Chicken Tikka Masala is one of the most popular Indian dishes.

Share story

One of the most popular Indian dishes in the U.S. and the U.K., chicken tikka masala usually involves several steps including marinating and grilling the chicken before simmering in a curried-tomato cream sauce.

We’ve simplified it to a one-skillet dish and lightened it by increasing the vegetables, omitting the butter and using less cream. It’s a low-calorie, low-cholesterol dinner appropriate for people managing diabetes risk or who follow a heart-healthy diet.

Serve with brown basmati rice and, for dessert, dates.

Quick Chicken Tikka Masala

This week, save 90% on digital access.

Makes 4 servings, 1 ½ cups each

4 teaspoons garam masala (see note)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 pound chicken tenders

4 teaspoons canola oil, divided

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 large sweet onion, diced

4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1 can (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, undrained

1/3 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

1. Stir together garam masala, salt and turmeric in a small dish. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the spice mixture and dredge in the flour. (Reserve the remaining spice mix and 1 tablespoon of the remaining flour.)

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

3. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, onion and ginger and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the reserved spice mix and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Sprinkle with the reserved 1 tablespoon flour and stir until coated. Add tomatoes and their juice. Bring to a simmer, stirring and breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring often, until thickened and the onion is tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Stir in cream. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Note: Garam masala, a blend of spices used in Indian cooking, usually includes cardamom, black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, fennel, cumin and coriander. It is available in the spice section of most supermarkets.

Per serving: 320 calories; 14 g fat (5 g sat, 6 g mono); 85 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 27 g protein; 3 g fiber; 641 mg sodium; 676 mg potassium

EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.