Chicken Biryani vs. Chicken Tikka Masala

Are you curious about the difference between chicken biryani and chicken tikka masala? This blog post is for you.

Here, you’ll explore their differences, similarities, and the aromatic symphony that makes each dish a star in its own right. 

Hungry for answers? 

Let’s feast on the details!

Chicken Biryani vs Chicken Tikka Masala: Key Difference

Chicken biryani is a chicken and rice dish, made by layering semi-cooked rice with marinated and cooked chicken and allowed to cook until fully tender.

On the other hand, authentic chicken tikka masala features boneless, skinless, and sliced chicken thighs marinated and grilled, then cooked in a creamy tomato-based sauce.

With biryani, you enjoy a complex, fragrant, slightly spicy taste served in a pot or platter with raita and pickled onions. While chicken tikka masala relishes you with a mild, creamy, and slightly sweet taste.

A Detailed Comparison of Chicken Tikka Masala and Chicken Biryani

Chicken Biryani

Biryani is an Indian dish featuring a perfect balance of aromatic spices, meaty goodness, and an attraction of basmati rice. To make biryani chicken, almost like tikka masala, is prepared and cooked separately, then layered with semi-cooked rice and layered to cook again.

This combo of chicken and rice union is served with raita (yogurt-based sauce) and pickled onions.


Chicken biryani’s origin is rooted in ancient Persia’s rice dishes, which evolved in the Indian subcontinent and were notably influenced by the Mughals. Regional variations emerged, with Hyderabad, Lucknow, Kolkata, and Tamil Nadu contributing unique styles.

In a nutshell, biryani symbolizes cultural exchange, reflecting the fusion of culinary traditions from India to Britain and beyond.


Chicken biryani boasts a simple yet robust ingredient list. It includes basmati rice, chicken, ginger and garlic paste, onions, tomatoes, yogurt, lemons, and a medley of spices such as cumin, coriander, cloves, bay leaf, cardamom, saffron and mint.


The preparation involves 3 steps. At first, the chicken is marinated in a blend of yogurt, tomatoes, lemon, onions, ginger and garlic paste, and spices.

In the second step, the chicken is cooked.

Lastly, cooked chicken is layered with partially cooked rice and slow-cooking until the flavors meld together.


Biryani presents a melange of textures, from the succulent chicken pieces to the aromatic rice. The slow-cooking process ensures that each grain absorbs the essence of the spices.


Chicken biryani brings a mild-to-moderate spice kick with a spice layering in rice. This layering lets you control the masala-to-rice ratio as you eat, according to your liking.

Biryani’s punchy masala gives it a rich and captivating taste. The intricate blend of spices adds complexity and depth of flavor to the rice. Additionally, fragrant ingredients, like saffron, add royal richness and aroma to the dish.

This is the reason biryani is the most inviting dish on any menu–people find it irresistible and eat more and more.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala, the UK’s national dish, triggers debate—claimed as Indian by some and not by others. This controversial yet succulent dish blends smoky, grilled flavors of boneless, skinless chicken thigh pieces with a creamy and mildly spicy tomato-based sauce.

Chicken tikka masala is often served with basmati rice or naan. It stands as a staple in many Indian restaurants, showcasing its widespread popularity and cultural fusion.


The origin of chicken tikka masala is debated, with theories attributing its creation to Bangladeshi chefs in Glasgow during the 1960s or its inspiration from butter chicken in India.

Regardless, it epitomizes fusion cuisine, blending Indian and British influences. From its UK popularity, it has become a global culinary phenomenon, adapting to diverse preferences.


Chicken tikka masala takes a more intricate route with ingredients. 

Foremostly, the chicken tikka masala is made with boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The chicken is marinated in yogurt and spices, grilled, and then immersed in a luscious sauce made with tomatoes, cream, and various spices.


Preparation of chicken tikka masala requires marinating boneless, skinless chicken (thighs, preferable) in yogurt, ginger, garlic, and spices.

Then, the chicken is grilled or baked in an oven or tandoor.

In the end, this chicken is cooked in a creamy sauce made with tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, and spices. The sauce is simmered until it is thickened and flavorful. The dish is typically served with rice or naan bread.


Chicken tikka masala offers a creamy and velvety texture, with the tender chicken pieces soaking up the decadent sauce.


Chicken tikka masala, however, is milder than biryani, with spices that add depth and complexity without overpowering the dish.

The tomato-based sauce provides a creamy texture and a slightly tangy and sweet flavor.

The cream adds richness to the sauce, resulting in a decadent and flavorful dish.


Chicken biryani and chicken tikka masala both showcase the prowess of Indian cuisine, they differ in their preparation, ingredients, and textures. 

Whether you lean towards the aromatic layers of Biryani or the creamy indulgence of tikka masala, both dishes promise a satisfying journey through the diverse and flavorful world of Indian culinary delights.


Is There any Similarity Between Chicken Biryani Shares and Chicken Tikka Masala?

Chicken Biryani and Chicken Tikka Masala share common ground in using marinated chicken. Yet, the use of fragrant rice in biryani primarily sets this rice dish apart from chicken tikka masala.

Why Chicken Tikka Masal is More Versatile?

Chicken Tikka Masala stands out for its remarkable versatility. Its rich, spiced tomato-based sauce complements various accompaniments, making it adaptable to diverse culinary creations. The grilled chicken, bathed in this flavorful sauce, makes a perfect base.

Leftover chicken tikka masala, a boon in the kitchen, can be repurposed. From stuffing in wraps or sandwiches to topping pizzas, its savory character enhances a range of dishes. 

Even transforming it into biryani is a clever utilization, infusing the biryani with the aromatic essence of tikka masala. This adaptability makes chicken tikka masala a go-to ingredient for quick, delicious meals, showcasing its prowess beyond the traditional plate.

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Cashmere Muhammad
Cashmere Muhammad

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