Easy Chicken curry recipe with just 5 ingredients

Want to make chicken curry without tomatoes, or make a paste, or spend too much time in the kitchen? This Chicken curry recipe is for you. Making delicious chicken curry has never been simpler.

chicken curry recipe

What is Chicken curry?

Curry is not a dish by itself, it means a “dish with a thick/thin consistency gravy”. The key ingredient name is added before the word curry and you have the name of the dish. For ex; Chicken curry, Mixed Vegetable curry, Paneer curry, Mutton curry, Fish curry, and so on.

Indian chicken curry consists of chicken cooked in a curry – made with onion-tomato masala and flavored with a mix and blend of Indian spices to make it taste unique.

The taste and color of curry completely depend on the spices used to make the dish. While there is no particular formula to make a curry, it’s always suggested to use fewer spices.

During childhood, the Chicken curry was a Sunday special. Spicy chicken curry with aromatic basmati rice, and onion raita, Sunday lunch was always a blissful experience.

I think Indian chicken curry, basmati rice, and Sunday afternoon are meant for each other.

I have grown up eating varieties of Indian chicken curries. South Indian style was a regular dish at home. During our stay in Maharashtra, mom learned the local version from neighbors. Both of them are my favorites.

About Chicken curry recipe

Indian Chicken curry recipe can be daunting when you look at a long list of ingredients for richly spiced and flavorful curry. But, in this recipe, you do not need many spices which makes it the Ultimate Chicken curry.

I had the same experience in my college and bachelor days. So, a chicken curry would come from a local takeaway/curry point. The gravy consistency is thinner compared to made at home, for obvious reasons.

Like most of the dishes, Indian chicken curry has different recipes and each region adds local ingredients to make a unique chicken curry recipe. So does mine.

But the chicken curry recipe I will share today is a very simple, easy to make, and comforting dish. What I mean by that is marinated chicken is added to a spice-infused onion masala and then slow-cooked together till the house is filled with the aroma of the curry. You can make the curry in a pressure cooker and the dish will be ready in less than 30 minutes.

You need only 5 main ingredients to make the best chicken curry. Other ingredients are oil, salt, few spice powders that are common in Indian kitchens. The best part, no blending or grinding work is involved.

With this chicken curry recipe, the chicken curry dish is of thicker consistency gravy, hot, spicy, moist, and greasy (a lot of oil floating on top) which is bursting with flavors. It is certain to please the masses who love spicy food.

But, if your palate is not accustomed to eating spicy food, you can reduce the quantity of spices to suit your tastebuds.

The key or secret to a tasty chicken curry is marination. It not only helps chicken pieces absorb the spices but also tenderizes the meat. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes.

Usually, I marinate the chicken a day before and refrigerate it. This is my go-to chicken curry recipe for a simple weekday meal, or when there are guests or a special party.

Reasons to make

Minimal ingredients

Easy and quick to make

Gravy is flavorful

Can be made in less than 30 minutes.

easy chicken curry

Ingredients to make Chicken curry

Chicken: I love to use chicken cut with bone. But it’s not compulsory, you can use whatever chicken meat you have on hand. If opting for boneless, I recommend chicken thighs, as they taste better compared to the breast part.

Onion: Chicken curry cannot be made without onions.

Ginger-Garlic paste: A key ingredient in chicken curry. Always use fresh ginger-garlic paste or readymade.

Yogurt: Use plain full-fat yogurt, not any flavored one. You can use greek yogurt or homemade curd too. The yogurt should not be sour.

Spice powders: Turmeric powder, Chicken masala, Red chili powder, Garam masala, and Coriander powder.

Other ingredients: Oil, jeera, salt, lemon juice.

Pro tips

Chicken: For the good chicken curry, use bone-in chicken pieces or chicken thighs. The meat around the bone tastes soft and juices from the bones flavor the curry too. Also, try to use equal sizes of pieces.

If you use boneless pieces, adjust the cooking time. It will cook faster in less than 30 minutes. Do not overcook, otherwise, the pieces will be dry.

Marination: In the recipe, I mentioned marinating the chicken for at least 30 minutes. If time permits, I would suggest marinating for longer. The chicken can be marinated for 8-24 hours, cover in an air-tight container and refrigerated.

Sautee onions: Finely chop the onions and saute till light brown color. If the onion is not sauteed well, pieces of onion will be seen in the gravy.

Sauteeing the marinated chicken: Saute the marinated chicken on medium flame with the onion masala for some time.

Slow-cook/simmer: For best taste and soft chicken, slow the chicken in the gravy so that it absorbs all the flavors.

Pressure cooking: Saute the chicken well before adding water and pressure cooking. Else the chicken pieces will taste as if boiled in gravy.

Serving Suggestion

We serve it with steamed rice or bagara rice, rasam, or sambar, with raita and lemon wedges on the side. You can also serve it with naan, roti, chapati, plain basmati rice, jeera rice.

More Chicken recipes

Chicken fry masala

Chicken Roast

Dum Ka Chicken

Tried this chicken curry recipe? Let us know how it went in the comments below! You can also follow me on Instagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Recipe card

easy chicken curry without tomatoes

Easy Chicken curry recipe with just 5 ingredients

Author: Santosh Allada
Learn how to make chicken curry with just 5 main ingredients. This easy and simple chicken curry recipe with tips can be easily made by novice or beginner too.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Marination 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Curry, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3 people


  • 1/2 kg Chicken (500 gms with bone)


  • 1/4 cup Curd
  • 1/2 tbspn Ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp Red chili powder
  • 1 tsp Chicken masala

For the curry

  • 3 tbspn Oil
  • 2-3 medium Onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/2 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder (for color)
  • 1 tsp Garam masala powder
  • Hot water
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves


Marinating the chicken

  • Mix all the ingredients listed in marination section to prepare the marinade.
  • Add the chicken pieces and coat well with the marinade. Set it aside for at least 30 minutes.

Making the curry

  • Heat water in a pan.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and let it crackle.
  • Add finely chopped onions and cook on medium flame till it turns light brown color.
  • Add marinated chicken and saute for some time, about 2 minutes.
  • If the masala is sticking to the bottom, add little water and deglaze (use a spatula to dislodge any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot).
  • Now add the hot water till the level of chicken and mix well.
  • Check the taste and add salt if needed.
  • Cover the pan and cook on low flame till the chicken is completely cooked.
  • Turn the flame to high and add kashmiri red chili powder. Give a good mix.
  • Add garam masala, coriander powder and cook on low flame for 5 minutes.
  • Lastly , add coriander leaves.
  • Chicken curry is ready.


Do not skip marination process, it makes chicken moist and flavorful.
You can fresh mint leaves too.
Potato/Aloo too tastes good in the chicken curry.
Use water, adding cold water will bring down the tempertaure of the pan.

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