The Best Ever Homemade Chana Masala

The Best Ever Homemade Chana Masala

Indian food is probably my favorite cuisine in the entire world. When I first stopped eating meat, it was one of the tastiest options available. Chana masala, like The Best Ever Homemade Chana Masala recipe, quickly became one of my favorite dishes. Plus, I didn’t have to constantly make modifications to dishes in order to take out the meat. In fact, it’s a popular opinion that Indian food the best cuisine for vegetarians.

Vegetarians Love Indian Food

It’s almost baked into the culture; there are all kinds of articles and anecdotes online that say this. Mostly, it seems that meat is more expensive in India relative to other ingredients, so it’s often seen as a luxury to have meat. Plus, with how densely populated it is, there isn’t much room to grow pasture to feed animals, as it all has to go towards food crops for humans.

So, it’s no wonder why so many vegetarians and vegans are so obsessed with Indian food. It’s plentiful and delicious, with dishes like Potato Samosas and Chana Masala reigning supreme. 

The Best Ever Homemade chana masala

Let’s Talk About Chana Masala

Chana Masala is the household name when it comes to vegetarian Indian dishes, and for good reason. The sauce is a-MA-zing (I mean what could go wrong with spiced tomatoes, am I right?), and chickpeas are a really great way to get in some good protein and fiber.

I make this Easy Homemade Chana Masala recipe all the time. It doesn’t take long, and I get a healthy, delicious lunch out of it. I love to take it to work and watch people sniff when they walk past you and say, “Wow, that smells so good! What is that?” I’m always proud to say that it’s homemade Chana Masala. Everyone is always so impressed! 

The Best Ever Homemade chana masala

Starting to Cook Indian Food

The only hard part of Indian cooking is finding the right spices. Some are pretty easy to find, like cumin and cardamom. But, others can be a little tricky, like fenugreek and white poppy seeds. That’s one of the best parts of our Chana Masala recipe – it doesn’t have anything you won’t easily find in a grocery store! You won’t have to deal 

The Best Ever Homemade chana masala

The original recipe called for whole spices, but we’ve altered it to use ground spices instead. It’s a small adjustment, and we haven’t noticed any difference using ground spices instead of whole, and it’s been so much easier to find spices pre-ground. 

If you’re interested in the original recipe, it comes from one of our favorite cookbooks from the best Indian restaurant in Washington, DC.

*disclaimer, all amazon links are affiliate links.

All in all, our Chana Masala is the perfect recipe for tons of occasions. Meal prepping lunches for the week? I do it all the time (I once ate it for lunch for a whole month straight!). Feeding a crowd? Goes great with rice or naan! Craving something warm and spicy during these cold winter months? Chana Masala is your gal. There’s nothing it can’t do.

Also, make sure to check out our post on who we are to learn more about us and follow us on our journey of starting a food blog!

The Best Ever Homemade chana masala

The Best Ever Homemade Chana Masala

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 5


  • 28 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 3 15 oz cans chickpeas unsalted
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp garlic minced
  • 2 ½ tbsp ginger grated
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • ½ tbsp salt less if chickpeas are salted
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 dash ground nutmeg


  • Sautee the cumin seeds, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and onion over medium heat. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and continue until the garlic and onions are well cooked, approximately 5 minutes. Add the ½ a tablespoon of ginger and cook briefly, around 1 minute. 
  • Add the can of tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add the turmeric, paprika, coriander, and chickpeas. Simmer for a 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the chickpeas, remaining 2 tablespoons of ginger, salt, water, and lemon juice. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-30 minutes. 
  • After the Chana Masala is fully simmered, add in the cayenne, black pepper, cumin, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg. Stir, then turn off the heat, leaving the pot on the burner.
  • Serve with rice and/or naan, and enjoy!


-This is best if made the day before, allowing the spices to develop for 24 hours makes the world of a difference. That being said, it’s still very tasty fresh. 
-If you cannot find unsalted chickpeas, just used salted and reduce the amount of added salt. We got ours from Whole Foods.
-Disclaimer: this recipe is adapted from Rasika’s fabulous home-style chicken curry recipe. We made this (1) vegan and (2) a bit more accessible to someone just beginning to make indian food!

I hope you love it as much as I do! If you do, make sure to pin it on Pinterest and follow us on Instagram so you don’t miss out on any of our delicious recipes.