Chicken Tikka Masala

5 from 41 votes

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Chicken Tikka Masala is one of our favorite Indian dishes of all time. Tender chicken in a creamy, flavorful, tomato sauce is so easy to make at home. A must try!

A blue bowl filled with Chicken Tikka Masala and rice. Naan bread and yogurt on the side.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala first came into our lives years ago while we were living in California and some dear friends made it for us. Later we tried the same dish at an Indian Restaurant called The Bombay House in Provo, Utah. This recipe tastes exactly the same! Warm, creamy, and slightly spicy, this signature Indian meal can be made at home with ingredients and spices that you may already have in your kitchen! You can have an authentic Indian dinner in minutes without ordering take-out or spending a fortune at a restaurant.

What is Chicken Tikka Masala?

Chicken Tikka Masala gained popularity in an Indian restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland of all places, even though it was originally created in India. The Ali family who owned the restaurant came up with the creamy chicken recipe in the 1970s and word has it that it went on to become the most popular dish in British restaurants.

The chicken is first marinated in yogurt and spices, and then grilled on skewers. The next step is to add the chicken to the perfectly seasoned, creamy tomato sauce. We love that it is mild enough for our kids to enjoy, but spicy enough for the adults. If you’re looking to broaden your dinner horizons, try this recipe; you will love it!

Chicken Tikka Masala cooking in a large skillet and stirred with a wooden spoon.

Garam Masala

You’ll notice garam masala is listed as an ingredient in this Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. If you’ve never heard of garam masala, it is a ground spice blend traditionally used in Northern Indian dishes. When purchased, the blend can include cardamom, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and turmeric.

You can also make your own garam masala blend, but it won’t taste the same if you just mix use a mix of these powdered spices. Garam masala is so flavorful because the whole spices or seeds are first toasted before they are grounded and blended together. This brings out the the richest flavor and fragrance in the spices.

What to Serve with Chicken Tikka Masala

For a delicious Indian dinner, serve this spicy dish over a bed of rice with warm naan bread or a simple green salad. You can also try a few of these tasty sides:

Chicken Tikka Masala in a blue bowl with rice, yogurt, and naan bread.

More Spicy Dinner Recipes

Need a little more kick to your menu? Try these deliciously spicy meals:

Chicken Tikka Masala in a bowl with rice and a side of yogurt dip and naan bread

Chicken Tikka Masala

5 from 41 votes
Chicken Tikka Masala is one of our favorite Indian dishes of all time. Tender chicken in a creamy tomato sauce is so easy to make at home. A must try!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Marinating time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6





Optional Sides:


For the Marinade

  • In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, garam masala, cayenne, pepper, ginger, and salt. Stir in chicken, cover, refrigerate 1 hour. 
    Chicken marinating in yogurt and spices for Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Preheat a grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade.
    Uncooked chicken on skewers being prepared to grill.
  • Grill chicken skewers 5 minutes on each side.
    Chicken skewers cooking on grill.

For the Sauce

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium low heat. Saute garlic for 1 minute. 
    Garlic cooking in a pan with butter
  • Season with cumin, paprika, garam masala, chili powder, and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
    Cream being stirred into spices
  • Add grilled chicken to the sauce, and simmer for 5 more minutes.
    Cooked Chicken Tikka Masala in a large skillet sprinkled with cilantro
  • Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro. Serve with rice, naan bread, and cucumber yogurt.
    Chicken Tikka Masala in 2 bowls with rice

Nutrition Information

Calories: 264kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 15gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 1093mgPotassium: 469mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1335IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 101mgIron: 1.7mg

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About the author

Emily Walker

Emily lives in Meridian, Idaho, with her husband, Beau, a physician assistant, and her three incredible children: a son and two daughters. Travel is one of her favorite ways to experience new cultures and cuisines, and she has a love for all things Disney.

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  1. 5 stars
    This is by far my family’s favorite meal and I share it with everyone I know! Anytime I ask for dinner suggestions this is what everyone requests. I usually don’t prep ahead of time enough for it or forget to buy at least 1 ingredient, but it s always turns out great. I don’t ever grill the chicken, I just throw it in the broiler or toaster oven on broil for a little bit.

  2. 5 stars
    One of the most flavorful meals!!! Wasn’t too spicy for my family & they are already asking when I’ll make it again!

  3. 5 stars
    This was the most flavorful dish ever! The combination of spices worked so well together! My entire family enjoyed this meal! Making it again soon!

  4. I loved the original recipe you had for this but lost it! Can I please get the recipe that you had before? It didn’t have garam masala. It has been a family favorite for years and years and we loved it!

    1. Hi! We are so glad you love the recipe! The only thing we changed is adding the garam masala, and that is optional. You can follow the recipe exactly, and just leave that out. Hope this helps!

  5. 5 stars
    Due to this virus “storm”, I’ve been craving something more exotic than our usual and had saved this recipe. Even my country boy, meat and potatoes kind of guy loved it! There were a couple of changes, due to us not shopping often these days: tomato purée instead of sauce, no hot pepper (used extra black), no paprika, and no grilling. After marinading, I dumped the chicken and marinade into a hot skillet, turning the meat til it was done, and then put all of that into the sauce. It would have been perfect if only we had had some naan!
    Thanks so much for the recipe!

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