Chicken Tikka Masala

4.96 from 50 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.
Featured with this Recipe
  1. Ingredients in Chicken Tikka Masala
  2. Chicken Tikka Masala History
  3. Garam Masala
  4. What to Serve with Chicken Tikka Masala
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. More Chicken Dinner Recipes
  7. How to Make Chicken Tikka Masala
  8. Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

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.

Ingredients in Chicken Tikka Masala


  • Yogurt – not Greek yogurt, just regular plain yogurt
  • Lemon Juice
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Garam Masala
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Ground Pepper
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Salt

Chicken Tikka Masala

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – you can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs, you can also use other protein like shrimp
  • Butter
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Garam Masala
  • Chili Powder
  • Salt
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Heavy Cream
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Optional Sides – naan bread, basmati rice, raita

Chicken Tikka Masala History

The dish 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, ground 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 Chicken Tikka Masala 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I cook the chicken in the oven instead of the grill?

Yes, place the chicken skewers on a baking sheet lined with foil. Place on the top rack and broil at 390 degrees for 20 minutes, turning once.

What does Tikka Masala taste like?

Tikka Masala is a tomato based sauce that is creamy, earthy, and spicy.

Is chicken tikka masala spicy?

This recipe is not spicy at all. You can make it more spicy by adding cayenne pepper.

Read Next: 35+ Quick and Easy To Follow Dinner Ideas Your Family Will Surely Love

More Chicken Dinner Recipes

Need a little variety to your chicken dinners? Try these delicious chicken meals:

How to Make Chicken Tikka Masala

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

Chicken Tikka Masala

4.96 from 50 votes
This 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 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Marinating time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
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 or dutch oven over medium 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 medium 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


  • I am not a fan of onions, so I didn’t include them in this recipe. However, you can add a diced yellow onion and saute it with the garlic. 
  • Want Chicken Tikka Masala on the table quicker? Try our Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. 
  • For a more authentic taste, use a can of full fat coconut milk instead of heavy cream. 

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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How many stars would you give this recipe?


  1. 5 stars
    First off, this has been a family favorite of ours for years, so thank you for posting it.
    I was wondering, can this meal be frozen?


  3. 3 stars
    This recipe looks too dry with too little sauce dip into or blanket over basmati rice which is the traditional way of enjoying this dish. Also, where are the onions??? Diced onions slowly sauteed until caramelized is a hallmark of indian recipes which is painfully missing here. Means you are not bringing out and optimizing the full favors of the spice mix and results in a blander taste, why bother going through all that cooking and end up with a mediocre dish?

    1. Hi! If you look in the notes of the recipe you’ll see that we left the onions out because of dietary preferences specific to our family, but we provide instructions for adding them.

  4. 5 stars
    We added a pepper and onion to the sauce, and broiled the chicken instead of grilling but this was the best tikka masala recipe ever, our 2.5 year old daughter loved it too!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. 5 stars
    going to try it at home love Indian food, i have all the goodies to make it with. 80 years young love to cook too.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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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