chicken tikka masala

How to make Chicken Tikka Masala

This chicken tikka masala tastes like restaurant style chicken tikka masala!

How to make Chicken Tikka Masala

Difficulty:BeginnerPrep time: 20 minutesCook time: 45 minutesRest time:1 hour 20 minutesTotal time:2 hours 25 minutesServings:8 servingsCalories: kcal Best Season:Suitable throughout the year


If you want to make chicken tikka masala that tastes restaurant-style, this recipe is for you!


  • 1st Marinate

  • 2nd Marinate

  • Ingredients for gravy

  • For smoking the curry


    Making the Chicken tikka 

  1. Cut the boneless chicken in bite size pieces
  2. Make sure to make fresh ginger garlic paste for this recipe (use equal parts of garlic cloves and ginger)
  3. For the first marination, add the juice of one small lime or half a big lime, salt (to taste) and 2 tbsp. ginger garlic paste. 
  4. Let this marinate for 20 min at room temperature or for longer in the refrigerator 
  5. The first marination helps to get rid of any “poultry” smell from the chicken pieces
  6. For the second marination, add hung yogurt or greek yogurt, turmeric powder, 1 tsp. garam masala powder, black pepper powder, 2 tsp. Kashmiri red chilli powder, 1 tbsp. Kasuri Methi or dried fenugreek leaves (crushed) and 1 tbsp. mustard oil.
    If you don’t have mustard oil, replace with normal cooking oil
  7. Mix well and marinate for 1 hr at room temperature or longer in the refrigerator 
  8. Cook the chicken at 400F for 5 min in the air fryer or you can pan fry the pieces as well.
  9. You can also bake the pieces in an oven instead. 
  10. If you are cooking the pieces in the air fryer, make sure to save the drippings for the gravy
  11. Make sure to keep the chicken tikka covered, so they stay moist and juicy 
  12. Making the gravy

  13. Use a wide pan for this recipe
  14. Make a paste of tomatoes and cashew nuts and set aside
  15. Add oil to the pan and set on medium heat
  16. Add cinnamon sticks along with finely chopped onion 
  17. Sprinkle some salt so the onion cooks faster
  18. Stir fry the onion for ~1 min or till they look translucent 
  19. Add 1 tbsp. fresh ginger garlic paste
  20. Stir fry the onion till it turns golden brown in color
  21. Turn down the heat and add cumin powder, coriander powder and 3 tsp. Kashmiri red chilli powder (for red color)
  22. Add some normal red chilli powder (for heat)
  23. Give it a quick stir
  24. Add tomato/cashew purée
  25. Turn up the heat and stir the gravy vigorously until it thickens and oil floats on the surface
  26. Add any drippings from the chicken tikka and stir till the gravy thickens
  27. Add chicken tikka pieces
  28. Stir fry for 5 min on high heat
  29. Add 1 cup hot water and let the gravy simmer (with the lid placed on) for 5 min
  30. Add salt to taste.
  31. Add 1 tsp. garam masala powder and 1 tbsp. Kasuri Methi (crushed)
  32. Add heavy cream
  33. Give it a stir and place the lid on for 2 min so that the cream slightly melts
  34. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves
  35. Rest the curry for sometime, so the gravy further thickens
  36. Smoking the chicken tikka masala

  37. You can place a piece of burning charcoal in a metal cup and add some ghee/oil to it
  38. Once the charcoal starts to smoke, place the lid on for 20 min
  39. This will infuse the curry with a smoky aroma 
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