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Easy Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

A comforting bowl of tender, marinated chicken in a spicy tomato gravy. Just add rice.

Servings: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 4 hours (includes marinating the chicken)


for the first marinade:
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ pounds|750 grams boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces

for the second marinade:
½ cup|150 grams plain yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon red chili powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 garlic cloves, mashed into a paste
1 (1 ½-inch) piece ginger, peeled and mashed into a paste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil


for the masala:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, mashed into a paste
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and mashed into a paste
2 teaspoons red chili powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
kosher salt, to taste
1 ½ cups|388 grams tomato purée
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 green chili, stemmed and sliced
2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup|125 ml heavy cream
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped


  1. For the first marinade, mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl along with the chicken. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. For the second marinade, mix the yogurt, cumin, chili powder, garam masala, white pepper, kosher salt, and garlic and ginger pastes together in a large bowl. Add the marinated chicken and toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Heat the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes. Brush with the oil and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Set the chicken aside.
  4. For the masala, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the onion and cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Reduce the hear to medium and stir in the garlic and ginger pastes . Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in the chili powder, garam masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and salt and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the reserved chicken and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée, lemon juice, and green chili and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and cook for 2 minutes longer. Stir in the cream and serve garnished with the cilantro.

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