Chana Masala

6 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Chana Masala is an easy flavorful one pot vegetarian Indian recipe. Hearty delicious chickpea curry is a go-to meat-free dish.

This vegetarian Indian Recipe has a similar curry flavor as Chicken Tikka Masala, without the heavy cream sauce. With no meat to marinade, this tasty dish takes less than hour from start to finish!

Chana Masala in green pot


Making Indian food at home can be a little intimidating, especially from the first glance of the ingredient list. Don’t let the generous amount of spices in Chickpea Curry discourage you, it is actually super easy (and budget friendly) to make! Most, if not all, the spices you need to make Indian Chickpea Curry are ones you keep on hand and the rest of the ingredients are common pantry items.

Learning the Indian name for basic ingredients is a great way to make cooking Indian dishes easy! Chana means chickpea, Curry is a gravy or sauce, and most Curries are made with a Masala spice blend. So Chana Masala is just Chickpeas in Gravy with Spices. Indian recipes may seem complicated but in reality they are simple Indian comfort food, no more difficult than Pot Roast or Vegetable Soup.

Indian Chickpea Curry is a vegetarian dish full of classic Indian spices that is mild enough for everyone to enjoy! There is a slight heat from the cayenne pepper, but you can always leave it out. Chickpea Curry is a great recipe to layer flavors, adding more Indian spices, veggies, or even meat depending on your taste.


Bloom your spices!

The key to getting the most flavor in an Indian curry is to toast the spices in fat. This Indian Chickpea recipe uses butter, but if you have some on hand, use the more traditional ghee, or clarified butter. For a vegan Chickpea Curry, use coconut oil or a non-dairy butter substitute.

Make it a Meal

Indian Chickpea Curry is delicious on it’s own served over White Rice or Brown Rice, with veggies like Roasted Broccoli on the side. You can also serve this Chickpea Curry as a side dish to your favorite Indian dishes like Lamb Curry. No curry is complete with out a drizzle of Indian Raita and a side naan for dipping!

Chana Masala in bowl with rice and Indian Tomato Chicken


  • Spices: Other spices you can use are garam masala, curry powder, cardamom, nutmeg, mace, mustard seeds, or saffron. For heat, add dried or fresh chilis, chili powder, or red pepper flakes. Curry pastes like red curry or green curry paste add their own flavors and heat too.
  • Coconut Milk: Make a creamy Coconut Chickpea Curry by adding a ½ cup full fat coconut milk during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. You could also add yogurt, just make sure to temper it or leave at room temperature before adding so it doesn’t curdle.
  • Spinach: Make this Chana Saag Masala by adding in a couple cups of fresh baby spinach, Saag, halfway through cooking.
  • Potatoes: For Chana Aloo Masala, aka Chickpea and Potato Curry, add 2 cups diced potatoes in the beginning and cook until the potatoes are tender. You can also use diced sweet potatoes or cauliflower (Gobi).
  • Lentils: Boil ½ cup dry lentils in 1 cup water, then simmer for 10-15 minutes until tender. Add lentils with the chickpeas to make a heartier vegetarian Chickpea Curry.
  • Meat: Brown lamb, chicken, or beef, cut into 1 inch cubes, in the pot and remove before sautéing onions and spices. Add the meat back to the dutch oven and add about 15-20 minutes to the overall cooking time.

Slow Cooker Indian Chickpea Curry

  • Sauté the onions with butter in a large skillet for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in all the spices and garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Transfer the spice onion mixture to the slow cooker.
  • Deglaze the skillet with ½ cup broth to get all the remaining spices and pour into slow cooker.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients to slow cooker, except cilantro, and stir.
  • Cook, covered, on low for 4-5 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high.
  • Stir in cilantro and serve over rice.



  • Serve: You can keep Chickpea Curry at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it needs to be cooled and stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Store: Place cooled Chickpea Curry in an airtight container and refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stovetop, adding broth if the sauce is too thick.
  • Freeze: Cool Chickpea Curry and store in a sealed container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on the stove top.

Indian Chickpea Chana Masala Curry in green pot

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Chana Masala

Chana Masala is an easy flavorful one pot vegetarian Indian recipe. Hearty delicious chickpea curry is a go-to meat-free dish.
Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Author Sabrina Snyder


Chickpea Mixture:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion , chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger , finely minced
  • 2 green chilis , finely minced
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 30 ounces canned chickpeas , drained and rinsed
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes , not drained
  • 1/2 cup cilantro , chopped

Garam Masala:

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Garam Masala:

  • Make your garam masala seasoning in a small bowl and stir cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves and nutmeg well.

Garbanzo Mixture:

  • Add 2 tablespoons butter and onion to a large dutch oven on medium heat and cook for 5-6 minutes until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.
  • Add in remaining 2 tablespoons butter, ginger, chilis, garlic, turmeric and salt.
  • Add garam masala to your pan and stir well until coated.
  • Stir well and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add in the vegetable broth, garbanzo beans and tomatoes, stir well and bring to a simmer.
  • Lower heat to medium low and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Stir in cilantro and serve with flatbread or naan or dosa.


Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 830mg | Potassium: 307mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 418IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 3mg

Chana Masala collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. I’ve made this 3x now using store bought garam masala to save time, comes out great every time 🙂

  2. I just made this on my lunch hour & sautéed carrots with the onions then added spinach, and this is so delicious. I’m going to add potatoes & maybe cauliflower next time..I do have store bought garam masala for time saving purposes..and added maybe 2-3 teaspoons to taste..i mean this is restaurant quality no doubt.. Do you have a good Saag recipe?

  3. I tried this recipe and didn’t know how much of the Masala seasoning to use. I opted to use all of it. LOL! Needless to say it was way to much. Can you please be more specific?

    1. Hi Jackie,
      Are you saying that the Garam Masala recipe netted too much seasoning? I wrote the Garam Masala recipe to create 6 servings of Chana Masala so I do use all the seasoning in the recipe. I certainly can retest the recipe.

  4. ? cook it today and it came out very nice and tasty.
    I cooked my chickpeas from scratch, then I followed all the instructions in the recipe. I used fresh tomatoes. Everyone loved it so I’ll sure cook this again.

  5. Made this last night. I added potatoes and spinach and an extra cup of chickpeas as we had unexpected friends turn up. Everyone enjoyed it, even the teenagers!

  6. Absolutely delicious! I needed a beautiful and tasty vegan dish for a dinner party, and this was perfect. I followed the suggestions for adding coconut milk and spinach, and it turned out perfectly. Can’t wait to try more recipes from your site!

  7. Best aloo gobi recipe I’ve made up! Thank you!,
    Only addition was a tsp of mustard seed..
    thanks again Sabrina
    Helen t

  8. I can’t eat chickpeas, unfortunately… 🙁 But my husband absolutely adores this dish! He could easily eat this flavorful dish for every single non-breakfast meal! Especially if I crank up the heat… Ha! He’d like me to thank you for this delicious addition to our meal rotation! 🙂

    1. I made this and everyone liked it, including my kids! Great flavours and I served it over a half and half rice-cauliflower rice combo for more fibre. Thanks for a great recipe!