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Murgh Malai Tikka

4.56 from 25 votes
Total: 7 hours 10 minutes
Serves 6

Say hello to the most tender and juicy Murgh Malai Tikka! This chicken tikka smothered in a wet rub of yogurt, warm spices, and fresh herbs is simply the best.

Grill them on a stovetop, oven, or outdoor BBQ, and these tikkas will surely rock your party! Who knows, this might soon become your new summer grilling favorite recipe. 

Murgh Malai Tikka on skewers with lemon slices

Who doesn’t love tikkas and that too on a stick? There’s something irresistibly fun and exciting about devouring food on a stick!

Don’t you agree – it looks so appealing and inviting.

And since summer is the official grilling season, hence, I am going to spice up my dinner tonight with my favorite – Murgh Malai tikka!

What is Murgh Malai Tikka?

Let me take a quick break here for those who are not familiar with the term Murgh Malai tikka.

Murgh Malai tikka is an Indian chicken dish where marinated chicken pieces are grilled over charcoal. 

In this term – Murgh malai tikka, Murgh means chicken; Malai means cream, and tikka refers to pieces of meat or veggies marinated in a spicy mix. 

Collectively, it means – chicken pieces marinated in a spicy cream-based mixture. 

Murgh Malai Tikka on a black tray and onion rings

What makes up Murgh Malai Tikka recipe?

This malai chicken recipe calls for a combination of flavorful ingredients, and they include- 

» Chicken– I prefer to cook tikkas with boneless skinless chicken breasts. But it will work with any kind of chicken meat. 

» Lemon juice – helps to tenderize the meat and adds a fresh pop of flavor. 

» First set of marinade – cashew paste, ginger-garlic paste, cornstarch, green chilies, and a blend of spices like – green cardamom powder, salt, cumin powder, red chili powder, and garam masala powder*, perks up the flavor quotient of this marinade.

*If no garam masala powder on hand, then curry powder will also suffice. 

» The second set of marinade includes- 

» Yogurt – use thick unsweetened yogurt for this recipe. Use homemade hung curd or store-bought Greek yogurt. Yogurt helps in tenderizing the chicken and also helps in absorbing the lemon and spices flavor more efficiently. 

» Low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese – sticks to the chicken and lends a creamy and rich texture to this malai tikka. 

» Oil– smoked mustard oil adds a nice earthy touch. 

» Dried fenugreek leaves – a classic Indian herb that adds tons of flavor to the murgh malai tikka. 

» Cream – help to balance out the heat from the spices while adding a delicious burst of flavor in every bite.

» Cilantro leaves– fresh cilantro leaves are a real game-changer.

Now, that we know the role of each ingredient in this murgh malai tikka; let’s head to the kitchen and start cooking!

How to make Murgh Malai Tikka?

This chicken malai tikka recipe starts with the right chicken marinades.

  • Step 1– tenderize the meat. 
  • Step 2– Marinade 1- I love this first set of marinate because it is a mixture of simple ingredients and a blend of spices. 
  • Step 3– Marinade 2- this marinade infuses the chicken with and an extra layer of flavor and creaminess.  Cream+yogurt+ cheese creates an amazing saucy marinade that moistens and infuse the flavor in these tikkas. 

Step 1- Tenderize the meat

1. Thoroughly rinse the chicken. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Since we are making tikkas here, cut the chicken into 1-inch chicken cubes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl. 

2. Add salt. 

3. Fresh lemon juice. 

4. Toss it well. Allow the chicken to marinate for 30 minutes. This marinade gives the chicken a succulent bite. 

How to tenderize meat

Step 2- Marinade 1

5. Meanwhile, let’s prepare the first set of marinate. In a large mixing bowl, add cashew paste. 

6. Stir in ginger-garlic paste, green cardamom powder, and cornstarch. 

7. Add green chilies, salt, cumin powder, red chili powder, and garam masala powder. 

8. Mix until blended. 

Marinade 1 for Murgh Malai Tikka

Step 2- Marinade 2

9. Add yogurt. 

10. Cheese Murgh malai tikka

11. Add kasoori methi, cream, cilantro leaves, and oil.

12. Mix to combine. Murgh malai tikka  

Marinade 2 for Murgh Malai Tikka

13. Add the chicken pieces. 

14. Mix to coat the murgh pieces evenly in the malai marinade. 

15. Cover and let the chicken marinate overnight in the refrigerator. 

16. Once the resting time is over, preheat the oven 400 degrees F. Remove chicken tikka from the fridge and thread the pieces onto the skewers. Evenly divide the cubes between 6 skewers.

Marinade chicken overnight

17. Cook the murgh malai tikka for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through to cook evenly. 

18. Remove from the oven. Generously brush with butter and serve hot. 

Grill chicken

Other ways to Cook Murgh malai tikka?

Traditionally, tikkas are cooked in clay ovens/tandoors. Murgh malai tikka grilled over charcoal will be juicy, tender, and have the best smoky flavor.

But if the weather is not favorable, you can still get great results by cooking the chicken tikka on skewers in an oven or a grill pan. Or forego the skewers and cook the chicken cubes in an air fryer. 

Whether you grill the Murgh malai tikka outside or on the stovetop, you will end up with flavorful and delicious chicken every time!

Plus, the aroma of murgh malai chicken, when it is cooking, is outrageous and simply hard to resist!  

Now for some faqs and variations!

» Will this recipe work for bone-in chicken?
Absolutely! You can marinate chicken thighs, chicken tenders, or chicken drumsticks in this marinade. Though the smaller the cut of meat, the less time it will need to marinate.

For bone-in chicken, you will want to marinate it for a full 8 hours.  

» Can you freeze the chicken malai tikka?
You sure can! This malai tikka makes an excellent freezer meal. Allow the cooked malai tikka to cool comfortable. Transfer the chicken to a freezer-safe container or a Ziploc bag, and it will store well for up to 2 months. 

» Can this marination work for veggies?
Oh yes! This marinade is great on veggies and tofu. 

» How long can you keep this tikka in the fridge?
Your cooked murg malai tikka will stay fresh and yummy for up to 3 days in the fridge. For best results, store it in an airtight container. 

» Can you double this recipe?
Of course! This recipe is very adaptive and can be scaled up and down to feed a large gathering. 

» Can you add veggies to this tikka?
You sure can! I think tikkas taste and look all the more yummy when they are spaced with vegetables. To match the cooking time, I would suggest adding bell peppers, zucchini, onions, or mushrooms to the skewers.

Ways to serve this murgh malai tikka

There are many great ways to serve Murg malai tikka. Here are some of my favorites – 

  •  As a wrap- place these tikkas on homemade chapatti (Indian bread), top with some sliced onions, lettuce, and green chutney and enjoy.
  • Serve over a bed of rice.
  • To make it a complete meal, pair the tikkas with panchmel dal and homemade tandoori roti

This recipe is truly one of my favorite summer-time grilling recipes, and everyone loves it.

Murgh Malai Tikka on a white plate

So, hop on and join the grilling train.

Fire up your grills and call your family and friends for a delicious lunch and they’re going to love this Murgh malai tikka that has the perfect amount of smoky, juicy flavors in every bite.

Trust me, this chicken tikka will have everyone licking their fingers & plates!

Do let me know in the comments when you make this recipe. Feel free to contact me with any questions or inquiries, and I would be happy to answer them. 



Murg Malai Tikka

4.56 from 25 votes
Tender and juicy Murgh Malai Tikka are super easy to make and are bursting with flavor. Smothered in homemade marinade these tikkas will surely rock your barbecue party!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Rest: 6 hours 30 minutes
Total: 7 hours 10 minutes
Calories: 207 kcal
Servings: 6



  • 1 Pound Boneless Chicken (rinsed and cleaned)
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • ½ teaspoon Salt



  • ¼ cup Hung Curd (thick Market curd/yogurt)
  • ¼ cup Low fat Shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Chopped cilantro leaves
  • 3 tablespoons Cream
  • 2 tablespoons Oil


  • Clean, rinse, and cut the chicken into cubes.
  • In a large bowl mix chicken with lemon juice and salt.
  • Mix it well. Let it marinade for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  • Meanwhile, let's assemble all the ingredients listed under 'The first set of ingredients.' Combine all the above ingredients in a bowl.
  • Assemble: all the ingredients listed under 'second set of ingredients.' If cilantro, green chilies or garam masala aren't your favorites, then feel free to leave them out. Your tikkas will still turn out good. Combine both the ingredients (the first set of ingredients + the second ingredients) in a large bowl.
  • Mix it well. Do the taste test.
  • Add chicken. Rub this marinade onto the chicken. Marinade chicken in this mix for 5-6 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven @400 degree F. Remove chicken from the fridge and thread the pieces onto the skewers. Evenly divide the pieces between 6 skewers.
  • Cook for 25-30 minutes turning them once in between until cooked through.
  • Remove from the oven. Generously brush with butter. Transfer the skewers to a platter and serve hot.
    Murgh Malai Tikka- Ruchiskitchen



Cooking Tips to make the Best Murgh Malai Tikka
» Role of yogurt in malai tikka – When it comes to flavorful, juicy chicken, dairy-based marinades, such as cream and yogurt-based, are the best marinade to tenderize the chicken. 
Yogurt contains acid that helps break down the protein wall. And as the chicken becomes more acidic, it absorbs more moisture and flavors. 
» Role of cornstarch – it coats the chicken and helps the tikkas to stay nice and juicy when it’s grilled. 
» Role of kasoori methi – So suffice to say, I love dried fenugreek leaves in all my chicken dishes. In other words, when it comes to flavoring chicken, kasoori methi is my first choice, hands down.
Kasoori methi adds a wonderfully unique flavor to any chicken dish. 
» Marination time – do not cut back on this. You can marinate the chicken malai tikka anywhere from 30 minutes – 8 hours. But the longer you marinate the tikkas, the better flavor you will get.
Marination gives these tikkas enough time to soak up the moisture, and when you are grilling the malai tikkas, it does not dry out as a result of exposure to the high heat.


Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 332mg | Potassium: 345mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 265IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1mg
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided above is approximate. Variations may exist due to the ingredients/brands used. These numbers should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.
Author: Ruchi
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian

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  1. Tushar bhatia says:

    I Tried This Recipe Today, I used traditional bar be que with coal, They were super duper hit, I have used Chicken leg boneless and 6 hour Marination… Mind blowing All family member just love it, also
    i have used Amul diced cheese in them

    • Ruchi says:

      Diced cheese cubes sounds yum!
      Glad you and your family liked the recipe.
      Thanks for sharing your valuable feedback with me. 🙂

  2. Gautam says:

    I’m planning on cooking this on a traditional coal BBQ. How long do you think I should cook the kebabs for?

  3. Kai says:

    Hi just marinated d chicken now.. will be grilling tomo

  4. Kaivalya says:

    Hi Ruchi or the other… tried this recipe… it was 😘😘… just in love.. gorgeous.. I also added few fresh mint leaves.. along with dried ones… loved it

  5. somenath Majumdar says:

    I have tried it. Its just beautiful.

  6. Samay says:

    I don’t have an oven or a traditional tandoor. I just have an electric grill. What different do I need to do?

    • Ruchi says:

      I don’t think you need to do any changes.
      Heat up your grill, grease it well.
      Spread the tikkas across and bake for 25-30 minutes or until done.

  7. Ruchika Wadhwa says:

    Hi, i tried this recipe in air fryer. They turned out to be really nice! Thanks for sharing!

    • Prachi Singh says:

      Hi Ruchi,
      Thanks for sharing such an awesome recipe I have made this thrice and it turned out really good.
      I make these tikkas in a nonstick pan however my tikkas get stuck to the pan and some bit of chicken is torn apart while rotating the skewers. What is it that I could be doing wrong here. Please guide me.

      While going through your video I saw that the tikkas when put in the oven had cooked from the top and not the bottom before you rotated the skewers. Please confirm that do we need to turn on the upper heating element only while cooking them in the oven or do we turn on both upper and lower heating element.

      I am new to cooking so please pardon my elementary knowledge.

      I need to make these again in two days and I am hoping to receive a response from you.

      • Prajakta says:

        Superb. Absolutely scrumptious. I was a little short on time, so just added all the ingredients together and marinated just for half an hour… And it still turned out lip smacking… My kids just loved it and so did the adults….
        Thanks for sharing ….

      • Ruchi says:

        Pleasure is all mine. So glad you liked the recipe. 😊

      • Ruchi says:

        Hello Prachi,
        Thank you for trying the recipe. So glad you liked it.
        Because of cheese, malai tikka does stick to the pan. So, you need to grease the pan well.
        For these tikkas, turn the lower heating element on. Once the top part of the chicken is cooked, you flip the tikkas. The flipped part will always be juicy and half-cooked. You flip so that the chicken is evenly cooked and brown. The top heating element (rod) is only turned on to give that caramelized look. Always keep a watchful eye when you turn the broil or top heating element on, as the food gets brown instantly (say in 2 minutes or less, depending on the dish).

        P.s. – it’s always good to ask if you are unsure about the step. 😊

    • Sonia says:

      How long an at what temperature did you cook it in the air fryer?

    • Ruchi says:

      Pleasure is all mine, Ruchika!
      Glad you liked the recipe.

      • Preeti says:

        Hi, can we skip mozzarella cheese and use just curd n cream.. .. Does it effect the taste much??

      • Ruchi says:


        Cheese gives these tikkas a creamy and malai taste. But feel free to experiment and share your experience with me.

  8. Jessica says:

    can i pan fry the chicken as i dont have a oven or microwave?

  9. yamaha says:

    why did the tikkas turned hard after cooking? did i overcook them? i marinated the chicken overnight and grilled them on charcoal bbq. I’m stumped why i ended up with rock hard chicken. I used chicken breasts.

    • Ruchi says:

      Yes, you overcooked the tikkas.
      Moisture was lost during cooking and that resulted in hard tikkas. Chicken legs and thighs can be cooked for a longer time but chicken breast is lean protein and if cooked for a longer time then it will become hard.

  10. Sabrina says:

    Hi, I am looking at trying this recipe but can you advise if your recipe is based on chicken breast or thigh?
    Also, i cannot find cashew paste here in uk – is there an alternative? Or is cashew butter the same?

    Thanks 🙂

  11. Divya Koul says:

    Tried ur recipe and it was an instant hit wid my guests. Thanks for sharing the perfect melt in mouth malai chicken tikka recipe.

  12. Shiba khan says:

    Ruchi i dont know how to help you.
    After my marriage first time i made food for guest using your recipes
    Cant tell you i am in tears everyone appreciated me so much.
    I am in love with you

    • Shiblu b says:

      Great recipe. How important is the mozerlla in this recipe?

      Can it be done without this?

      • Ruchi says:

        Shiblu, mozzarella lends these kebabs the soft, juicy, and malai-like texture. Without mozzarella, it will taste like regular kebabs.

    • Ruchi says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Siba!
      Glad to hear that you are enjoying my recipes.
      Welcome to my blog and happy cooking!

  13. Jessica says:


    I am in the process of making this recipe, but I am slightly confused 🙂 in the “second list of ingredients” (before pictures) you have kansoori methi/fenugreek leaves listed, but in the pictures you have dried or fresh mint leaves. Others also commented about mint leaves in the comments. Which is correct to use? Fenugreek or mint?


    • Ruchi says:

      Thanks for pointing that out. It’s Dried Fenugreek Leaves, have added it to my notes.
      Others also commented about mint leaves in the comments.
      From what I understand, she added mint leaves along with fenugreek leaves.
      Which is correct to use? Fenugreek or mint?

      Hope you like the recipe. 🙂

  14. Nitu Sharma says:

    How to cook in microwave oven with convention….

    • Ruchi says:

      Nitu, you have to refer to your microwave manual for grilling these tikkas.
      I have cooked in an LG microwave and for that you auto cook tikkas in Charcoal mode. Please refer to your manual for more details.

  15. Adrian says:

    I tried the recipe and loved it. I did not have cream nor butter, instead I used natural greek yogurt and still turned out supreme! I hand chopped all the ingredients added a little more of bits and pieces to get more spice and no complaints from me. Yum yum, so much better than a takeaway shop. Shanks.

  16. Shiva says:

    5 stars
    Love love love this recipe. This was for the first time ever that I made chicken tikka and it was mouth watering and tastes out of the world. I’m making it today for the 3rd time and can’t thank you enough for how much my family likes it. I just skip cheese, cornflour and cashew paste and even then they turn out great. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe.

  17. Preeti says:

    Thanks for a great recipe
    Can we use the Marinade for fish tikka I have extra for my eh chicken I made and have some white fish and so wondering if anyone has tried that.

  18. Sr dhivya says:

    Can we use any other cheese? Or specifically mozerella cheese?

  19. Vik says:

    I want to pack this for my kid for school lunch and school has a no nuts policy. Can i skip cashew or use a non nut substitute?

  20. Aleena says:

    Is it possible to remove cheese altogether. Because my mother doesn’t like any kind of cheese.