Cooking Guide

Chicken Korma vs Chicken Tikka Masal: Which One is Right for You?

When it comes to Indian cuisine, chicken korma and chicken tikka masala are two of the most popular and widely known dishes. While they may appear similar at first glance, there are distinct differences in their flavor profiles, ingredients, cooking methods, nutritional values, and serving suggestions.

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Let’s dive deeper into each aspect.

CriteriaTurkey BrothChicken Broth
Nutritional ValueLower in fat and caloriesRicher and more flavorful
Flavor ProfileMilder and less intenseRicher and more savory
Cooking TimeMay take slightly longerSimilar to turkey broth
CostSlightly more expensiveMore commonly used and slightly cheaper
Health BenefitsGood source of protein, minerals, and antioxidantsRich in collagen, which supports joint health and digestion

Flavor and Ingredients:

Chicken korma is known for its creamy, nutty, and mildly spiced flavor profile. It is made with a blend of fragrant spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and thickened with yogurt or cream. The dish often includes nuts, such as almonds or cashews, and dried fruits, such as raisins or apricots, for added texture and sweetness.

On the other hand, chicken tikka masala is characterized by its tangy, tomato-based sauce and smoky, grilled flavor. It is made with marinated chicken that is grilled or roasted in a tandoor oven, then simmered in a tomato-based sauce with spices, such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric, and finished with cream or yogurt. Both dishes are typically served with rice or naan bread.


Is chicken korma spicy?

Chicken korma is generally not spicy, but it can vary depending on the recipe and the level of heat desired. Some versions may include green chilies or red pepper flakes for added heat.

Is chicken tikka masala a traditional Indian dish?

The origins of chicken tikka masala are disputed, with some claiming it was created in India and others claiming it was invented in the UK. However, it has become a popular dish in Indian restaurants worldwide.

Cooking Method:

Chicken korma is traditionally cooked by slowly simmering the chicken in a spiced yogurt or cream sauce until tender and flavorful. The dish is often cooked on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.

On the other hand, chicken tikka masala is made by marinating chicken in a blend of spices, yogurt, and lemon juice, then grilling or roasting it in a tandoor oven. The grilled chicken is added to a tomato-based sauce and simmered until cooked.


Can chicken korma be made in a slow cooker?

Yes, chicken korma can be made in a slow cooker by cooking the chicken and sauce on low heat for several hours until tender.

Can chicken tikka masala be made without a tandoor oven?

Yes, chicken tikka masala can be made in a regular oven or on a grill by cooking the marinated chicken until charred and cooked through, then adding it to the sauce.

Nutritional Value:

Chicken korma is a rich and indulgent dish that is high in calories, fat, and sodium. A typical serving can contain over 500 calories and 30 grams of fat.

On the other hand, chicken tikka masala is lower in calories and fat, with a typical serving containing around 400 calories and 20 grams of fat. However, both dishes are high in protein and contain beneficial spices with anti-inflammatory properties.


Can chicken korma be made healthier?

Yes, chicken korma can be made healthier by using low-fat yogurt or coconut milk instead of cream, reducing the amount of nuts and dried fruits, and serving it with a side of vegetables.

Is chicken tikka masala a good source of protein?

Yes, chicken tikka masala is a good source of protein, with a typical serving containing around 30 grams of protein.

Popular Variations:

Chicken korma and chicken tikka masala have many popular regional and cultural variations. For example, depending on the region, chicken korma can be made with different types of nuts and dried fruits, such as pistachios, figs, or dates.

Chicken tikka masala can be made with variations of the sauce, such as adding cream or coconut milk for a richer flavor, or using different spices, such as garam masala or paprika, for a unique twist.


What is the difference between chicken tikka masala and butter chicken?

Butter chicken is a similar dish to chicken tikka masala, but it is made with a buttery tomato sauce and is less spicy than chicken tikka masala.

What is the difference between chicken korma and chicken curry?

Chicken curry is a generic term for various chicken dishes, while chicken korma is a specific dish characterized by its creamy, nutty flavor profile.

Serving Suggestions:

Chicken korma and chicken tikka masala are typically served with rice or naan bread, but many other accompaniments can be enjoyed with these dishes.

For example, chicken korma pairs well with saffron rice or raita, a yogurt-based side dish with cucumber and spices. Chicken tikka masala can be served with roasted vegetables or a fresh salad, such as kachumber, a mix of chopped tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers.


Can chicken korma be served with other types of rice?

Yes, chicken korma can be served with any rice, such as basmati or jasmine rice.

What is the best side dish to serve with chicken tikka masala?

A fresh salad or roasted vegetables are great options to balance out the richness of chicken tikka masala.

In conclusion, chicken korma and chicken tikka masala are two different and delicious dishes with unique flavor profiles, cooking methods, nutritional values, popular variations, and serving suggestions.

Whether you prefer the creamy and nutty taste of chicken korma or the tangy and smoky flavor of chicken tikka masala, both dishes will satisfy your cravings for Indian cuisine. So why not try them both and discover your favorite?

Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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