Chicken Tikka (Murgh Tikka)

5 from 7 votes

Chicken Tikka (Murgh Tikka) is a popular North Indian starter. Boneless chicken pieces are coated with a spicy marinade and then grilled to perfection. Use my simple recipe to make the best homemade chicken tikka in an oven, stovetop, air fryer, or outdoor grill.

Here are some more appetizer recipes: Achari Paneer Tikka, Tandoori Chicken, Loaded Nachos, Korean Gochujang Chicken Wings, and Tandoori Soya Chaap.

Chicken Tikka served on a plate.
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About Chicken Tikka

Chicken Tikka ( Murgh Tikka) is a popular North Indian appetizer in which boneless chicken pieces are marinated in a spicy marinade and then grilled until nicely cooked and slightly charred.

Tikka came from the Turkish word ‘Tike,’ which means ‘Pieces.’

This Indian chicken snack recipe is everyone’s favorite and is a part of the menu of almost every Indian restaurant worldwide. It was made in my house also for every party and get together. The reason was that it is super easy to make and everyone loved it including the kids.

Indian chicken tikka is traditionally made in a clay oven called a ‘Tandoor, ‘ But it can also be made in an oven, microwave, air fryer, or outdoor grill.

The recipe for making murgh tikka varies from person to person. In this post, I am sharing my tried-and-tested formula, which I have used for years.

I have mentioned many small details that will take your dish from average to outstanding.

For starters, my recipe calls for double marination.

The first marination makes the chicken pieces juicy and tenderizes the meat without using any chemical tenderizer. The second marination gives them the perfect taste and flavor. Try it and share your feedback in the comments!

Why Make Chicken Tikka At Home?

This dish is readily available in restaurants, so we must wonder why we make it at home. Here are some of the reasons why I prefer making it at home

  1. You can use the best quality ingredients to make it. When you get it from a restaurant, you cannot be sure of the quality of the chicken and the spices used.
  2. Homemade tastes much better.
  3. It is much more economical to make it at home.
  4. Homemade tikka is free of any artificial colors and flavor enhancers.

Ingredients

Chicken

This dish is made using skinless, boneless chicken. I have used chicken breasts, but you can also use chicken thighs. The thighs are juicier than the breasts and don’t dry out quickly.

The First Marinade

The first marinade consists of salt, ginger-garlic paste, and freshly squeezed lime juice.

Add a pinch of baking soda in the first marinade for extra succulent chicken.

The Second Marinade

The second marinade is made using thick plain yogurt (dahi, curd), cornstarch, mustard oil, tandoori masala powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, and black pepper powder.

To make thick yogurt, keep a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Add yogurt to the strainer and keep the bowl with the strainer in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. The water from the yogurt will drip down into the bowl, and you will get thick yogurt in the strainer.

You can also use Greek yogurt in place of thick yogurt.

Mustard oil gives the tikka a unique flavor, but you can use any oil of your choice.

You can make your Tandoori Masala Powder at home or buy a packet.

Kashmiri chili powder can be replaced with cayenne pepper or paprika.

Others

You will also need onions and green bell peppers (capsicum).

Skewers

Try threading the chicken pieces on metal skewers. They get hot and cook the chicken from inside. Make sure to handle them using tongs or a glove.

If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before threading; otherwise, they will get burned.

How To Make Chicken Tikka

Preparation

Rinse 2 pounds (1 kg) of skinless and boneless chicken breasts (or thighs) with water and pat them dry using paper tissues.

Cut them into ½-inch cubes.

Marinate The Chicken (First Marinade)

Add the following ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix well.

  • chicken cubes
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Chicken, salt, ginger garlic paste and lime juice added to a bowl.

Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate the chicken for 3-4 hours or overnight.

Mixed well.

Do The Seconad Marination

Take out the bowl from the refrigerator.

Add the following ingredients to the bowl and mix well to coat the chicken pieces.

  • 4 tablespoon thick yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 2 tablespoon tandoori masala powder
  • 3 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
Thick yogurt, cornstarch, mustard oil, tandoori masala, chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder and black pepper added to the bowl.

Keep the marinated chicken in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

Mixed well.

Smoke The Marinated Chicken (Optional)

This step is optional but gives a restaurant-like smoky flavor to tikka. It is called Dhungar method.

Heat charcoal over a direct flame until it is red hot.

Keep a small bowl in the center of the marinated chicken and place the heated charcoal on the bowl.

Hot charcoal kept over a bowl over the marinated chicken.

Drizzle 1 teaspoon ghee ( or oil) over the charcoal and immediately close the bowl’s lid.

Ghee drizzled over hot coal.
Bowl covered with a lid.

Let the chicken absorb the smoke for 10 minutes and become smoky in flavor.

Remove the lid, and discard the bowl with the charcoal. Mix well.

Ready marinated chicken.

Grill The Chicken

In An Oven

Preheat the oven to 400℉ (200℃).

Thread the marinated chicken in the skewers along with onions and green peppers (capsicum).

Line the skewers on a foil-lined baking tray.

Chicken skewers lined on a baking tray.

Grill for 10-12 minutes.

Pull the tray from the oven and generously brush the skewers with salted butter. Then, flip and brush the other side with butter as well.

Basting the skewers with butter.

Return the tray to the oven and grill for another 10-12 minutes.

Change the oven setting to BROIL and broil the skewers for 3-4 minutes until they are slightly charred.

Remove the tikka from the oven and serve hot.

Ready chicken tikka.

In An Air Fryer

Line the drip tray of the fryer with aluminum foil.

Place the marinated chicken pieces in the basket in a single layer.

Air fry at 400℉ (200℃) for 8-10 minutes.

Brush with butter, flip, and brush with butter on the other side.

Air fry for another 8-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked and slightly charred.

In A Frying Pan Over The Stovetop

Add 2 tablespoon oil to the frying pan and place the skewers on it.

Cook from one side for 4-5 minutes or till the chicken is nicely brown. Brush with butter, flip, and apply butter on the other side. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Now roast the skewers over direct heat for a few seconds on each side to get that slightly burned flavor. Sprinkle lemon juice and chaat masala over it and serve.

In A Microwave

Preheat the microwave to 400 F (200 C) on the convection setting.

Place the skewers on the grill pan in your microwave and put a tray underneath to catch drippings.

Cook for 25-230 minutes until the chicken is nicely grilled and turns brown on all sides. Turn it around in between and apply butter to get an even color on the tikka.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between chicken tikka and tandoori chicken?

Chicken tikka is made with boneless chicken pieces, usually cut into small bite-sized cubes, while tandoori chicken is made with whole chicken legs.

Are chicken tikka and chicken tikka masala the same?

Chicken tikka is chicken pieces marinated and then grilled. It is a dry dish that can be served as an appetizer or snack. On the other hand, chicken tikka masala is chicken tikka simmered in an onion-tomato-based gravy. It is served as a side dish with Indian bread like naan or lachha paratha.

Pro Tips By Neha

Cut the chicken into even pieces and pat the pieces dry using a kitchen towel before marinating them.

If using chicken thighs, reduce the grilling time a bit. Thighs cook faster than breasts.

Double marination is very important to make succulent tikkas.

Use only Greek yogurt or hung yogurt to marinate the chicken. If you use regular curd or yogurt, it will leave the water and ruin the tikka. The marinade will not stick to the pieces if the yogurt is runny.

Adding enough fat while marinating and grilling is extremely important for juicy tikkas.

Usually, restaurants add red food coloring to give their food a bright red color, but I won’t recommend it. You can use Kashmiri red chili powder for its natural red color.

The more you marinate, the juicier your tikka will be. Therefore, I like to keep the second marinade overnight.

Brush the chicken with butter while grilling for a juicy, succulent tikka.

I have used onions, bell peppers, and marinated chicken, but you can use other veggies, like mushrooms, zucchini, baby corn, etc.

Make it dairy-free by simply substituting hung yogurt with Vegan Greek Yogurt.

Serving Suggestions

Chicken Tikka Kebab makes for a delicious appetizer. Serve it with Green Chutney or Dahi Chutney, Lachha Onions, and Lemon Wedges. 

Do not forget to drizzle some Chaat Masala Powder over it just before serving.

I like to make a murgh tikka wrap by placing the tikka in a tortilla or Lachha Paratha along with some green chutney, mayonnaise, lettuce, and sliced onions.

Add it to Salads, pizza, quesadillas, biryani, noodles, or rice. I love to top it over my Saffron Rice for a delicious meal.

The leftover chicken tikka is great for making Chicken Tikka Masala or Butter Chicken curry.

It can also be served with Basmati Rice, Plain Naan, or Garlic Naan.

Storage Suggestions

You can marinate the chicken and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days. Once you want to serve it, grill it and serve it immediately. This is an excellent idea if you plan to make it for a large crowd.

You can freeze the marinated chicken for up to 3 months. Once ready to serve, thaw for a few hours over the counter, grill, and serve.

If you have ready tikka leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in an air fryer, microwave, or oven before serving.

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Chicken Tikka (Murgh Tikka) is a popular North Indian starter, where boneless chicken pieces are coated with a spicy marinade and then grilled to perfection. This authentic snack recipe is great to make for parties or get-togethers. Use my simple recipe to make the best homemade chicken tikka in an oven, stovetop, air fryer, or outdoor grill (gluten-free).
5 from 7 votes

Chicken Tikka Recipe (Murgh Tikka)

Chicken Tikka (Murgh Tikka) is a popular North Indian starter. Boneless chicken pieces are coated with a spicy marinade and then grilled to perfection. Use my simple recipe to make the best homemade chicken tikka in an oven, stovetop, air fryer, or outdoor grill.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Marination Time: 4 hours
Total: 5 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Equipment

  • Metal Skewers
  • Basting Brush

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts or thighs (1 kg)

For The First Marinade

  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

For The Second Marinade

  • 4 tablespoons thick yogurt (dahi, curd) (or Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons mustard oil (or any other cooking oil)
  • 2 tablespoons tandoori masala powder
  • 3 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper powder

For Smoking (Optional)

  • 1 piece of charcoal
  • 1 teaspoon ghee (or oil)

For Assembly

  • 1 cup onions (cut into ½ inch cubes and petals, separated)
  • 1 cup green bell peppers (capsicum) (cut into ½ inch cubes)
  • salted butter (for basting)
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Instructions 

Preparation

  • Rinse chicken breasts with water and pat them dry using paper tissues.
  • Cut them into ½-inch cubes.

Marinate The Chicken (First Marinade)

  • Add chicken cubes, salt, ginger garlic paste, lime juice to a large mixing bowl and mix well.
  • Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate the chicken for 3-4 hours or overnight.
  • Tip – You can also add a pinch of baking soda in the first marinade for extra succulent chicken.

Do The Seconad Marination

  • Take out the bowl from the refrigerator.
  • Add yogurt, cornstarch, mustard oil, tandoori masala powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, and black pepper powder to the bowl and mix well to coat the chicken pieces.
  • Keep the marinated chicken in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

Smoke The Marinated Chicken (Optional)

  • This step is optional but gives a restaurant-like smoky flavor to the chicken tikka. It is called Dhungar method.
  • Heat charcoal over a direct flame until it is red hot.
  • Keep a small bowl in the center of the marinated chicken and place the heated charcoal on the bowl.
  • Drizzle ghee over the charcoal and immediately close the bowl’s lid.
  • Let the chicken absorb the smoke for 10 minutes and become smoky in flavor.
  • Remove the lid, and discard the bowl with the charcoal. Mix well.

Grill The Chicken

    In An Oven

    • Preheat the oven to 400℉ (200℃).
    • Thread the marinated chicken in the skewers along with onions and green peppers (capsicum).
    • Line the skewers on a foil-lined baking tray.
    • Grill for 10-12 minutes.
    • Pull the tray from the oven and brush the skewers generously with butter. Flip and brush with butter on the other side as well.
    • Return the tray to the oven and grill for another 10-12 minutes.
    • Change the oven setting to BROIL and broil the skewers for 3-4 minutes until they are slightly charred.
    • Remove the tikka from the oven and serve hot.

    In An Air Fryer

    • Line the drip tray of the fryer with aluminum foil.
    • Place the marinated chicken pieces in the basket in a single layer.
    • Air fry at 400℉ (200℃) for 8-10 minutes.
    • Brush with butter, flip, and brush with butter on the other side.
    • Air fry for another 8-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked and slightly charred.

    In A Frying Pan Over The Stovetop

    • Add 2 tablespoons oil to the frying pan and place the skewers on it.
    • Cook from one side for 4-5 minutes or till the chicken is nicely brown. Brush with butter, flip, and apply butter on the other side. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
    • Now roast the skewers over direct heat for a few seconds on each side to get that slightly burned flavor. Sprinkle lemon juice and chaat masala over it and serve.

    Video

    YouTube video

    Notes

    To make thick yogurt, keep a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Add yogurt to the strainer and keep the bowl with the strainer in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. The water from the yogurt will drip down into the bowl, and you will get thick yogurt in the strainer.
    Try to use metal skewers to thread the chicken pieces. They get hot and cook the chicken from inside as well. Make sure to handle them using a tong or a glove.
    If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before threading; otherwise, they will get burned.
    Cut the chicken into even pieces and pat the pieces dry using a kitchen towel before marinating them.
    If using chicken thighs, reduce the grilling time a bit. Thighs cook faster than breasts.
    The recipes to cook the chicken in an air fryer, microwave, or pan are in the post.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 238kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 82mg, Sodium: 553mg, Potassium: 543mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 349IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 32mg, Iron: 1mg
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    Recipe Rating




    4 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      Absolutely amazing!!! The flavour is so good!! I didn’t have any tandoori masala powder so I substituted more of the garam masla instead. The chicken was so tender and delicious and the addition of green bell peppers and onion was perfect. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    2. 5 stars
      I followed the instructions to the letter.The result was soft and succulent tikka pieces. The only change I made was to increase the broiling time by five minutes. This will now be my go to recipe for chicken tikka.