One Pan Tikka Masala

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Mouth-watering Chicken Tikka Masala is a breeze to make, with simple steps and everyday spices blending to create an explosion of flavors. Marinate, bake, and enjoy this saucy, creamy chicken over rice with some naan.

One-pan Tikka Masala freshly out of the oven, warm and covered in delicious sauce.

Tikka Masala

This Chicken Tikka Masala has been a staple in our home for years. However, grilling chicken outdoors isn’t always practical. So, I’ve adapted the recipe for indoors! Baking the chicken instead of grilling retains all the flavor while also simplifying the process.

This version is undoubtedly the easiest way to make Chicken Tikka Masala! I love breaking it down into two easy steps: marinating the chicken one day and baking it in the sauce the next. This delivers a delicious, restaurant-quality meal with minimal effort.

Ingredients used for the recipe including chicken, spices, yogurt, cream, and more.

Tikka Masala Ingredients

  • Garlic and ginger: Fresh for best flavor, or use pre-minced for convenience.
  • Spices: Add earthiness, color, and flavor. Adjust hot spices to your preferred heat level.
  • Chicken thighs: Bone-in for the most flavor and juiciness!
  • Greek yogurt: Full-fat for creamy marinade.
  • Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed is best.
  • Butter: Unsalted to control salt, or swap with ghee for richness.
  • Tomato paste: This delivers a concentrated flavor without thinning the sauce too much.
  • Chicken broth: This adds a nice depth of flavor.
  • Heavy cream: This delivers the richest sauce and ensures it won’t break in the heat.
  • Peas: If you aren’t a fan, try chickpeas instead!

Carefully mixing a blend of aromatic spices, coating the chicken pieces, and allowing them to marinate in the flavorful mixture.

How To Make Tikka Masala

Skip take-out and make Tikka Masala at home instead! Here’s a quick overview: 

  • Prepare the spice mix: Combine and divide in half.
  • Marinate chicken: Remove skin, season, mix with yogurt and half of the spice mix. Marinate 20 mins to 24 hrs.
  • Make pan sauce: In a greased pan, mix sauce ingredients. 
  • Bake: Place marinated chicken in sauce, bake 45 mins, basting after 30 mins.
  • Finish with peas: Stir in, garnishing with cilantro if desired.
  • Serve: Accompany with rice, naan, and lemon wedges.

Adding a variety of sauce ingredients and expertly whisking them to create a flavorful coating for the one-pan Tikka Masala recipe.

Recipe Tips

  1. Fresh spices: Use high-quality, fresh spices for the best possible flavor.
  2. Quality tomato paste: Choose a good-quality brand for a richer sauce.
  3. Cream: Use full-fat cream for richness and to avoid curdling.
  4. Sauce thickness: Remove chicken and return the sauce to the oven for a bit longer to thicken if needed.
  5. Garnish: Fresh cilantro adds a nice color and finishing flavor.

QUICK TIP

Some of the ingredients used in this recipe can stain your hands, cutting board, and even the bowls and pans you use! Stainless steel and ceramic containers work best–plastic, in particular, stains easily from the strong colors in turmeric, chili powder, and tomato paste.

How is Chicken Tikka Masala different from chicken curry?

Chicken Tikka Masala, likely UK-originated, features grilled chicken in a creamy, mildly spicy tomato sauce. It’s rich and slightly sweet. Chicken Curry, from the Indian subcontinent, varies more in flavor and ingredients, with chicken cooked directly in a spicier, diverse sauce that may include coconut milk or yogurt.

What is Tikka Masala sauce made of?

Tikka Masala sauce combines tomato paste or puree, heavy cream or coconut milk, and spices such as garam masala, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Garlic, ginger, and onions enhance the flavor, while paprika, chili powder, or red pepper flakes add heat. 

Taking out of the oven, mixing the sauce, returning to the oven, and adding peas.

STORAGE

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

Make ahead:

  • Prepare the chicken and marinade a day in advance.
  • The sauce can be made up to three days ahead and stored in the fridge.
  • On the day of serving, cook the chicken and warm the sauce before assembling.

Freezing:

  • Freeze Chicken Tikka Masala in a freezer-safe container for up to three months.
  • Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat gently on the stove.

A finished Chicken Tikka Masala dish laid over a bed of rice, delicious, warm, and aromatic.

What To Serve With Tikka Masala

  1. Basmati rice: Light and fluffy, it’s perfect for soaking up the sauce.
  2. Naan or roti: Ideal for scooping up the creamy sauce.
  3. Roasted vegetables: Try cauliflower or broccoli.
  4. Light salad: A cucumber or garden salad adds a fresh contrast.
  5. Raita: A cooling yogurt-based condiment.
  6. Dal (lentil curry): Adds plant-based protein.

More Delicious One-Pan Meals:

Recipe adapted from my Chicken Tikka Masala and help in converting it to one pan by Veenaaz Manov!

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Tikka Masala

5 from 1 vote
Mouth-watering Chicken Tikka Masala is a breeze to make, with simple steps and everyday spices blending to create an explosion of flavors. Marinate, bake, and enjoy this saucy, creamy chicken over rice with some naan.
One pan tikka masala freshly out of the oven, warm and covered in delicious sauce.
Print Recipe

Tikka Masala

One pan tikka masala freshly out of the oven, warm and covered in delicious sauce.
5 from 1 vote
Mouth-watering Chicken Tikka Masala is a breeze to make, with simple steps and everyday spices blending to create an explosion of flavors. Marinate, bake, and enjoy this saucy, creamy chicken over rice with some naan.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Healthy, Indian
Keyword tikka masala
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Marinating Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 3 -4 servings
Chelsea Lords
Calories 1185kcal
Cost $13.64

Ingredients

Spice Mix

  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
  • tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons each: garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon each: paprika, chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional (adjust to preference)

Chicken

Pan Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream (See Note 2)
  • Finishing Touches: 1 cup frozen peas, cilantro (optional)
  • For serving: warmed/charred naan, rice, 1 lemon (optional) (See Note 3)

Instructions

  • SPICE MIX: Combine spice mix ingredients in a bowl. Stir and divide the mix in half.
  • CHICKEN: Remove skin from chicken thighs and pat them dry. Season with ¾ tsp salt. Place chicken in a large zip-top bag with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and half of the spice mix. Knead the bag to coat the chicken evenly. Marinate 20 minutes up to 24 hours (longer = better flavor).
    Carefully mixing a blend of aromatic spices, coating the chicken pieces, and allowing them to marinate in the flavorful mixture.
  • PAN SAUCE: Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan generously. In a large liquid measuring cup, or directly into the baking pan, whisk together pan sauce ingredients & remaining spice mix. Season to taste (I add ¾ tsp salt).
    Adding a variety of sauce ingredients and expertly whisking them to create a flavorful coating for the one pan tikka masala recipe.
  • BAKE: Remove chicken from the marinade bag and place it smooth side up in the prepared pan. Spoon any remaining marinade from the bag onto the chicken. Bake for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes, stir the sauce around the chicken and spoon it over the top every 5 minutes.
    Taking out of the oven, mixing the sauce, returning to the oven, and adding peas.
  • FINISHING TOUCHES: Remove the pan from the oven and stir the sauce around the chicken. Sprinkle optional frozen peas into the sauce and gently stir. Add fresh cilantro if desired.
  • ENJOY: Serve over rice with warmed naan. Cut a lemon into wedges to serve on the side (so good!) Enjoy warm!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Chicken: Use bone-in chicken thighs to ensure the cooking time is accurate and to achieve the best flavor. The bone contributes to a richer flavor and improves the texture of the chicken.
Note 2: Cream: We use full-fat heavy cream to thicken the sauce and ensure no curdling happens. The cream is essential for achieving the desired consistency and richness of the sauce.
Note 3: Naan: We love to warm or char the naan. Here's how:
  • Stovetop charred naan: Spray naan with olive oil spray. Char over an open flame. Cover with a tea towel after.
  • Microwave warmed naan: Wrap in a damp paper towel. Microwave 10-15 seconds. Cover with a tea towel.
  • Alternative: Use mini naan and pop in the toaster (e.g., Stonefire® mini naan).

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 1185kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 63g | Fat: 95g | Saturated Fat: 41g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 32g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 439mg | Sodium: 894mg | Potassium: 1438mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 2764IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 182mg | Iron: 6mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi, I am making this now (the chicken is
    marinating). Your instructions say to use 1/2 of the spice mix in the marinade, but I do
    not see where else in the recipe I am
    supposed to add the other 1/2 of the spice mix ? Thanks in advance for your response – looking forward to having this tonight!

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