Best Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe (Rich & Creamy Sauce)

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Marinating 1 hour
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 510kcal


Marinating Chicken:

  • 1 pound boneless skinless fresh chicken breasts
  • 7 ounces plain 2% fat greek yogurt (I use the Fage brand; do not use regular yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


  • 15 ounces canned unsalted plain tomato sauce (not pasta sauce)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (this yields medium spiciness, and can be substituted with 1 diced jalapeño with seeds removed)


  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  • Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Trim off excess fat, if any. Cut them into bite-sized chunks, about 1/2 to 1 inch in size.
  • In a large bowl, stir together all marinade ingredients except the chicken, until well-mixed. Add chicken chunks and mix until well-coated with the marinade; the marinade should be thick, not thin or watery. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Heat a large nonstick pan over high heat (I use a 10-inch wide and 3-inch tall nonstick pan) until very hot, no oil needed. Add only half of the yogurt-covered chicken chunks, spreading them out in the pan. Cook for a few minutes until they are golden brown and a bit charred, frequently stirring and flipping the chicken to sear different sides (tongs are useful for this).
  • Once the chicken chunks are seared, transfer them to a large plate. Repeat the searing process with the remaining half of the chicken chunks. Doing this in 2 batches prevents the pan from cooling too much, resulting in a better sear.
  • Reduce to medium heat. Add all sauce ingredients to the now-empty pan, stirring for a minute until mixed. Add seared chicken chunks without pan drippings and submerge them into the sauce; no need to stir. Bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and decreasing the heat as needed to maintain a light simmer. After simmering, the chicken should be cooked through and the sauce slightly thickened and orange.
  • Turn off the heat. Serve into bowls, and garnish with chopped cilantro.


Makes 4 Servings
Amount Per Serving:
Calories 510  
Total Fat 35g 54%
   Saturated Fat 21g 107%
Cholesterol 172mg 57%
Sodium 410mg 17%
Net Carb 10g  
Total Carb 14.5g 5%
   Dietary Fiber 4.5g 17%
   Sugars 7.5g  
Protein 34g  
Vitamin A 43% · Vitamin C 7% · Calcium 14% · Iron 9%