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Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

For this chicken tikka masala recipe, the yogurt helps tenderize the chicken; the garlic, ginger, and spices in the marinade infuse it with lots of flavor. This is part of Our site's Best, a collection of our essential recipes.


  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 4 tsp. finely grated peeled ginger
  • 1½ cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)
  • 2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
  • 3 Tbsp. ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 dried chiles de árbol or ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, like San Marzano
  • ¾ cup chopped cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
  • Steamed basmati rice (for serving)

Recipe Preparation

  • Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl. Whisk yogurt, salt, and half of spice mixture in a medium bowl; add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and chill 4-6 hours. Cover and chill remaining spice mixture.

  • Heat ghee in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, tomato paste, cardamom, and chiles and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.

  • Add tomatoes with juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.

  • Add cream and chopped cilantro. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 30-40 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet. Arrange chicken on rack in a single layer. Broil until chicken starts to blacken in spots (it will not be cooked through), about 10 minutes.

  • Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, add to sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Serve with rice and cilantro sprigs.

  • Do Ahead: Chicken can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Reheat before serving.

Nutritional Content

6 servings, 1 serving contains: Calories (kcal) 610 Fat (g) 41 Saturated Fat (g) 21 Cholesterol (mg) 205 Carbohydrates (g) 20 Dietary Fiber (g) 4 Total Sugars (g) 11 Protein (g) 41 Sodium (mg) 1550

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Reviews SectionOk reporting back - I made it with chickpeas this time instead of with chicken and it was still amazing. I added an extra heaping teaspoon of garam masala and the whole dish was so flavorful. Served it with homemade garlic butter naan as well.AnonymousAmsterdam06/22/20It doesn't taste much like Chicken Tikka Masala to me — the addition of the tinned tomatoes just makes it waaay too, well, tomatoey.First time making chicken tikka masala from scratch and it was way easier than I thought it'd be! Per all of the suggestions in the reviews, I mixed greek yogurt with water for the chicken marinade, doubled the spices, and halved the cream — all of which resulted in an extremely flavorful dish. The sauce thickened a bit too much at the end so I added a 1/4 cup of water. Next time, I'll try a vegetarian version with chickpeas instead of chicken.AnonymousAmsterdam05/27/20This recipe is delish and I have made it multiple times since discovering it! Like a few other reviewers, I also added extra of each of the spices to amp up the flavor a bit. If you like spice, add some hot peppers based on your preference - the recipe isn’t spicy on its own.Lydia WohlenhausColorado05/23/20To the person asking why Alison Roman is the author of this recipe instead of Priya Krishna... I'm just going to go out on a limb and guess that it has a lot to do with this recipe being from 2013 when Priya was a Senior in college while Alison Roman was an employee of Bon Appetit.This recipe is amazing, I do recxomend I creasing all spices by 50%Pretty underwhelming, unfortunately, and ultimately thought the flavours were a little too bland. It felt relatively fussy compared to a few of the one pot slow cooker recipes I've tried which also left me with greater impact in flavour. It also tasted a lot more like butter chicken? The oven roasted chicken did have a nice juiciness, I substituted chicken thighs.This recipe is fine. But mostly I'm curious why the Chicken Tikka Masala is written by Alison Roman and not someone more connected to Indian cuisine and culture, like perhaps hmmmm, Priya Krishna??AnonymousOakland, CA05/09/20Wow this was amazing was wondering if anyone added lime juice and tried to split with coconut milk I used ghee coconut butter :) this was amazing. I actually just marinated for an hour and my chicken was actually perfect soft and not dried out. I just mixed all my cream up and poured it in and it didn’t curdle ior anything. I poured all juice from the broiled chicken in as wel!. No Cardamon pods so substituted with cinnamon. My broiler didn’t char it got golden dark brown on top did 15 minuted total to see but it didn’t blacken. I will use fresh turmeric and fresh ginger next time! I will try adding the cashews to my cream also next time for a twist! But this was delicious!!! Thank you so much! Never trying anything else! My first and only time making this from scratch husband was amazed and loved it!MONIQUEGVacaville 04/30/20Absolutely delicious! I doubled the spices, halved the cream, and added 4 bird's eye chilis (what I had on hand) for extra spice. I'd stick with marinating the chicken 4-6 hours to prevent the yogurt acidity from making the chicken tough. I tempered the remaining yogurt marinade into the sauce (to prevent curdling) after removing the chicken because I didn't want that yummy marinade to go to waste! I also drained any juices from the broiled chicken back into the sauce and simmered until thick again. Served over basmati rice I had gently stir-fried with cumin seeds and oil prepared via rice cooker. Can't wait to make again :)I’ve tried making chicken tikka before but this is hands down the best recipe I’ve come across so far. Delicious and a total winner!AnonymousIreland 04/28/20THIS WAS SO DELICIOUS. I never thought I could make something this delicious at home! It tastes like something I could get at an Indian restaurant!! Thank you BA for this recipe and for everyone in the reviews leaving tips. I was worried about it being a difficult recipe but it really was not that complicated. The modifications I made were: 1 cup cream only, half the tomatoes but I added the rest of the whole tomatoes and left out the juice, made twice the amount of the spice paste, and added about 1.5-2 cups of veggie stock (I didn't have chicken stock) because I was worried about the volume and lack of salt in the sauce. Oh and I used an immersion blender to blend it a little. I will definitely be making this again!!!Literally just made this recipe, ate it, and had to leave a GLOWING review before I start to clean up the mess. I made this recipe & I tried my hardest to follow exactly but I am kind of a fly by the seat of my pants cook so I was missing some ingredients AND I forgot to marinate the chicken! So I only marinated it for about two hours, I used canned tomato pulp & I don't have an oven so I just used a toaster oven to try and get that char taste. POINT IS: For everyone intimidated by this recipe, you can be a sloppy (but happy!) chef like me, not have an oven, and even not marinate and have it STILL be tasty & delish. One note, because I didn't marinate for long & because my toaster oven didn't really add the broiled taste,I did leave the chicken simmering with the sauce for longer. & I took everyone's advice and only used one cup of cream.Amused by all the folks saying, “in Indian cooking you actually do...”, when tilkka masala isn’t Indian, it’s British.The recipe is great as-is. The only thing I did different was used ground cardamom instead of pods, but only because I didn’t have pods and didn’t want to drive 7 mi to the Indian grocer to get some. :-)This is good stuff! It is an exquisite starting point, and you ought to make it your own. Just make a half batch the first time around and then figure out what personal touch you want to put on it. The whole idea is that it is universally likable so go ahead and alter it to fit your niche. It is a very valuable recipe to have in your roldex of things you can make on Sunday and eat through Wednesday.Muskrat SamOregon03/22/20This recipe is more than amazing thank you very much! I made half of the portions and poached 3 large tomatoes instead of the canned pealed ones, definitely recommending it!Very good. But I have a further substitution to consider. Use a smaller 14oz can of tomatoes, and add a cup of chicken stock. Indian curries typically use bone-in meat, so I always add stock if I use boneless meat. So to summarise - use chicken thighs, double the spice paste, only use 1 cup of cream, blend that cream with a dozen cashews, add teaspoon kasoori methi, halve tomatoes, add 1 cup stock.Martin Gwynn JonesToronto03/01/20Mind blowing trip of color, flavors, smell, looks and taste. Had to keep the marinated chicken the whole night in the fridge instead of the suggested 4-6 hours, and no problem. A reheat after 2 days was equally deliciousA decent base to start from, but needs modifications, including those suggested by other commenters:1. Double all the spices/garlic/ginger in the mixture.2. Use chicken thighs, not breast. Breast comes out fine because it marinates for a long time, but come on, what are we doing here people eating chicken breast?3. For my taste, it's too tomato-y relative to a good restaurant version. I haven't figured it out yet, but I'd consider trying something other than the San Marzanos.4. Blitz a dozen+ cashews with the cream. Cashews are a 'secret' ingredient/thickener in Indian cuisine.I haven't gotten it perfect yet, but I'm getting there.SrAsparagusOakland, CA11/15/19I'd consider myself a chicken tikka masala connoisseur. I've had it from kits and from restaurants from London to Cancún. I have a baseline idea of what it should taste like and what makes a particular version really yummy to me. This recipe came out at four stars (might be 4.5 stars once the flavours sit overnight) and would have been six (yes, out of five) with a few tweaks.-I got distracted while preparing the chicken and forgot to reserve half of the spice mixture for the sauce. So I accidentally marinated the chicken in all of it mixed with the yoghurt and had to make another half batch of the spice mixture for the sauce. This was a good mistake. I think the chicken would have been too bland otherwise. As it was, it was incredibly flavourful -- I could imagine just making the chicken to enjoy cold in a salad!-1.5 cups of cream would have been ample -- I had to cook my tikka masala about an hour to cook it down enough to diminish the overpowering cream taste and bring out the flavour of all those wonderful spices;-there is enough heat from the two chiles that my nose was running, but it didn't taste spicy to me. I would actually double the chiles if you like heat (and especially if you're a fan of chiles de árbol!);-I would BBQ the chicken to get a nice char. My broiler isn't great, so after about 20 minutes in the oven not getting anywhere except a nice crust on the meat from the marinade, I opted to hold each piece over an open flame on the stovetop and get a little char that way. It really added depth of flavour to the sauce.Up until the addition of what I felt was too much cream, the recipe instructions were spot on for cooking this recipe in a Dutch oven -- each step took the amount of minutes in the recipe. But I needed extra time to really reduce the sauce to where it tasted right.For a first time preparing chicken tikka masala from scratch, I'm super pleased with this recipe! I wouldn't even try another and I shared the link with all my friends who enjoy curries.travellingraeMérida, Mexico08/27/19Holy mother of god, this was DELICIOUS. I'm a very novice home cook and the ingredient list made me nervous (it's long people, but oh so worth it), but it was simple to make! I followed the recipe to a T, with the exception being that I marinaded the chicken for 10 hours. My husband really enjoyed it and he's not a fan of tomato, so this was a big win in my books. Felt like a legitimate home cook and was super impressed with the outcome. Loved it!! Would highly, highly HIGHLY recommend!!heather eatsMontreal07/22/19I can't exaggerate how much I love this recipe. I'm pretty new to cooking and never made anything like this recipe before It is pretty easy and incredibly flavorful. I will be replacing my usual takeout with this from now on.AnonymousRochelle Park, NJ06/25/19Absolutely everything about this recipe is incredible. As noted in other reviews, I doubled the spice contents for the sauce, eyeballed the cream volume for the desired color and consistency, and I substituted fresh grated turmeric because it was available at my grocery store. The end result was fantastic! This is, hands down, better than anything I’ve had at a restaurant. I will definitely be making it again.AnonymousSacramento06/10/19Made this recipe this evening and everyone licked their plates..... Might make it a bit spicier next time but other than that, I wouldn't change a thing. So far I have made 2 of the BA best... (nachos... really fab) I think I'm going to work my way thru all of them, but don't expect me to blog about it... my name isn't JulieMy husband and son LOVED this recipe, claims it’s as good as our local Indian restaurant. I used brown rice instead of white since it’s healthier. Followed the great chefs that came before me and hit the sauce with a stick blender while it cooked and before I added the chicken - a great idea that gave me a smother sauce. Chose not to broil the chicken, cooked it at 400• convection roast instead and it was amazing, though watch out for the burned runoff and line your pan w/foil which I’ll do next time. Served it with this awesome garlic naan I got at Trader Joe’d and it was well worth the effort.KimNeedhamAnn Arbor, Michigan 04/15/19

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