Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala (Refrigerated) Review

Trader Joe's Chicken Tikka Masala

Trader Joe’s keeps some really wonderful food items in their refrigerated section (such as their non-frozen burritos). While these exist outside of the freezer aisle (and we are primarily a frozen food review site), we do occasionally try them out so we can share our thoughts.

Today we’re checking out the Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala, which we found in the refrigerated section (not far from the burritos) at our local Trader Joe’s. Now, there is a frozen version of this meal, and we did review it before, but this is something else — this is the tikka masala that you’d find unfrozen.

If you pick one of these up and you’re not planning on eating it within a day or two, you’ll need to put it in the freezer. If you don’t freeze it, however, the cooking method is pretty similar to that of a comparable frozen meal. Pop it into the microwave for about three minutes, pull it out to give it a quick stir, and pop it back in for another minute or two. We found that, taken straight from the fridge, a total of four minutes seemed to be just right. You can also cook this in the oven, but that will obviously take a whole lot longer. (To see the full cooking instructions straight off the box, check out the package scan at the bottom of this article.)

The basmati rice is pretty nondescript, as basmati tends to be, but we did find ours to be a little bit crunchy. If you don’t enjoy that, you could probably try adding a couple teaspoonfuls of water to the rice before cooking it, which should make it a little softer.

Trader Joe's Chicken Tikka Masala

It’s the sauce that really brings this meal to life. It’s a creamy, spicy, tomato-based affair with loads of flavor. It’s a little bit watery, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, since you’ll end up scooping it over the generous portion of rice. In fact, we found ourselves grabbing both a fork and a spoon to properly enjoy this meal.

The chicken is lovely. It’s a high-quality meat that shows evidence of haing been cooked on an actual grill. It’s juicy, it tastes great, and the sauce brings it to a whole new level of flavor. This is some tasty stuff!

So is this spicy? It is, but not obnoxiously so. This is pretty on-par with similar frozen meals (such as the Saffron Road take on this same dish). It will cause a tingle in your mouth and your sinuses will clear, but it won’t send you running to the nearest fire hose to douse the burning sensation inside your mouth. Spice-ophobes will probably want to avoid this, though.

In case you can’t tell from the images, this is actually a pretty large serving of food. While it’s not outside the realm of possibility to eat in a single sitting, the package considers it to be two servings. We think it’s most likely you’ll eat about 2/3 of this right away and save the rest for leftovers rather than dividing up the dish evenly. The full package contains 650 calories and 1,320 mg of sodium, though, so eating more than half a package will cause your calorie intake and your sodium levels to spike.

The Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala is a pretty good Indian-inspired dish that’s easy to cook, though we’re not sure how easy it is to find. We’ve spent a lot of time exploring various Trader Joe’s stores, and we’ve only ever seen this one time. Still, if you can find this (and if you love Indian food), it’s definitely worth checking out.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for this Trader Joe’s Tikka Masala, check out our package scan below.

Trader Joe's Chicken Tikka Masala