Chicken Tikka Masala with basmati rice.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala is made with flavorful chunks of chicken in a spiced, creamy tomato sauce. It’s perfect to serve with basmati rice, it’s gluten free by nature, and it is super easy to make at home.

Chicken Tikka Masala with basmati rice.

When you go gluten free, you quickly realize that one of the first things that needs to go is all of your favorite takeout. If you’re like me, and you used to subsist almost entirely on restaurant food, this is a big blow. Indian is one of the foods that just depends on the restaurant if it’s safe (some use flour to thicken, or meats are contaminated by naan in the tandoor), and a lot of people have never made it at home and so it can be really intimidating.

But the good news is that most Indian recipes are gluten free by nature, so you can get restaurant-quality food without making a bunch of substitutions.

Chicken Tikka Masala in dutch oven

That’s where this recipe comes in; it tastes like restaurant food, and it’s not something you have to slave over all day to get that authentic taste.

I obviously don’t have a tandoor in my kitchen, and I doubt you do either (although if you’re a fan of Good Eats, Alton Brown will show you how to make one out of a flower pot!), so I make the “tandoori” chicken in the oven and then char it with the broiler. This recipe is not bright red like what you’re probably used to seeing in Indian restaurants because that red color comes from Red Dye #40. Not that I’m against food coloring as a rule, but I don’t need my chicken to be dyed.

Chicken Tikka Masala close up

It can be slightly challenging to find a gluten free garam masala blend, but they’re out there. I used Simply Balanced brand. If you can’t find that or another suitable one, you can make your own blend! There are several out there on the web, but I choose to buy one pre-mixed because I don’t use some of those spice often enough to buy big jars.

Not gluten free? Then serve this with naan! Trader Joe’s has some great options in their frozen section. That’s the only change you’d need to make.

Chicken Tikka Masala with basmati rice and napkin and fork

Let’s get cooking!

Chicken Tikka Masala in dutch oven
5 from 11 votes

Chicken Tikka Masala

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Sizzling Mess


For the Chicken

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt I used Morton’s
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated (about 1.5 inch piece)
  • 4 garlic cloves minced

For the Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 1 small white onion finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper finely diced (ribs and seeds optional, but I recommend removed if you don’t like high spice)
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated (about 1.5 inch piece)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 28- oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • Kosher salt to taste (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of Morton’s)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Cilantro chopped (optional, for garnish)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and rub cumin, coriander, and cayenne pepper on both sides. In a separate book, mix together yogurt, ginger, and garlic and then cover the chicken breasts on both sides with yogurt mixture.
  3. Let chicken bake for 30 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer shows an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  4. While the chicken is baking, melt butter in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Once butter is melted and bubbling, add onions and sauté until just barely starting to brown. Then add jalapeños, garlic, and ginger and sauté for about a minute, or until fragrant. Next add the cumin, coriander, and garam masala to the aromatics and allow to cook for several minutes, stirring constantly to open up the flavors of the spices, until very fragrant, but not burning/browning at all.
  5. Add crushed tomatoes and sugar, and turn heat to medium-low. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Once chicken is done, turn the broiler on high and broil the chicken for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken/yogurt is light brown and charred in places. Then, remove chicken from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. After resting, chop chicken into bite-sized cubes and add to the masala sauce, along with any juices and yogurt left on the baking sheet. (This is important! The yogurt and juices on the baking sheet is full of flavor!)
  7. After adding the chicken to the sauce, stir in chicken broth and allow to simmer for about 10 more minutes, then add stir in the heavy cream and salt to taste (I added about 1 1/2 teaspoons, but you may need more or less depending on how salty your chicken broth is. If you taste the sauce and it is slightly bland/you can’t taste all the spices, you need more salt.)
  8. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired and serve with basmati rice.






30 responses to “Chicken Tikka Masala”

  1. Yvonne Avatar

    Sam, thank you so much for sharing! I love Indian food and this looks so easy to make. Since I follow a ketogenic diet rice is out for me (too many carbs) but I bet your dish would be amazing with cauliflower rice!

    1. Sizzling Mess Avatar
      Sizzling Mess

      Definitely! I bet it would be good with cloud bread as a naan replacement too. For keto, I would probably add some extra cream to make up for the missing sugar as well and I’m sure it would be delicious! Plus full fat yogurt if you can find it ;).

  2. Nicole @What She Ate Avatar

    I feel your pain! Indian food buffets are something I miss since me and gluten decided to be enemies. Do you miss samosas as much as I do? This looks like a great recipe! 🙂

    1. Sizzling Mess Avatar
      Sizzling Mess

      Definitely miss samosas! And naan.

  3. Catherine Brown Avatar

    This is SO bright and beautiful! I’m totally trying this with pressed tofu! Mmmmm… all those lovely spices!

  4. Lathiya Avatar

    Wow..this chicken Tikka masala looks perfect…I loved the way you did it in details.. definitely tastes awesome with hot naans

  5. Sarah Avatar

    5 stars
    This looks delish! I love Chicken Tikka Masala! Though I have never made it myself! I need to change this!

  6. Elizabeth | The Recipe Revival Avatar

    5 stars
    I have been wanting to try this dish for some time now, but just never have. Your recipe sounds easy to follow and looks delicious!

  7. fiona Avatar

    I’m not sure how I never realized that the pink chicken was because of red dye – it seems so obvious now! I’m with you on not needing to add extra dye to the recipe. This sounds delicious!

  8. Guadalupe Avatar

    it looks delicious, but I don’t want to have meat, I really want to try to make this with tofu instead of chicken!

    1. Sizzling Mess Avatar
      Sizzling Mess

      I’m sure it would be good with tofu! Or roasted veggies.

  9. Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy Avatar

    5 stars
    I can just imagine the aroma as this cooks. Great comfort food….and all that sauce on the rice would be so good!!

  10. Elle Avatar

    This dish looks just simple and delicious! Pinning to add to my menu later this week.

  11. Jen Avatar

    5 stars
    I love Indian food! I love that this recipe is gluten free. That sauce sounds incredible. Maybe I can use tofu instead of chicken? Can’t wait to play around with this one.

    1. Sizzling Mess Avatar
      Sizzling Mess

      I’m sure you can! Or roasted veggies :).

  12. Sara Avatar

    5 stars
    Omg this looks absolutely DELICIOUS!! I haven’t had tikka masala in way too long! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  13. Carmen Avatar

    Wow! This looks delicious! I am obsessed with Chicken Tikka Masala. I’ll have to go hit up our local Indian grocery store to buy some good garam masala, so I can make this. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. Alecia Avatar

    5 stars
    The sauce looks beautiful! I would love to scoop up the chicken and sauce in some homemade naan. That sounds like a perfect dinner to me!

  15. Rezel Kealoha Avatar

    5 stars
    I love good eats!!! and I also love the flavors in Tika Massala. It’s so delish. I’ve never tried to make it at home. I should give it a try!

  16. Karyl | Karyl's Kulinary Krusade Avatar

    I didn’t know that most Indian recipes were gluten free! That’s good to know. I don’t follow the diet, but I am trying to eat better…and I love Indian food

  17. Tiffany Alexandria Avatar

    I love tikka masala! I’ve tried making it so many times, but still always looking for new recipes to try. I still haven’t made it tasting like the ones in the restaurant, I think lack of a tandoor and me refusing to use 1 pound of ghee per dish has a lot to do with it lol

    1. Sizzling Mess Avatar
      Sizzling Mess

      Haha, I know what you mean! Replicating restaurant food can be a challenge. This recipe does taste like it came from a restaurant, without a tandoor and only a little ghee ;). There are two local Indian restaurants here who’s Tikka Masala is basically identical to this one! I haven’t cracked the code of the tikka masala at my favorite Indian place, though…. yet….

  18. Stephanie Avatar

    This looks so yummy and easy! I have to ask – where did you get that background? It’s gorgeous!

    1. Sizzling Mess Avatar
      Sizzling Mess

      It’s a peel and stick tile from Home Depot! :).

  19. April Avatar

    5 stars
    Looks delicious! I used to order this all the time! I love chicken tikka masala! Perfect comfort food choice for this cold weather!

  20. Jennifer Avatar

    5 stars
    When I had to go gluten free, it was really difficult to give up the convenience of take-out for me too! This dish looks amazing! I have difficulty with heavy cream…do you think I could use full fat coconut milk instead for this recipe?

    1. Sizzling Mess Avatar
      Sizzling Mess

      Definitely! It would obviously taste like coconut, but I think that would taste great with this dish!

  21. Renz Avatar

    5 stars
    This recipe was easy to follow and super fun to make. I was (admittedly) a little intimidated at first but halfway through I was feeling pretty dang awesome. Great fresh and amazing as leftovers, my boyfriend even made a point to text me mid-day to tell me how delicious it was. Definitely adding into my rotation of meals!

  22. Sarah Avatar

    5 stars
    I halved this recipe, because I was only cooking for the boyfriend, as I, admittedly, am not a fan of Indian dishes.

    I regret that decision to the fullest now!

    The recipe was easy to do, and understand, almost full proof I gotta say!

    The bad part: When we sat down to dinner I tried a small nibble of it, and I fell IN LOVE, I was so upset I didn’t make enough for myself!

    If you don’t think you are a fan of Indian cuisine, give this one a try, you will NOT regret it!

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