Panera Chicken Tikka Masala Soup Recipe

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My Chicken Tikka Masala Soup is inspired by Panera’s version — and is totally bursting with flavor! Similar to a chicken chili with punchy Indian-inspired spices like garam masala, it’s hearty, comforting, and perfect for lunch or dinner. You’ll never reach for takeout again after trying my copycat Panera chicken tikka masala soup!

Titled Image: Panera Chicken Tikka Masala Soup


 

Chicken Tikka Masala Soup

As soon as the temperatures start to dip, you better believe I’m ready for soups and stews to come back into my life.

There’s something so comforting about slurping down some warm and tasty broth when it’s cold outside. 

Not to mention, I love it when my home fills with those savory aromas. There isn’t anything quite like it!

Even I have to admit that Panera Bread has some really impressive soup options on the menu.

I’ve gone so far as to create my own versions of their tomato soup and broccoli cheddar soup, and today I’m sharing one of their more recent creations: chicken tikka masala soup!

Chicken tikka masala is an Indian dish made with marinated grilled chicken and a rich, tomato-based curry masala sauce.

The combination results in a perfect blend of savory, spicy, and slightly tangy flavors.

I can’t get enough of Panera’s version. It features all of the beauty of chicken tikka masala in soup form.

Even Chad, my meat-and-potatoes husband, loved my recreation. Those who know him, know that’s saying something! 

ingredients for Panera Chicken Tikka Masala Soup

Ingredients Notes and Substitutions

  • Unsalted Butter – Butter is best for sautéing your onion and garlic when making chicken tikka masala soup like Panera — save the olive oil for something else! Alternatively, use coconut oil.
  • Onion & Garlic – These simple yet powerful aromatics get the entire chicken tikka masala recipe going and inject yummy, savory flavor.
  • Chicken – I use a rotisserie chicken to keep things simple, but you can roast your own chicken if you have time!
  • Chicken Stock – I recommend using chicken stock (or vegetable in a pinch) as it adds even more flavor to the mix.

    You can technically use water instead… but the entire dish may taste, well, watered down.
  • San Marzano Tomatoes – For added color and taste, I add a can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes.

    Chicken tikka masala is served in a tomato-based sauce, after all!
  • Coconut Milk – Unsweetened coconut milk adds a rich and creamy texture to Panera chicken tikka masala soup, as well as a very light coconut flavor.

    So tasty! You can use heavy cream as a substitute if you’d like. 
  • Spices & Seasonings – Buckle up, as you’ll need quite a few! Cayenne pepper, cumin, ground cinnamon, Kosher salt, garam masala, ground ginger, turmeric, and fresh cilantro for a garnish.

    I’ll share my recipe for homemade garam masala below in case you can’t find it at the store!
sauteed onions, garlic and spices in a pot

Tips and Tricks to Make Perfect Panera Chicken Tikka Masala Soup

  • Add the spices before the liquids.

Many soup and sauce recipes call for you to add the seasonings after you’ve already incorporated the liquids.

You’ll want to do the exact opposite for this chicken tikka masala soup Panera copycat!

This is called tempering. Once you sauté your onion and garlic, load up the pot with all of your spices and seasonings and stir for about a minute.

Then, and only then, should you add the crushed tomatoes and coconut milk. 

  • No garam masala? No problem!

Garam masala is a popular Indian spice blend. It’s warm, sweet, earthy, and mildly spicy.

If you’ve ever enjoyed chicken curry, dal, or butter chicken, you’ve already tasted it!

It’s typically very easy to find at the supermarket, but if you can’t, here’s my simple substitute recipe:

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander 
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)

Mix them together to create your very own garam masala substitute for your soup!

As a note, this spice blend has a very unique flavor, so if you have the chance to pick up the real thing, it’s definitely worth a try!

  • Add extra vegetables to make it heartier.

While this chicken tikka masala soup recipe is delicious as is, sometimes I add some extra ingredients to make it even more wholesome and filling.

Kale and spinach are my two go-to’s — chop it and add it directly after blending the soup.

Extra veggies not only impart more flavor, but they also add more color and texture!

Prep Ahead

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic cloves
  • Shred the rotisserie chicken
  • Measure out the spices
  • Create the homemade garam masala if needed!

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Dutch Oven – I love this set and use it all the time. It is perfect for roasts and soups, and I especially love it for my one-pot meals. 
  • Or, you can use a Large Heavy Bottomed Pot.
  • Blender – A high-power blender is a must in every kitchen.
tomatoes, chicken stock and coconut milk added to pot

Serving Suggestions

My chicken tikka masala soup Panera copycat is a complete meal on its own (I like it for lunch!), but you can make it heartier by serving it over some rice. I love the idea of using my chicken rice recipe!

Chicken tikka masala is traditionally eaten with a flatbread like naan, so I encourage you to try that too. 

Otherwise, a fresh garden salad would be a welcome complement to the rich and hearty flavors in the soup!

adding shredded chicken to pot

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Leftover chicken tikka masala soup will keep for up to 3-4 days when properly stored in an airtight container in the fridge. 

I recommend reheating single servings in the microwave in 30-second bursts. Larger portions can be reheated on the stovetop over medium.

Chicken Tikka Masala Soup FAQ

Can I freeze Panera chicken tikka masala soup?

Yes, you can. Keep in mind that the texture and consistency may change as it thaws due to the coconut milk — you may have to add a bit more chicken broth when you reheat to set things right.

To freeze, place your completely cooled soup in an airtight container before freezing. It will keep for 2-3 months. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before heating.

Can I use regular tomatoes instead of San Marzano tomatoes?

I love San Marzanos for their sweetness — I almost always use them in both Italian and Indian-inspired dishes like this chicken tikka masala soup recipe. 

But, if you only have regular canned tomatoes on hand you can always save an extra trip to the store and use those too.

How can I adjust the spice level of chicken tikka masala soup?

It’s so easy! If you want to make it spicier, simply add more cayenne pepper, or incorporate a bit of chopped fresh chili. 

To reduce the heat, add more coconut milk to mellow out the other spices. Taste test and adjust as needed until you reach your preferred spice level!

pot of Panera Chicken Tikka Masala Soup

Enjoy!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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Panera Chicken Tikka Masala Soup on a spoon

Closeup of Panera Chicken Tikka Masala Soup

Panera Chicken Tikka Masala Soup Recipe

Donna Elick
My Panera Chicken Tikka Masala Soup copycat is full of bold Indian-inspired flavors! It’s so tasty you’ll never have to order takeout again!
5 stars from 2 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 4

Ingredients
 

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, about 6 oz, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 16 ounces chicken stock, 2 cups
  • 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 whole rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Saute Onions and Garlic: Melt the unsalted butter over medium heat in a dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot. Add the diced yellow onion and minced garlic, and sauté until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add Spices: Sprinkle in the cayenne pepper, cumin, ground cinnamon, kosher salt, garam masala, ground ginger, and turmeric. Stir to combine.
  • Pour in Liquids: Add the chicken stock, San Marzano tomatoes, and unsweetened coconut milk. Mix until well incorporated.
  • Blend the Soup: Use an immersion blender or a traditional blender to blend the soup until it's smooth.
  • Heat and Add Chicken: Heat the soup over medium-high heat until it starts boiling. Stir in the shredded rotisserie chicken.
  • Adjust Seasonings: Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
  • Serve and Garnish: Serve the soup hot, garnishing with fresh cilantro leaves. Enjoy!

Donna’s Notes

You can use heavy cream instead of coconut milk.
Feel free to add additional ingredients like kale or spinach. Add fresh chopped kale or spinach after blending the soup.
Coconut oil can be used in place of unsalted butter.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Serve this soup over rice for a hearty meal.
 
If you don’t have garam masala, you can create a substitute using common spices. Here’s a simple homemade garam masala substitute:
Homemade Garam Masala Substitute:
– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
– 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
– 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
Mix these spices together to create a garam masala alternative. Adjust the proportions to your taste if needed. This substitute won’t be exactly the same as garam masala but will still add a warm and aromatic flavor to your dishes.
Please note that garam masala has a unique flavor, so if you have the opportunity to get the real thing, it’s worth trying! You can find it in many grocery stores or at specialty markets.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 651cal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 1543mg | Sugar: 12g | Fiber: 5g | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 7mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Panera Chicken Tikka Masala Soup - PIN

Originally published January 2024

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have never had Tikka Masala Soup but when I saw this on Facebook I started drooling! It was an easy to follow recipe with amazing flavor! No need to go back to Olive Garden with all of the recipes you have here! I will try them all, thank you for the amazing recipes!

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely loved this Panera Chicken Tikka Masala Soup recipe! So easy to make and incredibly delicious. Thanks, Donna and Chad!

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