Chicken Tikka
Chicken Tikka
4.97 from 32 votes
Dive into a culinary journey with chicken tikka, a hallmark of Indian cuisine. Immerse yourself in the tantalizing aromas and flavours of this beloved dish. From its vibrant colours to its rich and complex tastes, this recipe will transport you straight to the streets of Delhi.
Chicken TIkka

Ah, Chicken Tikka, my dear friend. We’ve spent countless evenings together, enveloped in a swirl of aromatic spices and smoky tanginess. There’s something almost enchanting about this dish.  

The vibrant hues of red and yellow, the sharp fragrance of spices mixed with the soothing aroma of yogurt, and the magical transformation of chicken into a mouth-watering delight. 

Born in the bustling lanes of Punjab, Chicken Tikka carries the warmth of Indian homes and the soul of Punjabi culture. It’s believed to have made its first appearance during the Mughal era, winning over taste buds one by one until it was beloved by the entire nation.  

Yet, its journey doesn’t end within the borders of India. Chicken Tikka has traversed oceans and continents, proudly sitting as a representative of Indian cuisine worldwide. 

Despite its illustrious history, Chicken Tikka doesn’t ask for the skills of a seasoned chef. It’s a simple recipe, really, but one that is packed with flavours so robust that they stay with you long after the last bite.  

This isn’t your five-star restaurant dish that needs a battalion of kitchen staff to perfect. This is a recipe that lives in the heart of the home cook, in the warmth of the family kitchen. 

The trick is in the marination. Each ingredient plays a crucial role, lending its unique flavour to create a symphony that is greater than the sum of its parts.  

From the sharp tanginess of lemon juice to the smooth, soothing texture of yogurt, each element marries into the chicken, transforming it into a tender, flavourful masterpiece.  

The spices, oh, the spices. Turmeric, chili powder, cumin – they paint the chicken in vibrant hues and lend a flavour so complex that it dances on your tongue. 

Yet, this doesn’t mean that Chicken Tikka is inflexible. One of the beautiful things about this dish is its adaptability. Different regions have their variations, different households have their tweaks.  

Whether it’s a dollop of extra yogurt for added tanginess or an extra pinch of chili for those who like it hot, this is a recipe that invites you to make it your own. 

Roasting the chicken is the final act in this culinary drama. The sizzling sounds, the tantalizing aromas wafting through the kitchen, the sight of chicken pieces browning to perfection – it’s a sensory experience that teases your appetite.

And then, when you finally take that first bite, it’s a revelation. The outside, slightly charred and crispy, and the inside, so tender that it melts in your mouth. 

Chicken Tikka, you’re not just a dish. You’re an experience. An immersion into a rich culinary heritage, a tribute to the magic of simple ingredients, a celebration of flavours so profound that they touch the soul. And I, for one, am glad to partake in this journey. Let’s cook, shall we? 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

Navigating the realm of Indian cuisine can feel like walking through a spice market; the air is thick with aromatic intrigue, and the vibrancy is almost tangible. Let’s embark on an adventure of taste and aroma as we break down each ingredient in our Chicken Tikka recipe. 

Chicken: The backbone of our dish. I prefer using boneless chicken breasts for their tenderness and their ability to absorb flavours efficiently. However, if you fancy a bit more texture and flavour, bone-in pieces can also be used. Each bite will be a juicy, tender mouthful of aromatic spices. 

Yoghurt: Acting as our marination base, yoghurt is essential. Its tangy undertones seep into the chicken, imparting a depth of flavour that is iconic of Chicken Tikka. Greek yoghurt can be an alternative if regular yoghurt isn’t at hand. It’s creamier and thicker, which can add a beautiful richness to the dish. 

Spices: Salt, Chili Powder, Turmeric Powder, Tandoori Masala, Cumin Seeds, and Dried Fenugreek Leaves. These spices form the symphony of flavours that make Chicken Tikka the beloved dish it is.  

Each spice has a role to play, from the warmth of cumin to the earthy sweetness of turmeric. If you don’t have dried fenugreek leaves, a splash of maple syrup can replicate its slightly sweet, slightly bitter flavour. 

Lemon Juice: The citrusy zing of lemon juice adds a freshness to the dish that cuts through the richness of the spices. It also helps tenderize the chicken, ensuring each piece is melt-in-your-mouth soft.  

You can substitute it with vinegar if lemons aren’t available, but keep in mind, the flavour profile will slightly change. 

Oil: A key player that brings everything together, creating a cohesive marinade. It helps the spices evenly coat the chicken and aids in achieving that desirable char when roasting. Canola or vegetable oil are excellent substitutes if you don’t have the oil that the recipe calls for. 

As we conclude our ingredient breakdown, it’s clear that every component, every spice has a part to play in this culinary orchestra. However, remember that the joy of cooking lies in experimentation.  

Feel free to play around with the quantities, substitute where necessary, and make this Chicken Tikka recipe truly your own. Let’s take these ingredients and create some magic! 

The Uniqueness of Chicken Tikka in Indian Cuisine  

Ah, Indian cuisine! A universe so diverse and eclectic that I often lose myself in its captivating realm. From the tangy pani puris of the west to the sweet rasgullas of the east, every region contributes something beautiful and unique. Yet, amidst this colourful mosaic, Chicken Tikka holds a special place. 

One might wonder why. After all, isn’t it just another dish? Chicken marinated in spices and roasted to perfection – sounds simple, right? Ah, but that’s where the beauty lies.  

Chicken Tikka, my friends, is not just a dish. It’s an experience. It’s the song of spices, the dance of flavours, and the poetry of Indian culinary tradition all beautifully wrapped in tender pieces of chicken. 

The uniqueness of Chicken Tikka lies in its simplicity. It’s a straightforward recipe, using ingredients that are staples in any Indian kitchen. But these everyday ingredients, under the masterful direction of the Indian cook, transform into something extraordinary. 

And then there’s the method of cooking. Traditionally, Chicken Tikka is cooked in a tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven that lends a smoky, rustic flavour to the dish.  

The high heat of the tandoor seals in the juices of the chicken, resulting in pieces that are charred on the outside yet incredibly tender and juicy on the inside. 

Finally, Chicken Tikka is a celebration of balance. The heat of the chilli is cooled by the tanginess of the yoghurt. The citrusy zing of the lemon juice cuts through the earthy flavours of the spices. Every ingredient has a part to play, and they do so in perfect harmony. 

So, you see, Chicken Tikka is more than just a dish in the vast ocean of Indian cuisine. It’s a statement, a tribute to the beauty of Indian cooking techniques, and a testament to the magic of simple ingredients. 

Exploring Meat Alternatives for Chicken Tikka  

I love Chicken Tikka. The aroma of spices mixed with roasted chicken, the vibrant hues, the dance of flavours on the palate – it’s a sensory delight. But here’s a thought. What if we swapped chicken with something else? Can we still create a Tikka that’s as mouth-watering and delicious? Absolutely! 

Let’s talk about lamb first. Lamb Tikka is quite popular and for good reason. Lamb’s robust flavour and slightly tougher texture stand up well to the strong flavours of the Tikka marinade.  

If you’re a fan of gamey meats, this one’s for you. Just remember to marinate the lamb for a longer time to ensure the flavours seep in well. 

Now, how about fish? Yes, you heard that right! Fish Tikka is a delicacy in coastal regions of India. A firm, white fish like cod or haddock works best. The subtle sweetness of the fish provides a beautiful contrast to the tangy and spicy Tikka marinade. 

And it’s not just about meat, my friends. Paneer, a type of Indian cottage cheese, makes a great vegetarian alternative. Paneer Tikka is a favourite amongst vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. The firm yet soft texture of paneer soaks up the marinade well and grills to perfection. 

Last, but not the least, let’s not forget vegetables. Bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, even broccoli – skewer them, marinate them, grill them, and voila! You’ve got yourself a delightful Veggie Tikka. 

So, while Chicken Tikka remains a classic, the world of Tikka is wide and varied. Whether you’re a meat lover, a pescatarian, a vegetarian, or even a vegan, there’s a Tikka out there just for you.  

And isn’t that the beauty of cooking? The ability to adapt, to experiment, and to create something deliciously unique. So go ahead, swap that chicken, and create your own version of Tikka! 

Decoding the Ideal Marination Time for Chicken Tikka  

Marination. It’s a term that often pops up in recipes, including our beloved Chicken Tikka. We know it’s important, but have we ever paused to think about why? And, more importantly, how long should we be marinating our chicken to achieve that perfect Tikka? 

When I marinate chicken for Tikka, I’m not just adding flavour. Sure, that’s a big part of it, but there’s more to it. The acidity in the marinade (in this case, from the yoghurt and lemon juice) begins to break down the protein structures in the chicken.  

This process tenderizes the meat, ensuring that every bite is succulent and juicy. 

But how long is long enough? Can one marinate the chicken for too long? These are questions I often encounter in my culinary journey. The answer, like most things in life, is balance. 

In my experience, Chicken Tikka should be marinated for at least 30 minutes. This is enough time for the chicken to soak up the flavours of the marinade. However, if you have time to spare, leaving it to marinate for 2-3 hours or even overnight can take the flavour to a whole new level. 

Marinating for too long, however, can have adverse effects. The acidity in the marinade can start to “cook” the chicken, changing its texture and potentially making it tough. So, as a rule of thumb, I wouldn’t recommend marinating the chicken for more than 24 hours. 

The marination time, therefore, is a delicate dance between flavour infusion and maintaining the integrity of the meat. Remember, every minute the chicken spends in the marinade, it’s absorbing flavours, getting ready to tantalize your taste buds with the magic of Chicken Tikka. 

The Art of Preparing Chicken Tikka in an Oven  

The thought of Chicken Tikka often conjures up images of a traditional tandoor, with its open fire and intense heat.  

While a tandoor does lend Chicken Tikka its characteristic smoky flavour, it is not a feasible option for many home cooks. Does this mean the dream of homemade Chicken Tikka remains just that – a dream? Absolutely not! 

As someone who has often had to adapt traditional recipes to the constraints of a modern kitchen, I can assure you that an oven is a perfectly good substitute for a tandoor. In fact, the controlled environment of an oven can sometimes yield even better results! 

The trick lies in replicating the high heat of the tandoor. So, when I’m preparing Chicken Tikka in an oven, I preheat it to its highest temperature. For most ovens, this will be around 240°C (465°F). This ensures the chicken cooks quickly, searing the outside and locking in the juices, much like in a tandoor. 

Then comes the process of cooking. I arrange the chicken pieces on a wire rack over a roasting tray. This allows the heat to circulate evenly around the chicken, ensuring it cooks uniformly.  

I roast the chicken for 10 minutes on one side, then flip and roast for another 6-8 minutes. The result? Perfectly cooked Chicken Tikka, with a beautiful char on the outside and a juicy tenderness on the inside. 

So, don’t be disheartened if you don’t have a tandoor. Your oven is capable of producing Chicken Tikka that’s just as delicious, if not more. After all, cooking is about adaptation and creativity. And with the right technique, any kitchen can churn out dishes worthy of a royal Indian feast! 

Discovering a Vegetarian Alternative for Chicken Tikka  

A world where everyone can enjoy a Tikka dish – that’s what I dream of. And why not? With the delightful mix of spices and the satisfyingly charred exterior, it’s a treat not to be missed.  

But what about those who choose to forego meat? Well, they deserve a share of this culinary delight too! That’s where Paneer Tikka enters the scene. 

When I think of a vegetarian alternative to Chicken Tikka, Paneer is the first thing that comes to mind. Paneer, a type of fresh Indian cottage cheese, is an excellent protein-packed alternative to chicken.  

Its unique texture – firm yet soft – is capable of holding onto the flavours of the marinade remarkably well, similar to chicken. 

The process of making Paneer Tikka is virtually the same as Chicken Tikka, swapping out chicken for paneer. The cubes of paneer are marinated in a mix of spices, just like the chicken would be. The paneer cubes, robust and sturdy, stand up well to the marination process and the grilling. 

Once on the grill, the exterior of the paneer caramelizes, creating a slight crunch, while the interior stays wonderfully soft. The result is an intensely flavoured, smoky, and delicious Paneer Tikka that can rival its chicken counterpart in taste and satisfaction. 

So, whether you’re a vegetarian, flexitarian, or simply someone looking to try something different, Paneer Tikka is a wonderful vegetarian alternative to Chicken Tikka. The best part?  

It’s not a compromise; it’s an equally delightful, yet distinctively unique Tikka experience that celebrates the diversity and versatility of Indian cuisine. 

Complementing Your Chicken Tikka: Choosing the Perfect Side Dishes  

When it comes to Chicken Tikka, I often say that it’s a dish that can stand tall on its own. The tantalizing blend of spices, the smoky char, the tender, juicy chicken – it’s a sensory carnival in itself.  

But every carnival is more fun with company, right? So, let’s talk about some side dishes that can enhance the Chicken Tikka experience. 

First up, we have Naan bread. This fluffy, soft Indian bread serves as the perfect vehicle to mop up any residual Tikka marinade. Plus, the slight sweetness of the naan beautifully complements the spicy heat of the Chicken Tikka. Trust me, it’s a match made in culinary heaven! 

A fresh, crisp salad is another great sidekick for Chicken Tikka. The freshness of the vegetables provides a refreshing contrast to the spiciness of the Tikka.  

You could toss up a simple salad of lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes, or get creative with additions like olives, feta cheese, or even fruits like pomegranate or mango for an extra burst of flavour. 

Then, there’s Raita. A cooling yoghurt-based side dish, Raita, can be the perfect antidote to the fiery Chicken Tikka. Cucumber Raita or Mint Raita would be my top picks, but feel free to experiment with other variants like Pineapple Raita or Pomegranate Raita. 

Last, but not least, don’t forget the classic pairing of Chicken Tikka with Mint Chutney. The tangy, herby chutney adds another layer of flavour to the dish, making each bite an explosion of flavours. 

So, while Chicken Tikka is a star in its own right, the right side dishes can elevate the whole dining experience. Choose your companions wisely and prepare for an unforgettable culinary journey! 

Adjusting the Heat Level in Chicken Tikka to Suit Your Taste  

When I create my Chicken Tikka, I’m always reminded that everyone’s spice tolerance differs. Some like it hot, and others prefer a milder version. So, how do we navigate this? The answer lies in the art of customizing your Chicken Tikka to cater to your palate. 

The level of heat in Chicken Tikka primarily comes from chilli powder. And that’s where I focus my adjustments. If I’m cooking for those who enjoy a spicy kick, I’m generous with the chilli powder.  

But if a milder dish is preferred, I simply reduce the quantity. Remember, the key to managing the heat level is to start with less and add more if needed. You can always add more spice, but taking it out is impossible once it’s mixed in. 

In some cases, I have also used paprika instead of chilli powder. It imparts a smoky flavour while being milder on the heat scale. It’s a useful trick when you want to maintain a rich colour without the intense heat. 

However, the spice isn’t just about heat. The beauty of Chicken Tikka lies in its symphony of spices. So, even when reducing the heat, ensure the balance of flavours. Make sure the other spices—cumin, turmeric, and tandoori masala—are present in appropriate quantities to retain the essence of the dish. 

Ultimately, cooking is about enjoying the process and the result. So, don’t shy away from tailoring the Chicken Tikka to suit your taste. Remember, the best recipe is the one that makes you happy! 

Preparing Chicken Tikka without Tandoori Masala  

Chicken Tikka without Tandoori Masala? Is that even possible? It might sound like a culinary paradox, but as a chef who loves to improvise, I can assure you that it is entirely possible. And the result is just as delicious! 

Tandoori Masala is a mix of several spices, which include cumin, coriander, ginger, paprika, turmeric, and sometimes even nutmeg or cinnamon. It’s this mix that gives Chicken Tikka its signature flavour profile.  

However, if you don’t have Tandoori Masala at hand or prefer to avoid store-bought spice mixes, you can create your own blend. 

The first step is to understand the key components of Tandoori Masala. In my kitchen, I usually blend equal parts of ground cumin, coriander, paprika (for colour and mild heat), and turmeric. For some depth, I add a little ground ginger.  

If you like it spicy, a pinch of cayenne pepper could be added. Each of these spices adds its own flavour note, working together to create a symphony of tastes. 

The beauty of this approach is the control it offers. You can adjust the proportions to suit your taste, making your Chicken Tikka truly personalized. Remember, the goal is to achieve a balance of flavours where no single spice overpowers the other. 

So, while Tandoori Masala might be a traditional ingredient in Chicken Tikka, it’s not an absolute must. With a bit of creativity and some spice cabinet basics, you can whip up your own spice blend. So go ahead, give it a try, and let your Chicken Tikka be a true reflection of your culinary spirit! 

The Role of Yogurt in the Chicken Tikka Recipe  

In my culinary journey, I’ve often marvelled at how some ingredients, seemingly ordinary, can play such crucial roles in a recipe. Yoghurt in Chicken Tikka is a classic example of this. It’s not just an ingredient; it’s an indispensable component that brings this dish to life. 

Now, let’s dive into why yoghurt is so vital in our Chicken Tikka recipe. First and foremost, it acts as a tenderizer.  

The acidity in the yoghurt breaks down the protein structure in the chicken, making it more tender and allowing it to absorb the flavours more efficiently. The result? Each bite is soft, juicy, and bursting with flavour. 

Yoghurt also carries spices well. It binds with the Tandoori Masala, chilli powder, cumin, and other seasonings, creating a thick, robust marinade that coats the chicken pieces. This ensures that every piece of chicken is well-seasoned and flavourful. 

Additionally, yoghurt helps in achieving that characteristic charred look of Chicken Tikka. When exposed to high heat, the yoghurt in the marinade caramelizes, contributing to the dish’s beautiful colour and imparting a subtle tang that complements the spices. 

In essence, yoghurt plays a multifaceted role in the Chicken Tikka recipe. It tenderizes, carries flavour, and contributes to the colour and taste. So, the next time you’re enjoying a piece of Chicken Tikka, take a moment to appreciate the humble yoghurt. It’s a silent hero that makes the magic happen! 

Freezing and Reheating Chicken Tikka  

I love the idea of making meals ahead of time, and Chicken Tikka lends itself beautifully to this. Yes, you can indeed freeze and reheat it, but as with all things culinary, there’s a right way to do it to ensure the best flavours and textures. 

When freezing Chicken Tikka, the first thing I recommend is cooling it completely. Once cooled, place the chicken pieces in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. A little tip here: if you’re using a bag, flatten it out before freezing. This way, it saves space and thaws more quickly. 

Reheating frozen Chicken Tikka requires some patience, but it’s worth it. My suggestion is to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. A slow thaw helps retain the texture and moisture of the chicken. 

When it comes to reheating, the oven is your best friend. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C), place the chicken pieces on a baking sheet, and heat them for about 10-15 minutes or until they are heated through.  

I find that the oven does an excellent job of restoring the Chicken Tikka’s original texture and flavour. 

But what if you’re in a hurry and need to reheat it quickly? In such cases, using a microwave could be a convenient alternative. Just make sure to use a microwave-safe container and heat in intervals, stirring in between, to ensure even heating. 

With some care and attention, you can freeze and reheat your Chicken Tikka while maintaining its delightful flavour and texture. So, go ahead and make a big batch, because with this dish, leftovers are a joy! 

Check Out These Other Recipes! 

Just as I loved crafting this Chicken Tikka recipe for you, I couldn’t resist suggesting some others that I’m certain you will enjoy. These recipes are inspired by the same bold, aromatic flavours and cuisine, guaranteeing a delightful experience. 

Ever tried the Chicken Tandoori? Much like the Chicken Tikka, it’s marinated in an exciting blend of spices and yoghurt before it’s grilled to perfection. It’s a must-try if you enjoy the robust, smoky flavours of tandoor-cooked dishes. 

You might also want to dive into a plate of Chicken Jalfrezi. This dish takes you on a gastronomic adventure with its spicy and tangy curry, simmered with juicy chicken and colourful bell peppers. It will charm your taste buds with an explosion of flavours, very similar to our Chicken Tikka. 

Of course, I can’t help but mention the Chicken Masala, another flavourful entrant in the list. It’s packed full of the intense flavours and earthy aromas you’d expect from an Indian-style masala dish. Marinated chicken is cooked in a thick, fragrant sauce that’s sure to elevate your dining experience. 

For those with a penchant for kebabs, I urge you to try Chicken Chapli Kebab. Made with ground chicken and a medley of spices, these kebabs are just as juicy and flavourful as our Chicken Tikka, promising an irresistible savouriness. 

Lastly, for a more unique take, give the Chicken 65 a whirl. It’s a hot and spicy, deep-fried delight that’s certain to captivate fans of fiery flavours. The crispy chicken pieces, tossed in a spicy sauce, will remind you of our Chicken Tikka but with a twist. 

Make sure to drop me a line in the comments section after you try them out. I would love to hear your feedback and see how your culinary experiments turn out. 

Chicken TIkka

Chicken Tikka

by Nabeela Kauser
Dive into a culinary journey with chicken tikka, a hallmark of Indian cuisine. Immerse yourself in the tantalizing aromas and flavours of this beloved dish.
4.97 from 32 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Marination Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Appetiser
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 6
Calories 144 kcal


  • 600 g Chicken
  • 100 g Yoghurt
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder Haldi
  • 1 Mint Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Tandoori Masala
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds Jeera
  • 1 tsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves Methi
  • 1 tbsp Oil


  • In a large bowl add all of the ingredients, except the chicken, and whisk until well combined
  • Add the chicken then mix until all the chicken pieces are evenly coated
  • Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes – the longer the marination time the better it is
  • Once marinated, roast for 10 minutes at the top of a preheated oven at 240°C (465°F) gas mark 9
  • Flip the skewers over and roast for a further 6-8 minutes
  • Serve alongside homemade naan bread with salad and enjoy!



Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 144kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 10gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 663mgPotassium: 160mgFibre: 0.4gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 187IUVitamin C: 2mgVitamin D: 0.1µgCalcium: 34mgIron: 1mg
Keyword BBQ, Chicken, Cooking, Food, Grilled, Kebab, Ramadan, Recipe
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

Rate this Chicken Tikka recipe

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

More Recipes

Chicken Gyros

Chicken Gyros

Chicken Risotto

Chicken Risotto

Chicken Doner Kebab

Chicken Doner Kebab

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Chicken Alfredo

Chicken Alfredo

Chicken Stir Fry

Chicken Stir Fry

Find Your Perfect Recipe!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x