This easy Chicken Tikka Masala recipe beats any take-out you can order! It’s a classic recipe that uses authentic ingredients to create that signature flavor you know and love. Serve it with fluffy basmati rice and naan bread for the best bite!

Chicken tikka masala is plated with pita bread and basmati rice.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Sometimes, I love a recipe that calls for quite a few steps. Why? Because that’s usually how you know you’re going to get the most flavor! For this bold recipe, you first start off by making your own garam masala spice mix. Then, you make a chicken marinade that infuses the meat with a crazy amount of flavor! The process of actually cooking the ingredients requires a little attention, but it all pays off in the end with every perfect bite.

If you’ve never had Chicken Tikka Masala before, you’re in for a real treat! It’s earthy, just a little spicy, and the consistency is so creamy. The way it pairs with fluffy basmati rice and warm naan bread is beyond satisfying! The chicken thigh meat is flavorful from the marinade and baked in the oven until it’s tender on the inside and has the best charbroiled edges.

Chicken Tikka Masala is one of my all time favorite comfort dinners. It’s so hearty and warm, making it great to serve on a chilly winter night! It always hits the spot and doesn’t leave you hungry when you leave the table. Just don’t forget to serve it with that naan bread! Naan bread is perfect for soaking up all of that creamy sauce so not one drop goes to waste.

The ingredients for chicken tikka masala are placed on a white counter.

How to Make Chicken Tikka Masala

This traditional Indian meal is SO easy to make! You’ll never order it for take-out again after trying this homemade recipe.

Make the garam masala. Combine all of the measured spices in a small container. Be sure to reserve some for the chicken marinade and some for the sauce,

Marinade the chicken. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and spices. Toss the chicken in a bowl and toss it with the marinade. Refrigerate for 2-8 hours.

Bake the chicken. Place the chicken pieces on a parchment covered baking sheet and cook at 500°F for 15 minutes.

Make the sauce. Sauté the onions, ginger, and garlic in olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add the seasonings. Stir in the cumin, turmeric, coriander, paprika, chili powder and garam masala and turn down the heat to low. Stir constantly for 1-2 minutes.

Add the final touches. Stir in the tomato sauce and water and bring to a boil. Add in the heavy cream and cook for about 2 minutes before adding the chicken. Let the chicken simmer for about 5-10 minutes before serving.

A white pot is filled with cooked chicken tikka masala.

Can I use chicken breast meat instead?

Yes! However, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. If your chicken breast pieces cook for too long in the oven, they may dry out.

Is there supposed to be a lot of sauce?

Chicken Tikka Masala is a famously saucy dish! If you’d like to make it more hearty and less saucy, you can use up to 4 lbs of chicken thigh meat without altering any of the other ingredients.

How long do I cook the spices?

When you toss your medley of bold spices into the mix, make sure you only cook them on low for about 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Once you can really smell them, you’ll want to move forward with the next step. The last thing you want is for the spices to burn!

A spoon is placed on a plate with chicken tikka masala.

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A spoon is placed on a plate with chicken tikka masala.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala

An Indian classic, this saucy Chicken Tikka Masala is a quick dinner that's better than take out. So simple and fragrant with spice, it's perfect served over rice or with naan bread for dipping.
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Garam Masala Spice Mix

  • .4oz Ground Cumin
  • .2oz Ground Coriander
  • .2oz Ground Cardamom
  • .2oz Ground Black Pepper
  • .1oz Cinnamon
  • .05oz Ground Clove
  • .05oz Ground Nutmeg

Chicken Marinade

  • 32 oz chicken thighs, boneless skinless cut into 1” cubes
  • If you are cooking for a large crowd, this recipe can handle up to 4 pounds, or 48 oz of cubed chicken
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped fine
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala, recipe above
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Tikka Masala Sauce:

  • 3 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoon ginger, chopped fine
  • 10 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 teaspoon garam masala, recipe above
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 28 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped for garnish
  • Basmati rice, for serving
  • Naan bread, for serving


  • 1 saucepan
  • 1 baking sheet


  • Make the Garam Masala spice mix by adding all the spices listed in a small container. Reserve 2 teaspoons for the chicken marinade, and 2 additional teaspoons for the tikka masala sauce. The remaining garam masala spice mix can be stored up to two weeks at room temperature in an airtight container.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger and marinade spices together using a spoon or spatula.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the mixing bowl, and toss well to coat all the chicken. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. This can be done overnight as well.
  • When the chicken has marinated, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the marinated chicken pieces on the lined baking sheet in one layer and cook for 15 minutes. The result should show cooked pieces with slightly browned/broiled edges.
  • While the chicken is cooking, start the sauce by heating the oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the onions, ginger and garlic and cook until translucent but be sure not to brown them, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Add in the cumin, turmeric, coriander, paprika, chili powder and garam masala and turn down the heat to low. Stir constantly for 1-2 minutes until the spices are fragrant. (This is an important step; the spices need just a small amount of time and heat to become fragrant, yet you don’t want the mixture to burn.)
  • Add the tomato sauce and water and increase the heat to bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the heavy cream and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the cooked chicken to the sauce and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  • Enjoy with Basmati rice and garnish with cilantro and serve immediately, goes very well with Naan bread.


This dish is intended to have a good amount of sauce, yet this recipe can be made with up to 4 pounds of chicken.
Can chicken breast meat be used instead? Yes, however the cooking time in the oven might need to be adjusted to avoid the chicken drying out.
Calories: 474kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Monounsaturated Fat: 15g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 148mg, Sodium: 1933mg, Potassium: 886mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1872IU, Vitamin C: 16mg, Calcium: 76mg, Iron: 4mg