Chicken Tikka Masala is a rich, creamy and delicious Indian Restaurant Style curry dish. It is usually made using boneless chicken pieces, Indian spices, yogurt, onion tomato sauce, fresh cream, and herbs. This Indian chicken tikka masala tastes similar to butter chicken masala but with slight variations. And this chicken tikka masala recipe is easy to make at home using a pan, in the instant pot, or a slow cooker. It makes a great side dish for Naan, Roti/Chapati for lunch and dinner and tastes best with a bowl of basmati rice.
What is Chicken Tikka Masala?
Chicken Tikka Masala is one of the popular Indian curry dishes that got its fame throughout the world for its rich flavor and taste. Tikka is a Persian word that means a cube or chunks. The cube size marinated chicken pieces refer to as Chicken Tikka. And the grilled chicken tikka pieces that are simmered in onion tomato sauce along with Indian spices and herbs are Chicken Tikka Masala.
The restaurant-style Chicken Tikka Masala is usually prepared with tandoors or commercial ovens to grill the meat pieces. This imparts the smoky bbq flavor and taste to the dish. But it is easy to make at home as well using a pan, skillet, instant pot, or slow cooker without compromising the same taste. And all you need is boneless chicken, onion, tomato, few Indian spices, yogurt, and herbs like kasoori methi and coriander leaves.
Chicken Tikka Masala is a flavorsome curry that has a lot of variation around the world. And it has an important place in the menu in most Indian restaurants. Usually, in the restaurant-style version, the chicken is marinated for long hours which helps the chicken to absorb all the flavors from the masala and makes it so soft and tender. They also use heavy cream while making the tikka masala which delivers a smooth and silky output to the dish.
You could also use yogurt or coconut cream milk instead of heavy cream to make it more delicious. And you can try only coconut milk instead of heavy cream which is healthy and dairy-free. It makes the dish not only delicious but gives a unique flavor and taste to the dish. Even though the restaurant-style Tikka Masala uses only boneless chicken, you could also try it with bone-in chicken. And it tastes amazing too. Relishing a soft and juicy chicken piece in a spicy and creamy curry with hot Peas/Matar Pulao or basmati rice is heaven!
Chicken Tikka Masala vs Butter Chicken
There is a lot of confusion always surrounding the topic of butter chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala. Since they are similar in texture-wise and look. So I thought to write a piece of brief information regarding the same.
Butter chicken(Murgh Makhani) is usually a mild gravy that has fewer spices part of it. Whereas the Chicken Tikka Masala requires a lot of spices in the recipe. Even though both the dishes look somewhat similar, you could feel a slight difference in their taste. And Butter Chicken recipe needs only a creamy blend of tomato sauce while a lot of onion and tomato for tikka masala. And of course, the butter chicken delivers an irresistible buttery flavor while it is subtle in tikka masala.
About this recipe
The recipe I have shared here is a tasty restaurant-style Indian Chicken Tikka Masala with a little tweak and it yields 3 people. To make that, Initially, I marinated the boneless chicken pieces with yogurt, ginger garlic paste, salt, oil, chili, garam masala, turmeric, and pepper powder. And allowed it to rest for 60 minutes. Marinating the chicken for long hours makes the chicken soft and infuses deep flavors to it.
After that, I pan-fried the marinated chicken pieces in medium heat, until they turned golden brown on both sides. Actually, to say in detail, I char fried the chicken pieces without burning them. This delivers a smoky flavor that we usually get with tandoors. Once that is done, I reserved them for later use.
Following that, In a pan, I sautéed the onion until it turned soft. To avoid burning the onion, I kept the stove in medium heat. Then, I added ginger garlic paste, chili powder, garam masala powder, salt, and mixed everything well. After that, I have added the tomato puree and gave a good mix.
Subsequently, I mixed the fried chicken along with the onion-tomato mixture. Then I poured water and closed the pan with the lid and cooked them for 5 to 7 minutes. This allows the chicken to absorb all the flavors from the gravy as well.
Afterward, I opened the lid and added curd/yogurt, and gave a quick mix. At this stage, you could also use heavy cream instead of yogurt to achieve the restaurant-style finish.
Finally, I added the dried fenugreek leaves/Kasoori Methi and gave a quick mix, and turned off the heat. Then I served this delicious Chicken Tikka Masala with Naan and Jeera rice.
Chicken Tikka Masala in Instant pot
The Indian Chicken Tikka Masala recipe that I have shared here is prepared in a regular pan but you could also make this in an Instant Pot. To do that, just follow the marination process mentioned here and fry or grill the chicken pieces in a pan or oven.
In an instant pot, sauté the onions, spices, and tomato puree in saute mode and add the water. And then add the fried chicken pieces and set the Instant pot to Poultry mode and cook for five minutes. And allow the pressure to release naturally.
After that, open the lid and add heavy cream or yogurt and combine everything well. Finally, add some crushed Kasoori Methi leaves and give a final mix. That's it. You have got this Instant pot Chicken Tikka Masala in no time and it will taste amazingly good similar to the one served in Indian food joints.
Slow Cooker Method
Slow cookers make your work much easier while you do your other chores. Or, isn't it a lifesaver when you get out for some errand or go for a drive and your meal is ready when you reach back home? Yes, indeed it is and this chicken tikka masala can be also made in a slow cooking method.
To make that, in a pan saute the onions, and spices until the onion turns soft. And add the tomato puree and mix well. And then add the grilled chicken pieces to the gravy and combine everything well. Finally, transfer the chicken mixture to your slow cooker or crockpot and cook on a high setting for 4 hours or in a low setting for 8 hours.
Once it is done, open the lid and add heavy cream or yogurt and mix well. And add the Kasoori Methi and give a nice mix.
Even though we have different methods to prepare, this Indian-style Chicken tikka masala recipe is really easy and can be prepared at home even by beginners. And as explained above, the process is simple and easier, yet there is no compromise in the flavor and taste.
This chicken tikka masala recipe is a perfect crowd-pleasing dish that would be a great treat for kids and adults. Be it a party, weekday, or weeknight meal, it never fails to satisfy your taste buds. You could pair this delicious dish with a bowl of Pudina Rice, Pressure Cooker Chicken Biryani or One-Pot Vegetable Biryani with a piece of Naan to indulge in one of the best flavors. And I believe you will try and enjoy this dish with your family and loved ones.
You could also find similar recipes below and more at Chicken Recipes.
Pepper Chicken Masala
Chettinad Chicken Chukka
Mangalorean Chicken Ghee Roast
Looking for different chicken recipes to cook for your next meal or a party? Then you could also check this collection of Indian Chicken Dry and Semi Gravy Recipes to enjoy with your family and loved ones.
Chicken Tikka Masala Video Instructions
In the video below, I have explained how to prepared/make chicken tikka masala with step by step instructions which might help you to easily prepare this recipe at home. For a quick reference, you could also find the Chicken Tikka Masala recipe in a story format.
- 500gm Chicken, boneless
- 1 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 ½ tsp Garam Masala Powder
- ½ tsp Pepper Powder
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Curd
- ¼ cup Oil
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- Salt, as needed
- ½ cup Tomato Puree
- ½ cup Water
- ¼ cup Curd
- 2 tbsp Kasoori Methi
- ¼ cup + ¼ cup Oil
- Take bite-sized boneless chicken pieces in a bowl and add ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, chili powder, garam masala powder, pepper powder, cumin powder, salt, curd, and oil. Mix everything well and allow it to rest for 60 minutes
- In a pan with medium heat, pour oil and add the marinated chicken pieces one by one
- Allow the chicken to fry until it turns a golden brown color on both sides. Make sure to flip the chicken pieces on and off
- Remove and drain the fried chicken pieces and reserve them for later use
To Prepare Chicken Tikka Masala
- In a pan with medium heat, pour oil and add onions and saute until it turns soft
- Add ginger-garlic paste, chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, cumin powder, salt, and mix everything well
- Now add the tomato puree and mix well
- Close the pan with the lid and cook the tomato spice mixture for 10 minutes
- Open the lid and add the fried chicken pieces and give a nice mix
- Add water to the chicken mixture and give a quick mix
- Close the pan with the lid again and cook for 5 to 7 minutes
- Open the lid and add curd or heavy cream and mix until it is nicely incorporated
- Allow the chicken gravy to cook until it turns slightly thick in consistency and finally add Kasoori methi leaves and give a nice stir
- Now the Chicken Tikka Masala is ready for you to taste and enjoy
- Serve this delicious Chicken Masala with Tandoori Naan, Jeera Rice, Plain Basmati rice, or any Pulao
- Marinating the chicken with spices and yogurt for at least 60 minutes helps the chicken to absorb all the flavors from the masalas. So I would suggest you not skip this step to achieve a tasty tikka masala
- For making chicken tikka masala gravy, I have used yogurt which can also be made using heavy cream or coconut milk which delivers a similar taste and flavor
- I have pan-fried the chicken tikka pieces but they can also be grilled in the oven which delivers a similar taste and flavor
- This chicken tikka masala can be easily made in the instant pot and slow cooker
Nutrition InformationYield 3 Serving Size 1 cup
Amount Per Serving Calories 497Total Fat 46gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 40gCholesterol 29mgSodium 1241mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 3gSugar 5gProtein 10g
Frequently asked questions
Chicken Tikka Masala is a rich, creamy and delicious Indian Restaurant Style curry dish. It is usually made using boneless chicken pieces, Indian spices, yogurt, onion tomato sauce, fresh cream, and herbs.
Even though chicken tikka masala is prepared with fresh ingredients, heavy cream, and butter are part of the making process which is high in calories and fat. So, better to consume in a moderate quantity. But we can also make it healthier by replacing heavy cream with yogurt or coconut milk and butter with olive oil.
Yes, you can make this dish with coconut milk by replacing the yogurt in this recipe.
Yes, you can make this dish with heavy cream by replacing the yogurt in this recipe. Even you could use cashew milk or paste.
Yes, you can make this dish in the instant pot, follow the detailed instructions mentioned above.
I really hope you enjoyed the recipe that I have shared here and I would love to hear from you on how it turned out for you. Please let me know.
If you have any other questions, feel free to post them in the comment section below and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.