Making this chai latte at home is easier than you may think. It requires only tea, milk, ginger, brown sugar, and a few spices. No fancy machinery. Just a pleased palate.

Love the richly spiced flavor of a good chai latte but need to know how to recreate it at home? Us, too. Thankfully, with just a handful of spices, tea, and milk, you can make your own. No fancy machinery (or wait in line) required.Angie Zoobkoff

Two glasses of chai latte with cinnamon sticks on a wooden surface.

Chai Latte

5 / 2 votes
Making this chai latte at home is easier than you may think. It requires only tea, milk, ginger, brown sugar, and a few spices. No fancy machinery. Just a pleased palate.
CourseDrinks
CuisineFrench
Servings2 servings
Calories92 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 whole cardamom pods lightly crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 piece fresh ginger peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 bags black tea such as the common (though strongly flavored) Assam or Darjeeling
  • 3/4 cup milk (dairy, almond, or coconut)

Instructions 

  • In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the spices, ginger, and water to a boil. Reduce the heat and gently simmer until fragrant, about 15 minutes.
  • Whisk in the sugar and then add the tea bags. Turn off the heat, cover, and let steep for 3 minutes.
  • Strain the tea mixture through a fine sieve into a serving pot. Wipe out the pan.
  • In the same pan over medium heat, warm the milk until just simmering and then remove from the heat and whisk until frothy. (Alternatively, if you have a milk frother, go ahead and use it.)
  • Pour the milk into the serving pot, stirring to combine. Serve immediately.
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Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 92 kcalCarbohydrates: 14 gProtein: 3 gFat: 3 gSaturated Fat: 2 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 9 mgSodium: 57 mgPotassium: 176 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 11 gVitamin A: 157 IUVitamin C: 1 mgCalcium: 145 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe © 2014 Martha Stewart Living. Photo © 2014 Nataliya. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I could (and sometimes do) drink chai all day long. I’m lucky enough to have lived near Kasa in San Francisco and I am beyond addicted to their tea. Anytime I see a chai recipe, I always make it and am then disappointed that it’s not as good as the brew at Kasa. This recipe was different and surely has potential. I love its simplicity of ingredients and technique.

The times can and should be adjusted to one’s liking after an initial attempt with these guidelines. This isn’t something that needs to brew all night (I’ve tried those) nor do I need to go out and buy unusual ingredients (mace, for example) that I don’t have on hand.

Hands on time: less than 5 minutes if you know where your spices are AND if you have an espresso and/or milk frother machine

I used 2% milk for my milk and Assam loose black tea. I halved the recipe as it was just me drinking it. I also used a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger as I always have a jar of it from The Ginger People in my fridge to cut down on grating and peeling time.

I think the first step where the recipe calls for putting the spices, water, and ginger together to steep for 15 minutes is generous. And it was way too sweet for me. Next time I would try 1 tsp sugar for a half batch and not boil the spices for so long at the beginning. I like that the spices and ginger were simmered together before the addition of the tea so that the tea wasn’t black tea-forward but spice-forward, exactly how a chai should be.

It would be important for anyone making this to pay close attention to how long the tea is in the hot water mixture. I think 3 minutes would be the maximum for me but this is a very personal choice and one that warrants exploration. That’s the great part of this recipe – it gives a framework and accessible method to learn how to make a solid cup of chai.

This made for a lovely snow day (blizzard) drink after a snowshoe adventure. It took just a few minutes to assemble all of the ingredients. I didn’t have 1 1/2 inches of fresh ginger so I used the half inch that I had on hand and found it to be plenty. I made it with dairy milk.

In other Chai recipes you tend to boil everything together–the spices and tea, and then add the milk and sugar. It’s less time-consuming that way and tastes good as well. Heating the milk in a different pot seems a little unnecessary. Why not add it to the steeped tea and spice mixture?

This was so good. It was a little cold on the weekend and I thought it might be nice to try the chai. My daughter and I loved it.

A little too much ginger for my taste but this is a personal preference rather than a recipe problem.

I’d make this again. I’d reduce the amount of ginger and maybe increase or add other spices. I’d love to play around with the ingredients to find other combos. I definitely would reduce the amount of sugar because it was a little sweet but liked the use of brown sugar. (I know around here alternative sweeteners are also a thing, so might try throwing in some of those in place of the brown sugar, too). Definitely a nice base recipe.

I love chai tea and I often make it from scratch at home. This recipe is a great guide and my husband really enjoyed it as well.

My personal preference is to add more clove and cardamom for slightly more spice, I usually use 5 to 7 of each, so when I made this recipe I craved a bit more clove and cardamom taste. The peppercorn (11 peppercorns=1/8tsp), which was a new chai tea spice for me, was barely detectable in flavor. After the 15 minutes of simmering, the water already took on a deep brown color from the cinnamon and spices. I heated my milk with the milk steamer of my cappuccino maker although I have also made it as directed. Two tbls brown sugar was a bit sweet for my liking as I barely like any sweetener in my tea. Next time I will use 1 tbsp.

If you like warm Indian spices, you’ll like this. Easy to make, full of flavor, with a little bite from the ginger and a little sweetness as well. No need anymore to go to the coffeehouse and get your chai. This one is so much better…

This recipe works very well, and everybody who tried this chai really was excited about it. I used 2 % organic milk, which I foamed in our little trustworthy Nespresso milk foamer. Worked like a charm.

With minimal time and effort, this recipe will yield a creamy, spicy, not-too-sweet chai latte. Using pantry staples (sugar and spices) and the milk of your choice and you can achieve coffee house flavor without spending $3.50 a cup. I’m sold!

Not having Assam or Darjeeling, I used an Irish breakfast tea—an East African black tea blend. It actually worked well.

I think the ginger overpowered the spices a bit, though I’m a big fan of ginger, so I didn’t mind.

My 17-year-old taster requested that I make this and it’s a winner of a recipe, made with ingredients you likely have on hand. I did NOT have any cardamom pods and they are actually hard to find in a conventional supermarket. We substituted a pinch of ground cardamom and it was delicious.

I’m going to search the cardamom pods out now, but this will be on regular rotation in our house.

There is nothing quite as warming as a chai latte on a cold day. Thanks to this recipe, I can make one at home with just a few ingredients. This is a spicy, creamy drink that’s not too sweet.

It only took 20 minutes from combining the spices in the saucepan to taking my first sip from my cup. The recipe works just as written and produces a generous chai latte (about the same amount as a 16-ounce cup from my favorite coffee stand).

Next time I will let the tea bag steep about 6 minutes. (I like a stronger tea flavor in my chai latte.) I liked the consistency and natural sweetness that my whole milk provided for the chai.

Whisking the milk didn’t add much froth, but the chai really did not need it for texture or flavor.

I just wiped out my saucepan with a paper towel after I strained the tea and poured the milk into the same saucepan I used for the spices and tea. The milk took 2 minutes over medium heat to bring to a simmer.

This is a great jumping-off point for making chai from scratch as opposed to the ever-present coffee house option that is generally served much too sweet and not at all spicy.

I used the ingredients precisely as listed and had a pleasant version of chai—which could serve two or make a nice big serving for one. This was lovely and certainly could be made just this way again.

For my taste, I would go with more cardamom and more ginger, and perhaps less sugar. I have recently had a chai served to me that I believe was not at all sweetened, and which I quite liked, though I suspect most palates would be happier with a sweetened version. I think instead of adding the sugar with the tea bags, the sugar could be added to taste at the end, or at the table. I used whole milk for its richness and its creaminess, and could alternately be happy with soy, almond, or a good quality 2%; I would not go all the way to a skim or fat-free milk. I have also had chai with fennel seeds and star anise included in the spice mix, and I think if those are appealing, they could be added into this mix as well.

Additionally note that, while one could certainly steep with a lid on, I did not use a lid, and I do not think it necessary to cover the pan while steeping. I also think the whisking of the milk is not necessary: simply heat and then stir to combine. Or the milk could alternately be added earlier in the process, even as early as with the water in the very beginning. And, while it says serve immediately, I think this could sit and could be served reheated, so long as the milk isn’t heated to boiling. There are also those who enjoy chai latte iced, and this recipe could work well for that too.

Originally published May 10, 2020




About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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