Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

Chicken Tikka Masala is the epitome of all Chicken curries. The aroma of grilled chicken with zesty Indian tomato sauce makes this recipe better than any takeout menu. 

chicken tikka masala

After trying the famous Indian Butter Chicken recipe, I’m excited to share one of my best-ever Chicken curries, “Chicken Tikka Masala.”” It’s a blend of the finest grilled chicken and aromatic tomato sauce. 

By the way, I’m Pakistani, and I’ve been cooking these Indian recipes since my teenage years. However, I came across Chicken Tikka Masala recipes after I got married. Since then, I have always whipped up this recipe for picnics and other special occasions, and I’ve received a lot of compliments from my husband.

Last month, I’ve started a series of Chicken recipes and regularly published them on my Instagram, but unfortunately, only a few of them are shared on the blog. You can try Chicken korma, Butter chicken, Chicken karahi, and White chicken Korma.

chicken tikka masala cooking method

However, till now, the Chicken Tikka Masala is the only recipe that wins my heart. So, let’s see how to infuse taste in this recipe to make it a real epitome.

Why Will You Love Chicken Tikka Masala?

  • Smoky Chicken Taste: Traditionally, in Chicken Tikka masala, we grill the chicken; that’s why it tastes more exceptional than fried chicken.

  • Best Gravy: Tomato sauce with traditional Indian spices and aromatics tastes more palatable. I’ve also introduced coal smoke to the curry to elevate the taste further. 

  • Easy To Make: Like other Indian cuisines, the Chicken Tikka masala is a straightforward and easy-to-make recipe. After marinating a chicken, you hardly need 20 minutes to craft the recipe. 

  • Succulent Chicken Bites: I’ve noticed that we get softer and more succulent chicken bites in Chicken Tikka masala than in any other chicken curry. We use yogurt and lemon for marinating, which makes chicken more juicy.

Chicken Tikka Masala Background 

chicken tikka masala

The roots of Chicken Tikka Masala are pointed towards the Indian. But actually, this recipe was first made in an Indian restaurant in the UK, and from there, it came to India. 

It first came out in 1970, and till now, it’s one of the most famous chicken dishes in Britain. And now I see this amazing chicken curry on every menu in Pakistani restaurants. 

In Restuarants, The Chicken Tikka Masala is made with the traditional “Tandoor” method. First, marinated chicken is char grilled in tandoor, and then it’s added to a tomato-based sauce. 

But you can still make Chicken Tikka Masala using your pan if you don’t have a tandoor or grill. I’ve also whipped up this recipe without grilling and tandoor, and it comes out like a restaurant-style dish. 

Difference Between Chicken Tikka Masala & Butter Chicken 

Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala are two hotly debated topics. And I’ve got so many questions regarding their differences, so I’ve written a separate article on this topic. Check it out!

However, the whole summary of this debate is that Chicken Tikka Masala has a spicy and tangy gravy. Meanwhile, butter chicken has creamy, smooth, and velvety gravy. 

The butter chicken is the go-to option if you want to try something more like umami or chicken gravy with a mild and creamy taste. But if you’re a fan of zesty flavors, the Chicken Tikka Masala will starfish your palates. 


chicken tikka masala ingredients

Chicken: For tikka, we use boneless chicken, and in the same way, for Chicken Tikka masala the boneless chicken is a preferable choice. But it’s not a hard and fast rule; the bone-in chicken is also usable. 

Yogurt: This is an ingredient we will use in the marination process and tomato sauce. The yogurt softens the chicken bites, making them juicer.

Onion & Tomatoes: You must use chopped onions and tomatoes to smooth the curry. Tomato and onion paste are also preferred options. 

Garlic Paste: This is the only aromatic I will use in this recipe. I prefer not to use ginger paste as it can overpower the gravy. 

Oil: Any cooking oil is suitable. I’m using canola oil. Butter is also a substitute for better taste. 

Spices: When it comes to Chicken Tikka Masala, there is a huge list of spices. But I’m sure all these Indian spies are available in every pantry. The spice includes red chili powder, red chili flakes, turmeric powder, ginger powder, coriander powder, garlic powder, chicken tikka masala, and salt.

Coal: Ah! This is not an ingredient. But we will use the heated coal to infuse the smoky coal flavor in our recipe, making its taste more traditional. 

Lemons & Green Chilies: Both these ingredients will be used for garnishing. Lemons are also a crucial ingredient for marinating the chicken as they help it cook faster. 

Let’s Make The Chicken Tikka Masala 


  1. First, start with the chicken marination. Throw the chicken pieces in a large mixing bowl, and then add all the marination ingredients. Here are the items that you need for marination. 
  • 700 g Chicken 
  • 4 tsp Yogurt
  • 1/3 tsp Red chili flakes
  • 1/3 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1/3 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/3 tsp Ginger powder
  • 1/3 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic paste 
  • 1/3 tsp Salt 

Now, leave this bowl for 30 – 40 minutes of rest. 

chicken tikka marination

Grill The Chicken

  1. I’m not using any grill, but you can get the chicken chargrilled with the pan. First, add two tablespoons of oil to a pan and let it become smoking hot. Then add the chicken and let it cook until the marinade darkens, about 2 – 3 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces and do the same with the second side. 
fry the marinated chicken
chicken tikka masala

Make The Tomato Sauce

  1. Then, take another pan, heat the oil, and sauté the onion until golden. Next, add the garlic paste to make the gravy aromatic and pleasant. Stir for 2 minutes.  
fry the onions
  1. Now add the tomatoes and all the ground spices. Here, I’m adding 1/3 cup of water to bring a subtle consistency to the gravy. Stir for 4 – 5 minutes, and then add the yogurt. After that, let it simmer for two more minutes, stirring occasionally.
add tomatoes and spices

Adding Chicken In The Gravy

  1. Add the cooked chicken to the tomatoes-onion sauce and stir it well to blend the flavors with the chicken. 


  1. Finally, garnish with some green chiles and lemons.

Introduce The Coal Flavor

  1. To introduce the coal flavor, simply place a spoon inside the pan. Now heat the coal on a stove until it gets overheated. Place that coat on the spoon with a tong, drizzle a few drops of oil over the coal, and immediately close the lid. Keep the lid close for a few minutes, and turn off the stove. 
add coal flavor

Some Tips To Make Chicken Tikka Masala Special

  • Always go for small chicken pieces because they get softer and juicy quickly. 

  • You must add yogurt to the tomatoes and onion sauce because it makes the gravy more fluffy and thick. 

  • Yogurt is also a main ingredient in the marination process; it helps chicken pieces to get softer quickly. 

  • Chicken Tikka masala is a secret ingredient that brings the taste of a restaurant takeout. You can catch this masala at your nearby grocery store. 

  • Always use a non-stick pan to achieve a grilled-like texture for the chicken. Keep your marinade coat thick for the best texture and color.

Serving Tips 

Chicken Tikka Masala is typically served with naan, Tandoori roti, Paratha, white rice, or Basmati rice. Including cucumber salad, raita, pickles, or mint chutney as sides with Chicken Tikka Masala is essential.

I also love using Chicken Tikka Masala in Paratha rolls.

Other Chicken Recipes

chicken tikka masala

Chicken Tikka Masala 

Chicken Tikka Masala is the epitome of all Chicken curries. The aroma of grilled chicken with zesty Indian tomato sauce makes this recipe better than any takeout menu. 
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Prep Time 55 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 3



  • 700 g Chicken 
  • 4 tbsp Yogurt
  • tbsp Red chili flakes
  • tbsp Red chili powder
  • tbsp Turmeric powder
  • tbsp Ginger powder
  • tbsp Coriander powder
  • ½ tbsp Garlic paste 
  • tbsp Salt
  • 2 Lemons


  • 2-3 tbsp Oil

For Gravy

  • 3 tbsp Oil
  • 2 Medium sized onion (chopped)
  • ½ tbsp Garlic paste
  • 4 tomatoes (chopped)
  • tbsp Red chili powder
  • tbsp Red chili flakes
  • tbsp Turmeric powder
  • ½ tbsp Chicken Tikka Masala
  • tbsp Coriander powder
  • tbsp Ginger paste
  • tbsp Salt
  • 4 tbsp Yogurt
  • 1 Coal (for smoky flavor)
  • Green chilies (for garnishing)


Marinate, The Chicken 

  • Combine all the marination ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix it well and leave the bowl for 40 minutes rest. 

Cook The Chicken

  • Take a nonstick pan, add two tablespoons of oil, and let it become searing hot. Add the chicken pieces one by one, and cook the one side for 3 – 4 minutes. Then flip the chicken and cook the other side until it gets dark golden, like a grilled chicken. 
  • Prepare The Sauce 
  • Then, heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion until golden. Add the garlic paste, then stir for 2 minutes. 
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and all the ground spices. Pour the splash of water (1/3 cup) to prevent spices from burning. Stir, and let it simmer for 3 minutes. 
  • Pour the yogurt and stir it well. Taste the gravy, and adjust the salt according to your taste. Now let it simmer for 2 minutes. 

Add The Chicken To Tomatoes Sauce 

  • Now the tomato sauce is ready. Add the cooked chicken pieces to the sauce and stir it for 1 – 2 minutes. 


  • Garnish with green chilies and lemon juice. 

Create A Smokey Effect

  • To infuse the smoky flavor, place a spoon inside the pan. Heat the coal on the stove until it's smoking. Using tongs, carefully transfer the hot coal onto the spoon, drizzle a few drops of oil over it, and instantly cover the pan with a lid. Allow it to sit for a few minutes with the lid closed. Make sure the stove is turned off during the process. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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