You asked for it: chicken tikka masala. It’s low carb and FULL flavor. This is a sauce you won’t want to waste. Humble onions and tomatoes make magic thanks to all the flavors of the garam masala.
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What a won-der-ful phrase! Ahem. Couldn’t help it. But there are many things worth singing about here… I’ve tested this recipe dozens of times—including a family tasting showcasing four variations! And this is the one that I want you to make…
Because it’s BOLD. And it’s got layers of flavor.
Garam masala does most of the work for you. Garlic, ginger, onions, and tomatoes do the rest. The cream complements the spices, the sweetness, the bit of smoke from the char. It also balances the carbs with a little fat, which is great for those of us watching our blood sugar.
And don’t forget to take advantage of Every. Last. Bit. Of this sauce. I love to soak it up with cauliflower rice, but a spoon will do. Loads of flavor, not much work. This easy chicken tikka masala is seriously one of my favorite things.
What I Love About This Chicken Tikka Masala:
This tikka masala chicken is one of those keto dinners that’s got it alllll:
- Perfect for meal prep
- Creamy + zesty
- Greek yogurt: The gentle acidity of the greek yogurt makes the yogurt marinated chicken extra juicy and tender in no time at all. Don’t skip!
- Chicken: I love the lush flavor of chicken thighs for this strongly flavored sauce. But, if you need to keep the calories down, feel free to sub in chicken breast.
- Garam Masala is a great addition to your spice collection if you haven’t tried it yet. A warming blend of Indian spices, garam masala varies per brand and region, but can loosely be considered a little sharper and bolder than curry powders (which also usually contain turmeric). Find it at Whole Foods, health food stores, or online.
- Heavy cream: Looking for a dairy-free healthy chicken tikka masala? Full fat (in the can) coconut milk will work. Just be sure to combine the fat on top with the liquid milk on the bottom before adding it in.
Keto chicken tikka masala is really all about the tikka masala sauce. Don’t waste a drop! Soak it up with keto naan, cauliflower rice, or broccoli rice. You can even serve it over a bed of roasted veggies.
Tips For the Best Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe:
There are a few steps to this chicken tikka masala. But, nothing too fancy. Just simple kitchen techniques. And you have options. Here’s how to make chicken tikka masala, perfect, every time:
- Toast your spices. It’ll round out the aroma and flavors of the spices so they marry with the chicken tikka masala sauce.
- Char that chicken. Don’t be afraid to let those marinated edges of the chicken blacken and char a little bit– It’ll add loads of flavor to the sauce.
- Chunky vs. creamy sauce. We much prefer a blended (creamy) sauce to coat the chicken, however, if you prefer to keep the veggies whole, just skip the blender.
- Don’t overcook the chicken (final step). Use a meat thermometer, and remove your chicken tikka masala once the internal temp has reached 165 F.
- Use different kinds of meat. Shrimp, pork, or beef.
- Make a vegetarian tikka masala by using vegetables instead of chicken.
- Turn this into a soup by simply adding more broth and heavy cream. If making a keto chicken soup, you’ll also want to increase your spices.
More Chicken Recipes
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Chicken + Marinade:
- 1 Cup Greek Yogurt I use Fage 2%
- 2 Cloves Garlic finely grated
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger grated
- 1 Tablespoon Garam Masala
- 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
- 2 pounds Chicken Thighs boneless + skinless, cut into 1" cubes (note 1)
- 1/4 Cup Avocado or Vegetable Oil
- 3 Cups Onion chopped
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger grated
- 2 Tablespoons Garam Marsala
- 1 – 14 Ounce Canned Diced Tomatoes
- 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 3/4 Cups Heavy cream (note 3)
- 1 Lime juiced
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro chopped
- Cauliflower rice
- Marinate. Combine marinade ingredients together in a large resealable bag. Add the chicken (2 pounds) and massage to coat. Allow chicken to marinate for 3 hours – overnight.
- Broil. Adjust your oven rack so that it's around 10 inches from the top. Preheat your oven to broil and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and an oven-safe wire rack. Place chicken in a single layer on the rack, and broil for 9-11 minutes. Rotate your baking sheet halfway through. You'll know the chicken is done once there are black spots on top, but it won't be cooked all the way through.
- Sauce. Meanwhile, add oil (¼ cup) to the pan. Once shimmering, add the onion (3 cups) and saute until softened – about 5 minutes. Add the garlic (1 ½ tablespoons) , ginger (1 tablespoon) , and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the garam masala (2 tablespoon) and toast for 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes (1 – 14 ounce) and salt (1 teaspoon) and stir to combine. Bring contents to a simmer and allow them to thicken for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cream (¾ cup) and lime juice (1) .
- OPTIONAL (for a smoother sauce, I much prefer it this way): place sauce ingredients in a blender, or use an immersion blender and blend until completely smooth. Return back to the pan.
- Simmer + Serve. Add the chicken and any juices that have accumulated on the plate to the sauce. Maintain a simmer with the sauce, and continue to cook until the internal temp of the chicken reaches 165 F, about 10 minutes. Serve over rice or cauliflower rice with cilantro on top, and enjoy!
Fans Also Made These Low Carb Recipes:
- Chicken breast can be used instead of thighs, although we prefer the flavor of thighs here.
- For a dairy free option, you can use full fat coconut milk instead of heavy cream.