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It's hard to believe you can get such a full-flavored, deeply spiced chicken tikka masala in just 30 minutes, but we did it! And, like the title says, this classic chicken tikka masala recipe really is as easy as it gets.

EatingWell.com, September 2019; updated October 2022

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Recipe Summary

active:
30 mins
total:
30 mins
Servings:
4

Nutrition Profile:

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How to Make Chicken Tikka Masala

This creamy spiced tomato-based chicken dish is seasoned with garlic, ginger and garam masala. Everything is made in one pot, making it an easy weeknight meal. Here are tips on how to make it:

Use Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs are high in protein and a more flavorful alternative to chicken breasts. They are reliably tender, less likely to overcook and less expensive when you prep them yourself. To learn how to prepare bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and turn them into boneless, skinless chicken thighs, check out our instructions here.

Use Fresh Ginger

When buying fresh ginger, it should feel firm to the touch with smooth skin. Our favorite way to peel ginger is with a spoon. For grating ginger, we recommend using a Microplane zester, which releases the flavorful juices as well.

You can store peeled ginger in an airtight bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Use Garam Masala

Garam masala is a ground spice blend originating from India that typically includes black pepper, white pepper, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, mace, cardamom, cumin, fennel, red chili powder and coriander. You can find garam masala in the spice section of most grocery stores or online.

Can You Freeze Chicken Tikka Masala?

Yes, chicken tikka masala is easy to freeze. After it's cooled completely, portion it out in freezer-safe containers. Label, date and freeze for up to 2 months.

Additional reporting by Jan Valdez

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over high. Add chicken; cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add onion, garlic and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add tomato paste, turmeric, garam masala and cayenne; cook, stirring constantly, until spices are toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato puree, stock, cream, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro; serve over rice.

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Equipment

Large pot

Nutrition Facts

1 1/4 cups masala, 1/2 cup rice
514 calories; protein 41g; carbohydrates 45g; dietary fiber 5g; sugars 10g; fat 19g; saturated fat 6g; calcium 71mg; potassium 1195mg; sodium 600mg.
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