Chicken Tikka Masala

Truth: Up until I made this dinner, I have never tasted Indian Food.

Not that I haven’t wanted to, in fact, I have been begging my hubby to take me out to an Indian restaurant for years. My husband, however, (don’t tell him I’m telling you this) is kind of a wimp when it comes to spices. Shhhh! He doesn’t like to admit to it :) I on the other hand, think the spices add FLAVOR! MMM! Well after hearing my cute sister-in-law, Sarah, rave about one of her favorite dinners, I decided to make it and not tell my husband what it was until he tried it. She actually got the recipe from our mutual friend, Meg at Big Red Clifford, and now it has made its way into our family rotation.

Chicken Tikka Masala on ...This dinner is JAM PACKED with delicious flavor and is surprisingly super easy to make! #dinner #recipe

As I was making it, I started to become a little nervous at how he would respond to this recipe. Seasonings are definitely a HUGE part of this meal. However, after tasting the sauce, it was like I could hear bells ringing in my head at the incredible flavor explosion this dish presented. I knew he was going to like it.

After eating it, he kept telling me how great it was… and thats when I laid it on him- that it was actually an Indian dish. Needless to say, we will be visiting an Indian restaurant asap to try out other yummy recipes.

Do any of you have a favorite Indian dish I need to try out?! I am in new territory here and can’t wait to dive into this new found flavor :)

Oh, and if you are looking for a great Naan recipe, be sure and check this one out… its our favorite!

Chicken Tikka Masala on ...This dinner is JAM PACKED with delicious flavor and is surprisingly super easy to make! #dinner #recipe

Chicken Tikka Masala
This dinner is JAM PACKED with delicious flavor and is surprisingly super easy to make! #dinner #recipe
Recipe type: Entrée
Cuisine: Indian
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. salt, more if needed TT
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Cut chicken breasts up into bite size pieces and toss in a large zip lock bag. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, black pepper, ginger and salt. Stir to thoroughly combine.
  3. Pour into zip lock bag with chicken. Seal tight and shake and move chicken in bag to evenly coat. Place in fridge and marinate at least one hour.
  4. After chicken has marinated for at least one hour, dump into large frying pan (marinade included) and cook on medium-high heat until chicken is done and cooked through.
  5. Place chicken in strainer and let remaining marinade drip off. Do not rinse. Set aside.
  6. In a large sauce pan, melt butter. Add in finely diced jalapeños and minced garlic and saute for one minute.
  7. Next, add the cumin, paprika, and salt and stir to evenly combine.
  8. Add tomato sauce and heavy cream to sauce pan. Stir to evenly combine. Once sauce has started to simmer, turn heat down to low and let simmer until thickened. This takes about 20 minutes.
  9. Add chicken to sauce and stir to evenly coat and combine. Let simmer a little more if needed until it thickens up how you would like it to.
  10. Serve with naan and/or rice.


(recipe from High Heels and Grills and Big Red Clifford)

Chicken Tikka Masala on ...This dinner is JAM PACKED with delicious flavor and is surprisingly super easy to make! #dinner #recipe

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #chefintraining and/or #chefintrainingblog. I would love to see how these recipes take shape in your kitchens.

Filed under: chicken, dinner

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  1. Lucas

    We love Indian Food. You definitely have to either try or make Lamb Korma. It is similar to Tikka Masala, but yummier. Also, you should try some Thai food that stuff is delicious with a lot of lime and cilantro.

  2. Emily @ A Very Sweet Life

    Chicken Tikka Masala is my favorite Indian dish! Butter chicken is good as well. (My family also loves Thai food, a must try!) I was very nervous to try Indian and Thai food for a long time (we ate a lot of bland food growing up.) but once I tried it, I was hooked! I'm still a bit intimidated to try making it at home, but this recipe looks like it wouldn't be too hard to give a try.

  3. sally @ sallys baking addiction

    i flippin' LOVE tikka masala nikki!! And I'm SO glad you loved it! It's my favorite indian dish, by far. Yours looks simply incredible. pinning it. because it's beautiful - specially for your first time making it! wow!

  4. dixya @ food, pleasure, and health

    i am a big indian food fan and this dish looks soooooo good. Esp for a first time- kudos girl and I am so glad you liked it. Some of my other indian favs are - chana masala (chickpea curry), aloo palak (potatoes cooked in spinach), lam vindaloo and fresh nan :)

  5. Lori Kaumans

    I was similar to your husband, convinced I didn't like curry and everything Indian has to have curry, right? Wrong! So many wonderful flavors and spices and chicken tikka masala is my favorite. You should try butter chicken and chicken coconut korma. Delightful! I have a chicken tikka masala recipe that calls for broiling the chicken. You should try it. The chicken is much more tender and juicy that way. Love, love, love your blog! Thanks!

  6. Ingrid

    My hubs and I LOVE Indian food. An easy crockpot meal we like is Crockpot Chicken Curry from the blog Crockpot365. Sooo good and packed with yummy spices and veggies. We usually serve it over rice.

  7. Catie @ Catie's Corner

    Yummo!! Love Indian food! You have to try Butter Chicken. Similar and soo tasty. Also, there's less 'heat' to it, so it's better for kids. Thanks for sharing. I'll be pinning this one. =)

    ~ Catie

  8. June

    This looks so good, Nikki! I like some Indian foods, mostly the curry style, This would be a good recipe to use the spice mix, Garam Masala with... I look forward to seeing some other Indian recipes on your site!

  9. Angela

    Chicken tikka Masala is my Hubby's favorite :)

  10. Deborah

    I feel your pain - my husband doesn't like spice at all, and I love Indian food and Thai food. So I basically have to beg my sisters to go out with me if I'm craving it!! I should make this one night and see if I could get him to try it - I know I'd love it!!

  11. Diane Balch

    Wonderful recipe I can smell and taste the great seasoning.

  12. Meg @ Big Red Clifford

    Yum town, right! We made this for Zach and Sarah when we were neighbors and they hadn't had it before either... I love opening minds to Indian food- so good right!! I have a really yummy rice dish that my aunt made that I will be posting soon and if you loved this one, you'll love the new one coming! ;)

    1. Chef in Training

      So jealous! I wish I had the privilege of living next to you and sampling your indian cooking ;-) Can't wait to see the new one coming! I'm sure it is fantastic!

  13. Ashton @ Something Swanky

    Ok. Seriously, girl. How many bloggers are you related to or are childhood friends??? I swear, you have the best foodie personal connections of any blogger I know of! I'm hitchin' my wagon to yours!!! Oh-- also, this looks AH-MAZING :)

    1. Chef in Training

      haha! Your comment made me smile, Ashton! It is a very small world I tell you what! Can't wait to meet you next month!

  14. Jen

    This looks AMAZING - chicken tikka masala is my favorite Indian dish, and this one looks uncomplicated enough that I could handle it at home! One question: what all contributes to the level of spiciness? Obviously the cayenne pepper and the jalapenos...but I didn't know if there was anything else that contributes to the spicy heat that most recipes end up with. Do you think if I left out the cayenne and the jalapeno that it would be pretty mild? I love the bold Indian flavors...just not the feeling that my tastebuds are on fire (I'm a HUGE weenie when it comes to anything spicy!!). ;)

    1. Chef in Training

      The cayenne pepper and the jalapeños contribute to the heat of this particular recipe. The paprika has a strong spice flavor, I wouldn't necessarily call it "heat" but it is a bold flavor. I assure you, in my opinion, the heat of this recipe it isn't too bad at all. I definitely wouldn't call it mild, but it is in the mediocre range. I am on a mediocre level when it comes to handling heat and spice and My husband, who doesn't handle spice and heat too well, really enjoyed this dish. You can try adding less of those measurements if you wanted to but they definitely help to give it that punch of flavor. Let me know what you decided to do after you make it and how you enjoy it :)

  15. Sarah

    I am very excited to try this! Just one question, could you recommend any substitutes for the heavy cream in this recipe?

  16. Sophia

    Looks AMAZING I may have to try this and make a lighter version! Great photos and love the concept and feel of the blog!

  17. Janet

    The Chicken Coconut Kurma at Tandoori Oven or Indian Oven is amazing - second favorite is Tikka Masala! Can't wait to try this recipe!!

  18. Mishca

    Hey, I tried your recipe, cos we love indian food. Smell great, but is really really salty. Next time i will try with less salt. Thanks a lot, nice blog.

    1. Chef in Training

      Yes you can definitely cut back on the salt. I love salt that is probably why it tasted fine to me, but like I said, you can adjust any ingredients to your liking! Glad to hear it worked out for you though despite the saltiness :)

  19. Jilian Sullivan

    Hi there. I just wanted to say...AMAZING recipe! I made this last night and it was fantastic. Couple small tweaks, tablespoon of Sambal and a squirt of Sirracha because I didn't have a jalapeno, and googled 'substitute for heavy cream' which was 1/3 cup of melted butter and 3/4 cup of milk.. But even with those small changes the chicken was so tasty and tender.

    Yum! Thanks for the great recipe!

  20. Kristen

    This was the bomb!!! I am so in love with this recipe. My entire family loved it and it truly tasted like the real deal. Keep up the great work. This was awesome.

  21. Mar Bonet

    I'm so going to try this recipe. When I go to any Indian restaurant I always stick to my favorite (Chicken Korma + regular rice + cheese nan) but I've always wanted to try de Tikka Masala and yours looks delicious!

  22. Megan

    I tried making this dish this evening. I made the marinade last night so that the chicken could sit overnight. I added only 1 tsp of salt to the marinade. In future, I might ease up on the cayenne pepper, because it was super spicy. Other than that, the dish is fantastic!!!

  23. Rebecca N

    We tried this recipe last night and it was amazing! I wasn't sure if my husband would like it because it was kinda curry-ish, but he loved it and loved the spiciness! Thanks!!

  24. Meg

    We LOVE Tikka Masala! But we also grill up a ton of green bell pepper slices and onions to go with it - stretches the dish and gives us a few more veggies in our diet at the same time.

  25. Nina

    I am fixing this right now. I've never heard of it, but it looked yummy. It's marinating right now. I wish I had the naan, but rice will suffice. I had everything but yogurt, and japalenos, and of course I wondered if there was a substitute for the yogurt. Even tough I wondered, I still went Krogering, and they didn't have not one single japaleno, so instead, I am going to use the jar pickled type. Will post the outcome.

  26. Nina

    Well, it was absolutely tasty. I will definitely make this again. I used less salt, and more cayenne.

  27. Lisa

    This was so tasty! Thanks! Better than any restaurant version!

  28. Liz

    Sounds really good. Thank you and I will give it a try. Have a good weekend!

  29. Desiree

    I am making this dish right, as my boyfriend and I love chicken tikka marsala. However, I am doubling recipe for leftovers and tasted marinade for chicken...a bit salty. Any suggestions to cut the salt; maybe adding more of another seasoning or spice? Thanks :)

  30. Ian

    Got here via pinterest. Dal Makhani is the dish I would suggest you try if you go to an Indian restaurant. If done right it is fragrant and filling and so good. The black lentils they use in it can be hard to find, but makes a great make ahead meal.

  31. Meg

    Hello! This dish is really tasty, but I was wondering if you have any nutrition facts? Thank you so much! :)

  32. Angie

    This recipe is AMAZING! I must admit that I was a bit skeptical; my husband and I LOVE Indian food, and we're very particular about it! My doubts were put to rest the first bite (actually, hubby took the first bite and his reaction assured me that we'd found a winner before I even got to taste it!). I only used 1 teaspoon of cayenne in the marinade because I'm 27 weeks pregnant and even though I love spicy food, I don't love the heartburn it gives me! If you're sensitive to spice, I'd stick with 1 teaspoon; this recipe still has plenty of flavor and kick even with the reduced amount. I can't wait until August when I can make the marinade "full strength!" Thanks so much for the recipe! :)

  33. Beverly

    I made this last night for dinner and I was so excited to try it. My kids love spice. I am not sure what happened though but it was extremely salty. I double checked the recipe to make sure I did it correctly. Do you think 2 tsp of salt is a lot for that sauce? It seemed as the sauce thickened it got saltier. I would love to try it again but I think I will omit the salt until the end and then add it. I notice you said maybe more TT. We ended up not being able to eat it, we ate the rice and naan.

  34. Debra Yockel

    looks great

  35. Lisa

    My family loves this recipe. So good! Thank you!