Soothe Your Soul With The Healing Powers of Chai

My daughter has inherited my affinity for tea. Branching out from ordinary black tea or herbal varieties, her favorite is masala chai, a sumptuous drink that originated in India. A unique selection of spices including cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and black pepper are blended together with tea and milk to create this rich, seductive blend.

The Best Masala Chai Tea Recipe

In India, teas are grown in three regions: Darjeeling, Nilgiri, and Assam. You will find black, oolong, and green teas there, ready to be harvested and enjoyed.

In order to create chai, the spices must be added to the water along with the loose leaves. Boil this mixture for at least five minutes, or longer. Add milk and simmer for another three to five minutes. Be sure to strain the tea before pouring it into mugs.

You can adapt this drink to meet your specific dietary needs:

  • Dairy Free. If you enjoy the frothiness of a cup of chai, but are lactose intolerant, you can substitute with soy, rice, or almond milk.
  • Fat Free. If you wish, you can use a fat free milk alternative. Since the tea may be less rich in taste, you may want to add extra spices to compensate.
  • Sugar Free. For those counting calories or requiring a low sugar diet, you can simply omit sugar from your recipe. Artificial sweeteners are not recommended, as they will make the tea bitter. You will not even miss the sugar, thanks to the delicious spice blend.
  • Caffeine Free. You can either choose to use a decaf black tea or an herbal blend as the base .

Masala Chai Tea |

Masala chai can be enjoyed hot or cold. My daughter will often get a chai bubble tea when we are out shopping.

Preparing a cup of chai at home has become easier now that prepared powders, tea bags, and concentrates are readily available at your local market or specialty stores, or you can even order various blends from Amazon. Some people prefer to brew a cup (or two) from scratch so that they can customize their own spice blend.

Masala Spiced Chai Tea|
Masala Spice Chai Tea
Votes: 3
Rating: 4
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Masala Spiced Chai Tea|
Masala Spice Chai Tea
Votes: 3
Rating: 4
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
  • 4 cardamom seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • fresh ginger 1/2 inch piece, sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons black tea leaves or 2 bags black tea
  • sugar to taste
  1. Crush cardamom, cloves, and peppercorns
  2. Pour water and milk into a medium saucepan.
  3. Add spices, fresh ginger, and the cinnamon stick.
  4. Bring to a boil.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Add tea, cover, and let steep for 7 - 10 minutes.
  7. Strain tea before pouring into teacups.
  8. Add sugar to taste
Recipe Notes


Masala Spiced Chai Tea|

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About Jennifer Swartvagher

Jennifer is an experienced journalist and author. Her work has been featured on TODAY Parents, The New York Times Blog, BlogHer, Scary Mommy, and scores of other parenting and cooking publications.

28 thoughts on “Soothe Your Soul With The Healing Powers of Chai”

  1. So THAT’S what chai is. I can guarantee that none of my friends who regularly drink chai lattes and swear by it actually knows what it is or where it came from. I’ll definitely have to give this recipe a try. It looks super refreshing and cleansing. Would it be possible to make a lot at once and store it in the fridge?

  2. Other than in desserts, do you have a suggestion as to how I could incorporate Chai into savory dishes? Which savory dishes would be best for incorporating the flavour? I was thinking Middle Eastern dishes.

    • I know you can incorporate chai spices in your favorite recipes for cakes and pies. I would bet a chai glazed carrot dish would be delicious.

      • My aunt has been making non gmo, all organic cakes for the birthdays in the family. My mom is in love with chai so I will have to pass along this combination of spices so she can use them in the cake! I will check back and let you know how it goes.

  3. I must admit that I never quite knew what chai was either. I always see it on the menu in Starbucks but had no idea what it actually was. To be honest, it seems as though it would be far too milky for me – I prefer strong black tea and coffee but I imagine it would be very warming on a cold day.

    • It’s funny I found this article because I had just tried chai tea for the first time five minutes ago and there’s only one word that I can say… Wow! I could not believe how good it tasted. It was a new, very exotic, and unexpected flavor. I just felt so serene and calm after drinking it. The spices are just so perfectly in sync and taste wonderful. I recommend drinking a cup of this brew, especially to those who have trouble falling asleep like me. It’s is definitely a solution to calm your mind a set your troubles aside.

  4. I have travelled quite widely and until now all of the chai I have come across has not had milk in it and has been served in special glass chai glasses. It has a lovely rich colour to it and is almost mandatory to add plenty of sugar to it. Drinking it, I have always found it to be exceptionally refreshing, however, I have not been able to replicate it on my return home and have missed it very much, so it will be good to try your recipe, just omitting the milk!

    • Now chai without the milk sounds like it could be a winner. Can the milk simply be ommitted fromt his recipe or would I need to find another way to try it out?

    • Connie, have you spent time in the Sandbox? Sounds like your describing the way tea is served throughout the Mid-East.

      The confusion in this entire thread is caused by the word “Chai” which simply means “Tea” in probably a 100 languages (to include Arabic) and really only in the west has it become synonymous with the spiced version.

      From Japan to Korea to China to Europe and now to the Americas the root word describing the leaves of Camellia sinensis plant are deviations from the original. Cha, Ja, Chai, Chi (Chee), Tea…they are all based off the same word that spread down the silk road. All of these mean Camellia leaves.

      Make sense?

  5. I wish I had discovered the joys of tea as a youngster. It’s only since I began doing a bit more traveling (and it sounds like I need to get over to India) that I realized the variety of beverages I had been missing out on, and your recipe for a caffeine free Chai sounds like just the thing to wind down with before bed. Does anyone have any other recommendations for caffeine free tea options?

  6. This recipe looks absolutely amazing, I can almost taste it. My daughter and I also enjoy tea, but I have not had the opportunity to make a homemade chai. I recently had her try some that I purchased, which was pre-made and she really liked it. I will be making this at home soon so we can enjoy it! I do a lot of cooking but wonder how you easily crush cardamon, cinnamon and cloves? There must be some essential tool I am lacking in my kitchen.

  7. I can imagine what great aroma will be wafting in the room once i make this chai, brilliant!…in my case i think going without milk will be the best option or that would be against the law?…why am asking is because, i love my black tea {without milk, of course 😉 }.

  8. I have heard people praise chai tea for the longest time! I’ve never tried it, though. I assumed it was just a different type of leaf. This actually looks really good. I may have to give it a try next time I get an urge to drink not tea.

  9. I have to be honest with you, I have tried many types of chai and have found all of them to be too spicy for me to consume. To this day I have yet to find a chai tea that I like. Maybe all chai tea are strong on the spices (so I may never find a chai that I’ll like), or maybe I’m not drinking it right? But either way, I have friends who LOVE chai and would love this recipe. I’ll pass this on to them for sure! Thank you for the share 🙂

  10. I’ve loved this since I was a teenager. I’ve mostly been drinking bagged mixes and chai lattes since then. Once I baked a batch of chai spiced sugar cookies that turned out delicious, but I have yet to attempt making my own masala . Now I have no excuse not to do it, haha. Plus I love the idea of keeping the spice mix on hand. I had some left over from the cookies and it was lovely in oatmeal as well.

  11. I must admit that I’ve usually left the black peppercorns out, and now that I’ve made your recipe last night, I know why mine hasn’t been quite ‘right’. This really is a wonderful drink, and it has some good health benefits too. As well as being cleansing, I find that it really helps with bouts of nausea I experience from time to time; I suffer from various digestive issues and chai tea is really comforting on those days.

    Thanks for sharing a really good recipe!

  12. This looks like a really tasty recipe to make. I normally don’t use water when I make tea but instead put leaves and whatever spices I want in a cheesecloth, knot it up and let it boil in a small pot of milk four an hour or so since I LOVE putting milk in my hot beverages. I then usually pour the leftovers in a bottle and let it chill in the fridge so I can use it with my cereal when I get tired of using just plain milk.

  13. I have my tea flavored with raw ginger and that heightens the taste. Now that you have shared something new, I will definitely try out chai. That is ofcourse with less milk as I like to taste tea leaves in my tea.

  14. Chai is one of the first things we reach for when sick in our house, for the adults anyway. It is good for soothing common cold symptoms and believe it or not it helps settle an upset stomach in some cases. I like the no sugar recipes.

  15. Neat article! I love Chai tea. It has become one of my favorites. I feel dumb, because I didn’t know I could actually create my own chai. LOL I always thought it came from a specific plant, like a chai plant or something. It’s great to be able to make it myself!

  16. I like my food to kick my butt!
    I will try a little extra black pepper, but are there other ingredients I could use to heat things up?
    I don’t think chili’s would work in this would they?

  17. Mmm! I used really love Chai Tea Latte’s from Starbucks, but the more I drink them I feel like I could brew a better cup at home. Since I’ve been drinking them for a while now, I think I prefer something with less milk and more spice. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe at home and tailoring it to my taste. Do you think it would come out well in a crockpot?

  18. I’ve been hearing about Chai a lot lately. Especially the tea. They say it has exceptional health benefits AND that it tastes good but I never really looked it up – or even drink it. I like this article because it goes in depth for those who don’t know about it (like me). Will have to try this as soon as possible.

  19. I’m one of those mentioned who buys chai when in the mall. I know that it has some tea in it, but I never really know what comprise this delicious concoction. I never really wanted to know though as I was content on having tea without it looking like one. I just thought of them as some milkshake variation and I love them. I wish I could make this, but I don’t even know where I could get some of the spices mentioned.

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