You can easily make the BEST Chana Masala at home that has the authentic, Indian flavors you know and love! This healthy curry recipe combines the ease of canned chickpeas and tomatoes with hearty vegetables, herbs, and spices.

Pair this Indian dish with Basmati rice for a filling meal.

Best Chana Masala Recipe

Meatless Mondays are a regular thing in around here.

And Chana Masala is one of my new favorite meals for SO many reasons!

It is quick to make…

And uses cans so I usually have everything I need…

Plus, it’s loaded with authentic Indian spices and flavor.

This Indian chickpea curry is also hearty and filling – you won’t even miss the meat at all thanks to the protein-packed chickpeas!

Don’t forget to try Salmon Curry with Coconut Milk, Vegan Chickpea Curry, or this 15-Minute Curry Cauliflower Rice.

Chickpeas, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and seasonings are the ingredients for this dish.

Ingredients

To make this chana masala recipe you need:

  • Chickpeas. You can use canned for simplicity or learn how to cook chickpeas yourself! It is easier than you think.
  • Puréed tomatoes. The canned option is thick with a depth of flavor. If needed, sub in tomato sauce, but the texture won’t be quite the same. You can make your own tomatoes sauce from peeled tomatoes or even previously frozen tomatoes!
  • Oil. Avocado works best, but feel free to use olive oil, as well.
  • Onion. One small, sweet, diced onion is the perfect balance to the savory flavor of the dish. You can use white or yellow if that’s what you have.
  • Peppers. Either use jalapeño or serrano peppers, depending on your heat preference. Remove the seeds and finely chop a couple of peppers for this dish.
  • Garlic. Finely minced garlic is essential to distribute the earthy flavor throughout the chana masala.
  • Ginger. Either paste or finely minced fresh ginger can be used.
  • Garama Masala. This spice blend from India of cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper is absolutely necessary for this recipe. You should be able find a jar at the grocery store.

How to Make Chana Masala

The basic steps for making chana masala are simple to follow:

Sauté the Veggies

This dish is so easy to cook in a Dutch oven. However, you can also use a large pot if that is all you have.

First, add the oil to your pot. Then, toss in the diced onion and peppers. Cook these vegetables over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent, and everything is tender. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the garlic and ginger paste and sauté for another minute or so. Be sure not to overcook the ginger garlic paste.

Mix in the spice blend of coriander, Garam masala, cumin, turmeric, sugar, and salt.

Stir well and cook for another 30 seconds, or until the spices become fragrant.

Add the Chickpeas and Tomatoes

If you are using canned chickpeas, drain the liquid from the can, holding back one cup for later.

Add the chickpeas along with the tomatoes and ½ cup of the liquid from the can to the pot. (You can also reserve the rest and make aquafaba!)

Stir everything together until it is well-combined.

Boil and Simmer

Over medium or high heat, bring everything in the Dutch oven to a boil. Then, turn the stovetop down to medium-low.

Simmer the chana masala for around 20 to 25 minutes. Make sure you give the mixture a good stir every 5 or 10 minutes so nothing sticks to the bottom and burns.

After simmering, check how thick it is. If you want a thinner texture, add in the extra chickpea liquid and stir well.

Serve!

Just like other Indian cuisine options, chana masala is delicious on a bed of Basmati rice, with a few slices of pita bread, or buttered naan!

For a beautiful presentation, sprinkle some chopped cilantro or toasted cumin seeds for garnish.

Chana masala is a delicious vegetarian option.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: If you opt to cook chickpeas, you can do that a day or two ahead of time.
  • To Store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: Let the chana masala fully cool before storing it in a freezer-safe container and keeping it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • To Reheat: Warm this dish back up in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat or in the microwave.

Dietary Modifications

The recipe you’ll find below is already gluten-free and vegetarian as written.  Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:

  • Sugar-free: Leave out the optional sugar.
  • Low-carb: Serve over a bed of cauliflower rice and avoid the pita or naan bread.

FAQs

What is the difference between chana masala and tikka masala?

Chana masala and tikka masala are quite similar, flavor-wise. However, chana masala has chickpeas while tikka masala has small chunks of meat, most often chicken.

What does chana masala taste like?

Chana means chickpea, and masala means spices. This savory dish is a little bit spicy with a hint of citrus, usually from the coriander powder. The chickpeas add texture and chana masala is a delicious meal you can feel good about eating.

Is chana masala the same as chole masala?

Chana masala is often called chole masala, so they are the same!

A pot full of savory and spicy chana masala.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Easy does it. Save time and energy by opting for canned chickpeas and tomatoes.
  • Go Dutch. A Dutch oven is perfect for both sautéing and simmering this chana masala.
  • Some like it hot. You can use jalapeño or serrano peppers, depending on your preference. Or, leave them out completely.
  • Get creative. Fresh lemon juice, chili powder, or even green chilies each add a unique flavor to this dish if you are looking to change it up.
  • Serve it up. Homemade pita bread and Basmati rice are the perfect additions to this curry.

What to Serve with Chana Masala

This traditional Indian cuisine goes perfectly with any of these recipes:

More Curry Recipes

Curries are so full of flavor and the perfect addition to your weekly meal plan. Try one of these next:

You might also like this healthy Chickpea Soup, too!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 2 votes

Best Chana Masala Recipe

You can easily make the BEST Chana Masala at home that has the authentic, Indian flavors you know and love! This healthy curry recipe combines the ease of canned chickpeas and tomatoes with hearty vegetables, herbs, and spices.
Yield 4 servings
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 Tbsp. oil avocado or olive
  • 1 small sweet onion finely diced
  • 1-2 green peppers jalapeno or serrano, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2 tsp. ginger paste or finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. coriander
  • 2 tsp. Garam masala
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. sugar optional
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt to taste
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 cans
  • 28 oz. pureed tomatoes canned

Instructions 

  • Saute Vegetables: Add oil to a Dutch oven or large pot along with the diced onion and peppers. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until onion becomes tender. Add the minced garlic and ginger paste and continue sauteing for an additional 30-60 seconds, being careful not to brown them.
    2 Tbsp. oil, 1 small sweet onion, 1-2 green peppers, 5 cloves garlic, 2 tsp. ginger paste
  • Add Seasonings: Mix in the coriander, Garam masala, cumin, turmeric, sugar, and salt. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly, or until the spices become fragrant.
    1 Tbsp. coriander, 2 tsp. Garam masala, 2 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. turmeric, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • Mix in Tomatoes and Chickpeas: If using canned chickpeas, drain the liquid from the can and reserve 1 cup. Pour in the pureed tomatoes, chickpeas, and ½ cup of the reserved chickpea liquid. Stir everything together until well combined.
    3 cups cooked chickpeas, 28 oz. pureed tomatoes
  • Cover and Simmer: Bring the ingredients to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes to prevent burning on the bottom of the pot. If desired, stir in the remaining reserved chickpea liquid to thin it out.
  • Serve over a bed of basmati rice with pita bread and enjoy!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 2 votes

Video

Notes

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: If you opt to cook chickpeas, you can do that a day or two ahead of time.
  • To Store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: Let the chana masala fully cool before storing it in a freezer-safe container and keep it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • To Reheat: Warm this dish back up in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat or in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 362kcal, Carbohydrates: 52g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Sodium: 1024mg, Potassium: 1064mg, Fiber: 14g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 624IU, Vitamin C: 68mg, Calcium: 207mg, Iron: 9mg

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

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Comments

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Martha! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!

  1. Oh this is turning out so good! I had made pickled jalapenos last summer from my garden. They’re adding the perfect heat.

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Sharon! Pickled jalapenos sound delicious. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!