Hands-on Time
45 Mins
Total Time
45 Mins
Serves 12 (serving size: 1/2 cup rice and about 1 cup chicken mixture)

This big-batch recipe is an unusual but brilliant choice for freezing. Moist chicken thighs hold up well, especially in the spicy tomato sauce. To make dinnertime even easier, use heat-and-eat pouches of precooked unseasoned basmati rice. Serve with lime wedges.

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, and cinnamon. Add half of chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring once. Remove chicken from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken; remove from pan.

Step 2

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion, garlic, ginger, and serrano to pan; sauté 1 minute. Reduce heat to low; cook 5 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently. Add garam masala and red pepper; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add remaining 1 teaspoon salt, stock, half-and-half, and tomatoes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; stir in chicken. Simmer 6 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove from heat; stir in butter until butter melts. Serve over rice, or follow freezing instructions. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Step 3

TO FREEZE: Cool chicken mixture and rice to room temperature; seal in separate large zip-top plastic freezer bags. Lay bags flat in freezer; freeze up to 2 months.

Step 4

TO THAW: Microwave chicken mixture in bag at MEDIUM (50% power) for 4 minutes or until pliable. No need to thaw rice.

Step 5

TO REHEAT: Place sealed bag of chicken mixture in a large pot of boiling water; cook 10 minutes or until heated. Pour rice into a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 3 minutes.

Chef's Notes

MyRecipes is working with Let's Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA's MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.

Ratings & Reviews

Delicious with a few changes

February 22, 2016
I have made this numerous times and we love it.  I double the spices though and add two 14 ounce cans of tomatoes. Other than that everything is the same and it is delicious.

Spicy Goodness

February 12, 2016
This recipe makes a double batch of spicy chicken. I'm happy to have discovered Pomi tomatoes!  I'll use them again, but only for certain recipes because they are fairly expensive.  I agree that the result did not look like the picture that is posted with the recipe, but it was still tasty.  

daneanp's Review

February 11, 2015
Yummy and easier than I thought. I used chicken breast vs. thigh as that is what I had on hand. Still very tender and not too spicy - was worried it would be for my teenager, but she loved it. I changed up the rice a bit by making Yogurt Rice with Cumin and Chile - also CL. We also had steamed broccoli to complete the meal. Will make again.

Debbie17's Review

October 21, 2014
Edible, but not enjoyable.

MizRev's Review

April 23, 2014
So yummy! I've never made tikka masala from scratch. The only changes were using peanut oil instead of olive oil, and a jalapeño instead of a serrano pepper. My husband loved it too.

Maximumm's Review

April 03, 2014
It would probably be better if you grilled the chicken thighs instead of sautéing them, but as a simplification of what could be a much more complicated recipe, it works very well. I made my own garam masala spice mix using what I had in the pantry. The gravy had a nice warmth to it, thanks to the chiles and the cayenne. It does take some time, but I look forward to the leftovers. I will make it again.

wishokie1's Review

March 30, 2014
I really love Chicken Tikka Masala, and was excited to see a lighter recipe on CL. I echo the others who posted--this is fine, it has decent flavor to me, but it is definitely NOT Tikka Masala. The tomato flavor and sweetness overwhelmed any spices, although a little heat from the serranos did come through. While it was fine--my husband enjoyed it--for the amount of time I spent preparing it, it wasn't worth it to me.

kelly8719's Review

March 24, 2014
TERRIBLE RECIPE. It was horrible. Major fail CookingLight. It came out watery and bland. No matter how long I simmered it for, it would not reduce and there was a good cup worth of liquid sitting on top. All I tasted was the tomatoes and it tasted like bland tomato sauce with chicken in it. Absolutely nothing like the Tikka masala I've had at restaurants. I didn't taste any of the other spices which makes sense because there is only 2 tsps of garam masala and 2 large containers of tomatoes. I agree with the other person, this recipe should be removed. I followed the recipe closely and it was a bland mess.

canthony2's Review

March 23, 2014
Loved this dish! Good spice and felt healthy. Took it too a friend with a cold and the spice perked her right up. Making it for the second time today.

JanBeard's Review

March 15, 2014
I have made this twice and my husband and I both really enjoy it. I am not that familiar with Indian dishes, so the fact that it does not seem to be an authentic tikka masala as many of the reviewers have written does not bother me. It's spicy, but not too spicy, and delicious. Served it over rice with a side of thinly sliced cucumbers and radishes in a light sour cream sauce with a little rice vinegar and a hint of sugar.