Rice Chicken Tikka Masala and naan

Authentic Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

This authentic Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe is rich, creamy, and spicy – just like the ones I’ve eaten in Glasgow, where the dish was created! Easy to make and SO full of flavor!

Who invented Chicken Tikka Masala?

There are two theories about the origin of Chicken Tikka Masala – one that it was created in Punjab, India by Bangladeshi migrant chefs in the 1960s and one that it was created in Glasgow, Scotland by Ali Ahmed Aslam, the owner and chef at the Shish Mahal restaurant in the west end of Glasgow.

Due to the detail of the story of origin in Glasgow, I am inclined to believe that Mr. Aslam was the creator. Numerous food historians agree and have written on the subject extensively.

No matter where it was created, Chicken Tikka Masala is one of the most popular dishes in Britain. It is one of the dishes that I associate with my time living in Scotland because it was so readily available and, to be honest, cheap enough for a young, underpaid military member on a budget.

Fresh naan and loads of rice always accompanied the heaping serving of roasted chicken smothered in rich, creamy and slightly spicy sauce. One order from the Curry Shop downstairs was enough to feed me for two days.

Should you use Chicken Breast or Thigh?

Most authentic Chicken Tikka Masala recipes call for chicken thighs but breasts can be used here too. Chicken breasts do need to marinate a bit longer than thighs so leave them in the refrigerator overnight for the best flavor.

chicken tikka masala

Essential ingredients in Authentic Chicken Tikka Masala

If you look at 25 different recipes that claim to be authentic Chicken Tikka Masala recipes, you find 25 completely different recipes. But there are a few ingredients that are non-negotiable.

To make authentic Chicken Tikka Masala, you must have:

  • Chicken (obviously!)
  • Yogurt
  • Lots of Spices – especially Garam Masala and some type of chili powder

What to serve with Chicken Tikka Masala

Rice is an absolute MUST with authentic Chicken Tikka Masala! White rice is traditional but I often serve it with jeera rice, which is jasmine rice that is lightly spiced and oh so fluffy!

Naan is also non-negotiable when you serve Chicken Tikka Masala! I love to eat naan plain but it is the perfect vehicle to scoop the chicken chunks and spicy sauce up to your mouth!

My recipe for Homemade Naan is quick and easy and so delicious! Naan is a yeasted flatbread that doesn’t have to rise as long as most yeasted breads. It is easy to get on the table along with the Chicken Tikka Masala!

What is Kashmiri Chili?

Kashmiri Chili is a chili from India that is usually used dried and ground. It has just a little more heat than paprika or regular chili powder but it is not as hot as cayenne.

The flavor and the color are so vibrant and I am using it in everything lately!

I was lucky enough to be gifted some Kashmiri Chili by my beautiful friend Sally at https://bewitchingkitchen.com/. Check out her blog that is full of amazing recipes!

Thank you, Sally, for this delicious gift!

Have you ever tried Chicken Tikka Masala?

Authentic Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

Recipe by Tanya Ott


Prep time


Cooking time




  • To marinade the Chicken
  • 4 large chicken breasts or 8 chicken thighs, boneless (about 30 ounces)

  • 240mL (1 cup) plain yogurt (NOT Greek)

  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

  • 4 cloves minced garlic

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder (or ground red chili powder)

  • 2 teaspoons garam masala

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • For the Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons butter

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 2 teaspoons garam masala

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili or red chili powder

  • 1 can (14 to 15 ounce) tomato puree

  • 240 mL (1 cup) chicken broth

  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if chicken broth is salted)

  • 1/2 coconut milk or heavy cream (half and half will work too)

  • 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar

  • Small bundle fresh cilantro


  • In a small bowl, mix together the dry spices for the marinade. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with the yogurt and lemon juice. Add the spice mix and stir well to combine completely. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour or up to overnight. If using breasts, marinading longer is better.
  • After the chicken has marinated, turn on the broiler. Spread the chicken out on a baking sheet covered with foil (this makes for easier clean-up). Broil for 6 minutes and then stir to slip the chicken pieces. Broil for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft (should take about 3-4 minutes).
  • Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant, then add spices. Cook for about 30 seconds to bloom the spices, stirring constantly.
  • Add in the tomato puree, chicken broth, and salt, if using. Let the sauce simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Stir in the cream and the sugar. Add the chicken and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick and bubbling. Add a little water if needed to thin out the sauce.
  • Garnish with cilantro (fresh coriander) and serve with rice and homemade Naan bread!
Chicken Tikka Masala with rice in a white bowl

One Comment

  1. Mouthwatering!!!!! And with homemade naan, you just hit Nirvana!

Leave a Reply