Chicken Tikka Masala

by Andie Mitchell on October 31, 2011

chicken tikka masala


It’s taking longer than I expected, but I’m

almost over the fact that you never introduced me to Indian food.

I had to go out on the streets and learn about it from strangers. Cold, alone, and unprotected, mind you.

I guess the most difficult part is,

chicken tikka masala is all sorts of delicious. It’s sweet and creamy and so interesting in spice and complexity that I’m nearly certain you’d love it, too. My taste buds really took to that rich tomato coriander sauce. My mouth started craving ultra tender meat scented like a part of the world you neglected to take me to.

And so,


I’ve been working through this recently

in my kitchen.

Chicken Tikka Masala


For the chicken marinade:

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

For the masala sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Marinate the chicken: Whisk together cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt. Rub this mixture into the chicken, covering both sides well. Lay the chicken in a shallow bowl and cover; refrigerate so that spice mixture is absorbed into the chicken for 1 hour. Whisk the garlic, ginger and yogurt in a deep bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  2. Make the masala sauce: Heat butter in a large, tall-rimmed Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, ginger, jalapeno, cumin, coriander, and garam masala. Stir and allow the mixture to cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Turn heat down to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Take the Dutch oven off of the burner, cover to keep warm, and set aside while you make the chicken.
  3. Make the chicken: Preheat your broiler. Place your top oven rack about 5 inches from the heating coils. Line a baking sheet with foil, grease well with canola oil. Dip chicken into yogurt mixture, leaving a thick layer of yogurt clinging to it, and lay the chicken onto the sheet. Broil chicken until it is lightly charred in spots, about 15 minutes, flipping halfway.
  4. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it sit on the baking sheet for five minutes to cool slightly and retain its juices. Cut into small (inch-long) pieces and stir into warm sauce. Stir in cilantro and serve.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy October 31, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Yummy! My mother neglected to take me to India as well. Is there a support group perhaps?
I’ll have to try this as chickpea tikka masala for me and chicken for the omnivorous in my family. Thanks Andie :)


Savorique November 1, 2011 at 2:26 am

The photos are mouth watering! I hope the spice blend is not too hot for my delicate vegetarian mouth. Oh, I thought that garam masala already included coriander and cumin…(?)
Thank you to Amy too for suggesting chickpea as a vegetarian alternative!


johnny November 1, 2011 at 3:18 am

I Love Indian food! The spices are exciting and the aroma is inviting, unless of course you are my wife and threatens to leave when one starts cooking with Indian spices! I make due though and go to my local Taste of India restaurant and get it to go and eat it in the car!!! :)


Heather (Heather's Dish) November 1, 2011 at 4:59 am

we never had a lot of indian food growing up…except for the homemade awesomeness that came from our neighbor’s kitchen! he’s a doctor from India and his wife can make some of the best food ever. i kind of want to study under her…


The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh November 1, 2011 at 6:03 am

Honestly, we’ve never had Indian food. For some reason it never really appealed to me but seeing it broken down like this is making me rethink things.


Alissa November 1, 2011 at 6:43 am

I am so excited to try this recipe! I have been craving Tikka Masala… Perfect timing! :)


honeywhatscooking November 1, 2011 at 9:02 am

well done. i’m of Indian origin and I have to say you pretty much nailed it. very impressive, and glad you used the original spices rather than a boxed spice mix. Excellent, lovely photos.


Sarah November 1, 2011 at 9:28 am

I lovelovelove Indian food! My favorites are Palak Paneer (Indian Cheese with a spicy spinach sauce) and Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower and Potatoes in a curry-type sauce). I’ve made a tofu version of the Palak Paneer (Saag Tofu) that is pretty good, you can find a super easy recipe on Eating Well’s website. Have you ever tried Ethiopian food?


Beth November 1, 2011 at 9:32 am

OH yum!


Jeannette November 1, 2011 at 9:59 am

I’d like to list the nutrition info I’ve put together, but I don’t know the serving size. Help a sister out if you can, Andie. :)


admin November 1, 2011 at 11:17 am

Serves about 8!


Janelle April 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm

if you figured out the nutritional info i would love it if you would share that. I am horrible at figuring that out! and i find it extremely helpful to know the cal, protein and sodium in recipes! thanks!!


Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy November 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I didn’t have Indian food until I was at least 24. My sister-in-law is half Indian so lucky for me, I got to experience a feast of all feasts at her parents house during their wedding weekend. I still dream about it…


Alexa November 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I can’t even imagine not having Indian food in my life. Butter-brushed naan? Chicken tikka masala? Yum! This version looks amazing!


Debra November 1, 2011 at 8:17 pm

It took me half a century to discover Indian food. Now I’m hooked! I LOVE vegetable korma. This is on my must try list. Thanks Andie!


Kelly Jo November 2, 2011 at 7:18 am

this looks absolutely divine. I’m new to cooking Indian at home and this looks like a manageable recipe. I’m pinning it and making this weekend!


Krystina (Organically Me) November 2, 2011 at 8:27 am

Dear Andi,

I’ve missed you. Come back into my life regularly.



brandi November 2, 2011 at 10:19 am

i’ve been wanting to make this at home! we love the dish, but it always seems so intensive to make myself.


Gary November 6, 2011 at 6:42 pm

In my haste to make this I kind of messed up and cut the chicken into chunks before seasoning, this just resulted in having to make a whoooole lot more of the chicken marinade. BUT this tasted great, really great. I skimped on the cayanne pepper and ginger cause I am a bit of a wuss. I have no broiler so I just got the frying pan hot and then fried that shiz on a medium heat. Anyway, thanks for the lovely food.


Courtney November 7, 2011 at 2:51 am

im currently down 40 pounds with 40 more to go
so excited to have found your blog! xx


Melissa November 8, 2011 at 9:30 am

I made this the night after you posted it, and oh my goodness. It’s amazing. I think I’ll double the sauce next time just because it’s that good. Thank you so much for sharing this!


Fiona June 4, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Loving your website, very glad to have found it. Tried my take of your Chicken Tikka Masala last night and it was delicious! I put two chicken breasts and the marinade in a zip loc bag before heading to work in the morning. Then my husband made the masala sauce minus the cream in a casserole dish when he got home from work, put in the chicken breasts and the marinade and let it cook in the oven for about half an hour. Delicious!


Ashley July 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm

This looks amazing, how did you make the rice?


Melissa August 13, 2012 at 9:32 am

I made this last night for a group of friends and it was DELICIOUS! Such a huge hit. Thanks for sharing it.


Jill August 24, 2012 at 8:34 am

Indian is my FAV –especially this dish. I’ve been looking for a good recipe and this is pretty darn close. Have you tried substituting Fat Free evaporated milk for the heavy cream to reduce fat content but still retain the creamy texture? Just trying to make it as healthy as possible without sacrificing taste and nutrition.


Janice October 23, 2012 at 11:18 am

Ok so two issues. I have a gas stove and the broiler is on the bottom and I cant find boneless thighs in my area. Should I bake them and then broil them?



Lisa March 26, 2013 at 7:44 pm

I made this tonight. It was so yummy! Thanks for the recipe!


leslie November 30, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Could this be adapted for my slow cooker?


Lauren January 23, 2014 at 7:02 pm

I just made this for dinner tonight and it tastes just like my favorite Indian resturante! My broiler is broken so I had to bake the chicken. However, it still turned out amazing. I think next time I may finish the chicken in a frying pan to crisp it up a bit but besides that it was perfect. I did add turmeric and paprika to the sauce but besides that I kept true to your recipe. I look forward to trying many more dishes from your blog!


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