Tikka Masala

Quick and Easy Homemade Tikka Masala

The Assistant loves tikka masala. Loves it. Last night, when he realized that I was cooking Indian, he literally jumped up and down in the kitchen like a crazy person.

Honestly, how can I say no to that?

You can make the recipe with chicken, paneer or vegetables. I usually use a combination of chicken and cauliflower and serve it with rice or homemade naan. Yes, it’s more work to have homemade naan, but it’s just so good.

A caveat to the recipe: tikka masala is typically made with heavy cream. As I’m lactose intolerant, I rarely have heavy cream on hand. Over the years, through careful substitution, I’ve learned that I can replace it with whole milk yogurt. The yogurt is easily digestible for people like me, and more likely to be found in my fridge. Yes, it’s a little less rich than the heavy cream version, but the family doesn’t complain.

There are two recipes here. The first is the spice recipe. You can make a big batch and have it ready to go whenever you need a quick meal. The second is the tikka masala itself.

Tikka Masala Spices

Serves 14
Prep time 10 minutes
This mixture of tikka masala spices can be used in a variety of Indian recipes.


  • 4 tablespoons corander (ground)
  • 4 tablespoons cumin (ground)
  • 4 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons ginger (ground)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder


Step 1
Mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container.

Tikka Masala

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Allergy Milk
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
In less than half an hour, you can have homemade tikka masala.


  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 2 tablespoons tikka masala spices
  • .5 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • .5 cup heavy cream or plain yogurt


Step 1
In a large, lidded skillet, melt butter or ghee. Saute onions until soft and golden.
Step 2
Add tikka masala spices to buttery onions. Stir to combine. Add tomato paste. Stir to combine.
Step 3
If using chicken, push the onions to the side of the pan and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. If using paneer or vegetables, skip to step 4.
Step 4
Add water. Cover and allow the meat and vegetables to cook through.
Step 5
Approximately two minutes before serving, add cream or yogurt. Stir to combine.


Cookies without dragging out the KitchenAid. Not a bad deal.There was actual jumping up and down, both before and after. That’s a huge victory in my book.

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3 Responses

  1. You know, I’ve never actually made tikka masala. Maybe because Raj doesn’t love it like I do. (The restaurant owner who delivered the food for our rehearsal dinner advised Raj to put the tikka masala at the end of the buffet because “White people LOVE tikka masala.” We did, in fact, run out of it before everyone got through the line.) Still, he’d probably rather I made tikka masala than yet another Italian/Greek dinner. Pinned for future use.

  2. Alisa says:

    Why yes, white people DO love tikka masala! But really, if the assistant likes it, that’s my real motivation.

    Since you’re not cooking for a Tiny Assistant, sauté the onions with some minced fresh garlic and ginger to kick up the flavor.

  3. Sounds good. Thanks for the tip!

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