Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

This easy Chicken Tikka Masala cooks on the stovetop. It tastes just like your favorite Indian take-out. It can be ready in under an hour. This recipe is my son Luke’s take on Tikka.

Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala w/Naan

What is Tikka Masala?

The Chicken marinates in a spicy curry sauce and is cooked with tomatoes, spices, and heavy cream. It would be best if you used thighs instead of breasts.  It’s great served with rice.

hicken Tikka Masala vs Butter Chicken

It’s easy to confuse these two Indian dishes. The main difference between them is the amount of tomato and cream in each. A butter chicken is creamier with less tomato in the base. The tikka masala has more tomato and less cream.

Chicken Tikka Masala Spices
Tikka Masala Spices

If there’s one dish guaranteed to be on every Indian restaurant menu, it’s chicken tikka masala. It’s made with chunks of chicken cooked in a spicy, creamy tomato sauce.

No one really knows the origin of Tikka Masala. Some say India, others in the UK. Even Scotland has some claim to its origination.

We are pretty sure it started out as butter chicken. Butter chicken turned into chicken tikka masala when restaurant chefs started using boneless tandoori chicken kebabs (tikka masala) in order to meet the demand for the dish. However it started, people do love it all over the world.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

This easy Chicken Tikka Masala cooks on the stovetop. It tastes just like your favorite Indian take-out. It can be ready in under an hour. This recipe is my son Luke’s take on Tikka.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 39 minutes
Total Time: 59 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Chicken Tikka Masala
Servings: 4
Calories: 287kcal


  • A Wok


Marinade in fridge for at least 10 minutes

  • 1 lb Chicken thighs cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice half lemon
  • 1 tsp salt

Marinade part 2: 10 minutes more

  • 1 Tbsp Garam marsala
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Coriander
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp Yogurt

To Cook the Chicken

  • 3 Tbsp Ginger chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Peanut Oil
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper minced
  • 1 Tbsp chopped Ginger
  • 2 cloves Garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp garam marsala
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • pinch of cayenne
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 14 oz can pureed tomatoes
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • Chopped Cilantro for Garnish


  • Marinate the chicken in lemon juice and salt for 10 minutes
  • Add spices for “Marinade #2” to chicken. Marinate for 10 more minutes
  • Heat Peanut oil in pan on medium
  • Add sliced onion, cook 2-3 min
  • Add ginger and chopped chilies jalapeño cook 30 seconds
  • Add 2 cloves chopped garlic, cook 1 minute
  • Add the following spices – 1 Tsp garam marsala, 1 Tsp curry powder, 1/2 Tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/2 Tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, pinch of cayenne – cook 1 minute
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar – cook 15 seconds
  • Add 1 Tbsp tomato paste in a hot spot
  • 14 oz. can pureed tomatoes
  • Bring to boil, then simmer 2 – 3 min
  • Pour everything in blender and blend well
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil, then sauté chicken until lightly browned
  • Add sauce from blender and coat chicken
  • Add 3/4 cup heavy cream, Simmer at least 10 min
  • Garnish with cilantro
  • Serve over basmati rice with naan



Serving: 1cup | Calories: 287kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 694mg | Potassium: 675mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1035IU | Vitamin C: 13.4mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 1.7mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Chicken Tikka Masala with Naan
Chicken Tikka Masala w/Naan

Chicken Breasts vs Chicken Thighs

Be sure to see our comparison of Chicken Breast and Chicken Thighs. In a two-part YouTube video/ website series, we compare the difference between chicken breasts and chicken thighs. Part one of the series is about chicken breasts.

Part 2 is about chicken thighs (boneless and bone-in). We show you the easiest and faster ways to cook them. We pan-sear the breast, broil the bone-in thigh and grill the boneless thigh.

Chicken Breasts and Thighs
Chicken Breasts and Thighs

You can watch the YouTube video for Chicken Breasts here and the YouTube video for Chicken Thighs here.

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If you liked our recipe for Tikka Masala, you should try our recipe for The Best Shrimp Curry recipe

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9 thoughts on “Chicken Tikka Masala”

  1. 5 stars
    I’m glad you fixed your blog so comments could be made. I mentioned to you there was something wrong in my jarcuterie post. Anyways, this dish has been on my bucket list for some time – your recipe sounds delicious 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Charlie, You really prepared wonderful chicken tikka masala! Look at the list of your ingredients. You included every single spice used for this dish… superb!

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