Indian Chicken Tikka Masala

Indian cuisine is known for its bold and vibrant flavors, and Chicken Tikka Masala is no exception. This classic dish features grilled chicken that is marinated in a rich blend of spices and yogurt, and then simmered in a creamy tomato-based sauce. The combination of tender chicken and fragrant spices make it a crowd-pleasing favorite, perfect for a healthy summer dinner recipe.

Indian Chicken Tikka Masala best for healthy summer dinner recipes asian

Why Indian Chicken Tikka Masala is the Best for Healthy Summer Dinner

Indian Chicken Tikka Masala is an excellent choice for a healthy summer dinner recipe for several reasons. Firstly, it is made with lean protein from the chicken, which is essential for muscle repair and growth. Secondly, it contains a range of spices that are rich in antioxidants, which help to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.

Finally, the dish can be paired with a side of cauliflower rice or grilled vegetables, which are low in calories but high in nutrients, making it a well-rounded and healthy meal.

How to Make Indian Chicken Tikka Masala


– For the chicken marinade

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

– For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt, to taste


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, paprika, garam masala, turmeric, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add the cubed chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Thread the marinated chicken onto skewers and grill for 8-10 minutes, flipping once, until the chicken is cooked through and slightly charred. Alternatively, you can bake the chicken in the oven at 425°F for 15-20 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a large skillet, heat the ghee or butter over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger to the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the cumin, paprika, garam masala, turmeric, and cayenne pepper, and cook for another minute or so.
  5. Pour in the tomato sauce and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  6. Stir in the heavy cream and continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until the sauce is creamy and the flavors have melded together. Taste and add salt as needed.
  7. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the skewers and add it to the skillet with the sauce. Toss to coat the chicken in the sauce and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the chicken is heated through.
  8. Serve the Chicken Tikka Masala hot, garnished with fresh cilantro, if desired. This dish goes well with cauliflower rice or grilled vegetables.

Helpful Tip

To make

the chicken even more tender, try adding a tablespoon of plain yogurt to the tomato-based sauce as it simmers. This will help to break down the proteins in the chicken and make it even more succulent.


Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for this recipe?

Absolutely! Chicken thighs work just as well in this recipe, and may even result in more flavorful and tender meat.

Is Chicken Tikka Masala spicy?

It can be, depending on how much cayenne pepper you use. If you prefer a milder flavor, simply reduce the amount of cayenne pepper or omit it altogether.

Can I use coconut milk instead of heavy cream in this recipe?

Yes, you can! Coconut milk is a great dairy-free alternative to heavy cream and will give the dish a slightly different flavor.

Can I use bone-in chicken for Chicken Tikka Masala?

Yes, you can! Just keep in mind that bone-in chicken will take longer to cook than boneless, so adjust your cooking time accordingly.

Can I use a store-bought Tikka Masala spice blend instead of making my own?

Absolutely! You can use a pre-made spice blend to save time and still get a delicious flavor. Just follow the instructions on the package and adjust the other ingredients in the recipe as needed.

Can I make Chicken Tikka Masala in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can! Simply combine all of the ingredients (except for the heavy cream) in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Stir in the heavy cream during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Keep in mind that the chicken may not get as charred as it would if cooked on a grill or in a skillet, but it will still be delicious.

Can I make this Chicken Tikka Masala vegetarian?

Yes, you can! Substitute paneer or tofu for the chicken, and use vegetable broth or coconut milk instead of chicken broth or heavy cream. You can also add in your favorite vegetables, such as bell peppers, cauliflower, or peas.

Can I make this Chicken Tikka Masala ahead of time?

Yes, you can! You can make the chicken and sauce separately and then combine them when ready to serve. Store them separately in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat the sauce in a skillet over medium heat and then add the cooked chicken to the skillet and toss to coat in the sauce.


Indian Chicken Tikka Masala can be frozen for up to three months. Simply let it cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container or freezer bag. When you’re ready to eat, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat it in a skillet or microwave.


Store any leftover Chicken Tikka Masala in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

Nutritional Information

One serving (1/4 of the recipe) of Indian Chicken Tikka Masala contains approximately:

  • Calories: 411
  • Protein: 33g
  • Fat: 27g
  • Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 5g

This dish is high in protein and healthy fats, and can be made even healthier by using coconut milk instead of heavy cream. It is also low in carbohydrates, making it a great option for those following a low-carb or keto diet.