Have you ever tried Chicken Tikka Masala?
This delicious Indian dish features tender chunks of chicken and the most flavorful tomato and cream sauce.
The first time I tried this dish, and other Indian food delicacies was on a trip to London with my best childhood friend, Emily.
She picked the restaurant that night and promised me I would love it.
She’s never been so right!
All of the fragrant spices and flavorful dishes just blew me away.
Indian food continues to be one of my favorite international cuisines.
And when it became a favorite of my husband and kids too, I knew I needed to find a way to make chicken tikka masala at home.
Slow Cooker To The Rescue
One of the things I love about Chicken Tikka Masala is the tenderness of the chicken.
And the best way I know how to make chicken tender is by cooking it low and slow in my slow cooker.
But what really makes the difference between an okay masala and a really good one is the sauce.
I tried a number of different recipes, played around with the spices, adjusted the amount of yogurt and cream, and finally landed on the recipe I’m sharing with all of you.
Although Doug and the kids never complained about a single version, when I made this final recipe, the consensus was we didn’t need to order Indian food anymore.
This version, they said, was JUST AS GOOD.
How Spicy Is This Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe?
I’m so glad you asked.
On the spice meter, I’d give this a mild rating.
Despite the fact that the recipe includes jalapenos and cayenne pepper, there are so many other ingredients that help to temper the heat.
The yogurt and the cream keep this sauce on the mild side.
Remember that when working with jalapenos, be sure to remove all of the seeds and the membranes. That’s where the peppers hold their heat.
And if you find that you want a little more heat in this dish, don’t worry about the membranes on the jalapeno and add another 1/4 tsp. of cayenne.
At most, this will take the dish to a medium spicy level.
Chicken Tikka Masala
This classic Indian dish is so flavorful and fragrant, and it couldn't be easier to prepare. It's one of my family's favorite dishes when we go out to eat, and when I made this for the first time, my kids said we don't need to get Indian food take out anymore!
- 5-6 boneless chicken breasts halves, cut into chunks (2-3 lbs)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 2 jalapeños, stemmed, sliced in half, and seeds removed
- 1 (29-oz) can + 1 (8-oz) can tomato purée
- 1-1/2 cups plain yogurt (I use regular and greek, both work)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp Garam Masala
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1/2 Tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 cups Basmati rice, cooked
- Chopped cilantro, for garnish
- Place all the ingredients — except for the yogurt, heavy cream, cornstarch, rice, and cilantro — into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- When there are 2 hours remaining, stir in yogurt to chicken mixture in the slow cooker. Continue cooking for remaining 2 hours.
- Whisk together the heavy cream and the cornstarch in a small bowl. Add the mixture to the slow cooker and cook for an additional 20 minutes until the mixture thickens.
- Remove the bay leaves and the jalapeño. Serve over warm rice with warm Naan bread and garnish it with cilantro.
Make sure you cut the chicken breasts into thick chunks. If you make the pieces too small, they'll just fall apart with the 8 hours of slow cooking, and you'll be left with more of a shredded chickent masala!
If you'd like, serve it with white rice that's been mixed with a bag of frozen peas. And if you're watching your carbs, this is excellent over riced cauliflower, or even roasted cauliflower!
I would consider this dish mild on the spice meter. If you like a little heat, leave some of the membrane on the jalapenos when seeding and consider adding another 1/4 tsp. cayenne.
What Do I Serve With This Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe?
Chicken Tikka Masala is usually served with basmati rice.
Any type of rice will do.
And if you’re trying to keep an eye on your carbs, consider using cauliflower rice. It’s delicious with the masala sauce.
I’ve also roasted cauliflower and served this dish over the florets. Especially if I’m a little low on chicken, the roasted cauliflower adds another bit of hardiness to the recipe.
And don’t forget the naan.
Naan is a soft, flatbread that is often served with Indian cuisine.
It is readily available in your grocery store. I usually find it near the deli section or in the bread aisle.
I think my favorite part of this meal is using the naan bread to sop up any leftover masala sauce on my plate. It’s just all so enjoyable!
More Slow Cooker Favorites
I rely on my slow cooker to help feed my family on a weekly basis. I think Doug and the kids would have gone hungry if I didn’t load it up early in the morning so that we’d all have a warm, homemade meal when I returned home from work during my years at QVC.
I’m often asked about what kind of slow cooker I use. I have many, in different sizes.
You can never go wrong with the original Crock Pot. Mine is almost 20 years old.
But I did upgrade to this one from Hamilton Beach. I like the control of the timer and the probe for certain foods.
If you also love a good slow cooker meal, be sure to check out my slow cooker chili and my easy and savory beef stroganoff. I think you’ll really enjoy them!
And I hope you’ll give the chicken tikka masala recipe a try! I don’t know that it will rival your favorite local Indian restaurant, but if you ask my kids, it might come close!
From my kitchen to yours,