Chicken Tikka Masala is an easy-to-make, popular Indian recipe that's guaranteed to be healthier (and cheaper!) than at your favorite Indian restaurant without sacrificing taste!
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4.96 from 25 votes

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala is an easy-to-make, popular Indian recipe that's guaranteed to be healthier (and cheaper!) than at your favorite Indian restaurant without sacrificing taste!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 461kcal
Author: Elizabeth Lindemann


  • 1.5 pounds chicken breast or thigh meat cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1.5 tablespoons  garam masala divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated (see notes)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 14.5 oz. canned crushed tomatoes or pureed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream whole or coconut milk can also be used
  • Naan bread cooked basmati rice, fresh cilantro and sliced jalapeños, for serving ((optional- see notes))


  • Marinate the chicken in the yogurt (1/2 cup), 1/2 teaspoon of the garam masala, kosher salt (1 teaspoon) and black pepper (1/4 teaspoon) for at least 20 minutes or overnight.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat.
  • Brown the marinated chicken on both sides over very high heat- it shouldn't be fully cooked, you're just trying to get some color on it (about 2-3 minutes on each side). Remove from the pot and set aside.
  • Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to pot and sauté the onions over medium heat until very soft, about five minutes.
  • Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon garam masala and cayenne pepper (1/4 teaspoon). Sauté for a minute or so, until spices are toasted and fragrant.
  • Add the 2 cloves minced garlic and minced fresh ginger (1 tablespoon) and sauté for approximately 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  • Pour in the 14.5 oz. crushed tomatoes and add the browned chicken. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook on low for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked.
  • Stir in the heavy cream (1/2 cup). Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Serve over rice with naan, garnished with chopped fresh cilantro and sliced fresh jalapeños, if desired.



  • You can serve this with plain basmati rice (or another variety), but I recommend adding some whole cumin seeds when you cook it to pump up the flavor. I usually toast 1 cup of basmati rice in 1 tablespoon butter along with 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds for 2-3 minutes. Then, I add 1 3/4 cups water, bring to a boil, cover, and turn the heat to low to cook for about 15 minutes. Delicious!
  • A note about the ginger: I keep fresh ginger in the freezer and use a microplane grater to grate it directly from the freezer when I need it. This way, you don't need to worry about fresh ginger going bad, if you use it infrequently.
  • You can freeze this in an airtight container for up to 6 months, and you can make it ahead of time to reheat for dinner or lunches throughout the week.
  • To make this dairy-free/whole30/paleo compliant, use ghee instead of butter, skip the marinating, and use coconut milk in place of the cream.
  • This recipe first appeared on Bowl of Delicious on December 13, 2014. It's been updated to include more information, updated photos, a video, and some small recipe adjustments.
  • The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.


Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 133mg | Sodium: 896mg | Potassium: 553mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1175IU | Vitamin C: 13.3mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 2.1mg