Chicken Tikka Masala


By far the most famous Indian dish there is. I don’t know if I’ve ever been to an Indian restaurant where chicken tikka masala hasn’t been on the menu.

Chicken tikka masala is a crowd pleaser and for good cause. Traditionally, the chicken is made in a tandoor giving it an amazing clay oven taste. Then it’s cooked in a rich, savory, and slightly sweet gravy. All in all – amazing. That said, I like butter chicken better, partially because it’s actually a Punjabi dish and has the richness of one. You’ll have to try both and see which one you like better. The basic difference is the sweetness of the curry and the butter content.

The nice thing about tikka masala is that it’s fairly easy to make, unlike some of the more traditional curries. It does take a bit of time and patience but you’re guaranteed a perfect outcome every time. It’ll last in the fridge for a few days, so even if you have left overs, it’s not that sad of a life. I like to pair it with paranthas versus roti. Just adds to the richness of the meal, if you ask me.

I really don’t make this dish all that often, partially because I get huffy about it being so over done and awful everywhere you go. That said, I seem to make it every time there’s a new man friend, because inevitably you hear, “Indian food….yea…I looove teeka masala”. To which I politely respond, “Hindi is phonetic, you say it like it’s spelled, so the word is “tik-uh”. They blink. I respond still politely, “You don’t say teek tock went the clock would you? Same same”. The one’s that blink confusedly again are sent home. The one’s that say they like pani puri are exalted to new boyfriend status.

Fun fact #92: People think/say/pretend this is an Indian/Punjabi dish…it’s not, it’s British, and was a way to use day old tandoori chicken :p

Looking for other Indian restaurant favorites? Try these:

Chicken Tikka Masala

Course: Main Courses, Non-VegCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time






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  • For Marinade:
  • 1 1/2 cup plain yogurt

  • 8 cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 tbsp ginger, minced

  • 1 Serrano pepper, minced

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 2 tbsp whole cumin seed, ground

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 1 tbsp garam masala, ground

  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper

  • 2 lbs chicken, skinless (bone in or out is your decision)

  • For Gravy:
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1 tbsp butter

  • 2 large onion, finely diced

  • 6 cloves garlic, pureed

  • 3 tbsp ginger, pureed

  • 1 chili pepper, finely minced

  • 2 tbsp whole garam masala, ground

  • 2 whole dried red chilies

  • 2 tbsp whole cumin seed, ground

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 2 tbsp coriander seed, ground

  • 1 stick cinnamon

  • 2 whole cloves

  • 4 cardamom pods

  • 1 cup water

  • 7 tomatoes, pureed

  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • Salt, to taste

  • Cilantro for garnish

Equipment/Specialty Items


  • Marinade:
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk yogurt till smooth.
  • Add in garlic, ginger, serrano pepper, lemon juice, turmeric, cumin, salt, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. Whisk till combined.
  • Mix in chicken and coat evenly.
  • Cover and refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours, overnight if possible for the best flavor.
  • Cooking Chicken:
  • Preheat the broiler and position a rack about 8 inches from the heat.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade. Place the pieces of chicken on a baking sheet.
  • Broil the chicken, turning over from time to time to ensure even cooking, for approximately 10 or until the outside has brown/crispy spots (it will finish cooking in the gravy).
  • Making the Gravy:
  • Heat oil and butter in large nonstick pot over medium heat.
  • Saute onions until deep brown, approximately 10 minutes. Make sure to continue stirring to avoid burning.
  • Add in garlic and ginger and saute till fragrant, approximately 2 minutes.
  • Add in chili pepper and saute till fragrant, approximately 1 minute.
  • Add in garam masala, dried chilies, cumin, turmeric, and ground coriander seeds. Cook till fragrant, approximately 1 minute.
  • Add in cinnamon stick, cloves, and cardamom. Saute for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in water.
  • Pour in pureed tomatoes and cayenne pepper. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and turns deep brownish red.
  • Stir in cream and sugar.
  • Add in chicken and cook for 8-10 minutes, till chicken is cooked through.
  • At this point the sauce should be thick and bubbling. If it’s too thick add in water.
  • Salt, to taste.
  • Serve:
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve with fresh phulkas.

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Nutrition Facts

6 servings per container


  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 27.3g 42%
    • Saturated Fat 11.7g 56%
  • Cholesterol 166mg 56%
  • Sodium 1390mg 58%
  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Potassium 1107mg 32%
  • Total Carbohydrate 28.5g 10%
    • Dietary Fiber 5.4g 20%
    • Sugars 11.7g
  • Protein 52.6g 104%
  • Calcium 21%
  • Iron 31%
  • Vitamin D 85%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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