This recipe for Spicy Chicken Tikka features skewered boneless chicken marinated in a mixture of yogurt and spices, broiled until tender and juicy.
What is chicken tikka?
Chicken tikka is an Indian dish consisting of boneless chicken pieces marinated in yogurt and a variety of spices, threaded on skewers (similar to kebabs) and cooked in a tandoor, or hot oven.
What's the difference between chicken tikka and chicken tikka masala?
In this context, the word tikka means "bit" or "pieces."
Chicken tikka refers to marinated boneless chicken pieces threaded on skewers and baked traditionally in a tandoor or hot oven.
In contrast, chicken tikka masala contains the marinated chicken pieces in a spiced, creamy tomato-based sauce.
Why you'll love this recipe
This recipe for spicy chicken tikka is:
Easy to make: similar to our method of making Japanese chicken yakitori and Malaysian-style pork satay, broiling the chicken in the oven is a quick and efficient way to cook the chicken.
Delicious: the flavors of the various spices permeate through the tender and juicy chicken.
Ingredients you'll need
The ingredients are very similar to Chicken Tikka Masala (minus the sauce).
- chicken breast: cut into chunks
- Greek yogurt: or thick yogurt
- lemon juice: or lime juice
- vegetable oil
- fresh ginger: grated
- fresh garlic: grated
- cumin powder: comes from ground cumin seed; very aromatic and is the base flavor for curries and Tex-Mex dishes
- garam masala: a blend of spices including ground coriander, cumin, ginger, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, bay leaves, and black cardamom
- paprika: a red powder that has a mild heat and gives the chicken additional red color
- chili powder: if possible, use Kashmiri red chili powder which has a mild heat; or use a combination of smoked paprika and cayenne powder; you can increase or decrease the amount of chili powder according to your taste
- ground coriander: comes from the ground coriander seed; has a citrusy aroma
- cayenne powder: adds additional heat and spice to the chicken
- ground cardamom: are from ground cardamom pods; has a slightly woody, camphor-like aroma
- sea salt
- black pepper
- red onion: sliced in chunks
- bell pepper: red, orange, yellow, etc.
- cilantro: for garnishing
You can find these ingredients at large supermarkets or Indian grocery stores.
How to make it
Marinate the chicken:
Combine yogurt, oil, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, spices and seasonings in a large bowl.
Add in the chicken breast, and coat with the yogurt marinade.
Cover with a lid/plastic wrap and place into the fridge to marinate overnight.
Thread the marinated chicken onto the skewer, alternating with red onion and bell pepper.
Place the prepared skewers onto a metal wire rack on top of a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
Repeat with the remainder.
Broil the chicken:
Preheat oven broiler to 500F.
Broil the skewers about 1.5-2" from the top element for about 10-12 minutes, turning them halfway, or until slightly charred and cooked through to an internal temperature of 165F.
How to serve
Serve the Chicken Tikka with steamed basmati rice, jeera rice, or with naan.
Try it alongside chana masala chickpeas, or red lentil dal.
Add the chicken kebabs to a tortilla wrap, for a fusion-style way to enjoy.
How to store
Remove the skewers and store the chicken tikka in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To freeze the kebabs, I would only freeze the cooked meat and not the veggies, as they will change texture after freezing.
Expert tips & FAQs
If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling (to prevent the sticks from burning).
If you're using metal skewers, you can skip this step.
Why is chicken tikka more red/orange in color in restaurants?
This is typically achieved by using artificial food coloring to dye the meat red.
The reddish color should come naturally from the use of Kashmiri red chili powder.
Can I omit the veggies?
Yes, you can certainly just do chicken meat kebabs.
I personally like the flavor from the onions and peppers permeating the meat.
Can I use other veggies?
Zucchini and mushrooms are other great vegetables that stand up to the broiler/grill.
Other Indian-style recipes you may like
Be sure to check out these recipes:
Chicken Tikka Masala
Let me know if you try out this recipe -- tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Spicy Chicken Tikka (Kebab)
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 2 large chicken breasts
- ¼ C Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder or to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
Marinate the chicken:
- Combine yogurt, oil, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, spices and seasonings in a large bowl.
- Add in the chicken breast, and coat with the yogurt marinade.
- Cover with a lid/plastic wrap and place into the fridge to marinate for a minimum of 20 minutes or overnight.
- Thread the marinated chicken onto the skewer, alternating with red onion and bell pepper.
- Place the prepared skewers onto a metal wire rack on top of a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
- Repeat with the remainder.
Broil the chicken:
- Preheat oven broiler to 500°F/260°C.
- Broil the skewers about 1.5-2" from the top element for about 10-12 minutes, turning them halfway, or until slightly charred and cooked through to an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C.
- Serve with basmati rice or naan.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.