The best Chicken Tikka masala recipe. The secret is marinating your chicken for as long as possible. Overnight will produce great flavours for the chicken tikka. You can also make the masala sauce the day before for amazing results.

Everyone knows that a curry always taste better the day after. It’s because all the flavours can fuse together.

I served my Chicken Tikka Masala above with homemade Peshwari Naan, steamed rice and coriander.

For the chicken tikka, marinate the chicken in yoghurt, minced garlic and ginger with Indian spices. Add Garam masala, turmeric, cumin, Kashmiri chilli or mild chilli. Combined together and marinate overnight.

You can use either chicken breast or chicken thigh. The difference is when it comes to cooking, you cook the chicken breast quicker and cook in the masala for only 5 to 10 minutes and it’s ready.

Whereas when you cook the chicken thigh, you cook for longer and it won’t dry out and lose its juiciness. Both are great, you just have to be careful not to overcook the chicken breast in the masala sauce.

For the masala sauce, cook the diced onion, garlic and ginger until really soft and translucent. Add the spices, 1 tin of tomatoes and cook slowly for 30 minutes to fully incorporate together. Add the cream just before pan-frying the chicken tikka.

After the base of the masala sauce is made, all is left to do is pan fry the chicken tikka and add cream to your masala sauce.

How much cream you add depends on how creamy you like your masala sauce. Once you add the cream, be careful not to cook for too long as the cream could split.

This really is a delicious recipe and worth all the effort. Go on, it’s tikka time.

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Chicken Tikka Masala

  • Author: Paul Deehan
  • Prep Time: 2 hrs
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hr 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


The best Chicken Tikka Masala



Chicken Tikka marinade

  • 800 grams of chicken breast or boneless chicken thigh
  • 3 heaped tbsp of yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli or mild chilli powder
  • 1 tsp red food colouring, powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Masala sauce

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 1 large white onion or 2 small onions, finely diced
  • 1 ½ tbsp of finely diced garlic
  • 1 tbsp of finely diced ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 x 400 gram of chopped tin tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli or mild chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot chilli powder (adjust more or less for heat preference)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 400 grams of double cream
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped coriander. 


Chicken Tikka mariade

  • Dice the chicken breast or thighs into 1″ cubes.
  • Marinate the chicken in the yoghurt, minced garlic and ginger with the Indian spices in a large bowl.
  • Mix together and marinate for at least 2 hours, overnight for best results. 

Masala sauce & completing the chicken tikka masala

  • Peel and finely dice the onion, garlic and ginger.
  • Slowly cook the onion, garlic and ginger with the butter and oil until soft and translucent.
  • Add the Indian spices and slowly cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the tin of tomatoes and slowly cook on a low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. 
  • Add the double cream 5 minutes before cooking the chicken tikka.
  • In a hot frying pan, add a little oil and cook the chicken tikka in separate pieces, cook for 2 minutes each side until slightly charred.

  • Add the cooked chicken tikka to the masala sauce.
  • Stir together and allow to incorporate until the chicken is fully cooked.
  • Add a little more cream or dash of water if the sauce is too thick for your liking. 
  • Add the freshly chopped coriander and serve.


For best results, marinate the chicken tikka overnight. 

If using chicken breast, be careful not to cook for too long in the masala sauce so it’s still nice and juicy pieces of chicken. 

If using chicken thigh, cook for 20 minutes longer to fully cook the chicken thighs.

You can make the masala sauce the day before too for the flavours to fuse together. Everyone knows curry is always better the next day.

Keywords: Chicken Tikka Masala

Why not check out my homemade Peshwari Naan and give them a go.