Chef John's Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

I use coconut milk instead of heavy cream in chicken tikka masala because its slight sweetness complements the spices. Serve steaming rice.


– 1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thigh – 1 tablespoon vegetable oil – 2 teaspoons kosher salt – 2 teaspoons garam masala – 2 teaspoons ground cumin – 1 teaspoon ground coriander – 1 teaspoon smoked paprika – 1 teaspoon ground turmeric – ½ teaspoon ground black pepper – ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper – ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom – 2 tablespoons clarified butter (ghee), or more as needed


Collect ingredients. Put chicken in basin. Cover chicken with vegetable oil and toss.

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In a small bowl, mix salt, garam masala, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cardamom. Sprinkle and coat chicken evenly.

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Over high heat, melt clarified butter in a big, heavy skillet. Cook chicken thighs in heated butter for 5–10 minutes to brown all sides. Place chicken on platter.

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 After cooling, chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Medium-high heat the skillet with chicken drippings to make sauce. Add onion to skillet and cook for 5–6 minutes until softened and transparent

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Add tomato paste and simmer for 5 minutes to caramelize. Add garlic and ginger to tomato-onion combination and simmer 1 minute until fragrant.

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Skillet-mashed tomatoes. Boil, scraping browned food from skillet with wooden spoon. Coconut milk and chicken broth, simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and stir occasionally for 15 minutes to mix flavors and reduce sauce.

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Chicken and fluids to sauce. Once simmering, reduce heat to medium-low and cook chicken for 10–15 minutes until cooked. Coriander with red pepper flakes. Adding salt and black pepper.

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625Calorie s48gFa t19gCarbs 34gProtein 

See Also

Vegetarian Korma Recipe