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A bowl of indian tikka masala with chicken.

Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala

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Created by Mariam E.
Healthy chicken tikka masala is a creamy and delicious weeknight meal that comes together quickly. Bite-sized cubes of boneless chicken are marinated in a spiced Greek yogurt chicken tikka masala marinade, then pan seared and simmered in a creamy tomato sauce seasoned with your favorite Indian flavors. Serve this Indian tikka masala with chicken over rice and garnish with cilantro.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 servings


For the chicken

  • 1 ½ lb chicken breasts cut into bite-sized cubes
  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger grated
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder or paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the tikka masala

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger grated
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
  • Lemon wedges to garnish


  • In a medium bowl, prepare the marination by combining the chicken, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, chili powder, salt and turmeric. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes (preferably overnight).
  • Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add oil. Once the oil is heated, add the chicken pieces and cook for 5-6 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer the cooked chicken pieces to a plate and set them aside.
  • To the same skillet, add the butter to make tikka masala. Add the onion, garlic and garlic, saute for 3-5 minutes until the onions turn translucent.
  • Add in the spices; coriander powder, red chili powder, garam masala, cumin, salt, and turmeric powder. Saute for a minute.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and diced tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes. Once the sauce is thickened, add the heavy cream and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the brown sugar at this stage.
  • Once the tikka masala starts bubbling, add the chicken back to the pot and allow the masala to simmer for 10 minutes on a low flame.
  • Once the chicken is cooked through, add in the chopped cilantro and turn off the heat.
  • Serve the chicken tikka masala with a bowl of rice and lemon wedges on the side to enjoy!


  • Thicken a sauce by letting it simmer for a few more minutes. 
  • Thin a sauce by adding ¼ cup of water or broth. 
  • Need a dairy-free alternative? Use coconut cream or full fat coconut milk instead of the heavy cream. 
  • Make this vegan by using tofu instead of chicken and substituting the yogurt,  butter and milk with plant based alternatives. 
  • Always use fresh lemons, garlic and ginger when possible. 
  • Cut the chicken into even, bite-sized pieces and pat dry with paper towels before adding to the marinade. 
  • Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes but preferably overnight. 
  • Use boneless skinless chicken thighs if you prefer. 
  • Chop all of your aromatics when you prepare the marinade and store in the fridge. Dinner will come together that much quicker the next night.


Calories: 587kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 193mg | Sodium: 1620mg | Potassium: 1128mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1662IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 155mg | Iron: 3mg
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