Chicken Tikka Masala

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Marinate: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: Indian


Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredient list in this recipe. Most of those ingredients are spices in your pantry that you don’t actually have to prep. Serve with basmati rice, naan bread, and a crisp salad for a complete meal.


  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 4 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, in 1 and 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


  1. In a small bowl combine the garlic, ginger, garam masala, coriander, cumin, and turmeric.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, salt, and half of the garlic-ginger mixture. Set the other half aside.
  3. Put the chicken in a large resealable bag and add the yogurt mixture. Squeeze out as much as air as possible, seal the bag, and put in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and as long as overnight.
  4. Thread the chicken onto skewers and discard any yogurt mixture left in the bag.
  5. Preheat a grill to high and lightly oil the grate. Grill (or broil) the chicken, turning once or twice, until just cooked through and browned in spots, 12 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, preheat the broiler, position a rack about 5 inches from the heat, and lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Broil the chicken until cooked through, flipping as needed).
  6. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
  7. Add the chili powder, cardamom, cayenne, and remaining garlic-ginger mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the tomatoes and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir in the cream. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the sauce is thickened to your liking, about 10 minutes.
  9. Take the chicken off the skewers and add to the sauce. Cook 2 to 3 minutes.