Go Back
+ servings
Print Recipe
Rate our recipe!

Chicken Tikka Masala

An incredibly popular dish made with tender chunks of yogurt marinated chicken, folded into a richly spiced tomato sauce with just a hint of heat from the cayenne
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6
Author: Tricia


For the chicken:

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt, full fat
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

For the masala sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • fresh Serrano chili (ribs and seed removed) minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped plus more for garnish


To prepare the chicken:

  • Combine the cumin, coriander, cayenne and salt in a small bowl.  Place the chicken breasts on a large sheet pan and flatten a little to ensure even baking.  Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the spice mixture and press into the meat.  In a medium mixing bowl combine the yogurt, oil, garlic and ginger.  Spoon the yogurt mixture evenly over both sides of the chicken and spread to cover. Using tongs, place the chicken breasts in large ziplock bag and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.  Place the chicken breasts on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake for 40 minutes, turning after 20 minutes.  Bake until the chicken is fully cooked and lightly browned.  Remove and let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes.  Carefully slice into bite size pieces.

To prepare the marsala sauce:

  • While the chicken is in the oven, prepare the sauce.  Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook stirring frequently until light golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, chili pepper, tomato paste and the garam masala.  Cook stirring continuously until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes, sugar and salt.  Bring mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes stirring occasionally.  Stir in the cream and return to simmer.  Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep warm.
  • Toss the chicken in the warm masala sauce but do not cook.  Stir in the cilantro and check the seasoning.  Garnish with additional cilantro if desired.  Serve with rice and Naan bread


For the best flavor, use fresh Garam Masala if possible
Adapted from a 2007 Cook's Illustrated recipe