I started making this hot beverage regularly with the arrival of the cooler weather. Similar to a hot chocolate (milk + cocoa powder + sweetener + heat = bam!), there’s nothing complicated or confusing about making it.
It’s hot and soothing – pure comfort when paired with a big wooly blanket and some streaming TV on my laptop, especially when it’s as cold as it has been around here lately. And, thanks to the powerful warming spices, spiced milk can actually offer some health benefits as well!
First, there’s turmeric, the bright yellow spice that colors certain types of mustard and flavors curry. Commonly used in both Chinese and Indian ancient systems of medicine, turmeric has been proven to have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Some inflammation is actually good for the body, such as when you’re sick; however, chronic inflammation can actually increase the risk of many health conditions, such as heart disease, eczema, and arthritis.
While there’s no one miracle food or ingredient to cure what ails you, incorporating anti-inflammatory spices can give a boost to an otherwise healthy diet.
This milk also features ginger and cardamom, both of which have long been considered beneficial for digestion; cinnamon, which helps regulate blood sugar; pepper, which is also anti-inflammatory; and cloves, which are high in manganese – an essential mineral for metabolism and bone health.
For a little sweetness, I recommend adding raw honey to taste. Besides cutting through the bitterness of the spices, raw honey also has its own nutritional benefits, as it’s been found to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antioxidant properties.
But all that aside, trust me when I say the health benefits are just icing on the cake when it comes to this drink, which is at once soothing and stimulating, spicy and sweet.
Going down your throat, it burns just slightly (and of course, you could adjust the spices to your liking) and feels like a kicked-up version of spiced chai, or some really amazing steamed milk.Print
Warm and nourishing, this Indian spiced milk is the perfect hot beverage for a cold morning, or to help you relax before heading to bed.
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 whole stick cinnamon
- Raw honey, to taste
- Place a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat. Add milk and spices, and stir to combine. Continue whisking slowly but constantly until the milk is hot, about 5-8 minutes. Do not allow it to scorch.
- Taste and add honey per personal preference. Pour into three mugs and enjoy!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Milk
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Beverage
Keywords: Indian cuisine, milk, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, spice, turmeric, clove, honey
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Measure Ingredients
Measure out all of your ingredients.
You can substitute the whole milk that’s called for in the recipe with coconut milk (the kind that comes in a carton) for a vegan option.
Step 2 – Cook
Place a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in the milk and spices.
Continue whisking slowly, until the milk is hot.
Step 3 – Sweeten and Serve
Taste and add honey per your personal preference. Pour into three mugs and serve immediately, garnished with whole cinnamon sticks if you like.
Some Spices Are Even Stronger Together
Turmeric has been used in natural and alternative medicinal practices for thousands of years, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that have since been backed up by science.
The main active compound in turmeric is called curcumin. Studies have shown that curcumin has a bunch of health benefits, including helping with depression, reducing arthritis pain, and protecting against several diseases, including heart disease.
Sounds great, right? Well, unfortunately our bodies have a hard time absorbing curcumin on its own. But luckily, science has found that black pepper can actually increase the body’s absorption of curcumin by as much as 2,000%.
So, any time when you’re having turmeric, make sure to add a pinch of black pepper!
If you need another milky beverage, our Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk will help out.
Looking for more ways to cook with turmeric? Try one of these healthy recipes from Foodal:
- Chicken and Veggie Mulligatawny Stew
- Turmeric Red Lentil Soup with Kale
- Easy Crispy Roasted Turmeric Potatoes
What’s your favorite cold-weather drink? Share in the comments below, and be sure to leave a rating before you go!
Photos by Kelli McGrane, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on February 12, 2012. Last updated: June 15, 2022 at 12:48 pm. With additional writing and editing by Kelli McGrane and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
The written contents of this article have been reviewed and verified by a registered dietitian for informational purposes only. This article should not be construed as personalized or professional medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.