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4.82 from 11 votes

1-Pan Chicken Tikka Masala (w/ vegetarian & dairy free subs)

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Servings: 4


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs *see vegetarian subs below
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger minced
  • 1.25 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric optional
  • 1.25 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 can 14oz tomato sauce
  • 1.5 Tablespoon garam masala + more to taste
  • 1.5 Tablespoon brown sugar + more to taste
  • .5 can full fat coconut milk use half of a 13.5oz can, or 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • cilantro optional, for garnish


  • Sautee onions, garlic, and ginger in a little olive oil over low-medium heat until fragrant
  • Add cumin, cook for 2-3 minutes more
  • Add chicken, season with paprika and turmeric, and let brown for 2-3 minutes
  • Pour in tomato sauce, add garam masala and sugar
  • Let it come to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cook for at least 20 minutes or until meat is done (longer cooking time on very low heat = more tender chicken)
  • When meat is almost done, stir in coconut milk and continue cooking on low for 5 - 10 more minutes, adding any more spices, salt and sugar to taste. Garnish with optional cilantro before serving with naan bread or steamed rice!


Vegetarian substitution ideas: cauliflower (we're using "caulini" here from the Asian grocery), firm tofu, paneer, or canned chickpeas. Wait until the sauce has simmered for 10 minutes or so to let all the spices meld before adding the veggies.
Optional prep step: If using chicken, you can marinade it in the spices and ~1/2 cup of plain unsweetened greek yogurt of dairy free plain unsweetened coconut based yogurt (we use SoDelicious brand). This will help tenderize the chicken and add another layer of flavor to the sauce.
When making with chicken, we also love adding steamed cauliflower and frozen green peas toward the end!