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Chicken Tikka Masala

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
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Why we love it:

Is chicken tikka masala we know it an Indian dish or … British? The origins of it are hotly debated and we won’t weigh in here. We can say, it’s delicious and well loved. This version is simple and will become a family favorite in times of busy days or when you're stuck at home. It holds up in the fridge for days, even improves overnight or longer, and it freezes beautifully.


  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 12 teaspoon Ground Ginger (ok to omit if you don't have it)
  • 3 Tablespoons Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 34 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (optional, or use less)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 12 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 114 pounds Chicken Thighs, Boneless/Skinless (sliced in 2" pieces)
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 1 28-ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 pinch White Sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice (White)
  • 114 cups Water
  • 1 pound Baby Spinach (OR vegetable you have on hand)

Cooking Instructions


    Combine all of the spices in a small bowl, including half of the total salt.

    Dice chicken into large 2” cubes. Add half of the spice blend to to the chicken, and turn to evenly coat. Set aside to make the sauce or you can do this ahead and let it marinate overnight.

  • 2. SAUCE

    Finely dice the onion.

    In a large pot with tall sides, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the diced onion, cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 6-8 minutes. Add the remaining spice blend.

    Cook the spice blend on the bottom of the pan for 30 seconds or so. Add the can of tomatoes and the sugar. Cover partially and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, at least 10 minutes and up to 30 turning it down to low if you cook it longer.

  • 3. RICE

    Combine rice and 1 1/4 cups of water in a small pot with a tight fitting lid, add 1 tsp salt (this should be half of the total salt called for). Bring to a boil over high heat, then stir once. Turn heat to low and cover the pot. Cook for 17 minutes then turn off the heat and leave it covered until you’re ready to serve dinner.


    Whatever vegetable you're serving, roast or steam it until it's cooked through.

  • 5. CHICKEN

    Preheat the oven to broil.

    Place the chicken in one layer on a baking sheet. Place under the broiler and cook for about 5 minutes then check it and rotate the pan to brown the pieces evenly. Cook for 5 minutes longer or until blackened in spots and cooked through. When the chicken is done, scrape it and the juices into the pot with the sauce.


    Add the cream (any dairy or coconut milk if using that) to the sauce slowly while stirring.
    Cook sauce with chicken and cream for a final 5 minutes over low heat.

  • 7. PLATING

    Serve a scoop of rice, topped with chicken and sauce, veggie on the side.

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    use chicken breast, pork tenderloin, or omit and use tofu cubes or cauliflower florets or garbanzo beans
    simply omit the heavy cream. You can swirl in some almond based yogurt or a can of coconut milk if you’d like it lighter and creamier
    you can use whole milk, sour cream, plain yogurt (greek or not), or omit
    1 teaspoon garlic powder works
    Any greens you have are nice here, roasted or steamed. Even a side salad. Go with what you have
Rate this recipe:
3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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