Cheaters' Braise Baked Chicken Curry Recipe

Braising is a technique used to achieve fall-apart tender meats and vegetables. Unlike stewing, braising requires a smaller amount of liquid, using the steam from a covered pot to cook the contents until meltingly soft. Braising also typically benefits from searing the meats first, using the hot, dry heat to form a crispy browned skin. This technique leads to a deeply flavorful, rich, and tender pot of meat and vegetables. The downside? It takes hours.

Is it possible to speed things up a bit? In this recipe developed with Michelle McGlinn, chicken thighs are first browned at a high, dry heat in the oven, then covered in tomato sauce and (more or less) braised until soft. With the searing step replaced with a hot oven, it cuts the braising time in half. And? It gives you a little more time to use your hands elsewhere.

This tender braised chicken is a variation of chicken tikka masala, using similar elements such as yogurt, tomato, and garam masala for delicious, warming flavor. The yogurt helps tenderize the chicken, which is then covered in saucy tomatoes, peas, and cashews and roasted with buttery soft potatoes. It's easy, one-pot, and seriously delicious, perfect for a weeknight dinner.

The ingredients you need for a cheater's braise baked chicken curry

First, you'll need potatoes and chicken. The best potatoes to use for this dish are either russet or Yukon golds, which will become softer and creamier than their red counterpart. As for the chicken, we recommend bone-in, skin-on thighs for the best, juiciest flavor and crispy skin, but you can swap for breasts, drumsticks, or boneless thighs instead.

For marinating and flavoring, you'll need Greek yogurt, salt, garam masala, coriander, cumin, chili powder, and turmeric. Then to finish the sauce, you'll just need tomato sauce, peas, and cashews.

Marinate the chicken

Combine the yogurt and spices in a bowl until creamy and slightly orange. Using gloves, rub the marinade all over the chicken, coating the pieces completely and making sure to get under the skin. For the best results, leave the chicken in the yogurt overnight in the fridge. If you don't quite have that kind of time, just let it sit while the oven heats up.

Roast the chicken and potatoes

Spread the potatoes across the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish, cast-iron skillet, or Dutch oven, then add the yogurt-covered chicken on top. Put the dish in the oven and roast until starting to brown deeply on top, about 30-40 minutes. If your thighs are on the small side or boneless, start checking the skin at 30 minutes. While the chicken cooks, the juices will drip onto the potatoes, giving them a rich flavor (and don't worry, it will all cook to temperature).

Cover in tomatoes

Mix the tomato sauce with the rest of the spices, garlic, and ginger and pour it over the browned chicken. We like the smooth texture of tomato sauce or purée, but you can swap half the sauce for diced, crushed, or whole tomatoes for a more chunky texture. Arrange the peas and cashews around the chicken, then cover and return the dish to the cooled oven. If your pot or dish doesn't have a lid, just wrap the dish with foil.

Serving the baked curry

When done (after around another 10 or 15 minutes), the potatoes will be completely soft, the chicken cooked through and tender, and the tomatoes saucy but thick. This isn't your typical curry, but it should still be served with rice or naan for a full meal. If you want to skip the double-carb, pair the chicken with zucchini, eggplant, or a leafy kale salad, instead.

This chicken is also great for meal prep. Prepare a dish of chicken and a few cups of rice, and you'll have at least 4 days worth of lunches in less than an hour (if you double the recipe, that's eight meals for about the same time). The chicken keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Cheaters' Braise Baked Chicken Curry Recipe
5 from 40 ratings
Braising leads to delicious, fall-off-the-bone meat, but takes hours. Our workaround method cuts that time down considerably by using high and low oven temps.
Prep Time
Cook Time
chicken thigh over rice and naan
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons garam masala, divided
  • 2 teaspoons coriander, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder, divided
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ cup cashews
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  1. In a bowl, stir together the yogurt, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 ½ tablespoons garam masala, 1 teaspoon coriander, ½ tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon chili powder, and 1 teaspoon turmeric.
  2. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, then spread the yogurt mixture onto the chicken, completely coating each side. Place in a bowl, cover, and marinate for 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 F. Place the potatoes into a baking dish and add the chicken on top. Add to the oven and roast until dark brown on top, about 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, whisk together the tomato sauce, remaining spices, garlic, and ginger in a separate bowl.
  5. Once chicken is browned on top, set the oven to 250 F. Take the chicken out of the oven and cover with tomato sauce mixture. Add a splash of water, then arrange the peas and cashews around the chicken.
  6. Cover the dish and bake until chicken is baked through and tomato sauce is thickened, about 10-15 minutes more.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with rice and naan.
Calories per Serving 837
Total Fat 44.0 g
Saturated Fat 11.7 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 193.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 69.6 g
Dietary Fiber 10.6 g
Total Sugars 12.5 g
Sodium 1,673.3 mg
Protein 47.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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