Hot and Healthy Indian Spiced Milk will Warm You Up from the Inside Out

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.

Vertical image of two glass mugs with an orange beverage and cinnamon stick garnishes, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

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.

Vertical image of a glass mug filled with a turmeric-infused beverage on a wooden table in front of a bowl of ground cinnamon.

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.

Vertical top-down image of two mugs with a bright orange mixture with cinnamon sticks on top.

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.

Vertical image of two glass mugs with a bright orange liquid mixture topped with whole cinnamon sticks next to a bowl of cinnamon on a wooden table.

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.

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Horizontal image of two glass mugs with handles filled with a bright orange mixture in front of a bowl with ground cinnamon.

Hot and Healthy Indian Spiced Milk


  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 3 servings 1x

Description

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.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Taste and add honey per personal preference. Pour into three mugs and enjoy!

  • 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

Horizontal image of milk, honey, spices, and a honey dipper on a wooden surface.

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

Horizontal image of a hand holding a cinnamon stick over a pot.

Place a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in the milk and spices.

Horizontal image of a steaming orange liquid in a pot on a wooden surface.

Continue whisking slowly, until the milk is hot.

Step 3 – Sweeten and Serve

Horizontal image of a honey dipper over a pot of an orange liquid.

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.

Horizontal image of two glass mugs with handles filled with a bright orange mixture in front of a bowl with ground cinnamon.

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!

Looking for more ways to cook with turmeric? Try one of these healthy recipes from Foodal:

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: February 23, 2020 at 7:52 am. 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.

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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.

17 thoughts on “Hot and Healthy Indian Spiced Milk will Warm You Up from the Inside Out”

  1. So, I was reading this post & turned to dw, asking him if he would have an interest in something like this. He’s not sold on all the random spices. However, since I am dairy free, I mentioned maybe coconut milk + chocolate/cocoa too. That sparked an interest. We’ll see how this turns out…

    Reply
  2. Ohhhh this sounds delicious! I don’t care for milk and hot chocolate is usually too sugary sweet, but this sounds just right. I think I might try it with coconut or almond milk. Yum!

    Reply
  3. Sounds very interesting…I a coffee-with-cream-and-raw-sugar girl through & through but I’ve been thinking that I should find another hot drink that I can hold in my cold hands that has a little less sugar…this sounds like it could be the drink!

    Reply
    • I really love it, so thank YOU for posting your tumeric milk! Last night, I was watching “Downton Abbey,” and they referenced cinnamon milk as a tonic, and I thought, aha! spiced milk really has been a healing beverage for centuries! and in so many cultures. Thanks for turning me on to it!

      Reply

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