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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!
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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
- Garam Masala
- Cayenne Pepper
- Ground Pepper
- Fresh Ginger
Chicken Tikka Masala
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – you can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs, you can also use other protein like shrimp
- Garlic Cloves
- Garam Masala
- Chili Powder
- 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!
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:
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Tikka Masala is a tomato based sauce that is creamy, earthy, and 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 Spicy Dinner Recipes
Need a little more kick to your menu? Try these deliciously spicy meals:
- Chicken Massaman Curry
- Coconut Curry Grilled Chicken
- Chicken Panang Curry
- Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce and Cool Cucumber Salad
- Jared’s General Tso’s Chicken
How to Make Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
- 5 wooden skewers
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 6 pieces Naan Bread
- 3 cups rice cooked
- 1 cup cucumber yogurt (see recipe HERE)
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.
- Preheat a grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade.
- Grill chicken skewers 5 minutes on each side.
For the Sauce
- Melt butter in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Saute garlic for 1 minute.
- 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.
- Add grilled chicken to the sauce, and simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro. Serve with rice, naan bread, and cucumber yogurt.
- 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.
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DELICIOUS BEYOND MEASURE
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Loving the flavors!! Bold & tasty! Great over rice or pasta!
One of the most flavorful meals!!! Wasn’t too spicy for my family & they are already asking when I’ll make it again!
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!
Thanks a lot for sharing this masala recipe! Really delicious!
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!
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!
Excellent! Made it exactly as written. Made fresh naan bread to go with it. Mmm.
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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