This chicken tikka recipe is certain to become a real family favourite. Just marinate the chicken overnight in a simple spicy yogurt marinade. The chicken is so so good and great on its own or in a curry.
Indian food is a real favourite of ours and I've marinated chicken with Indian spices and yogurt many times. But this time I wanted to get the chicken to taste as near to what I feel is chicken tikka as possible. I read lots of recipes for chicken tikka marinades and in the end I've come up with a version that tastes really authentic.
Is this an authentic chicken tikka recipe?
Well, before you argue, authentic to me anyway. I've never been to India and so I'm thinking of the chicken tikka from British Indian restaurants, supermarkets and takeaways. If that's the type of chicken tikka you're used to as well then I'm sure you'll love my easy homemade version.
The recipe for the tikka marinade contains all my favourite spices - cumin, cayenne, paprika, cinnamon, coriander and turmeric as well as ginger and garlic.
I didn't make it too spicy because the chicken was for the children as well (they love it!) so you could add a little more cayenne pepper to it. I marinated the chicken overnight so the flavours really penetrated it. But if you don't have time to marinate it for a long time don't worry. This recipe will still result in some tasty Indian chicken.
What ingredients do you need for chicken tikka?
There is a rather long list of spices for this chicken tikka but apart from that you don't need much. Just:
- Spices - cayenne pepper, paprika, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon
- Garlic - I like to use freshly crushed garlic but you can use a puree or even garlic granules.
- Fresh root ginger - Like the garlic, you can replace it with a paste or a powder.
- Natural yogurt
- Lemon juice
Why is chicken tikka sometimes so red?
Red food colouring is often used commercially to give the chicken that deep red colour and I have experimented with it in the past. I added some natural red food colouring to the marinade which made the chicken redder but not too artificial.
What to serve with chicken tikka
This chicken tikka is really versatile and it's great to put in a wrap with lettuce, onion and tomato. You can also add a generous amount of raita and some mango chutney or lime pickle. I sometimes serve it with the mango yogurt dressing that is used in these Indian chicken wraps too.
I also often serve it with a quick homemade vegetable curry, a simple cucumber raita and some steamed basmati rice. The vegetable curry and raita make a really tasty side dish for the chicken.
It would also be great with these Bombay potatoes.
Can you put it in a curry?
I served this as a dry chicken tikka but you could use the marinated chicken in any chicken curry recipe. Why not put it in this chicken tikka masala?
It also goes really well in this North Indian chicken curry. Once it's been marinated overnight the chicken is really tender and tasty.
How to cook chicken tikka?
Chicken tikka can be cooked in different ways. I like to grill (broil) it but you can cook it on the barbecue or in a griddle pan so you get the deliciously charred bits on the edge. It is equally good just cooked in a frying pan.
You can also bake it in the oven. Depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts it will take 20-25 minutes at 180C.
Can you adapt this chicken tikka marinade recipe?
Yes, if you're missing a spice then just miss it out. It's also important to taste the marinade before adding the chicken to check that you like the flavour. Increase the quantities of the spices a little for even more flavour!
As I said above, you can definitely omit the food colouring!
I used chicken breasts but you can use this chicken tikka marinade on legs or thighs too. One thing is certain, this meal is a real crowd-pleaser that I make again and again!
What to do with leftover chicken tikka?
Using up the leftovers is something I love. In fact, as you can see from my Cook Once Eat Twice recipe collection, I love recipes that make enough for two or more meals.
If you have some leftover tikka then why not use it in one of these recipe ideas?
- A sandwich with some iceberg lettuce and mayonnaise
- Make a chicken tikka pizza
- Put it in a flatbread wrap
- Make a chicken tikka salad
- Put it in a jacket potato
Storing and reheating
If you have any leftovers it will keep in the fridge for up to three days. You can eat the chicken tikka cold or reheat it. If you reheat it make sure it is piping hot. You can use either the microwave or the oven.
Can you freeze cooked chicken tikka?
Yes, any cooked chicken tikka can be frozen for up to three months in an airtight freezer bag. Defrost thoroughly in the fridge before using.
More Indian Recipes
I love making curries and have lots of recipes here on Searching for Spice. In fact, I even have a recipe collection devoted entirely to easy homemade curries from scratch!
Why not have a look at one of these recipes? I think you'll also love my recipe collection of spicy midweek meals.
- 600 g chicken (4 chicken breasts)
- ½ lemon juiced
- 2 tablespoon natural yogurt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 tablespoon ginger grated
- 1 teaspoon natural red food colour optional
- 1 pinch salt
- Mix together all the marinade ingredients and put the chicken in.
- Marinate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
- Cook the chicken under the grill or in a frying pan until fully cooked.
Absolutely beautiful week dinner suggestion. Pinned for later 🙂
Thanks! I'm so pleased you like it.
Absolutely the best chicken tikka I have ever tasted. So simple and yet so delicious. I will be having a look at some of your other recipes.
Thank you so much for letting me know Keith! I'm so happy you liked it.
We make chicken tikka at least once a week and I can safely tell it's the way to eat your chicken, haha! But seriously chicken tikka looks so good and I can eat this as it is, or with a big bowl or rice , even with rotis. damn delicious!
Thanks Jyothi! It is so versatile isn't it. We love chicken tikka or indeed any marinated chicken!
I never really thought about why chicken tikka (or chicken tandoori, for that matter) is always so red -- it never even dawned on me that it really may just be the result of a bunch of food coloring!!
It is surprising isn't it! I do love tandoori chicken as well.
Yes please! Can I have two helpings? Indian food is my fave and I can't get enough!
Me too! We usually eat something Indian at least once a week. We're so lucky our kids like Indian food too!
Marinating the chicken ahead of time really does make such a difference. And I love adding a little extra cayenne!
yes, a little cayenne would help with the colour too!
My kiddo tried tikka chicken last week in school (never tried none of my recipes thou ... he's a picky eater) and he came home so excited wanting me to prepare him this at home. I promise to make him this week. I will give a try of your recipe. Sounds so flavorful.
My daughter is very picky too but she loves this. The more flavour I can get in the chicken the more likely she is to eat it!
Kathryn @ Urban Foodie Kitchen
This looks so nicely cooked and is something I've been wanting to make for a while. Pinning this one for later!!
Thanks Kathryn! I love this as it's so easy to make but really tasty.
This chicken looks so flavorful and perfectly cooked! I've never had chicken tikka before but I'm thinking it needs a spot on our dinnertime lineup!
I hope you like it! It's really tasty and you can use it in so many ways too.
I absolutely love Tikka masala. it is one of those ever green dishes. I am definitely going to try your recipe. seems perfect fr next week's freezing weather.
Oh I'm not looking forward to the cold weather this week either - I'm probably going to be making some curries to fight against it!
This recipe looks delicious) It's a perfect easy to make meal for a busy weeknight) Saving the recipe!
Thanks! I'm so pleased you like it! I love making recipes that involves marinades.
Lizet Flores de Bowen
Mmm, I love Indian food. Your recipe looks delicious! and I have all the ingredients. Making it soon. 🙂
Thanks Lizet! I'm so pleased you like it - It's definitely worth making.
I had no clue that they put food coloring in tikka! Your chicken tikka looks fabulous! Not only does it look delicious but it's fun to look at and I bet a hit when serving to guests at a party. I'll be trying this soon.
I wondered for a long time why it was sometimes quite so red and then I discovered it often had food colouring in! I definitely don't think you need it if you're making it at home though. It's for appearance not taste!
This looks delicious! All of those spices call to me, the combination looks so yummy I can't wait to try it! It is definitely something my family will love.
Thanks ALeta! I'm so pleased that your family would love this too.
Chicken tikka is such a great, easy meal, I really should make it more as the kids like it too. Yours looks like it came out great.
Thanks Caroline! One of the ways I get my kids to eat thing is by adding lots of flavour. I hope yours like this too.
All the combination of Indian spices are so mouthwatering. What a great recipe. This would make the chicken taste so good. I know my family would love this for sure.
I'm so pleased you like it Gloria! I always find a few Indian spices make things taste good.
Julie @ Running in a Skirt
The flavors in this look amazing! What a delish combination of ingredients. I bet this would be a hit at dinner.
It's always a hit when I make it here - my family love it!
I think I can smell all those wonderful Indian spices through my computer screen! This looks fabulous, can't wait to try this recipe!
Thanks Lesli! I'm so pleased you like it - It's a really popular recipe so I'm thinking of updating the pictures soon so hopefully it will then look even more appetising!
Katie Crenshaw | A Fork's Tale
I love this at the restaurants. It is so flavorful. I am excited to make it at home. I had no idea it was so easy!
IT is super easy! I love making dishes that involve a marinade as they are usually so tasty.
Wholesale Food Supplier
How much time does it take to make yogurt marinate?
Only a couple of minutes! It's very quick and easy to make.
Michelle Frank | Flipped-Out Food
You are a woman after my own heart: the hubster and I absolutely ADORE Indian food, and chicken tikka (or chicken tikka masala) is one of our faves. Your version came out just gorgeous—well done!
Thanks Michelle! I need to make this recipe again soon too. It's another one that the kids like which is always a good thing.
Oooh Corina this looks and sounds so good and a recipe that I could make Slimming World friendly! A must try. Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x
You could just roast the pinenuts to make it even healthier, although there wasn't a lot of icing sugar on them!
What a gorgeous looking meal - I think you've done a great job of recreating a a takeaway classic. Thanks for linking up with #CookBlogShare X
I should give this a go. I have been put off trying after I tried a recipe from a book which had way too much chili in! #cookblogshare
I'm sure you'd love this! It's not too spicy at all and the best thing is to just add a little chilli powder and taste the marinade before adding the chicken. Even if it is spicer than you think you want, it mainly flavours and tenderizes the chicken, which won't taste as spicy as the marinade after it's cooked anyway. Hope you enjoy it!
Eb Gargano / easypeasyfoodie
Wow - that sounds so good!! I do love this kind of food and it sounds wonderfully easy too! I've just noticed your Foodies 100 ranking for this month. SNAP!! I am number 125 too. All the best people are number 125 😉 Eb x
Wow! 125 is certainly a good number to be. Fingers crossed we can both make it into the top 100 soon x
what a lovely simple recipe. I rarely make chicken tikka at home but i think I shall be making it again very soon now Ive seen this so Im pinning for later.
It's so simple Jacqui so it's definitely worth making at home. I planned to have lots of leftovers too but we ate most of it straightaway!
[email protected] a Dash of Cinnamon
I love your healthy update on chicken tikka!
Thanks! It's such a tasty meal too.
All the flavors that I love! It looks fantastic 🙂
Thanks! It's a really lovely marinade and so easy as well as delicious.
I'm going to try this recipe. It looks absolutely delish!
Thanks! Let me know how you get on with it!
sue | theviewfromgreatisland
We are HUGE chicken tikka AND Tilda fans in this house, what a magical pairing. I've never tried to make my own tikka marinade, but I have all the ingredients so I'm going to give it a go ~ thanks for the inspiration!
I do hope you like it! We all loved it and I'll definitely be making it again.
Jenn @ Peas and Crayons
Totally one of my favorite chicken dishes!
We attended an Indian wedding over the summer and the food was incredible. I actually went back for seconds of the chicken tikka. Can't wait to try your version.
It's such an easy dish to make at home - hope you enjoy it if you get make it!
Elaine @ foodbod
Thanks Elaine - so pleased you like it!