Homemade Chai Tea Recipe

Karen Frazier
Person holding cup of chai tea

Chai tea is creamy and fragrant with exotic spices. It's a popular alternative to coffee drinks and with the right recipe, it's not difficult to make homemade.

Chai Tea Recipe

The spice blend in chai tea is what gives it its unique fragrance and flavor. This recipe will serve 4 (it yields 4 cups), and you can keep it in the fridge for up to three days and reheat it on the stovetop on medium.


  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 sticks Ceylon cinnamon
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 bags of black tea
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


  1. Place the cardamom, ginger root, cloves, and cinnamon in a large zipper bag and seal it. Use a rolling pin or skillet to smash the bag several times in order to crush the spices slightly and release their flavors. Pour the spices into a medium-sized pot.
  2. Add the water and place on the burner on high heat. Bring the water to a boil. Remove it from the heat and add the tea bags. Cover and steep for ten minutes.
  3. Remove the tea bags and strain the liquid into another pot. Discard the used spices. Add the milk and brown sugar. On medium heat, stirring constantly, heat until the sugar is dissolved and the tea reaches the desired serving temperature.

Optional Spice Variations

You can change the spices if you wish to suit your own flavor preferences. Try any of the following:

  • Replace the ginger root with fresh galangal root or fresh turmeric root. The flavor will be sharper, but it will still be quite fragrant and aromatic.
  • Replace half of the whole cloves with one star anise, which will add a mild licorice flavor.
  • If you like a bit more spice, try adding two or three black or pink peppercorns to your spice blend before you smash it.

Other Variations

Aside from varying spices, you can also change other ingredients.

  • To make this vegan, replace the milk with two cups of a non-dairy milk, such as almond milk, coconut milk, or hemp milk. You can also use non-fat milk or 2 percent milk if you wish to lower the fat content slightly, although the result won't be quite as creamy.
  • Replace the black tea with green tea or decaffeinated tea of some type.
  • Make the recipe paleo by replacing the milk with coconut milk and the brown sugar with 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup.
  • Cool the tea completely and serve it over ice for an iced chai.
  • Pour the tea into popsicle molds and freeze for at least six hours to make chai tea popsicles. If desired, add up to 1/4 cup more of sugar depending on taste.
  • Make the tea sugar-free by replacing the brown sugar with a sugar substitute, such as three or four packets of stevia.
  • Make a blended, iced chai by pouring the cooled chai into a blender and adding 1 cup of crushed ice. Blend on high.
  • Company coming? Up your presentation by garnishing each cup of hot tea with a grating of fresh cinnamon and a cinnamon stick.

Spicy Goodness

Use the basic recipe, any of the variations, or combine variations to make your own unique homemade chai spiced tea recipe. The result is a delicious, creamy beverage you can customize to suit your own flavor preferences.

Homemade Chai Tea Recipe