Ultimate Chicken Tikka Masala

by Anna

Let your taste buds take a journey to the vibrant streets of India with mine ultimate Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. From the tender marinated chicken pieces to the perfectly balanced blend of exotic spices, every bite will transport you to another world. This iconic dish is not only easy to recreate in the comfort of your kitchen, but it’s also a testament to the power of homemade cooking. Impress your family and friends with your culinary skills and treat them to a dish that rivals your favorite Indian restaurant. Get ready to experience the joy of cooking and the satisfaction of creating a delicious meal that will fill your heart and soul.

Chicken Tikka Masala recipe


Each ingredient in the Chicken Tikka Masala recipe plays a crucial role in creating the dish’s rich and harmonious flavors:

Chicken Marinade:

  • Chicken Thigh Fillet: Chosen for its tenderness, chicken thigh fillet ensures juicy and flavorful bites.
  • Full-Fat Natural Yogurt: Acts as a tenderizing agent, infusing the chicken with a creamy texture and tangy flavor. You can use my homemade natural yogurt.
  • Garlic: Provides a robust and aromatic base to the marinade, enhancing overall flavor.
  • Ginger: Adds warmth and depth, complementing the spices and providing a distinctive taste.
  • Garam Masala Powder: A quintessential spice blend, contributing complex and aromatic notes to the marinade.
  • Turmeric Powder: Imparts a warm golden hue and subtle earthiness to the chicken.
  • Cumin Powder: Offers a nutty and warm flavor, enhancing the overall spice profile.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Provides the desired level of heat, allowing customization to personal spice preferences.
  • Salt: Enhances the overall taste and balances the flavors of the marinade.
  • Olive Oil: Used for frying the chicken, contributing to a golden, flavorful exterior.

Tikka Masala Sauce:

  • Butter: Used to sauté the onions, adding richness and depth to the base of the sauce.
  • Onion: Creates a sweet and savory foundation, complementing the spiciness of the dish.
  • Garam Masala Powder and Cumin Powder: Reinforces the aromatic spice blend, intensifying the sauce’s flavor.
  • Turmeric Powder and Coriander Powder: Add complexity and depth to the sauce, enhancing its overall richness.
  • Tomato Puree: Forms the tomato base, providing acidity and a luscious texture. Uou can use my homemade marinara sauce recipe.
  • Cayenne Pepper and Hot Paprika Powder: Allow for spice customization, bringing heat and flavor to the sauce.
  • Salt: Balances the overall flavor profile of the sauce.
  • Cream: Imparts creaminess, smoothing out the spice and creating a luxurious texture. Alternatively, coconut milk can be used as a dairy-free option. It will, however, result in a slightly less thick and creamy texture. For added creaminess, opt for full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds a touch of sweetness, harmonizing the complex flavors of the sauce.
  • Water: Adjusts the consistency of the sauce to achieve the desired thickness.
  • Fresh Coriander: Provides a burst of freshness, balancing the richness of the dish.

By combining these carefully selected ingredients, the Chicken Tikka Masala recipe achieves a perfect balance of spice, creaminess, and depth, creating a dish that’s full of flavors.

Chicken Tikka Masala recipe


  1. Chicken Marinade:
    • Combine yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, cayenne pepper (or paprika), salt, and vegetable oil.
    • Add chicken pieces, ensuring they are well-coated. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or preferably, overnight.
  2. Cooking the Chicken:
    • Heat a pan and cook marinated chicken until browned. (The chicken will not be cooked at this point because you will finish cooking it in the sauce later, absorbing ALL the flavors of the sauce directly into the chicken for maximum flavor.) Set aside.
  3. Preparing the Tikka Masala Sauce:
    1. In the same pan, melt butter and sauté diced onions until golden.
    1. Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne pepper, and hot paprika. Cook until aromatic.
    1. Pour in tomato puree or sauce, salt, and let it simmer.
    1. Stir in cream (or coconut milk), brown sugar, and add water if needed. Simmer until the sauce thickens.
  4. Combining Chicken and Sauce:
    1. Add the cooked chicken to the sauce, letting it simmer to absorb flavors.
  5. Garnishing:
    1. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh coriander for a burst of freshness.


  • Serve Chicken Tikka Masala over basmati rice or with warm naan bread for an authentic experience.
  • Pair with a side of cucumber raita or a crisp green salad to balance the richness.
Chicken Tikka Masala recipe


  • Marinate the chicken in advance for a more flavorful outcome.
  • Adjust spice levels according to personal preference for a mild or extra-spicy kick.
  • Substitute cream with coconut milk for a dairy-free alternative.
  • To make the marinade, use natural yogurt instead of Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is generally higher in fat and too thick for this chicken tikka masala recipe, causing it to separate when cooked.
  • Fry the chicken in batches of two or three to avoid overfilling the pan, this helps to fry or give a grilled (but not burnt) effect to the chicken pieces rather than simmering in juices. You want browned chicken pieces!


Leftover Chicken Tikka Masala is even better the next day because the chicken absorbs even more of the seasoning!

Chicken Tikka Masala Curry can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat over low heat. However, you can also freeze portions for longer storage (up to  6 months), reheating gently on the stove.

Chicken Tikka Masala recipe

Elevate your home-cooking repertoire with this Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. From the aromatic marinade to the creamy sauce, each step promises an explosion of flavors that will transport you to the heart of India. Impress your loved ones with a restaurant-quality dish made with love and authenticity. Get ready to savor every spoonful of this culinary masterpiece!

Ultimate Chicken Tikka Masala

Indulge in the ultimate chicken tikka masala experience with my foolproof recipe. Master the art of creating a rich, flavorful curry bursting with aromatic spices. This step-by-step guide ensures a mouthwatering dish, perfect for satisfying your Indian cuisine cravings. Discover the secrets to the best chicken tikka masala at home – easy, delicious, and unforgettable!
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 350kcal
Author: Anna


  • Cutting Board
  • Large bowl
  • Large Skillet



  • 800g/1.7 lb chicken thigh fillet, cut into pieces approximately 5 cm (boneless and skinless)
  • 170g/6oz full-fat natural yogurt
  • 1 tbsp garlic, grated (about 4 cloves)
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated (3 cm piece)
  • 2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying the chicken


  • 2 tbsp butter, to sauté the onion
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • tbsp garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder, turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 400 ml tomato puree, or tomato sauce/passata/marinara sauce/canned tomatoes (see note 1)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, adjust according to your preference or omit if you do not like it too spicy
  • 1 tsp hot paprika powder, for color and flavor
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream, (substitute for 1 to 2 cups of full-fat coconut milk, see note 2)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water, if necessary
  • 4 tbsp fresh coriander, to garnish



  • In a bowl, combine the chicken with all the marinade ingredients; marinate for 10 minutes to an hour or overnight.


  • Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chicken pieces in batches of two or three, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan. Fry until golden, approximately 3 minutes on each side. Remove and keep warm. (Complete the chicken cooking process in the sauce.)


  • In the same pan, melt butter. Sauté the onion until soft (about 3 minutes).
  • Add garlic and ginger, sautéing for 1 minute until fragrant. Incorporate garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and coriander. Fry for about 30 seconds, occasionally scraping.
  • Introduce tomato sauce, hot paprika powder, cayenne pepper, and salt. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens, acquiring a deep brown-red color.
  • Blend in cream and sugar, ensuring a thorough mix. Reintroduce the chicken to the pan and cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked, and the sauce is thick and bubbly.
  • Adjust sauce thickness with water if needed.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve alongside rice or naan bread.


Tomato puree: You can purchase tomato puree at many markets, but you can also use regular tomato sauce (it’s a bit thinner) or opt for canned tomatoes and process them in a food processor or blender until smooth. Alternatively, you can use my Homemade Marinara Sauce recipe.
Cream: You can incorporate coconut milk instead heavy cream, which will also enhance the recipe’s deliciousness and flavor! It will, however, result in a slightly less thick and creamy texture. For added creaminess, opt for full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 12.3g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9.6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8.5g | Cholesterol: 164mg | Sodium: 1421mg | Potassium: 674mg | Fiber: 2.3g | Sugar: 6.8g | Vitamin A: 1224IU | Vitamin C: 9.5mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 3.2mg
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword:aromatic spices, best chicken tikka masala recipe, flavorful curry, homemade Indian cuisine, Ultimate Chicken Tikka Masala
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