This is the best chicken tikka masala recipe ever! It tastes just like the restaurant and will fool even the most hardcore of takeout enthusiasts. Rich and creamy with tender bites of chicken, this chicken tikka masala recipe has been perfected over years to be just the best.
Having never before tasted a spicy and sour rassam, never dunked a crispy piece of pakora in bright green chutney, never fought over the last gulab jamun in the order, most of us start with chicken tikka masala. It’s considered the official dish of the United Kingdom and is almost certainly the unofficial first-timer’s order the world over. Maybe it’s the description on the menu.
Indian cuisine neophytes across the country are pointing at that item on the menu, claiming “It couldn’t be bad.” And oh, are they so very wrong.This recipe for chicken tikka masala is quite possibly the heavenliest dish on the face of the planet if you’re asking me (and you are, aren’t you?). The heady mix of spices, the slow-cooked onions, and garlic, the creamy, buttery ho-my-goodness sauce: it draws most Indian food newbies in instantaneously, converting them for life.
This is the best chicken tikka masala recipe ever, and it’s so rich and perfectly spiced. A double caramelization process produces a chicken tikka masala that tastes just like the best restaurant-style dish.
- 2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts diced, about 1.5 pounds
- 1 cup plain full-fat yogurt See Note for alternate diets
- 1 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about half a lemon)
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
For the sauce:
- 4 tablespoons ghee or butter (1/4 cup)
- 1 medium white onion diced
- 1-2 serrano chiles minced, see note for heat level
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger grated
- 3 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 green bell pepper deseeded and sliced into strips
- 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
- lots of salt to taste
- 2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half See Note for alternate diets
- basmati rice
- fresh cilantro chopped
- 2018 The Resident Zinfandel
- 2019 Conte de la Terre Müller-Thurgau
- 2019 Dove Hunt Dog Chardonnay
Marinate the Chicken
- Combine all marinade ingredients besides chicken in a medium bowl and stir well. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
Make the Sauce
- Heat the ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add serrano chiles, garlic, ginger, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a nice toffee color, about 20 minutes, adding a few drops of water here and there if drying out and sticking. Add garam masala and paprika and stir well. Cook until fragrant, a few minutes, adding a couple of tablespoons of water if necessary to reduce sticking.
- Stir in the tomato sauce then transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Return the sauce to your skillet. Add sliced bell pepper, fenugreek, and salt.
- Meanwhile, cook the chicken. Preheat broiler and place a wire rack over a baking sheet. Place chicken pieces on top of the rack. Broil, turning occasionally until browned in spots and cooked through, about 8 minutes total.’
- Simmer for 30 minutes on medium-low heat or until thick and more like a paste than a sauce. Add the heavy cream and stir until very smooth. Taste and correct seasonings. Add chicken, stir well, and serve over basmati or cauliflower rice and naan. Top with plenty of chopped cilantro.