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Chicken Tikka Masala

Scott Phillips

Servings: six to eight.

If you love Indian food, you’re probably familiar with chicken tikka masala, which appears on most Indian restaurant menus. This chicken dish with its creamy, aromatic tomato sauce originated as a way to use up leftover tandoori-roast chicken sauce. Fragrant basmati rice is the perfect foil.


  • 1 2-inch-long hot green chile (preferably serrano), stemmed but not seeded, chopped
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes
  • 8 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 recipe Roasted Tandoori Chicken, meat removed from bones in large pieces; try not to shred (about 5 cups)
  • 2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 2 Tbs. cumin seeds, toasted and ground in a spice grinder
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. garam masala (store-bought or homemade)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on eight servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 410
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 280
  • Fat (g): 32
  • Saturated Fat (g): 16
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10
  • Cholesterol (mg): 145
  • Sodium (mg): 410
  • Carbohydrates (g): 9
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 23


  • In a food processor, pulse the chile and ginger until very finely chopped. Add the canned tomatoes with their juice and process until the mixture is puréed. Set aside.
  • Melt 6 Tbs. of the butter in a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add about a third of the chicken pieces and cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken absorbs some of the butter and begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate. Repeat with the remaining two batches of chicken.
  • Add the remaining 2 Tbs. butter to the pan. When it’s melted, add the paprika and 4 tsp. of the cumin and stir until the spices just begin to darken, 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Immediately add the tomato mixture. Simmer vigorously, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the cream and 1 tsp. kosher salt and stir well.
  • Add the chicken and stir gently to mix. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occassionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the garam masala and remaining cumin. Remove from the heat, cover, and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with cilantro, and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

Chicken tikka masala tastes even better made ahead. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to four days; it also freezes well. Thaw completely before reheating on low heat and add a little additional garam masala and cumin before serving, if you like.


Rate or Review


  • danielniwa | 02/02/2018

    Do not brown tandoori chicken
    Brown onions in ghee
    Add paprica and cumin
    Add garlic
    Add tomato purée
    Add cream
    Add chicken
    Add Garam masalla before serving

  • skc921 | 11/14/2015

    I like this recipe because all the ingredients are in quantities they are sold in. Makes the grocery shopping easier. I used a 6 oz container of Greek yogurt, and I got a pack of 10 large chicken thighs, and it yielded the right amount of chicken when removed from the bones.I used a can of crushed tomatoes instead of whole, just to save the step of blending them. And I added two Habenero peppers because we like spicier food. If I was making it for a group, I would stick with the pepper in the recipe. I only put in about half the cream called for, because it didn't seem to need all that.Served it with basmati rice, green bean and coconut stir fry, fried cauliflower and store-bought naan. And lots of beer.

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