Chicken Tikka Masala in a bowl with rice.

Chicken Tikka Masala

  • Author: Pinch of Yum
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x


Chicken Tikka Masala – creamy, perfectly spicy, and ready in 30 minutes! you won’t believe how easy it is to make this at home!



  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup masala paste (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
  • 1 14 ounce can regular coconut milk
  • rice and cilantro for serving


  1. PREP: Make the quick masala paste (or maybe – hopefully – you already made this and have it in your freezer?! you’re a rock star).
  2. MARINATE CHICKEN: Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Marinate with 1 tablespoon of masala paste and the yogurt for about 30 minutes in the fridge.
  3. SIMMER: Heat a large, deep skillet over medium high heat and add the remaining masala paste. Stir fry for a few minutes to get all the spices going. Add the chicken/yogurt mixture and saute until the chicken is mostly cooked. Add the tomato puree and coconut milk to the pan with the chicken and simmer for 15 or so minutes. Season with salt. Let stand for a while so the sauce will thicken up a bit. Serve over rice with cilantro!


Instant Pot Instructions: Same ingredients and instructions, but throw it all together in the Instant Pot in step 3. Cook for 8 minutes on manual and use the quick release. Check out the video above to see how it’s done! You can buy canned tomato puree at a lot of grocery stores. Otherwise just use canned tomatoes and run them through the food processor or blender till smooth. The idea is just plain pureed tomatoes without seasoning. For extra lusciousness, add a little bit of heavy whipping cream or use whipping cream in place of some of the coconut milk. Light coconut milk can be used but does not yield the same thick and creamy results. Masala Paste: 2 onions (I used one yellow, one purple, together totaling about 3 cups when chopped) 5 cloves garlic a 2-inch piece of fresh ginger 3 tablespoon garam masala 1 tablespoon chili powder 1 tablespoon turmeric 1 tablespoon cumin 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves 2 teaspoons salt ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper a small pile of of cilantro stems a fistful of almonds juice of one lemon Run everything through the food processor as-is until mostly smooth (see picture) and you’re done. Make this paste once and keep it in the freezer and you’ve got what you need for 5 ingredient Chicken Tikka Masala FROM SCRATCH for many happy days. Makes about 1 1/2 cups of paste.