Best Chai Tea Recipe
Learn how to make the best chai tea recipe! This homemade Chai Latte Recipe is rich and simple, based on the authentic chai you find in India, with tons of spice and a creamy and sweet touch!
Why We Love This Authentic Indian Chai Recipe
What we in America think of as chai tea, or a chai tea latte, is a far cry from what is traditionally served in the rest of the world. An authentic Easy Chai Tea recipe is made with thick buffalo milk, considerably too much sugar, black tea, and cardamom pods.
Served in scant shot glasses from dawn until way past dusk, this beverage is EVERYWHERE you look in India. It’s in little make-shift cafes, sold from chai-wallahs at every bus station, train station, and street corner, brewing in nearly every home.
It’s been many years since I last visited India. Yet I’ll never forget sitting in open-air chai shops drinking creamy, ultra-sweet chai with friends.
This homemade chai tea recipe is easy to make and tastes just like the chai you can get in India. You might not have these ingredients on hand normally, but they are worth getting for whenever you are craving a cup of hot chai! This make-ahead chai is great to keep on hand, too. You don’t have to buy the boxed stuff anymore!
Ingredients For Chai Tea Latte
- Water – The base of the recipe. Use plenty of water, then let it simmer down into strong condensed tea.
- Star anise – For bold licorice flavor that packs a punch.
- Cinnamon – Use whole sticks, so they can be easily removed.
- Green Cardamom pods – Green cardamoms are the best to use here
- Black tea bags – Or you can use loose-leaf black tea
- Half & half – Or whole milk.
- Sugar – To make it sweet, of course!
How To Make Homemade Chai Tea
While traditional Chai is incredibly rich and flavorful, it is surprisingly easy to make at home. I love making a large batch, and reheating a single cup at a time for a few days.
Here’s how to make a perfectly creamy and spicy chai tea latte:
- Mix. Crush the cardamom pods until they crack. Bring the water, tea, star anise, cinnamon, and cardamom to a boil in a large saucepan.
- Simmer. Boil on medium heat for at least 8 minutes until the tea is very dark and has reduced to about 2 cups.
- Strain. Strain the tea to remove the tea bags and spices. Add the sugar and milk, and stir until hot.
- Pour. Pour into tea cups and enjoy! You can serve it with extra cinnamon sticks in the cups for added spice!
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Best Chai Tea Recipe Tips
- Remember: Chai isn’t meant to be low carb or low sugar. It is meant to be strong, sweet, silky, and packed with spice! If you want your chai recipe to taste authentic, use the half & half and plenty of sugar.
- For this chai latte recipe, you can use alternative sweeteners such as coconut sugar or date sugar; however, I would not recommend sweetener products such as stevia that will drastically change the chai flavor profile.
- Also, using any liquid sugar swaps – like maple syrup or honey – will give you the sweetness you need, but will most likely change the chai tea consistency.
- For a slightly stronger spiced flavor, gently crush the whole spices using a mortar and pestle!
- If the chai isn’t strong or dark enough, feel free to throw in some more tea bags!
Frequently Asked Questions
Technically, this recipe is actually masala chai. Masala means “spiced” chai which is black tea with whole spices that add extra flavor and make this tea very comforting. Some masala chai recipes include fresh ginger, so feel free to throw a little in!
Any black tea would work, but I recommend using something strong like darjeeling tea or assam tea!
Yes! The word “chai” means tea in many different languages, with origins in India. So when we say “chai tea” it is redundant, but that is how it has become known here in the US!
You can make chai several days ahead and rewarm it when needed. Just keep it in an airtight container in the fridge, and leave the spices in the chai until ready to serve. The longer they sit in the tea, the bolder the flavor will be. You can refrigerate this chai for up to 10 days if you have any chai leftover!
Definitely! While half & half will yield the creamiest chai texture, you can swap it out with dairy-free milk and still have a terrific flavorful tea. You want a base that has a high-fat content, so almond milk, cashew milk, or coconut milk would work best, but it would also be delicious with oat milk!
Yes! Each cup of this tea could have up to 25 mg of caffeine in it, similar to basic black tea caffeine count.
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Best Chai Tea Recipe
- Press the cardamom pods until they crack. Bring the water, tea, star anise, cinnamon, and cardamom to a boil.
- Boil for 8-10 minutes, until the tea is black and has reduced to about 2 cups. Strain and add the sugar. Add the half & half and stir until hot.
- Place the used cardamom pods in the bottom of the cups for good friends.