Chicken Tikka Masala

5 from 7 votes
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Fun fact – did you know Chicken Tikka Masala is the national dish of England?! I could not get enough when I visited London! The tender yogurt-marinated chicken and the fragrant curry with it’s array of spices, tomatoes, and cream tastes incredible over a bed of basmati rice. You’re going to love how easy it is to make Chicken Tikka Masala and best part – it makes a ton and keep so great for the week!

Watch the Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe Video Below!

Ingredient Tips for Chicken Tikka Masala

  • YOGURT + HEAVY CREAM – Use full-fat yogurt and heavy cream for the best results!
  • CHICKEN – Some believe the traditional way to make this dish is with chicken breast – I like to use chicken thigh, as it’s less likely to dry out.
  • FRESH IS BEST – I highly recommend using fresh ginger and fresh garlic for this recipe. It makes a world of difference!
  • SPICES – You may not have all of these spices at home but they’re easily obtainable at your local grocery store! The only one that you may need to sub for is kashmiri chili powder – if you cannot find it, you can replace the 1 tsp required with 3/4 tsp paprika + 1/4 tsp cayenne.
  • CAYENNE PEPPER – This is optional! I like to add 1 tsp of cayenne pepper, as I like my dishes on the spicier side. If you do not enjoy spice, omit this from your curry spice mix.
  • TOMATO PUREE – I used canned tomato puree but you can also use canned whole tomatoes or fresh whole tomatoes and crush them yourself (or keep them larger for a chunkier curry).

Pro Tip: Once the chicken is marinated in the yogurt, I recommend searing the chicken in a non-stick pan for even browning and easier cleanup.

Serve Chicken Tikka Masala with a big bowl of freshly steamed basmati rice!

Recipe Tips for Chicken Tikka Masala


  • The yogurt marinade is KEY to tenderizing the chicken. For best results, I highly recommend marinating it overnight (up to 3 days) in the refrigerator. If you are in a pinch, the minimum time required is 30 minutes – 1 hour.


  • Don’t worry about fully cooking the chicken during the browning process – this step is just to get color on the chicken! The chicken will finish cooking in the sauce.


  • I always make a large batch of this for the week, as I find that curry tastes so much more flavorful once it has sat in the fridge overnight! The flavors seem to deepen and meld together. You can keep this for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

If you tried this Chicken Tikka Masala or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below!

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5 from 7 votes

Chicken Tikka Masala

Servings: 4 people



  • 2 lb chicken thigh
  • 5 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 inches ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground corinader
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder, you can sub with 3/4 tsp paprika + 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole milk plain yogurt

Curry Spice Mix

  • 1/2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground corinader
  • 1 tsp cayenne, optional
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder, you can sub with 3/4 tsp paprika + 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp salt


  • 1 white onion, large
  • 1 28oz can of tomato puree, and 1/4 cup water to rinse out leftover tomato puree from can
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 inches ginger, grated
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream


  • Slice chicken thigh into 2" pieces and marinate with garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, kashmiri chili powder, salt, and yogurt for 1-2 hours or up to overnight for best results.
  • Mix together the Curry Spice Mix in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Grate garlic, ginger, and dice onion and set them all aside.
  • Over medium high heat, sear marinated chicken for 2-3 minutes per side and remove once browned (it’s ok if the chicken is not fully cooked as it will finish cooking in the sauce). To the same pan, add butter over medium heat and scrape up any fond, then add the grated garlic, ginger, and onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and the onion is translucent.
  • Add the Curry Spice Mix and stir until combined. Cook for another minute until fragrant.
  • Add tomato puree, water, and mix together. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened slightly.
  • Add heavy cream and mix. Add back the chicken, simmer for another 10 minutes and enjoy!


Calories: 983kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 43gFat: 84gSaturated Fat: 39gPolyunsaturated Fat: 10gMonounsaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 361mgSodium: 2650mgPotassium: 818mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 2374IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 193mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Cuisine: Indian
Tried this recipe?Mention @cj.eats_ or tag #cjeatsrecipes!

About CJ

I’m a third generation Chinese-American home cook who has always loved cooking & eating! Welcome to my food blog, where you can find trusted, tested, easy & approachable recipes for the everyday home cook that taste delicious! I am so glad you're here!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    CJ- this is so good and my husband loves this recipe! He gets so excited when I make this, and loves the leftovers. Thanks for the all your recipes- I make at least one a week.

  2. 5 stars
    I just made this and I really have to say it’s amazing. I was nervous to try making this dish from scratch as I’ve only ever seen it in restaurants and it has such a complex flavor. This recipe was super easy and tastes fabulous. I put the onion in my food processor since my boyfriend doesn’t like the texture and it blended perfectly into the sauce. Thanks so much for creating this recipe!!

  3. 5 stars
    So good! I have never had Tikka Masala before and was so impressed with this recipe. Can the chicken/yogurt/spice mix be made in small batches and frozen for two? Or is it better to make a larger batch and freeze leftovers? Thank you C.J.

  4. 5 stars
    I made this last night- absolutely outstanding recipe!!! I never thought I could come close to replicating this dish on a restaurant level, but the flavors were spot on! Marinating the chicken overnight really helped increase the depth of flavor, and I used the Kashmiri chili powder as recommended. 1/2 tsp of cayenne in the spice mix was just the right heat for me. Thanks so much for the amazing recipe and helpful hints!! My fiancé loved it. Will 12/10 be making this again.

    1. Hi Tess – thank you so much for the review! I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe and that you’ll be making it again! Glad to hear the tips worked out for you, as well. Have a great day!

    1. I used just enough to rinse out the remaining tomato puree from the can – I would say 1/4 cup. Can’t let that go to waste 🙂