chicken tikka masala recipe best authentic Indian
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5 from 17 votes

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala features succulent pieces of chicken that are marinated in a yogurt sauce mingled with aromatic Indian spices, then skewered, grilled, and simmered in a luxuriously creamy curry sauce. It's a literal FLAVOR EXPLOSION and is guaranteed to rival your favorite restaurant or takeout version!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Marinating Time10 hrs
Total Time10 hrs 55 mins
Course: Entree, Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 592kcal
Author: Kimberly Killebrew


  • 2 pounds (900 grams) boneless skinless chicken pieces , cut into bite-sized pieces (thigh meat has more flavor and is more moist than breast meat)
  • For the Marinade:
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt (whole milk recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon neutral flavored oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • homemade garam masala (STRONGLY recommended) click link for recipe
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground green cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the Sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons ghee , or oil
  • 1 very large yellow onion , finely chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala , click link for homemade garam masala recipe (STRONGLY recommended)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder , optional for heat (or cayenne pepper)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground green cardamom
  • 1 whole brown cardamom , optional but recommended
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 cups (750 grams) plain tomato puree/sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro plus more for garnish


  • Make the Marinade: In a large mixing bowl, make the marinade by combining the yogurt, lemon juice, oil, spices, garlic and ginger.  Add the chicken pieces and stir to thoroughly coat.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours, preferably overnight.  
  • Grill the Chicken: Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and arrange them on a lined roasting rack or a lined baking sheet.
    Preheat the oven to 500 F.  Roast the chicken on the top rack under the broiler for 10-12 minutes, turning once, or until the chicken is lightly charred on the edges.
    *Reserve the juices that dripped to the bottom of the rack and add them to the sauce along when you add the grilled chicken.
  • Make the Sauce: While the chicken is roasting, heat the ghee in a large saucepan and cook the onions over medium-high heat until they're caramelized.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another two minutes.
    Add all of the spices and cook for another minute or two.  Stir in the tomato paste. Add the tomato puree, water, salt and sugar. Bring the sauce to a simmer, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir in the cream.
  • Remove the grilled/roasted chicken pieces from the skewers and add them to the sauce along with the reserved drippings from the roasting pan.
    Bring the sauce back to a simmer, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in the chopped cilantro.  Add salt to taste.
  • Garnish the Chicken Tikka Masala with some more chopped cilantro and serve with hot basmati or jasmine rice and fresh naan bread.
Calories: 592kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 197mg | Sodium: 904mg | Potassium: 850mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1648IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 115mg | Iron: 4mg