Chicken Tikka Masala flavors meet the classic and comforting meatball. An Indian-inspired easy dinner…with lots of sauce.Chicken Tikka Masala Meatballs |

Happy Saturday my friends! I sincerely hope you are reading this in bed and contemplating a weekend brunch. Brunch, because it’s too late for breakfast, and any decent weekend morning meal is going to take you well into the brunch zone anyway.

I can’t believe I just said “brunch zone.” I should totally open a cafe called that.

My birthday was on Tuesday and it was basically the best ever. Eric made me pancakes for breakfast, and I spent the day toddler-free, making a hand rolled Chicken Pot Pie, with pumpkin candles lit, while listening to dreary fall music like Alexi Murdoch and the new Ryan Adams album (the kind of dreary music that makes you happy and nostalgic. You know what I mean right?)

Many of my Facebook friends who wished me happy birthday said things like, “I hope someone else is cooking for you today!” Honestly. Do they know me at all?

Eric came home and we proceeded to make this chocolate sour cream cake together. It was bliss.

Chicken Tikka Masala Meatballs |

Today I shared a recipe in VRAI magazine (an online lifestyle magazine that you should definitely check out), and I thought you guys might like to see it. Because the recipe is for Chicken Tikka Masala Meatballs. I repeat: Chicken. Tikka. Masala. MEATBALLS. This idea floated into my brain one day, and when the result turned out (I swear) even better than I had imagined, I was pretty excited. (Recipe is now below)


Chicken Tikka Masala Meatballs

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Chicken Tikka Masala flavors meet the classic and comforting meatball. An Indian-inspired easy dinner...with lots of sauce.


For the meatballs

  • 1 pound ground chicken, or turkey
  • 1/4 large red onion, chopped small
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped small
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, minced

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce , (1 cup)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped


  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick spray.
  • In a medium bowl, add all the ingredients for the meatballs. Use your hands to mix it until it is just combined—don’t overdo it or the meat will get tough.
  • Shape the meat into balls that are a little smaller than a golf ball. (Or any size, really, as long as they are uniform. Adjust baking times if you change the size.)
  • Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, or until they are browned on the bottoms.
  • Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small bowl combine 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and set aside.
  • Melt butter in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Sauté garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Add the bowl of spices and cook for another minute.
  • Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
  • You can add the cooked meatballs to the sauce, or spoon the sauce over each individual serving. Serve this with naan and jasmine or basmati rice. (About 2 cups of uncooked rice will be enough.)


Serving: 3meatballs | Calories: 456kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 228mg | Sodium: 1196mg | Potassium: 771mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1813IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Calories: 456
Keyword: chicken, masala, meatballs, tikka
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. Hi Karen – Could you please give me an idea of the yield on this, serving-wise? We’re contemplating doubling it but aren’t sure if that’s necessary.

    1. Hi Danielle! The recipe only calls for 1 pound of meat, so I would say it would serve about 4, depending on how hungry your guests are and how many side dishes you have. I say double it…you can always freeze the leftovers!

  2. Made this tonight and my husband and I loved it!  The meatballs are so moist and the spices made the flavor incredibly delicious!  I used 1/4 teas of cayenne instead of 1/2 teas and we thought the heat was perfect even though we both enjoy heat in our food.  Thank you for your great recipes.

    1. Hey Laurie, that’s awesome! I’m so happy you guys loved the meatballs. I haven’t made these in forever and now you’ve got me craving them! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Dear Karen,

    This recipe was absolutely AMAZING! We make a lot of Indian (Tuesday’s are “Curry Tuesday”) and this is recipe was restaurant quality. in fact, we went out last night to our fav spot and ordered Malai Kofta, and my husband commented that these meatballs were way better!

    FYI – I doubled the recipe, which made about 25 bigger sized meatballs. 3-4 per serving with rice and naan. I had intended to freeze the extras, but they were so good, we had it again the next night! The only change I made was to add extra cayenne and garam masala to the sauce, as we like it hot. Seriously delicious! Thank you!

    1. Curry Tuesday? Why am I not doing that?? I’m so glad you loved it Karen! And good to know you can handle the heat :) I can’t believe your husband said it was better than restaurant food! My life is complete. Thanks so much for telling me!

  4. Happy belated birthday, Karen! This dish is genius! Love the idea of meatballs in an indian dish like this. Yum!

  5. I can’t believe I missed your birthday! #facebookfail Sooo Happy Belated Birthday!! xoxoxo I am so SO making these meatballs! They are just too gorgeous for words! Pinned!

  6. Happy belated birthday!! Sounds like you had a great day :) And these meatballs look awesomeeee. I love that you used these flavors in meatballs! So fun!

  7. You birthday sounds perfect! So glad you enjoyed it. And my god these meatballs are on my must make list. I just made tikka masala last week and have been trying to find more excuses to use my garam masala. Yumm.

  8. Oh that does sound like birthday bliss! Glad you could do some cozy kid-free cooking. Loving this recipe Karen!

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