken. In a large mixing bowl, add the 1" piece of chicken, Greek yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, and minced garlic. Use tongs to mix the ingredients and cover the chicken in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge to marinate for about 4 hours.
- Cook the chicken. After the chicken has marinated, add a little olive oil to a saute pan and heat over medium high heat. Remove the marinated chicken from the chicken marinade and allow it to drain. Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until golden brown on all sides and cooked through. Set aside.
- Cook the onions. To make the tikka masala sauce, add the butter to a large saute pan or Dutch oven and heat over medium. Once melted, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and golden (about 5-7 minutes).
- Make the tikka masala sauce. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the coriander, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne, and ginger. Mix, then add the spice mixture to the cooked onions along with the tomato puree, water, half and half, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring.
- Finish cooking. Reduce to a simmer, then add the cooked chicken and allow to simmer in the pot over medium for about 5 minutes.
- Serve. Top with fresh cilantro and serve warm over cooked basmati rice or with Naan bread. Enjoy!
I am part of a blog swap with some other great bloggers. My friend Michaela from An Affair from the Heart is so kind to orchestrate it all. We do a virtual blog swap and make each other's recipes and post them. This go round, I made this incredible dish by my friend, Sam, from The Culinary Compass. She is both brilliant and so talented with her website and recipe creation. Her inspiration comes from both other cultures and food science together. You've got to check out her recipes, everything from her Old Bay Shrimp, Sausage Dip, and these fantastic Red Velvet Cookies.
See all of our 2023 Freaky Friday Winter Recipes
Hosted by - An Affair from the Heart
- An Affair from the Heart - Bailey's Chocolate Chip Cookies
- The Carefree Kitchen - Chicken Tikka Masala
- The Culinary Compass - Scotcharoos Recipe
- Feast + West - Fried Pickles
- The Fresh Cooky - Easy Elderflower French 75 Cocktail with St Germain
- Homecooked Harvest - Roasted Cabbage Steaks
- House of Nash Eats - Bread Pudding
- Life, Love, and Good Food - Cheddar Bay Biscuits
- Soulfully Made - No Rise Pizza Dough Recipe
- The Speckled Palate - Easy Cheese Ball Recipe
- Take Two Tapas - Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Dip
- The Wimpy Vegetarian - Creamy Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Frequently Asked Questions
While many of the ingredients are the same, butter chicken and tikka masala do have a few big difference. First, Chicken Tikka Masala tends to be spicer while butter chicken is usually on the more mild side. Also, the sauce in butter chicken is typically creamier because it uses more butter and cream (or milk).
You have a couple of options for meal prep when it comes to making Chicken Tikka Masala. First, you can prepare the sauce up to 2 days in advance and store it in the fridge. You could also prepare the entire recipe the day before and warm up to serve, however it does taste best right after it has been made.
Traditionally, Chicken Tikka Masala is quite spicy. But, when you make a dish yourself you can of course adjust how much spice you add.
The best pans to use for making Chicken Tikka Masala, or any other highly acidic food, are something like a Dutch oven that has an enamel coating. Try and avoid using nonstick pans or aluminum.
Whether you blend the tikka masala sauce or not is completely up to you. Some people prefer the sauce to be ultra creamy while others like a bit of texture.
Storing and Reheating
- Refrigerator: store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- To reheat: either reheat in a microwave, or warm gently in a saucepan over medium heat.
Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe
Chicken Yogurt Marinade
- 1-1½ lbs Chicken Breasts cup into 1" pieces
- ¼ cup Plain Greek Yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil + ½ tablespoon for cooking chicken
- 2 teaspoon Lime Juice fresh
- 1 clove Garlic minced
Tikka Masala Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
- 1½ teaspoon Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Cardamom
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1 ½ teaspoon Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne
- ½ teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 4 Tablespoons Butter
- ½ large Onion diced
- 1 10.75-oz can Tomato Puree
- 1 cup Water
- ½ cup Half and half or half cream and half milk
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- In a large mixing bowl, add the 1" piece of chicken, Greek yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, and minced garlic. Use tongs to mix the ingredients and cover the chicken in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge to marinate for about 4 hours.
- After the chicken has marinated, add a little olive oil to a saute pan and heat over medium high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and allow it to drain. Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until golden brown on all sides and cooked through. Set aside.
- To make the tikka masala sauce, add the butter to a large saute pan and heat over medium. Once melted, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and golden (about 5-7 minutes).
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the coriander, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne, and ginger. Mix, then add the spice mixture to the cooked onions along with the tomato puree, water, half and half, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring.
- Reduce to a simmer, then add the cooked chicken and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Top with fresh cilantro and serve warm over cooked basmati rice or with Naan bread. Enjoy!
More Of Our Favorite Chicken Recipes
- Citrus Chicken Marinade
- Chicken Spaghetti
- Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe
- Slow Cooker Chicken and Gravy
- Lemon Pepper Rotisserie Chicken
- Easy Oven-Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings
- Chicken Tenders
- Chicken and Sun-dried tomato stuffed jumbo shells
- More of the Best Chicken Recipes
This recipe will show you how to make this Indian Chicken Tikka Masala recipe that is as good as your favorite Indian restaurant. It's got tender marinated chicken and a creamy, flavorful tomato sauce perfect for serving with rice or Naan.