Chicken Tikka Masala

Delicious and spicy chicken tikka masala with the perfect flavor. Served with cooked rice and a couple of tasty homemade naan breads, it’s like taking a little bite of India in the comfort of your own home. If you’ve never made your own tikka masala before, read on and see how to make it from scratch.

Homemade chicken tikka masala with rice and naan bread, served on a plate with fresh coriander.

Fantastic Indian Delights

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Indians know how to use spices! I love the heat, the intensity, and all the flavors that practically explode in your mouth when you dive into Indian dishes.

Even though there’s some preparation involved in many of the Indian recipes we love, we always come back to them regularly, and authentic Chicken Tikka Masala is no exception. It’s a curry with plenty of strength and heat from all the spices, and it’s definitely one of my favorite dishes. Fortunately for me, my love for Indian food is something I share with my whole family, so even though it can be a bit spicy, it doesn’t stop the kids from digging in.

The last time we made it, we had the pleasure of my son’s ice hockey teammates, and they actually quite liked it too. It’s really just “chicken in a spicy tomato sauce,” but it’s the combination of all the lovely spices that together create a very special flavor you can look forward to.

And for such a festive meal, rice is a must. At home, I usually serve it with either jasmine or basmati rice, as those are my favorites. And if it were up to me, some naan bread too, the classic kind made on a hot griddle and brushed with melted butter or oil. And as the crowning touch, maybe a little fresh raita to cool the mouth if you find it too spicy.

If you’ve never made chicken tikka masala before, now is the time to try!

pot with chicken tikka masala

Ingredient notes

Chicken Breast – I’ve used regular chicken breast in this recipe, but boneless thigh meat is also recommended.

Oil – For frying the chicken. You can also use another oil or ghee (clarified butter).

The Marinade:

Yogurt – Natural/plain yogurt.

Garlic – Lots of garlic!

Fresh Ginger – Provides a nice fresh flavor and strength to the marinade.

Spices – Turmeric, garam masala, cumin, chili powder, coriander, paprika, salt.

The Sauce:

Butter – For sautéing onions and spices.

Garlic – Deep, intense garlic flavor throughout the sauce.

Fresh Ginger – It adds good flavor to many Indian dishes and is healthy.

Spices – Turmeric, garam masala, cumin, chili powder, coriander, paprika, salt.

Tomato Concentrate – Provides a deep tomato flavor and color.

Passata – A good passata forms the base of the sauce. You can buy tomato passata or pureed tomatoes.

Cream – Round out the sauce and make it creamy.

Sugar – Balances the acidity in the tomato sauce.

How to make chicken tikka masala?

Here’s a walkthrough of how to make the absolute best chicken tikka masala from scratch.

In a bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients, and add the prepared chicken. Let it marinate in the refrigerator.

Once the chicken has marinated, remove it. Sauté it in oil in a large sauté pan or pot in batches. When all the chicken is sautéed, set it aside.

In the same pan, prepare the sauce. Sauté the chopped onions in butter, followed by garlic and ginger. Add the spices and sauté briefly, then add the tomato concentrate and sauté again. Add the pureed tomatoes, reduce the heat, and let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes before adding the cream, sugar, and the cooked chicken along with any juices from the bowl.

Let it all simmer for about 15 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning, and serve immediately garnished with fresh coriander, cooked rice, and naan bread.

Find the full recipe further down this page.

tikka masala with chicken and fresh cilantro

Frequently asked questions

How do you store leftovers?

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Can tikka masala be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze it in portions for convenient meals later.

Can I use something other than chicken?

Yes, you can use pork or lamb as alternatives; they also taste great.

What does tikka masala mean?

“Tikka” means pieces, referring to chicken pieces in this context. “Masala” means spice blend.

Where does chicken tikka masala originate from?

Chicken tikka masala originates from northern India and, along with butter chicken, is one of their most well-known dishes around the world.

Other Indian recipes you might like

Plate of Indian chicken tikka masala

Tips and tricks for the recipe

  • Marinate the chicken the day before.
  • Remember to taste as you go along.
  • Be cautious with the chili; the dish should be hot but not mouth-burning.
  • Make a double batch and freeze it for easy, delicious dinners.
  • Order dry spices online; it’s often cheaper than buying them in a store.
  • Try using meats other than chicken, such as lamb or pork.

Serving suggestions

  • Serve it in deep bowls with cooked jasmine rice and naan bread.
  • Consider serving a cold raita on the side; it can help cool down the spice level.

Do you love this dish?

Then you’ll probably also enjoy our recipe for homemade Butter Chicken.
Pot of chicken tikka masala
Chicken tikka masala with rice and naan bread, garnished with fresh coriander

Recipe for Indian Tikka Masala with Chicken

Here’s our recipe for an authentic Indian classic bursting with flavor. It’s a delightful dinner that our whole family loves to enjoy at home.

We hope you feel inspired to try this recipe and serve it to your family the next time you’re planning an Indian meal at home.

Homemade chicken tikka masala with rice and naan bread, served on a plate with fresh coriander.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala
Recipe for a chicken curry with plenty of delicious Indian flavors. It's a classic Indian dish served with rice and naan bread, and optionally a cold raita on the side.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Marinating 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people
Calories 777 kcal


  • 800 g chicken breast
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Fresh coriander chopped

For the Chicken Marinade:

  • 2.5 dl natural yogurt
  • 1.5 tbsp garlic finely grated
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger finely grated
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder or to taste
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1.5 tsp salt

For the Sauce:

  • 40 g butter
  • 2 onions medium-sized or 1 large, finely chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp garlic finely grated
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh ginger finely grated
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder or to taste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp tomato concentrate
  • 450 g tomato passata or pureed tomatoes
  • 2.5 dl heavy cream
  • 3 tsp sugar


  • In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the marinade. Stir it thoroughly and set it aside.
    2.5 dl natural yogurt, 1.5 tbsp garlic, 1.5 tbsp ginger, 1 tsp ground turmeric, 2 tsp garam masala, 1.5 tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp chili powder, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp paprika, 1.5 tsp salt
  • Trim the chicken breasts of tendons and fat, then cut them into bite-sized pieces. Place them in the marinade and toss everything together thoroughly. Now, refrigerate it all for a minimum of 30 minutes.
    It's worth marinating the chicken the day before for extra flavor.
    800 g chicken breast
  • Take out a large pot or sauté pan and heat the oil over medium-high heat. While the oil is heating up, remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator. Brown them in batches in the hot oil. When all the chicken pieces are browned, set them aside.
    4 tbsp olive oil
  • In the same pot/pan, melt the butter. Add the chopped onions and sauté them over medium heat until they become translucent. Then, add finely grated ginger and finely grated garlic. Let them sauté together with the onions for a minute.
    40 g butter, 2 onions, 1.5 tbsp garlic, 1.5 tbsp fresh ginger
  • Next, add turmeric, garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, chili powder, and salt. Sauté them for about 30 seconds while stirring. Then, add tomato concentrate and sauté for another 30 seconds.
    1 tsp ground turmeric, 2 tsp garam masala, 1.5 tsp ground cumin, 1.5 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp salt, 2 tbsp tomato concentrate
  • Now, add tomato passata/pureed tomatoes and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
    450 g tomato passata
  • Add cream and sugar, as well as the fried chicken pieces and any juices it released in the bowl. Let everything simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
    2.5 dl heavy cream, 3 tsp sugar
  • Serve your Tikka Masala garnished with fresh coriander alongside cooked rice and Naan bread.
    Fresh coriander


Serving: 1personCalories: 777kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 52gFat: 52gSaturated Fat: 23gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 221mgSodium: 2433mgPotassium: 1608mgFiber: 5gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 2578IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 251mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Chicken Tikka Masala, indian chicken dish
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