Spicy Chicken Tikka Tacos - The Defined Dish Recipes (2024)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Spicy Chicken Tikka Tacos - The Defined Dish Recipes (1)

Tikka Masala is one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s packed with flavor and oh-so warm and comforting. My Crockpot Whole30 rendition of Tikka Masala is one of the most popular recipes on my blog, and with good reason! It’s easy, healthy and delicious! Oh, not to mention it is a recipe my kids request often! Because of that, I’ve created these Spicy Chicken Tikka Tacos.

Spicy Chicken Tikka Tacos - The Defined Dish Recipes (2)

Spicy Chicken Tikka Tacos - The Defined Dish Recipes (3)

It’s nearly summertime and while I am *more than okay* with hot soups and bowls of comforting foods like Tikka Masala, it’s completely unacceptable to my husband to eat these things. He immediately freaks out and says something like, “What the hell? It’s like 90 degrees outside?!?” Okay, Clayton. While you are correct I just can’t live without soups and comfort food!Spicy Chicken Tikka Tacos - The Defined Dish Recipes (4)

So, yeah, where there is a will there is a way, y’all. And gosh if I wasn’t craving Tikka Masala on a dang 85 degree weather day. These Spicy Chicken Tikka Tacos allow me to totally cheat the summer “no heavy comfort food” system. Borrowing a lot of the flavors from my Whole30 Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala and turned it into a simple chicken taco mixture that still has a lot of the same flavor, yet not *so dang heavy*. It’s also served in a taco–so that’s summer-y enough, right? Oh, and I serve it with a cold beer. That helps, too! (A cold topo-chico works). And bam. Clayton can’t complain. In fact, he didn’t complain one bit. He gobbled them up and went for seconds. WINNING!

Spicy Chicken Tikka Tacos - The Defined Dish Recipes (5) Spicy Chicken Tikka Tacos - The Defined Dish Recipes (6)

For a vegetarian dish with all of the Tikka Masala flavor, try my Tikka Masala Lentils!


For the Chicken Tikka Taco Meat:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced small (or 1/2 medium onion)
  • 2 lbs ground chicken breast
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1.5 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (use 1/4 tsp. for mild, and omit if you don't like spice)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 [13.5-ounce] can unsweetened coconut milk

For Serving:

  • 8-10 flour tortillas I like Siete Foods grain-free Cassava Tortillas (*see notes for Whole30 ideas)
  • 1 cup english cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 small serrano pepper, very thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


Make the Chicken Tikka Meat Mixture:

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions, ground chicken, salt, pepper, garlic, and ginger and cook, breaking up the meat with the edge of a wooden spoon or spatula, until cooked through (or no longer pink), 5 to 7 minutes.

  • Add in the spices (curry powder, cayenne, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, and turmeric) and continue to cook, stirring, and toast the spices until just fragrant, about 2 more minutes.

  • Add the tomato paste and stir until well combined into the meat mixture. Pour in the coconut milk and stir until well combined and bring to a simmer.

  • Cook, simmering and stirring occasionally, until the flavors combine and the sauce thickens a bit, 3 to 4 more minutes.

  • Taste the meat mixture and add more salt, pepper, or cayenne, to taste if desired!

Serve the Tacos:

  • Serve the tikka mixture in warm tortillas with a little arugula, sliced cucumbers, cilantro, sliced serranos (if using) and a wedge of lime. Enjoy!


*To keep these Whole30, stuff the meat mixture in a sweet potato, serve them in lettuce cups, or serve it "burrito bowl" style over some cauliflower rice with all of the garnishes!

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Alex Snodgrass

Servings: 4 people

Like this? Leave a comment below!Jump to Comments →

Dinner Dinner Gluten-Free Paleo Recipes Tacos Whole30

Welcome! I’m Alex.

I’m a food lover sharing healthy, simple, delicious, recipes from my kitchen to yours. Here you’ll find lots of Whole30, lots of healthy, and a little indulgence here and there because…it’s all about balance y’all!

Get to know Alex

Similar recipes

Spicy Miso Chicken Salad

Chicken and Rice Taco Skillet

Skillet Pizza Penne

BBQ Pulled Pork Bowls

Spicy Chicken Tikka Tacos - The Defined Dish Recipes (2024)


What is a tikka taco? ›

Tikka Taco as the name suggests is a fusion restaurant - combining the flavors of Indian cuisine & the spiciness of Mexican cuisine. We call this a perfect foodie storm that will satisfy even the pickiest palate.

What's the difference between chicken tikka and chicken tikka masala? ›

One of the main differences between chicken tikka and tikka masala is the way they are prepared and served. Chicken tikka is a dry dish, whereas tikka masala is a sauce-based dish. Chicken tikka is typically served as an appetizer or snack, whereas tikka masala is served as a main course.

Which is healthier butter chicken or tikka masala? ›

Although both dishes have high levels of saturated fat, chicken remains the preferred choice for maintaining good health. Compared to other meats, chicken dishes tend to be more nutritious. Chicken tikka masala is a healthier option than butter chicken as it contains less fat (7 grams vs. 4 grams) and more protein.

What's the difference between curry and tikka masala? ›

Chicken tikka masala has more protein and less fat (7 grams) than chicken curry (4 grams) because chicken curry contains ghee or oil, whereas chicken-tikka masala does not. And that probably explains why people like it so much!

What does tikka mean in chicken tikka? ›

Chicken tikka means small pieces of chicken prepared without bones. In fact, the word “tikka” means “small pieces.” This favorite dish is marinated in yogurt and spices before being cooked in a tandoor oven.

What makes a dish tikka? ›

Tikka consists of boneless pieces of meat or vegetarian alternatives such as paneer, which are marinated in spices and yogurt and subsequently strung through a skewer to be cooked. It is generally cooked in a tandoor and served dry.

Is chicken tikka good or bad for you? ›

Chicken Tikka Masala has many health benefits. The primary source of protein in Chicken Tikka Masala is chicken. It also helps control blood pressure and weight loss and reduces harmful cholesterol levels. In addition, the body uses protein to repair and fix tissues and grow hair and nails.

Is chicken tikka good for you? ›

An average serving of Chicken Tikka (around 250 grams) contains 312 calories. Although this number might look big, if prepared right, Chicken Tikka is actually healthy, since it is marinated with curd and spices and baked using skewers, it has the least oil usage, and roasted chicken is always beneficial.

Which is hotter vindaloo or tikka masala? ›

Vindaloo is known for its spicy and tangy profile, often made with vinegar and hot spices. Tikka Masala, on the other hand, has a creamy tomato-based sauce with milder spices, resulting in a rich and mildly spiced flavor. Your preference depends on your taste for spice and degree of creaminess.

Is chicken tikka masala just butter chicken? ›

Butter chicken is a traditional Indian dish that is rich and creamy with a subtle smoky flavor. At the same time, tikka masala is a British Indian dish with a more complex flavor profile with tangy and spicy notes. Butter chicken is generally sweeter and milder in spiciness, while tikka masala is tangy and spicy.

Is chicken tikka masala a real dish? ›

Chicken tikka is an Indian dish. The masala sauce was added to satisfy the desire of British people to have their meat served in gravy.

Is tikka very spicy? ›

Tikka masala is a curry dish of tomatoes, cream, and spices. It has a mild spiciness, and the standard chili powder used in tikka recipes is Kashmiri red chili powder. This version of chili powder is mildly spicy and does not add much heat to the recipes.

What is tikka meat? ›

The word tikka (tike in Turkish, and tikə in Azerbaijani) is a Persian word, meaning "bits" or "pieces". It is also a chicken dish served in Punjabi cuisine. The Kashmiri version of the dish, however, is grilled over red-hot coals, and does not always contain boneless pieces.

What is the meaning of tikka meat? ›

tik·​ka ˈti-kə : an Indian dish of marinated meat cooked on a skewer.

Is tikka spicy hot? ›

Tikka Masala is a mildly spicy, earthy, curry dish with a creamy tomato sauce. Traditionally, it contains Kashmiri chili, which is a type of chili pepper grown in the Kashmir region of India. It's bright red in color and has a very mild spice level. Many restaurant versions, however, offer mild, medium or spicy curry.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Patricia Veum II

Last Updated:

Views: 5537

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (44 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Patricia Veum II

Birthday: 1994-12-16

Address: 2064 Little Summit, Goldieton, MS 97651-0862

Phone: +6873952696715

Job: Principal Officer

Hobby: Rafting, Cabaret, Candle making, Jigsaw puzzles, Inline skating, Magic, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Patricia Veum II, I am a vast, combative, smiling, famous, inexpensive, zealous, sparkling person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.