Every couple of months I get a serious craving of Indian food. Unfortunately, my regular eating partner is not a huge fan of the cuisine, so I have to cook it for myself. While browsing through my recipes, I realized that I have yet shared my tikka masala recipe here on the blog. For shame! I’ve been using this recipe for years now, modifying it each time to get the best the results and I am now ready to put it out there for you to try.

chicken tikka masala

chicken tikka masala

chicken tikka masala


Chicken tikka masala

1 hr, 30 Total Time

Yields 4

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  • 1 lb chicken thigh
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp green cardamom, ground
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Sauce
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp jalapeno, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 14 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • chopped cilantro


  1. Combine ingredients for marinade from yogurt - lemon juice. Toss chicken in marinade and let sit for 1 hour turning to coat occasionally.
  2. Preheat grill to high. Add the marinated chicken to the grill and cook until seared, about 6 minutes. Flip and char on the other side, another 3 minutes or until juices run clear. Remove and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Heat oil in a medium sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and jalapeno and saute for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Add the canned tomato sauce, paprika, cumin and garam masala. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Whisk in the heavy cream and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by a quarter.
  5. Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces. Add the chicken and its juices into the tikka masala. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with basmati rice.


**Helpful tips and common mistakes

Little did I know that there is rarely any two tikka masala recipes that are exactly the same. Each household has its own version, with a different combination of spices or with a little twist in the marinade. However, every recipe that I’ve looked at requires the chicken to be marinated in a yogurt-based sauce and a sauce to be finished with heavy cream.

The first time I prepared this dish, I skipped the grilling of the chicken and instead browned it in the pan, immediately adding the sauce ingredients after. After some testing, I realized that grilling the chicken actually adds more flavor to the overall dish. I don’t actually have a grill so I chose to broil the chicken for the same effect.

Although chicken breast is healthy, dark meat is preferable for this dish. Chicken breast can become dry, especially since the chicken is first grilled then finished in the sauce.

This is one of the quickest Indian dishes that I’ve ever prepared that still produces great flavor. The tikka masala has layers of flavors from the various spices, with just a little bit of heat from the chilies. The chicken is still moist and coated in a creamy, tomato-y sauce. Lovely with basmati rice and warm naan!

chicken tikka masala


 Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.

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