India meets Italy in this Tikka Masala Pasta, a spin on the classic Chicken Tikka Masala. Pasta cooked in a creamy and delicious tikka masala gravy. Use whole-wheat or gluten-free pasta for a slightly healthier alternative.
I come from a large family and we show our love with food. Most of us fall into one of two categories - we either love to cook, or we love to critique food. I fall into both categories.
Being the youngest of four, I got away with doing the least amount of work. 🙂 This is one of those rare occasions my siblings will actually agree with me. lol.
I had no shame in showing up to all their gatherings and enjoying their incredible dishes while they slaved off in the kitchen. Having said that, when I did host people, I was usually cooking for my close girlfriends in Jersey City. Cooking for a few women isn't a big deal to me, but cooking for 13, now that's work. Keep in mind, 13 people is still less than the number of people in my immediate family.
I've realized so many things while being far away from home. I have so much respect for my siblings who hosted more people than I could even imagine, but most of all, for my mom. Like most moms, my mom has the ability to whip up a meal for the 15 of us without measuring anything, and she'll act as though it is no big deal. Clearly, my mom puts me to shame because cooking for 13 was a huge deal for me. Would I do it again? Absolutely! 🙂
This Tikka Masala Pasta (aka Vegetarian Indian Pasta) is one of my best creations if I say so myself. I devoured this dish before my party. It's creamy and spicy with a medley of complex Indian flavors that impeccably come together. Please make this dish, it's seriously that good. Be sure to mention me on Instagram, and I'll share the love. ♥
tikka masala pasta is:
Versatile - throw in grilled chicken
Gluten-Free & Whole Wheat options (swap the pasta for a healthier alternative)
What other Pasta Shapes can I use?
For the best results - I recommend using medium shells as shown in this recipe. You can also use macaroni, penne, or rigatoni. These pasta shapes will trap the sauce which will help achieve the best results.
how to make tikka masala pasta step by step?
Begin by boiling a pot of water. Chop the onions, ginger and garlic. Set aside.
Using a coffee grinder, blend the spices - cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick and peppercorns.
Now set aside the spices you blended above along with turmeric powder, chili powder, and coriander powder.
Start by heating up a large pan. Once hot, add olive oil, followed by a large black cardamom and bay leaf. Saute for 30 seconds or so.
Add the onions and saute for 3 minutes until translucent. Do NOT brown the onions.
Also add the ginger and garlic. Season with salt. Cook for 1 minute.
Add the spices along with a ¼ cup of water. We're adding the water so the spices don't burn. Saute for 1 minute.
Now add the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season with salt. Stir well. Cover with a lid. Cook the tomatoes down for 8 minutes and reduce heat to low-medium.
While the tomatoes cook down, chop ½ a green bell pepper.
Add the pasta to salted boiling water. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box until al dente.
Once the tomatoes are cooked, add the green pepper and cook for 1 minute.
Add the heavy cream, garam masala, and dry fenugreek leaves. Stir. Let the sauce warm up for about 1-2 minutes.
Here's your creamy tikka masala sauce. Once you see little bubbles reduce the heat to very low. Check for salt, add more if need be.
Using a spider strainer, add the cooked pasta to the tikka masala sauce. By adding the pasta this way, you are also adding starchy pasta water which helps bind the sauce to the pasta. If you choose to drain the pasta, make sure you add about ¼ cup of reserved pasta water to the sauce.
Mix the sauce and pasta well. Once heated through, turn off the stove.
Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
Serve immediately. Don't wait, it tastes best when hot.
Tikka Masala PastaVegetarian, Gluten-Free option
for the spice blend
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3 cloves
- 10 peppercorns
- 3 green cardamom pods
- ½ cinnamon stick
for the sauce
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 black cardamom, (moti elachi)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 inch piece ginger, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ - ¾ teaspoon Indian red chili powder, (substitute option: cayenne pepper)
- 2 teaspoon coriander powder
- ¼ cup water
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes, organic canned unsalted
- 1 cup tomato sauce, organic canned unsalted
- salt to taste
- ½ medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream, organic
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon dry fenugreek leaves, (kasoori methi)
- 1 pound medium shells pasta*, use whole wheat or gluten-free if you wish
- ¼ cup reserved starchy pasta water, see step #14
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- Begin by boiling a pot of water. Chop the onions, ginger and garlic. Set aside.
- Using a coffee grinder, blend the spices - cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick and peppercorns.
- Now set aside the spices you blended above along with turmeric powder, chili powder, and coriander powder.
- Start by heating up a large pan. Once hot, add olive oil, followed by a large black cardamom and bay leaf. Saute for 30 seconds or so.
- Add the onions and saute for 3 minutes until translucent. Do NOT brown the onions.
- Also add the ginger and garlic. Season with salt. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the spices along with a ¼ cup of water. We're adding the water so the spices don't burn. Saute for 1 minute.
- Now add the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season with salt. Stir well. Cover with a lid. Cook the tomatoes down for 8 minutes and reduce heat to low-medium.
- While the tomatoes cook down, chop ½ a green bell pepper.
- Add the pasta to salted boiling water. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box until al dente.
- Once the tomatoes are cooked, add the green pepper and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the heavy cream, garam masala, and dry fenugreek leaves. Stir.
- Here's your creamy tikka masala sauce. Check for salt, add more if need be.
- Using a spider strainer, add the cooked pasta to the tikka masala sauce. By adding the pasta this way, you are also adding starchy pasta water which helps bind the sauce to the pasta. If you choose to drain the pasta, make sure you add about ¼ cup of reserved pasta water to the sauce.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.
- Serve immediately. Don't wait, it tastes best when hot.
i watched you make this on stories. Wow! Thank you so much for posting this sooner. It looks incredible. Making it this weekend.
Thanks Neha. I can't wait to see what you think. Let me know. 🙂
Tried ur tikka masala pasta today..n it was Amazing.. packed with flavors..i don't think we'll make pasta in another way now ...
Kids enjoyed it too..
Thank you for the recipe.
This looks soooooooo delicious!!! I want to try to make this one day!!
Thanks Mari. Do share when you've tried it. Would love your thoughts. 🙂
Wow this was my family's favorite dish I made for them this year! Love that you mixed indian with italian. Can't wait to make it again for them. The spice level was perfect too. Thanks.
Thanks Kiran. That means so much to me. I'm so glad your family enjoyed it. xoxo.
This was such a creative idea! I actually decided to make it last night because it looked SO GOOD on ur story. It was delishhhhhhhh
Thanks Sanya. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing. xoxo
Loved this recipe. Easy to make and family's favorite already. This is something I will be making more of now
Thanks Panny, I'm so glad you hear that. Really appreciate it. xoxo
This pasta looks delicious but I am trying to go dairy free. Is there a good substitute for heavy cream?
Hi. Option 1 - I would use Chaokoh Coconut Milk - it's thick and creamy. Option 2 is using a cashew cream sauce - 1/2 cup soaked cashews, 1 cup water. Blend, check the consistency. See if you need more cashews or water. Also, I would try a little bit in the sauce to see how it tastes. Hope that helps. let me know how it goes. 🙂
Pasta tikka masala instead of paneer tikka masala! Omg it’s b o m b d o t c o m! My husband loved it and I couldn’t stop licking the container after we finished the pasta! So so good. My favorite part is that the gravy is so versatile and I can use for paneer as well. Absolutely loved it. Thanks for demystifying tikka masala.
Thank you Prerna. It's really good, I know. I had to stop myself from eating more. The gravy can easily be used for paneer. Yes! It always seemed like a tasty mystery, right? So glad you guys enjoyed it. xoxo
This Tikka Masala Pasta was absolutely crowd pleaser from kids to adults...delish?
I was out of my tomato sauce so sub that for RAO spicy sauce. Thank you for this pretty simple and easy recipe!!
Hi Rimple. Sounds so good. I love Rao's - good choice of pasta sauce. It's what I always recommend to my followers. It's a simple recipe, lots of spices, but we have most of the stuff at home. Thanks for sharing! xoxo
Great recipe! It was easy to follow and it turned out great!
Hi Kirti. Thank you so much for your feedback. Greatly appreciate it. xoxo
Priya Patel says
Loved this dish! So creative and fun!
Thank you so much Priya. I'm glad you liked it. 🙂
This pasta recipe was amazing! My husband and mother in law loved it! Can’t wait to make it again for my family!
Thanks so much Ashima. Means a lot to me. 🙂
The perfect indian twist to our very own comfort food Italian pasta, definitely should be given a try...I personally lived the recipe.❤️
Yes it sure is. Pasta and Indian flavors in one. Thanks so much. xoxo
Nisha Harjani says
Love love love this recipe! Used chickpea pasta for a healthier option and coconut milk to make this vegan. Came out excellent! Taste lingers in your mouth a bit and the spice is perfect and makes you want more with each bite. Will be making this again especially the sauce with tofu to make tikka masala. Thanks Nisha!
I'm so glad to hear that Nisha. Yes, coconut milk would be a healthier option for sure. That's so awesome. Glad it worked with chickpea pasta. Works well with whole wheat too, but then it's not gluten-free. xoxo
This dish is OUTSTANDING! It is healthyish / indianish and super unique. The directions were easy to follow. I ran out of cloves and skipped it and it still tasted great. I made it the night before a get together and before serving, warmed up a touch more cream and tomato sauce and added it to the pasta just to get the saucy / creamy texture at best before serving.
A TOTAL CROWD PLEASER
Aasheekaa - this makes me so happy to hear. Thank you so much! Yes, it's okay if you didn't have cloves. It's definitely a dish for a crowd as it's quite heavy. xoxo
I tried making this Pasta dish last night and it was so easy to follow and turned out amazing! Hubby and kids loved it! Please keep making easy to follow recipes!
I'm so glad to hear that Sonel. Yes.. that's the goal. 🙂
This recipe was a hit at our house. Turned out super delicious. Thank you for sharing!
So glad to hear. It definitely hits the spot. xoxo
I made this yesterday and it was amazing! Thank you for the recipe. You can add more chili powder if you want it to be spicy. I added more bellpeppers and onions and it was great. I recommend this to anyone!
Thanks Kubu. That makes me so happy to hear. xoxo
Dr. Henal says
Thank you for coming up with this delicious recipe! I have sent a link to this recipe to my friends and few of them tried making it and they loved it too!
OMG.. i'm so happy to hear that Dr. Henal. I really appreciate it. So glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
Flavors are on point! Loved this dish.. and so easy to make!
Ahhh.. so happy to hear that Nitya. xoxo
Nisha, your recipes are amazing! They are enjoyable to eat, and just as enjoyable to make! I have made this recipe twice already, the 1st time as is, and it was a huge hit with my husband and his friends. The 2nd time I made it I put my own spin on it, and substituted the cream with a bechamel cheese sauce and it was perfection! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes with us, and bringing us the best of both cultures! Looking forward to trying more recipes in the future
Thank you so much for coming up with delicious fusion. Our company and ya loved it. Your recipes rocks. I made it with green Rotini pasta-very healthy version
Ritu Singh says
This pasta was amazing - the perfect blend of Indian and Italian. My whole family loved it. I didn't have bay leaves at home, but it still turned out amazing. I can see why this would be a hit at parties, especially if there are vegetarians out there. I did add extra tomato sauce because I know that the pasta absorbs the sauce and gets thicker, and I just like extra sauce in my dishes. This will definitely be on rotation!
Perfect fusion of an Italian and Indian mix! Made this tonight and substituted heavy cream for equal parts of Greek yogurt and milk since I didn’t have any. Came out so flavorful and it was so easy to follow and make. Love all your recipes!
Tried the recipe and it turned out amazinggg! Added the chicken aswell. Thankyou for the inspiration Nisha!
Tried the recipe and it turned out amazinggg! Added the chicken aswell. Thankyou for the inspiration Nisha! Also, it was such an easy recipe yet so flavorful.?
It’s so so delicious ?
I’ve cooked this Tikka Masala pasta few times and every time I make it...uffff ? ?
Hubby loves it too ?
Thank you Mrs. Kapur ? for the yummy recipe
Incredible! A hit at our thanksgiving!
Made this for thanksgiving dinner - it was absolutely delish! Everyone loved it so much! Planning to make it again soon ?
My fiancé’s new favorite food (and mine!). The tikka masala pasta was spicy, easy to put together and so delicious! I used whole wheat pasta and 1/4 cup of cream to make it lighter. This will be a popular repeat recipe for sure!
Sanjana Yarla says
Made this for a thanksgiving dinner and it was a hit! Loved all the flavors and it was not challenging to make at all
My husband and his family are vegetarian - so we had to get creative for Thanksgiving! This was the PERFECT recipe to round out the traditional side dishes with some Desi flair!
I have been wanting to try this recipe for a long time, but felt it was fit for a crowd as a show-stopped - and it did not disappoint! The step-by-step- instructions, helpful substitutions, really made this fool proof!
It was delicious! The whole family loved this. And my husband said it was his favorite dish of the entire meal!
Thank you, Nisha! This blog is a labor of love - and one that we all reap the rewards from!
I plan to make this again for a dinner party - was fantastic as leftovers too!
This was a fantastic recipe! I've had my eye on this recipe for a while, but didn't have an occasion to make it yet because I typically only make food for two, and I wish I had made it sooner 🙂 Thanks for bringing such delicious meals to your blog. You are a family favorite
Been wanting to try this recipe for a while now! It was quite simple to follow and turned out absolutely delicious!! I love the tikka masala taste with the pasta, a combination I never would have thought of. One of the first recipes I’ve tried and I can’t wait to try some more!
Amazing pasta! Loved it ♥️ Pure indulgence!
Pooja Amar says
Made this for the first time for a big crowd so basically took a huge risk (more to do with me than the recipe..lol) and I am so glad I did because it was a raging HIT! Everyone was amazed on how this combo worked so well and everyone went for multiple helpings. I added Chicken deli slices to the Non Veg version and mushrooms and peppers to the veg version. I can't wait to try your other recipes as you made me look so good amongst my clan. Keep rockin' gurl 🙂
Love this recipe! My husband and I practically devoured the whole thing ourselves! It’s the perfect Desi comfort food. I made one teeny modification - I omitted the chilli powder because my hubby has issues with spice. But still flavourful and delicious!
I have tried this recipe with banza penne pasta..it was just sooo yum that my kids who are 3 and 4 finger licked it..
I added broccoli and yellow bell pepper..my husband does eat onion so I had to skip it..
By the way thank you for posting such a good recipe..
Tried this recipe. It was easy to follow and make. I felt it needed a little more punch, so I increased the chili and garam masala. Serves a crowd easily. Doesn't reheat very well, so definitely enjoy it right away.
Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, you can always adjust the chili amount. I don't go too crazy with garam masala since i use it more as a garnish. Thank you!
Shachi Patel says
I finally made this and It turned out really good! Mom approved.
Listen...I don’t cook. I’m a lawyer. I’m in Court 90% of my life, but when I’m not working I watch honeywhatscooking instastories! And when she shared this recipe I signed up for emails from her blog. I made this dish over the weekend #coronalockdown and it was delicious! Who knew I could cook?! Thanks so much honeywhatscookin!!!!
This is the best indo Italian recipe available and this dish turned out bomb, I can’t wait to repeat this dish when I host a party
Love love loved this recipe! Made it for my whole entire family and it was a major hit. Super easy to follow recipe and very convenient in being able to adjust the serving sizes which will automatically update the quantity of each ingredient (major plus). That sauce is liquid gold, found myself toasting one too many pieces of bread so I could keep eating the sauce on its own!
Tried this and it turned out so so good. The best part is it has such a beautiful flavor ?
Saher Hyderali says
I made this to celebrate my brother and sister graduating this year!! Soooo goood!!!
Loooove this recipe!! My go to pasta for sure. I also add chicken to this recipe. Made this for the first time a couple of months ago and ever since it’s been a major hit for our family especially with my kids. Thank you for this amazing recipe, Nisha!
This has become a staple at my house! I've made it twice already and it's amazing! I added small cubes of paneer to it and it tastes delicious. This is my parent's favorite pasta dish!
Gurminder Sandhu says
This is the best pasta recipe I have ever tried! Bonus points because my in-laws loved the Indian flavors. So creamy and flavorful, and really easy recipe! Only problem is I can’t stop eating it and have plans to lose weight! 🙈😜
I absolutely loved making this recipe and it was a hit with my family. Your directions are very easy to follow. Thanks Nisha! I will definitely make it again.
It was amazing. Very fast and easy to make! My family loved it. I added abit more chili powder than stated for abit more spiciness but overall it was honestly amazing. I don't think I would do any other pastas again 😂
Deepali Jain says
Nisha is taking pasta to a whole new level. Pasta Tikka Masala is perfect for holiday season when Diwali is right around the corner.
Thank you! Totally loved the flavor and my son approved it.
Perfect tikka masala sauce. I think I will use it for other things other than pasta too:) i added corn this time and it went perfectly with the spaghetti pasta I used. Keep up ur honest work Nisha! Oh and the search functionality is so convenient...
Made this recipe yesterday. Was first time using one of Nishas recipes and wow what a quick and easy dish to make was so delicious! Even the oldies really liked it. Will definitely be trying out some other recipes of yours now.
Hi Nisha! Excited to make this, I am sure it will be delish, as most of your recipes are! What are your thoughts on substituting the heavy cream with half and half?
Hi Rithika, that's totally doable. Just know that the dish won't be as rich and indulgent. For a weeknight option - half and half works. If you're making this for guests - I would use heavy cream. Note - I've tried this with canned coconut milk and it's good, just not as good as heavy cream. Hope that helps! Try it with h&h. Let me know 🙂
Ritu Singh says
This pasta was a hit at my party! All my guests loved it. The flavors blend together so well, and to be honest, I liked it even more the next day!