Chicken Tikka Masala

Even though David never had Indian food until well into his young-adult life, every time I make this he says it feels “homey”. I can’t say I disagree! It’s creamy and warm and SO flavorful, it’s definitely a comfort food. It’s also really fast! You do have to marinate the chicken for 1-2 hours before cooking the rest, but other than the marinating it comes together in less than 30 minutes. Which, for Indian food, is pretty remarkable.

I have tried a couple different Tikka Masala recipes but this one is my absolute favorite. I first got this recipe from the blogger Mattawa Mum. Her original recipe can be found here. She’s since updated it on her new blog, but it calls for ingredients that I never have on hand, so I just use her first recipe, with some adjustments of my own.

For the printable version of my recipe click here F+F Chicken Tikka Masala

Here’s the part where I tell you what I did, and give more details than what’s on the printable.

Chicken Tikka Masala


  • 1&1/2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized cubes (it’s easiest to cut raw chicken when it’s slightly frozen)


  • 1/3 cup yogurt 
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix together marinade ingredients and pour over cubed chicken breasts. Marinade for
1-2 hours (avoid marinating for longer than this, it will leave a very citrus-y taste in the meat).

Remove chicken from marinade (if there’s extra yogurt that doesn’t stick to the cubes) and cook in a frying pan with 1 Tbsp canola oil over medium-high heat until JUST
cooked-through, then remove from heat and set aside.


  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp butter 
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and chopped finely (can use just 1/2 of pepper if desired, jalapeños tend to vary wildly in their spiciness levels)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garam masala (this is probably one of the only ingredients in this recipe that most cooks don’t already have on hand. You should be able to find it at a normal grocery store, but if not, try an Asian market. It’s a fantastic spice blend, and it’s worth getting even if it’s just for this one recipe!!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce (I’ve also done a drained can of petite diced tomatoes, in a pinch, and it worked okay. It just means your sauce isn’t as smooth)
  • 1-2 cups heavy whipping cream

Add the cilantro, butter, garlic and jalapeño to a wok, dutch oven, or high-sided skillet and cook for 1 minute on medium-high heat. Then stir in coriander, cumin, paprika, garam masala, and salt.

Turn heat to low and add tomato sauce then simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add in cooked chicken and 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and check for spiciness and taste. Add up to one more cup of cream for a more mild flavor, and add salt as needed. 

Serve over basmati rice (or regular long-grain, but basmati is something special) and top with additional cilantro and/or chopped jalapeño if desired. Naan works great as a side dish, because you can dip it in the heavenly sauce.

IMG_6753 2

We recently did a spread of different Indian dishes including two new recipes we know we liked from Indian restaurants, but had never made at home. This Tikka Masala was the tried-and-true element and it ended up being my favorite part of the whole meal!


Note – I sometimes add roasted cauliflower and/or green bell pepper to my tikka masala. They’re not necessarily authentic ingredients, but they taste fantastic and I like that I can cut back the meat and add more veggies. If you do want to add cauliflower or bell pepper, add them (already cooked) at the end when you put the chicken and cream into the sauce, then heat through like normal. 

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