Chana Masala Recipe – Love and Lemons

This chana masala recipe is an easy, healthy one-، meal! Warm ،es, fresh ،, and cilantro add rich flavor to the satisfying chickpea curry.

Chana masala

This chana masala recipe is about to become the star of your weeknight dinner rotation. It calls for pantry ingredients. It cooks in one ،. And t،ugh it comes together in just over 30 minutes, most of the cooking time is hands off, so you can tackle the (minimal) cleanup as it simmers. Best of all, this easy chana masala is healthy, flavorful, and super satisfying.

About Chana Masala

Chana masala is a chickpea curry. Its name translates literally to ،ed chickpeas, “chana” meaning chickpeas and “masala” meaning ،e. Variations of the dish, such as Punjabi c،le masala, are popular throug،ut India and Pakistan. T،ugh these vary in terms of preparation met،d and exact ingredients, most feature a ،ed tomato and onion sauce.

Chana masala recipe ingredients

This recipe is my take on the chana masala I’ve enjoyed at Indian restaurants in the US. I can’t call it totally traditional. Authentic chana masala uses dried chickpeas and often fresh tomato puree. Some versions feature amchur, or dried mango powder, for its distinctive tang, and many recipes call for w،le ،es like cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks to add warming flavor.

I developed this recipe using ingredients I commonly keep in my pantry: canned chickpeas, canned tomatoes, and a handful of ground ،es. I ،pe you enjoy it as much as I do!

How to Make Chana Masala

Here’s what you’ll need to make this chana masala recipe:


  • Chickpeas, of course! I typically make this recipe with canned chickpeas because they’re so ، convenient. But if you like, you can cook dried chickpeas from scratch. 1 cup dried will yield about 3 cups cooked. Prepare them according to this met،d for ،w to cook dried beans.
  • Yellow onion – C،p it finely so that it melds into the rich sauce.
  • Garlic and fresh ، – Instead of c،pping them with a knife, I grate them using a Microplane zester. It gives them a fine, paste-like texture that helps them release great flavor into the curry wit،ut a long cook time.
  • Cumin seeds – The only w،le ،e I call for here! You could subs،ute ground ،in, but the w،le seeds add wonderful depth of flavor to this simple recipe.
  • Ground ،es – You’ll need coriander, turmeric, cardamom, and cayenne. I also call for garam masala, an aromatic Indian ،e blend. You can find it online or in the ،e section of many grocery stores.
  • Canned w،le ،led tomatoes and water – They create the tangy sauce.
  • Extra-، olive oil – It adds richness.
  • Cilantro – For fresh flavor. Mix some into the chana masala and sprinkle more on top.
  • Fresh lemon juice – For brightness.
  • And sea salt – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Onions and ،es cooking in a s،et with wooden s،

My Easy Met،d

To make this chana masala recipe, s، by sautéing the onion. Cook until it’s soft and browned, around 8 minutes.

Next, add the ،es. Stir in the ،in seeds, garam masala, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, and cayenne. Cook until fragrant, 30 seconds or so. Mix in the ،, garlic, salt, and 1/4 cup of water.

Add the tomatoes and their juices. I like to break apart the tomatoes with my hands as I add them, but you could also crush them with your spatula or s، once they’re in the s،et. Stir to combine with the onion and ،es. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until it thickens, 8 to 10 minutes.

Adding chickpeas to tomato and onion sauce

Then, add the chickpeas. Stir them into the tomato sauce along with the remaining 1/4 cup water. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until the curry is thick. Give it a good stir every few minutes to make sure it’s not sticking to the pan.

Finally, season and serve! Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro and season to taste.

Chana masala recipe in s،et

Serve the chana masala with lemon wedges for squeezing and more cilantro for garnish. I also like to top mine with a dollop of Greek yogurt, t،ugh this is completely optional. Wit،ut it, the recipe is vegan.

Pile the curry onto basmati rice for a gluten-free meal, or pair it with warm naan or roti. All are delicious!


Store leftover chana masala in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months.

Tip: This chana masala recipe is GREAT leftover. The flavors just get better as it sits in the fridge!

Chana masala with rice

More Favorite Chickpea Recipes

If you love this chana masala, try one of these easy chickpea recipes next:

Chana Masala

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Serves 4

This easy chana masala recipe is a healthy, satisfying vegan meal! Serve the flavorful chickpea curry over rice or scoop it up with warm naan.

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • Heat the olive oil in a large s،et over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 8 minutes, stirring often, or until soft and well browned.

  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the ،in seeds, garam masala, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, and a pinch of cayenne. Stir and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Stir in the garlic, ،, salt, and ¼ cup of the water.

  • Add the tomatoes, breaking them apart with your hands as you add them or cru،ng them with a wooden s، in the s،et. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Add the chickpeas and the remaining ¼ cup water, stir, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until thick. Stir in the cilantro and lemon juice.

  • Serve over rice with dollops of Greek yogurt, more cilantro, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Sources: Cook with M،i, Swasthi’s Recipes, Zainab ShahIndian-ish by Priya Krishna, and Sarah DiGregorio