Easy Indian: Skinny Chicken Tikka Masala


There’s one protein that consistently shows up on my grocery list nearly every week: chicken.

So considering how often I cook with it, I’m always trying new twists to keep things from getting boring.

Recently I’ve been loving this easy homemade version of a dish often found in Indian restaurants, Chicken Tikka Masala.

This recipe is definitely unique, tasty, and perfect for a chilly evening.


Made with chopped tomatoes, a variety of veggies, and lots of spices, it’s packed with healthy flavor.

It also has a hint of spiciness from jalapeño pepper and some rich creaminess too, from coconut milk.


This easy and healthy chicken tikka masala recipe takes about a half hour to prepare.

In an Indian restaurant, the chicken would probably be marinated for hours and slow roasted in a special oven.

Incredibly flavorful, but very time-consuming to prepare.

So for my homemade version, I keep things quick and simple by cubing and sautéeing the chicken.

It’s a quick, everyday meal for a busy weeknight!


Instead of butter or cream, I love using coconut milk in this recipe.

Because, in addition to creaminess, it adds the slightest hint of coconut, which is the perfect complement to the Garam Masala spice blend.

It’s a yummy new twist for chicken!

Here’s the recipe for Easy Indian Skinny Chicken Tikka Masala:

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Easy Indian: Skinny Chicken Tikka Masala

  • Author: Jen Elizabeth's Journals
  • Category: Chicken Dish
  • Cuisine: Indian


Total Time: 35 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Yield: 6 servings


  • 4 tablespoons sesame, sunflower, or canola oil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, fat trimmed and cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 small carrots, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced
  • 12 ounces frozen chopped cauliflower florets, thawed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Garam Masala (see recipe below)
  • 15-ounce container chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Garam Masala:

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


  1. To a bowl, add all the spices listed above for the Garam Masala. Stir until well combined, and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté the chicken until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl, cover with foil, and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil to the pan along with the onion and garlic and cook until veggies are softened, about 1-2 minutes. Add the carrots and jalapeño and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken back in, along with the thawed cauliflower, tomato paste, and the Garam Masala. Stir until spices are well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, simmer, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Turn off the heat and add coconut milk. Stir until well combined.
  6. Serve over brown rice.



For Related Recipes, Check Out:

Easy Moroccan Slow Cooker Chicken Tajine

Creamy Curry Pumpkin Soup

Beginner Thai: White Fish with Thai Curry Sauce







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  1. October 16, 2013 / 11:03 am

    This recipe looks so delicious and it’s great that it’s “skinny” Tikka Masala! I love the coconut milk and the garam masala spice mixture. I need to try this soon – I think my family will love it.

  2. October 16, 2013 / 11:11 am

    I LOVE all things Indian food and it’s been ages since I’ve had tika masala! Love that this is a lightened up version so that I can eat a double dosage! Beautiful, my dear!

  3. October 17, 2013 / 12:55 pm

    I shamefully buy this stuff in a jar, and consume it in inhuman quantities. I am really liking the idea of making it at home. Plus, if its skinny I can eat more, right? Looks awesome, and definitely making this over the weekend 🙂

  4. October 17, 2013 / 6:35 pm

    Wonderful blend of spices- nice mix w chopped tomatoes and the coconut milk at the end. We will definitely be making this again.

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      October 18, 2013 / 8:59 am

      Glad you enjoyed this one! 🙂

  5. October 18, 2013 / 1:58 pm

    Great idea to prepare your own spice mixture for this chicken Masala.
    I love it because it’s much lighter than the traditional dish and therefor so much healthier.
    Great recipe,thanks for sharing!

  6. Kjerstin
    October 23, 2013 / 2:39 pm

    I found Garam Masala at the store to use in the recipe but am not sure how much to use. Thanks!

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      October 23, 2013 / 3:44 pm

      My homemade version amounts to about 1 tablespoon, so my best estimate would be 1 tablespoon of the Garam Masala. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

  7. Derek
    November 11, 2013 / 4:29 am

    I made this last night – my first attempt at making my own Indian food at home, and this recipe is FANTASTIC and super easy! I found a Garam Masala mix at the store that worked just fine (I used 1 1/2 Tablespoons because I like the really rich flavor) and added just a bit more coconut milk for personal taste, and had a frozen broccoli/cauliflower mix in the fridge that I used (I will probably use all cauliflower next time, but it was still good…). I cannot wait to try more of your recipes! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing with us.

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      November 11, 2013 / 8:53 am

      Comments like this one make my day 🙂 Thanks so much – I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  8. Jen Elizabeth's Journals
    November 11, 2013 / 8:50 am

    That’s great – it’s so good to hear that the recipe was a hit at your household! Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  9. Amanda
    January 15, 2014 / 1:15 am

    I decided at six pm at work tonight that I wanted to make Indian food for dinner, and found your blog through a google search. I only had to pick up a few things on my way home, so that really sold me. Tikka Masala is a favourite dish of mine, and I was in need of some good comfort food.

    Your recipe did not disappoint! It turned out surprisingly well, considering it turned out I didn’t have any cloves at home. It was delicious, nice and smoky-spicy without being too hot (I left the jalapeño out as I didn’t really want mine spicy, and it held up well without it). I look forward to trying more of your recipes in the future!

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      January 15, 2014 / 11:39 am

      Comments like this make my day, so thanks so much for taking the time to let me know how this dish turned out for you! 🙂

  10. February 14, 2014 / 6:28 am

    Love it…..) chicken with spicy masala so yammy. thanks for sharing.

  11. Chrissy
    April 24, 2014 / 12:27 am

    I came across your recipe while randomly googling around for a lightened up tikka masala recipe. I just wanted to say WOW. My boyfriend and I were absolutely floored by how awesome and light and fresh this tasted.

    The only things I did differently were to use coconut oil spray to cook the chicken and veggies in my wok. I also omitted the jalapeño and added some English peas as we are spice wimps. The spice blend I bought had fennel in it and I had to add my own coriander.

    This was amazing. Thank you so much!

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      April 24, 2014 / 9:45 am

      Thank you for such a kind review! I’m so glad this one was a hit for you 🙂

  12. July 20, 2014 / 10:57 pm

    I made this tonight. I didn’t have exactly everything as described in the recipe like the chopped tomatoes, jalepeno and tomato paste. I had one fresh tomato I chopped up and a can of stewed tomatoes with jalepeno, cumin, and garlic. Even with these little changes it came out so great. My son and husband especially liked it. Thanks for the great recipe.

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      July 21, 2014 / 10:08 am

      That’s great to hear, so thanks so much for taking the time to send a note! 🙂

  13. Beth
    January 19, 2015 / 8:14 pm

    Yummy! I thought peas would be a great addition. I used low far coconut milk as that’s what I had on hand, but recommend full fat. Love this blog. It’s healthy without being “diet”. Great variety of recipes. Bravo!

    • January 20, 2015 / 11:47 am

      Peas sound like a perfect addition. Thanks so much for taking the time to send a note 🙂

  14. October 20, 2015 / 10:37 am

    My 9 year old daughter helped me make it and everyone loved it! Thanks!

  15. Meg
    June 2, 2016 / 7:22 pm

    This is SOOO GOOD! it has become one of my fav meals. I’ve now it twice now. Perfect recipe

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