Chicken Tikka Masala

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Ah, Chicken Tikka Masala. It’s the perfect blend of succulent chicken pieces, creamy tomato sauce, and a symphony of Indian spices that will transport your taste buds to a world of bold and delightful flavors. If you’ve been craving this irresistible dish but felt intimidated by the thought of making it from scratch, you’re in luck! Today, we’re here to guide you through the process of creating a mouthwatering Chicken Tikka Masala that you’ll be proud to serve to your loved ones.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the essential steps and ingredients that will make your Chicken Tikka Masala a standout dish. Get ready to bring the tastes of India into your kitchen!

First, let’s talk about the star of the show: the chicken. For the most tender and flavorful Chicken Tikka Masala, we recommend using boneless, skinless chicken thighs. These pieces of meat are not only juicier but also absorb the flavors of the marinade beautifully.

Marinate the Chicken: Flavor Infusion

To create a scrumptious marinade, you’ll need plain yogurt, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, and a blend of Indian spices, such as garam masala, paprika, cumin, and coriander. Combine these ingredients in a bowl, then add the cubed chicken, ensuring that each piece is well coated. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or even better, overnight.

Make the Sauce: A Creamy Tomato Dream

While the chicken marinates, it’s time to prepare the rich and creamy tomato sauce. In a large pan or Dutch oven, heat some oil and sauté onions until they’re soft and translucent. Add garlic, ginger, and a mix of aromatic spices, such as garam masala, paprika, cumin, and coriander, and cook for a couple of minutes. Then, stir in canned crushed tomatoes and let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes. Finally, add heavy cream and a sprinkle of sugar, then simmer for a few more minutes to create a velvety, dreamy sauce.

Cook the Chicken: Perfectly Seared and Tender

Now it’s time to cook the marinated chicken. Heat oil or ghee in a large pan or skillet, then add the chicken pieces, shaking off any excess marinade. Sear the chicken until it’s golden and cooked through, then transfer it to a plate and set aside.

Assemble the Dish: A Symphony of Flavors

Finally, add the cooked chicken to the simmering tomato sauce and let everything meld together for a few minutes. Then, stir in some chopped fresh cilantro and serve your Chicken Tikka Masala over steamed basmati rice or with warm naan breadto soak up all the deliciousness. You’ll be amazed at the depth of flavors and the succulent, tender chicken that you’ve just created in your own kitchen.

In conclusion, making Chicken Tikka Masala from scratch is not only achievable but also an incredibly rewarding culinary experience. By marinating the chicken, creating a luscious tomato sauce, and searing the chicken to perfection, you’ll craft a dish that will delight your taste buds and impress your loved ones. So, why not give it a try and bring the vibrant flavors of India to your dinner table tonight?

Chicken Tikka Masala

Course: Main CourseCuisine: Indian


Prep time


Cooking time





A rich, flavorful Indian classic that brings warmth and comfort to your dinner table.


  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 3 tbsp garam masala, divided

  • 1 tbsp grated ginger

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil


  • In a large bowl, combine chicken pieces, Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, ginger, and garlic. Mix well, ensuring the chicken is well-coated. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
  • In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened and golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of garam masala and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute to release the spices’ aroma.
  • Stir in the crushed tomatoes, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  • Add the marinated chicken pieces to the skillet, discarding any remaining marinade. Cook the chicken for about 15 minutes, or until fully cooked through.
  • Lower the heat, and stir in the heavy cream. Allow the mixture to simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
  • Season the chicken tikka masala with salt and pepper to taste, and serve over steamed basmati rice or with warm naan bread.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, if desired, and enjoy!


  • For a spicier dish, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper along with the garam masala.
  • To make this recipe dairy-free, substitute coconut milk for heavy cream and use dairy-free yogurt for marinating.
  • If you don’t have garam masala on hand, you can make your own by combining 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Store any extra in an airtight container.

Chicken Tikka Masala pairs beautifully with various side dishes that complement the rich, spicy flavors of the dish. Some popular options include:

  • Steamed Basmati Rice: The fragrant and fluffy rice soaks up the delicious sauce and provides a nice contrast to the bold flavors.
  • Naan Bread: A warm, soft, and slightly chewy Indian flatbread perfect for scooping up the chicken and sauce.
  • Aloo Gobi: A flavorful Indian spiced potato and cauliflower dish that adds a touch of warmth and earthiness to the meal.
  • Palak Paneer: Creamy spinach and paneer cheese cooked with aromatic spices serve as a delightful vegetarian addition to the meal.
  • Cucumber Raita: A cool and refreshing yogurt-based side dish with cucumber and mint, offering a soothing balance to the spice of the Chicken Tikka Masala.

Feel free to mix and match these side dishes, or experiment with other Indian-inspired options to create a satisfying and well-rounded meal. Enjoy!

Jamie Anderson
Jamie Anderson
Hey there! I'm Jamie Anderson. Born and raised in the heart of New York City, I've always had this crazy love for food and the stories behind it. I like to share everything from those "Aha!" cooking moments to deeper dives into what's really happening in the food world. Whether you're here for a trip down culinary memory lane, some kitchen hacks, or just curious about your favorite eateries, I hope you find something delightful!

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