Chicken Tikka Masala is so easy to make right at home in one pan with simple ingredients!
This rich and creamy flavoursome Chicken tikka rivals any Indian restaurant! Why go out when you can make it better at home! With aromatic golden chicken pieces swimming in an incredible curry sauce, this Chicken Tikka Masala recipe is one of the best you will try!
How do you make chicken tikka masala?
The BEST part about this recipe is that you may already have these ingredients in your kitchen. If not, they are so easy to find in any grocery store, you won’t need to go searching high and low to find them! Authentic Chicken Tikka Masala is usually made with yogurt marinated chicken, skewered and chargrilled for incredible bbq flavours. For the sake of making this recipe much easier for us to make at home, we are using a skillet or pot to cook it all in, while still keeping those amazing flavours.
Chicken thighs or breasts
We are still coating and marinating our chicken with an aromatic spiced Tikka yogurt, using chicken thighs instead of breasts for juicy and succulent results. Using thighs also cuts down on marinating time, needing only a minimum of 10 minutes to soak all of those flavours in!
You CAN use breasts if you wish, but I suggest marinating them overnight for better results. This gives the yogurt time to tenderise them, yielding a better result when cooking over high heat.
Pot Or Skillet
For the best charred results, use a well seasoned cast iron skillet if you have one. You can also use a regular nonstick pan over high heat. Searing your chicken in batches of two or three to avoid over crowding the pan helps fry or char (not burn) your chicken pieces instead of simmering in juices. You want golden chicken pieces.
The chicken will not be cooked through at this point because you are going to finish them in the sauce later on, absorbing ALL of the flavours of the sauce right into the meat for maximum flavour.
The combination of spices going into this creamy, tomato based sauce is so perfect it makes your curry explode with flavour.
- Garam Masala
- Ground Coriander
If you can find Kashmiri Chili, use it! It’s a mild chili but intensifies the colour and adds a wonderful flavour to the Masala sauce. If you can’t find it, don’t worry. Any ground red chili powder or Cayenne powder will do! You can adjust the amount to suit your heat preference, or leave it out all together for a non spicy Tikka.
To blend or not to blend the sauce
This is personal preference. Over the years I’ve tried both AND made both options over the last couple of weeks for the purpose of this post. In the image above, we blended the sauce and then strained it for a smooth lump free sauce. In the image below served with rice we are showing the non blended sauce.
We prefer the non blended sauce. It’s easier, less mess and not necessary! Especially when the most crucial flavours are strained right out. You WANT those flavours in your curry.
What to serve with Chicken Tikka Masala
The BEST side is hot and fresh Basmati rice and Naan bread. If you can’t find anyone that stocks Naan, feel free to use this easy Garlic flatbread recipe!
Watch us make this EASY Chicken Tikka Masala right here!
Chicken Tikka Masala
For the chicken marinade:
- 28 oz (800g) boneless and skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili (or 1/2 teaspoon ground red chili powder)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable/canola oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 small onions (or 1 large onion) finely diced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic finely grated
- 1 tablespoon ginger finely grated
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 14 oz (400g) tomato puree (tomato sauce/Passata)
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili (optional for colour and flavour)
- 1 teaspoon ground red chili powder (adjust to your taste preference)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups of heavy or thickened cream (use evaporated milk for lower calories)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water if needed
- 4 tablespoons Fresh cilantro or coriander to garnish
- In a bowl, combine chicken with all of the ingredients for the chicken marinade; let marinate for 10 minutes to an hour (or overnight if time allows).
- Heat oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. When sizzling, add chicken pieces in batches of two or three, making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry until browned for only 3 minutes on each side. Set aside and keep warm. (You will finish cooking the chicken in the sauce.)
- Melt the butter in the same pan. Fry the onions until soft (about 3 minutes) while scraping up any browned bits stuck on the bottom of the pan.
- Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant, then add garam masala, cumin, turmeric and coriander. Fry for about 20 seconds until fragrant, while stirring occasionally.
- Pour in the tomato puree, chili powders and salt. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and becomes a deep brown red colour.
- Stir the cream and sugar through the sauce. Add the chicken and its juices back into the pan and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick and bubbling. Pour in the water to thin out the sauce, if needed.
- Garnish with cilantro (coriander) and serve with fresh, hot basmati rice.