Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

This Chicken Tikka Masala recipe is made with tender marinated pieces of chicken in a creamy rich and aromatic sauce/gravy or curry made with a blend of warm spices. No need to go to an Indian restaurant or to order takeout cause this recipe makes it easy and just as delicious at home. It is one of my favorite Indian dishes to order when Im out for Indian food. I’m slowly building my Indian food take-out section on the blog with all of my favorites, so I hope you enjoy this dish too - you will love every bite I’m sure!

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

What is Tikka masala

Tikka masala is an Indian dish whose origin is much debated - some say Britain others say Scotland or Bengali. Im not here to debate or confirm the origin of the dish, but just to share a really good and simple chicken tikka masala recipe full of flavor that I know you will enjoy. The word “tikka” means small pieces of meat and “masala” means mixture both in the Punjabi language appropriately named in chicken tikka masala: pieces of chicken are marinated, then traditionally baked or grilled then added to a very aromatic sauce/gravy or curry made with a mixture or delicious spices.

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe Ingredients

  • CHICKEN: boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs. If using chicken breast be sure to marinade for at least three hours but 8 hours is preferred to really ensure your chicken is tender and won’t be dry.
  • YOGURT: I use plain yogurt and this is for the marinade
  • NEUTRAL OIL: A neutral cooking oil or vegetable oil or ghee, butter or even olive oil can be used.
  • RED ONION: I like the sweetness of red onion but feel free to use yellow or white onion
  • GINGER & GARLIC: You will need both for the marinade and the sauce - use as little or a much as you prefer
  • GREEN CHILIES: Jwala chili is what many Indian dishes use but they are not always easy to find so feel free to use bird’s eye, Thai chili, or Serrano pepper.
  • SPICES: This recipe calls for a spice blend of ground cumin, ground turmeric, garam masala, ground coriander, and chili powder (Kashmiri chili powder) or cayenne pepper, paprika and kasuri methi. Kasuri methi is dried fenugreek which elevates the flavours in curries and tikkas. It is optional if you don’t have any
  • TOMATO PASSATA: OR tomato sauce or Crushed Tomatoes
  • HEAVY CREAM: or coconut milk or cashew cream
  • FRESH CILANTRO: or fresh parsley if you aren’t a fan of cilantro
  • OPTIONAL ADD INS: Finish with a splash of lemon juice, pinch of cardamom, toasted cumin seeds, ground cinnamon, dry mango powder, and if you prefer to use pre ground ginger garlic paste you can. If the sauce is a bit on the acidic side feel free to add a pinch or two of sugar.
  • OTHER PROTEIN OPTIONS: (beef, turkey, lamb, pork) - use a quick cooking cut that’s tender and juicy, slice or dice

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

How To Make Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala

  1. MARINATE CHICKEN: Cube chicken, combine chicken with marinade ingredients and marinate for 3-8 hours
  2. COOK CHICKEN: Place chicken on baking sheet and roast 18-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through
  3. MAKE SAUCE/GRAVY: Saute onions, add aromatics and tomato sauce and simmer until nice and thick. Stir in the cream then stir through the chicken.
  4. SERVE: Serve with naan, roti, or basmati rice and garnished with extra drizzles of cream and chopped fresh coriander/ fresh cilantro

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

Make Ahead, Storage & Freezing

  • MAKE AHEAD: You can marinate the chicken a day ahead. You can also prepare the sauce/gray or curry 1-2 days in advance. Once the sauce is ready you can allow it to cool to room temperature then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge. Once ready to cook the chicken reheat stovetop and add chicken.
  • STORAGE: Curry should be safely sealed in an airtight container and refrigerated for 3 days. If you want this curry to last, my advice is to freeze it. Stir well while reheating. Your curry might thicken in the fridge. If you want to thin it out again, add some extra liquid a tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. You can use stock, water, or cream.
  • FREEZING: Curries always freeze really well like any other stew. Milk products tend to seperate when frozen but creams added to the stew usually don’t because of the higher fat content in them. That being said I still recommend freezing the curry without the cream in it. Simply stir it in after the curry has been reheated. Freeze the curries in appropriate portions in airtight freezer safe containers. Store in the freezer for 1-3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat in a skillet or saucepan stove top or in a microwave safe container for the microwave.

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

If You Love This Dish You Need To check Out These Recipes:


Servings: 4
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Non Active Time: 3-8 hours for marinating


For Chicken Marinade

  • ½ cup yogurt, plain
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (see Cook’s Note)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon kasuri methi (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
  • 1½ - 2 ins boneless skinless chicken thighs

For Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and minced
  • 2 green chilies (serrano chiles), stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 cups tomato passata
  • ½-1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoons kasuri methi (optional)
  • ¼-½ cup heavy cream


For the Chicken Marinade

  1. Whisk together the yogurt, ginger, salt, chili powder, garam masala, pepper, kasuri methi, turmeric, coriander, cumin, lemon juice and garlic in a large bowl until combined. Toss the chicken in the spiced yogurt marinade until evenly coated
  2. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

For the Curry

  1. Heat oil or ghee in a pot or pan over medium heat. Add onions and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Saute until softened and starting to golden around the edges. 5-10 min
  2. Add ginger, garlic and green chilli. Saute until aromatic, for 30-60 seconds.
  3. Reduce the heat to low. Add spices: red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, paprika and cumin powder. Stir well quickly.
  4. Pour tomato puree and water (starting with half cup adding more as needed) and cook on a medium high heat bring to boil then reduce heat to a simmer and simmer 15-30 minutes until thickened until the onion tomato masala becomes really thick and begins to leave the sides of the pan and very fragrant.

Cook Chicken

  1. While the sauce simmers, preheat oven to 450 degrees F and grease or line baking sheet with parchment paper or foil
  2. Place chicken directly on baking sheet. Transfer pan to oven and roast/bake chicken for 9 to 10 mins. Remove pan from oven carefully and flip pieces of chicken over with tongs, place sheetpan bake into the oven and roast chicken for another 9 to 10 mins. To char the chicken, broil or put under the broiler for 2 to 3 mins or until slightly charred.

Combine Sauce & Chicken

  1. When the tikka masala has thickened, add the cream. Stir until well combined and continue to cook for a few minutes until thick and creamy.
  2. Stir in the chicken tikka and crushed kasuri methi and continue to cook for another 1-3 minutes until chicken is warmed though and tender. Taste for seasoning adding more salt, garam masala and a pinch of sugar if needed.
  3. Remove from heat and serve with naan, roti, or basmati rice and garnished with extra drizzles of cream and chopped fresh coriander/fresh cilantro

Recipe Notes

Grilling option: If you would like to grill the chicken you can simply thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and grill until cooked through over a bbq or grill or feel free to prepare the meat on skewers and cook in the oven on grilling rack if you prefer to cook the chicken that way. I think it the easiest to simply cook the chicken right on the baking sheet but cook the chicken using your preferred method. Grilling the chicken will give the dish its signature smokey flavour.

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala