Chicken Tikka Masala

Leftover chicken tikka masala tastes phenomenal the next day because the spices develop more flavor overnight.

Avoid using Greek yogurt if possible for this recipe. If it's all you can find, buy the Greek yogurt with the highest fat content you can find and mix it with a little whole milk to get the consistency of regular yogurt. This will give the sauce some insurance against separating.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thighs, or a mix
  • 6 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

For the tikka masala sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 5 ounces, or 1 1/2 cups sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes (regular crushed tomatoes work, too)
  • 6 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cooked rice, to serve
  • Cilantro, to garnish

Method

1 Prepare the chicken: Trim chicken thighs of any extra fat. Chop into bite-sized pieces about 1/2 to 1-inch wide. Place the chicken thigh pieces to a medium bowl.

Add the yogurt, ginger, garlic, cumin, paprika and salt. Using your hands, combine the chicken with the spices until the chicken is evenly coated.

Best Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe raw chicken meat for chicken tikka masala on a cutting board

2 Marinate the chicken: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least 45 minutes or as long as overnight. (Marinating for 4 to 6 hours is perfect.)

Indian Chicken Masala Recipe Marinade for chicken tikka masala

3 Cook the chicken: In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thigh pieces and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes, until they’re cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Best Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe simmer the chicken How to make chicken tikka masala at home cook until chicken is done in a pot on the stove.

4 Toast the spices: Wipe down the pan you used to cook the chicken. Heat remaining canola oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, until softened, stirring often.

Add the grated ginger, minced garlic, coriander, paprika, garam masala, turmeric, black pepper, salt, and cayenne. Let the spices cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute.

Chicken Tikka Masala Toasting spices for chicken tikka masala with the onions

5 Make the sauce: Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan with the spices and let everything cook for 4 minutes, stirring often. Add the yogurt and stir to combine.

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe Add the tomatoes to the masala sauce on stovetop Indian Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe Add yogurt to tikka masala sauce

6 Simmer the sauce: Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the sauce simmer for another 4 minutes. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and coat with sauce.

Best Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe Add the chicken to tikka masala sauce

7 Serve: Serve over cooked basmati rice and garnish with cilantro.