Chicken Tikka Masala

We are bringing the restaurant flavors at home. Chicken Tikka masala never tasted better than this.

I thought butter chicken was my most favourite restaurant style recipe until I made chicken tikka masala. Now this one has beaten butter chicken to take the number one position. Although these two are very similar in appearance, chicken tikka masala is spicier and tangier, which pleases my palate slightly more than its somewhat sweeter counterpart butter chicken. Nevertheless, both are on top of my favourite food list.

The Background

Chicken Tikka Masala is actually not a traditional Indian recipe. It is believed to have originated in the UK by south Asian restaurant cooks who first made it using tomato soup as a base. Then it took several modifications and alterations and got popular all over the world. So much that my non-Indian friends ask first thing if I have a chicken tikka masala recipe on my blog knowing that I have an Indian background. Finally, here comes the much awaited recipe.

With Rice or With Naan?

This is a debate difficult to settle. Whether you like it with rice or naan depends on personal preferences. What’s a no-go is having both rice and naan together (pointing at you my non-Indian friends, please don’t do that). Eat one at a time, either with rice or with naan.

Even though I am a huge rice fan, I will choose naan over it as a side for my chicken tikka masala. A soft and fluffy naan that is.

Can You Make This Recipe Ahead of Time?

Yes, it’s a great choice of dish for a party or an event as you can prepare it ahead of time. Make it a day before and keep it in the fridge. It will taste even better the next day as the chicken gets to sit into the sauce and absorb all those extra flavors. If you need to store it longer, you can safely freeze it for up to 2 months.

Do You Need an Oven or a Grill For This Recipe?

No, you only need a normal pan/skillet to make this recipe. Although traditionally tikka is made using either a grill or a tandoor (clay oven). We are taking the easier, more practical approach here.

Ingredients at a Glance

Notes: If you want to make a lighter version, replace the cream with full fat milk.

Watch the video instructions to easily follow the recipe

Chicken Tikka Masala

Bringing those restaurant flavors at home, this chicken tikka masala will make you coming for more.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Marinating time 3 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4


For the marinade:

  • 500 grams chicken breast (cut into cubes)
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Other Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp ghee
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 500 grams (1 ½ cups) tomato puree
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 100 grams (½ cup) full fat yogurt
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 100 grams (½ cup) whipping cream (schlagsahne 30% fat)
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek)


  • Add the chicken, along with all the ingredients for the marinate into a bowl and mix until well combined. Cover and put it into the fridge and leave the chicken to marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • Heat a pan on medium high heat and add the ghee. Once the ghee has melted and the pan has heated up, add the chicken and spread it all over the pan. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes without moving until the chicken develops golden brown spots. Then flip and cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes as well. Avoid overcooking the chicken to avoid dry and rubbery texture. Once cooked, take the chicken out from the pan (leaving the fat inside the pan) and keep aside.
  • Keep the pan back on to medium heat (without washing it). Add the onion and scrape the bottom of the pan to release the browned bits. Saute for 3 minutes.
  • Add the tomato puree, all the spices, salt and yogurt. Turn heat to low and saute until the sauce reduces to half (5-7 minutes). You can put a tilted lid on if the sauce splashes too much.
  • Once the sauce is reduced to half, add the cooked chicken along with the brown sugar, cream and kasuri methi. Mix to combine everything well. Cover and let cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and transfer to a serving dish/bowl. Garnish with cream/beaten yogurt and kasuri methi/fresh coriander. Serve with naan or basmati rice.
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