Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala | Lite Cravings | WW Recipes (2024)

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Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala | Lite Cravings | WW Recipes (1)

It took me years, but I have finally found a way to make Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala that tastes just as complex and creamy as it does at my favorite Indian restaurant! And even better–I was able to cut back on some of the richer ingredients to make this popular dish a little easier on the waistline.

I’ve tried so many variations of this recipe, but none of them quite get there. The curry either comes out too bland or too heavy on the tomato flavor. After lots of research and tons of failed attempts, I figured out some key steps to a better tikka masala at home.

How to make lighter chicken tikka masala

Step One: Marinate your chicken for at least two hours, but preferably overnight. This will tenderize the chicken breasts and impart a lot of flavor.

Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala | Lite Cravings | WW Recipes (2)

Step Two: Broil the chicken until you get a dark char. This will add a layer of flavor that you can’t mimic by just sauteing the pieces. If you must saute them in a skillet, make sure they get very dark around the edges, like this:

Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala | Lite Cravings | WW Recipes (3)

Step Three: Caramelize your onions, probably longer than you think you should. Notice all of those browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Those are going to add tons of flavor to the tomato sauce that we add next.

Another important part of this step is to add the ginger, garlic, and spices to the onions towards the end of cooking them. This way the spices will toast and release their flavor before adding the liquid.

I’ve also added an unconventional ingredient to add depth of flavor in a short amount of time–chili powder. The same stuff you’d add into a Mexican dish. It deepens the flavors even more!

Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala | Lite Cravings | WW Recipes (4)

Step Four: Reduce your tomato sauce A LOT. It should be almost the consistency of tomato paste before you add in your half and half.

This will make the curry taste like it has been cooking all day, but we’re only cooking it for 45 minutes, tops!

Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala | Lite Cravings | WW Recipes (5)

As for lightening up the recipe, I wanted to make sure this tasted as close to the restaurant version as possible, so I decided to use regular half and half instead of something that would cut the calories a lot more, like greek yogurt or fat free and half half. I’ve tried it with those ingredients and just don’t like how it comes out.

I think half and half is a good compromise, though, since most authentic recipes include heavy cream and a lot of butter. Half and half provides just the right amount of richness–I couldn’t even tell the difference without the butter.

Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala | Lite Cravings | WW Recipes (6)

This all might sound difficult at first, but I promise this is a very easy recipe to follow. These are just minor steps that will result in one of the best Chicken Tikka Masala dishes you’ve tasted!

Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala | Lite Cravings | WW Recipes (7)

Print Recipe

5 from 27 votes

Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala

A slightly lighter version of the classic dish that tastes just as good as any you’d get in an Indian restaurant!

Prep Time10 minutes mins

Cook Time30 minutes mins

Total Time40 minutes mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Indian

Servings: 6

Calories: 322kcal

Author: Geri



  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into one-inch cubes
  • 1 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste (I find tubes of this in the produce section of my grocery store)
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt


  • 1 large onion, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4-1 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on how spicy you like your curry
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 tsp sugar


  • Mix marinade ingredients in a medium bowl, then add chicken and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours, but preferably overnight.

  • On the day you want to cook, preheat your broiler and place marinated chicken on a lined cookie sheet, greased with nonstick spray. Broil chicken for 10-12 minutes, or until you see some charred bits (see recipes notes).

  • Spray a large pan with nonstick spray. Cook the onions until soft and lightly browned, about 7-10 minutes. Scrape up any browned bits stuck on the bottom of the pan.

  • Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant, then add garam masala, cumin, turmeric, coriander, chili powder, and cayenne. Cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant, stirring constantly.

  • Pour in the tomato sauce and salt. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and deepens in color. It should be about the consistency of tomato paste.

  • Stir the half and half and sugar into the tomato reduction. Add the chicken and its juices back into the pan and simmer for an additional 8-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick and bubbling.


Click hereto determine your WW PersonalPoints for this recipe (if you are logged in to your WW app, it should calculate for you automatically).

WW Green SmartPoints: 7 for 1 1/2 cups, or 5 for 1 1/4 cups

WW Blue SmartPoints: 4 for 1 1/2 cups of the recipe

WW Purple SmartPoints: 4 for 1 1/2 cups of the recipe


Calories: 322kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g

Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala | Lite Cravings | WW Recipes (2024)
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