Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala

My husband and I love Indian food.  To give my hubby credit, he was the one who introduced me to the cuisine.  There is a great Indian restaurant about 25 minutes away from us.  It may not sound far, but for some reason or another we don’t find ourselves feeling up to the drive.  Instead, I thought I’d take a stab at making some Indian food at home.

This chicken is smothered in a creamy Indian flavored sauce.

09Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala

Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe
(4 servings)


  • 1 and 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cubed
  • salt, to season the chicken
  • pepper, to season the chicken
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (spice mix)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium skillet, over Medium heat, heat the oil.
  3. Add the chicken and cook it until it’s done.  Transfer it to a plate and set it aside.
  4. Place the diced tomatoes into a food processor and blend until coarsely ground.  Set this aside.
  5. Add the chopped onion into the (already hot) skillet and cook until softened.
  6. Add in the minced garlic, grated ginger, and garam masala and cook for about 30 seconds.
  7. Add in the diced tomatoes.  Reduce the heat to Low/Medium, cover the skillet, and let it simmer until slightly thickened.  (About 3 to 5 minutes)
  8. Stir in the cream and cooked chicken and cook until the sauce is thickened again.  (About 5 to 7 minutes)
  9. Stir in the chopped cilantro right before serving.

Source: America’s Test Kitchen: The Best Simple Recipes


I don’t tend to cook Indian food because many recipes call for an assortment of Indian spices that I don’t usually have on hand.  I love this recipe because you only need garam masala to give it great Indian flavor.  You can usually find garam masala in the spice aisle, but some grocery stores may keep it in the international aisle.  It’s a convenient spice mixture in a single little container.  Mmm, look at all that spice.

01Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala

Indian cuisine tends to be pretty spicy (and some is so spicy that even people who love hot food can be knocked right out of their socks) but this dish is not.  If you’ve never tried Indian food or are afraid of the heat it can pack then this Tikka Masala is a perfect introductory meal.  Call it Indian Cooking 101 (and/or Indian Food Eating 101).  I think this is also a great kid friendly chicken dish (though it may require slightly more adventurous kid palates).

The sauce starts off as a beautiful shade of red from all the tomatoes.

02Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala

Then the sauce turns pink once you add the cream.  It will thicken as it heats up and even more once it’s cooling after cooking.

03Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala

I can whip up this meal in about the same time it would take me to get to the Indian restaurant that I previously mentioned.  (Not to mention waiting for a seat, ordering the food, waiting for the food to arrive, eating it, and eventually driving home…  Quite a time sink to eat out.)  Yup, this a 30 minute wonder meal!

04Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala

As with traditional Indian cuisine, I served the chicken over some white rice.  I love how the tikka masala sauce soaks into it.  This recipe makes plenty of sauce so you can sop it up with some naan bread too!  Oh so yummy.  (I won’t tell anyone it’s really pita bread in the picture if you don’t.  Deal?)

08Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala

Are you a fan of Indian food?  If yes, do you cook it at home?  I’m always on the hunt for easy Indian recipes.  My husband is always on the hunt for authentic Indian recipes from coworkers and friends.  It seems I’ve managed to find more than he has so far.     😉



3 Hats


Here are some other tasty dishes.

Chickpea Cakes

10Chickpea Cakes

Tomato Chickpeas Over Dried Fig Infused Rice

05Tomato Chickpeas with Dried Fig Infused Rice

Indian Chickpea Salad

02Indian Chickpea Salad


  1. I like this recipe because it did not take all day to put together and it looks like you got good indian flavors.

    1. Tina says:

      Fast and tasty! 🙂

  2. I’ve been really trying to expand my food horizons lately, and Indian food seems like something I’d really like to try out! This seems like something I could easily try making at home. Thanks for the recipe Tina!

    1. Tina says:

      I like to try new foods too, but sometimes it takes some reminding. I get used to my “usuals” and I suppose that’s because it’s easy and familiar. I definitely think that this is a great meal to try if you’ve never tried Indian food.

  3. Ashley says:

    I never cook indian food at home! I don’t really have a good reason for it either! haha This looks like a great first dish for me to try. It sounds delicious!

    1. Tina says:

      Haha…there’s a first for everything. 😉

  4. Mary Frances says:

    Skillet meals are the best! And Indian spices and flavors, done well, are soooo good. You are inspiring me to broaden my horizons and try some homemade indian dishes! Thanks for sharing Tina!

    1. Tina says:

      I love that I’ve inspired you! 🙂 You made my day!!

  5. Yum! This is a gorgeous sauce. I make tofu butter masala all the time (no chicken for me haha) and I’m definitely going to try your recipe soon!

    1. Tina says:

      That sounds delicious! Now it’s got me wanting to try this skillet recipe with tofu instead of chicken because I bet it would be tasty. 🙂

  6. I love how quick this recipe is to prepare. I haven’t had Indian food in a long time and now I am craving some of this. Love all the flavors!

    1. Tina says:

      Sneaky cravings! 😉

  7. Hubby and I both love tikka masala and your skillet recipe might become a staple in our home. Looking forward to trying it

    1. Tina says:

      Awesome! I hope you love it just as much as we do. 🙂

  8. I was talking with a friend the other day about foods that just dont get cooked in our kitchens, Indian cuisine was one of them. I am a massive fan, but find I much prefer to order from my fav local restaurant than make myself. Yep, lazy I am! 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      Anna, I’m with ya… I still prefer ordering Indian food at the restaurant!

  9. Kelly says:

    We love Indian food but I have only tried making butter chicken at home. Your chicken tikka masala looks fantastic! I love that you don’t need a ton of spices and that it comes together quickly. Pinning and can’t wait to give this a try:)

    1. Tina says:

      Thanks so much, Kelly. 🙂 That butter chicken sounds delish!

  10. love a good tikka masala.. never made mine in a skillet before though! great idea.. perfect for the winter weather I’m having here in Australia.

    1. Tina says:

      This is definitely awesome comfort food for those winter weather days! 🙂

  11. I have never tried Tikka Masala but I love dishes with flavor, so I think I’ll have to give this a try!! 🙂 Your pics look fabulous!!

    1. Tina says:

      Thank you so much! 🙂

  12. Tasty and fast little dish to put together that you can even enjoy on a weeknight.

    1. Tina says:

      Absolutely! 🙂

  13. Heck yes! I’ve been wanting to cook more Indian flavors at home. This chicken tikka masala is at the top of my list now! Pinned 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      Sweet! Thanks Chris. 🙂

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