Recipe: The Best Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala

I don’t know why I felt a compelling need to  make Chicken Tikka Masala this weekend. It was the perfect summer weather and Labor Day Weekend to boot. But Fall is hitting me hard and I’m ready for all things slow cooked. So, I used this recipe as a very loose guide, made my own tweaks, and got to work.

Kim’s Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala
3 caramelized onions (3 onions, 3 tbsp. butter, 2 tbsp. EVOO)
2 cans (15 oz. each) tomato sauce
2 cans (15 oz. each) diced tomatoes
1.5 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. red pepper flake
1/2 tsp. Chinese 5 spice
2 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. garam masala
1.5 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. crushed garlic
2 tsp. garlic relish (we love Patak’s)
1.5 cup plain greek yogurt
6 chicken breasts, cubed

Total Cooking Time: 6-7 hours (ideally)
Yields: 8 lunch portion servings


I started by caramelizing 3 onions in my favorite kitchen item – my cast iron Le Creuset dutch oven. This took about 30 minutes.


Into the same pot I added the tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes, and stirred to combine. I then added my spice mixture, stirred, and brought the whole thing to a boil over high heat.


When it started to bubble I added the crushed garlic and garlic relish, stirred again, and let the mixture boil for 3-5 minutes over high heat. If you can’t find or don’t have garlic relish, don’t worry, you can omit it. Whole Foods sells Patak’s but be warned, it is freakishly addicting.


Next I added the greek yogurt and let it boil together for another 3-5 minutes. I then put the cover on and let the whole thing simmer on low-medium heat for 1 hour.


After an hour I added all the chicken, stirred thoroughly, and simmered on low-medium heat with the cover on for an hour and a half.


After that time I added the tomato paste and simmered on low with cover off for 4 hours to reduce, stirring often. You don’t have to let it go for that long, but the longer the better.


After 4 hours the tikka masala was chunky, creamy, thick, and delicious. John remarked that this was restaurant quality tikka masala. I think it’s 100% due to the slow and low cooking method. The flavors all married perfectly. I know for a fact this wouldn’t have been as good if it cooked for less time as I tasted it along the way and the end result was amazing. I was a little skeptical about using the greek yogurt in place of the usual heavy cream that goes into tikka masala but it’s much healthier and just as decadent. The winning ingredient, I think!


You can eat it right away over rice….


Or package it up for lunches for the work week. This recipe yielded 8 lunches for John and I for the week.


Author: Domestocrat

I'm a lady who enjoys photography, football, cooking, long drives with the windows down, This American Life, kettlecorn, hot yoga, pop punk, my nephews, my cat Reggie, and my home: Boston.

14 thoughts

  1. This is incredibly timely. I’ve been thinking the last couple of weeks that I really want to start making Indian food. This looks like a great place to start.

  2. Awesome! I could use a recipe to impress my mother in law. :-) Do you think this would work at well if I threw everything into a crockpot? (after caramelizing the onions, I mean)

  3. I love my curries therefore was very interested in following this recipe to the “T”. I just want to say it is a excellent recipe but I would recommend a few changes. The chicken cooking for so long leaves it very stringy – over cooked! I would cook the for only an hour after one hour of simmering time for the sauce. To achieve a thick sauce add flour. Not much is needed. This will allow a chicken to remain chunky and the sauce nice and thick. Also I would stick with yogurt. Each to there own. If you found this recipe delicious, so did I. Thank you very much.

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