An Easy Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

I honestly think I could live on this dish -- its so delicious and so full of flavor! And as you know, I don't particularly enjoy slaving away in the kitchen all day so here's a recipe for chicken tikka masala that cuts a few corners but tastes absolutely authentic.

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that you can feel free to improvise and change the ingredients around to suit your taste: add more or less spice if you like; feel free to skip the yogurt. I even sometimes enjoy adding a dash of cream. Think of this recipe as a starting point and customize it to your personal liking :)


3 chicken breasts, cut up into bite-sized pieces
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
2 tsp minced garlic
4 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp tomato paste
1 cup water
1 cup yogurt or coconut milk (optional but so yummy)
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
A pinch of sugar

1 large tablespoon garam masala
1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp of cayenne pepper (less or more depending on your taste)
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp coriander

On a medium flame, heat the oil in a deep saucepan and when hot, add the cardamom pods and the cinnamon stick. Remove after it sizzles for about one minute (set them aside, you'll use them again). This gives the oil a wonderful flavor and will really give the dish a fabulous aroma. Add the diced onions to the oil, stirring continuously so that they do not get burnt. When they become a translucent color, add the garlic. Keep stirring.

When the onion and garlic are browned (not burnt) add the spices. Stir them in and then add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Lower the heat and let cook for about 4 minutes or until the tomatoes are cooked and make a sauce.

Add the ginger and then add the chicken. Add the cinnamon and cardamom pods once again. Cook for about 10 minutes until the chicken is done. Add the yogurt (or coconut milk) and sugar (here's where I sometimes add cream -- just a little bit, not too much). Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the spices to your liking.

Garnish with coriander or mint when serving.


Serves 4

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  1. One of my all-time favorite dishes. Ever! Now I'm hungry:D

  2. Wow, Indian food especially always intimidates me, but this is totally do-able! Don't know if I have the courage to experiment too much though!... :)

  3. This chicken tikka masala sounds tasty!

  4. Where would I find the 4 cardamom pods and masala?

  5. Healing Jake: The cardamom pods should be fairly easy to find in the spice isle of any grocery store. The masala I know is available at Whole Foods and any Indian grocery store (its probably available in many more places but I haven't lived in the US in over a year now, so that's what I remember.) Also, you can make your own garam masala - there are plenty of recipes online. Good luck, I hope you find everything :)

  6. Nirvana, I made this tonight with thE yellow rice. It was very very very good! My boys even loved it and they are picky eaters who never try new things. My eight year old even asked if he could take the leftovers for lunch tomorrow! VERY GOOD!

  7. Healing Jake -- I am SOOO happy this turned out well and that the kids liked it! :) You made my day! Its so cute that your 8 year old is developing a taste for Indian food - quite a sophisticated palate for someone so young, its great! :)

  8. i dont know what I did but it came out really bland, maybe i put too much coconut milk in, but it was my first experiment at indian sooooo, well see how it goes in the future!

  9. Anonymous: I am so sorry to hear it turned out bland -- I don't know why, I make this recipe all the time and I love it. Maybe the garam masala powder you used wasn't that good?

  10. We used this recipe in a cooking class that I took and then I made it at home. Delightful!

  11. I made this dish for my boyfriend and he could not stop raving about it, he said it was the best meal he had ever eaten in his whole life. This dish has phenomenal flavor and is absolutely delicious.

    1. horray! i'm thrilled it turned out well :)

  12. I see the recipe description saying to add Ginger but I do not see it in the list of ingredients. how much needs to be added?

  13. I have the same question about the ginger.... also when is the cup of water added?


Hey there! Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. I promise to respond to any questions as soon as I possibly can.