Lamb Tikka Masala! Our love of Indian food runs deep, so it was only a matter of time before we made a variation of tikka masala with lamb! A silky aromatic sauce nicely coats juicy charred pieces of lamb. The whole lot gets spooned over rice and finished with cilantro and naan bread. Cozy, comforting, and just what you need!
What is Tikka Masala?
Tikka literally means “chunks of meat cooked on skewers” in hindi. An the Indian word masala often describes spice blends—though the blend and number of spices varies. Many assume tikka masala originated in India. However, some sources say it hails from Britain, while other say Scotland is tikka masla’s homeland.
Whichever side you’re on—authentic tikka masala consists of marinated meat (often in yogurt) that gets skewered and cooked over a grill until charred. The charred meat gets simmered in a silky curry sauce made with warm spices, coconut milk, onions, and tomatoes.
But when it comes to tikka masala, it’s hard to know what is truly authentic as its origins are largely disputed and recipes vary widely.
The of making tikka masala at home is easier than you might think. My streamlined version uses the broiler instead of the grill, making it an any-night kind of dinner. However, using the broiler does mean that this recipe isn’t perfectly authentic, so if you’re looking for something a little more true to form, fire up the grill and use that to the cook the meat instead of the broiler.
Marinate the lamb in a yogurt marinade for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
Start making the sauce—cook the onions until starting to soften. Add the serrano, garlic and ginger and cook until onions are starting to brown. Stir in the spices and cook until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pan with onions. Simmer the sauce until thickened and deep in color. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer until thickened.
Arrange marinated lamb on a rack set inside a baking sheet and broil until charred. Add lamb to the sauce and simmer until cooked through. Serve tikka masala over rice with cilantro.
What Cut of Lamb to Use
Classically, lamb tikka masala uses lamb leg sirloin or shoulder roast (both are known to be good stew or kebab meat). Try to seek out boneless cuts as it will make your life much easier and will ensure you have the right amount of meat for the recipe.
If you do end up getting bone-in cuts, you’ll need to account for the bone weight, which can be anywhere between 8 and 12 ounces, so buy an extra pound or so. The nice thing about lamb stew meat is that it’s more affordable/competitively priced—it certainly won’t break the bank!
Eating locally is important to me and we find the quality of American Lamb to be exceptional. If you aren’t sure where to find American lamb, we recommend calling around to local grocery stores and butchers and inquiring about what cuts they have on hand. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, ask them to order some for you.
How to Reheat Lamb Tikka Masala
Tikka masala makes great leftovers (which means it’s perfect for meal prep). Store leftover tikka masala in a glass storage container with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve it again, transfer the tikka mixture to a sauté pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Reheat rice on the stove top method: add rice to a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water (and a pat of butter for richness) and heat over low, fluffing with the fork, until warmed through.
Reheat rice in the microwave method: lay a damp paper towel over top of rice and microwave for 1 minute on medium-high heat. Fluff rice with a fork, test the warmness, and repeat the process once more if needed.
More Indian-Inspired Recipes to Try
- If you love this recipe, then you’ll also like our Tofu Tikka Masala.
- For a tasty vegetarian recipe, try our Madras Lentils!
- Love cooking with lamb? Try our Lamb Vindaloo or our Lamb Kebab (aka Lamb Kofta).
- Our Quick Chana Masala is another great vegetarian recipe. Perfect for weeknights!
- If you love meatballs as much as we do, then you’ve gotta try our Curry Meatballs!
- Our Beef Kofta Platter is the perfect weeknight family meal!
- Pair any of these dishes with a batch of Homemade Naan.
- We’re also in love with the classic rice dish, Biryani.
Garam masala is a delicious spice blend that can be used in a lot of meat and legume dishes. Use it in our Madras Lentils or Chana Masala. You can also use it in place of all the spices in our beef kofta and lamb kofta.
We recommend marinating the meat for no longer than 1 day in advance.
We have a whole host of ideas on how to use the tikka masala sauce.
Easy Creamy Lamb Tikka Masala
- 2 tablespoons garam masala, divided
- 2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin, divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ pounds boneless lamb leg, sirloin or shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
- 1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 serrano, seeded and minced
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
- 3 cups cooked jasmine rice or basmati rice and/or naan bread
- Cilantro or mint for serving
- Combine 1 tablespoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon cumin, coriander, and pepper in a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag. Toss the spices around to combine. Add lamb and shake to coat. Add yogurt, seal bag, and massage meat to coat. Transfer bag to refrigerator and marinate for 1 hour or up to overnight.
- Heat oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium. Add onion and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and cook until softened and starting to brown, 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic, serrano, and ginger; cook stirring frequently until onions are softened and golden brown, about 7 minutes.
- Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon garam masala, remaining 1 teaspoon cumin, and ½ teaspoon cardamom; cook 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes with juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them (or use your kitchen shears to cut them in the can). Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring frequently and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, until thickened and deepened in color, 15–20 minutes.
- Add coconut milk and simmer until thickened, 5–7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to broil (high) with rack set in upper middle position Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet. Arrange lamb on rack in a single layer (don’t scrape marinade off). Broil lamb until starting to char, 10–12 minutes.
- Add lamb to sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lamb is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Serve with rice, cilantro, and naan if desired.