Chai Tea Recipe

A good chai tea recipe has a winning combination of spices that make a delicious tasting tea and a kitchen that smells amazing. In pursuit of a perfect chai, I perused at least a dozen chai recipes, ran lots of experiments in my own kitchen, and tested my concoctions on my husband.

Chai Tea Recipe

The resulting recipe is my best compromise for lots of flavor (I like my chai spicy!), ease, and time efficiency. Because as much as I like chai, I don't have hours to let spices steep.

I like using whole spices. They're easier to handle than ground spices (no measuring spoons!) and strain out nicely at the end. The spices used in this recipe, with the exception of maybe cardamom, are easy to find at your grocery store (if they're not already in your kitchen cabinet) and super cheap.

Learn more about chai spices.

Chai Spices

I'm a fan of heating the milk with the tea and spices rather than adding it at the end. Although many recipes call for a 1:1 ratio of water and milk, I found a 3:1 ratio to be just right. This creates a darker beverage with a flavor and color that most closely resembles my favorite "$4 chai."

After testing a variety of common sweeteners, I settled on dark brown sugar. Other sweeteners will do (white sugar, honey, etc.) but dark brown sugar is just richer in my opinion.

Chai Tea Recipe

Makes 4 Servings

What You'll Need:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 6 whole cardamom pods. Split to expose the seeds inside.
  • 1 inch section of fresh ginger thinly sliced. Peeling is not necessary.
  • 4 black tea bags or 2 Tbsp black tea leaves
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 cup milk


  1. Combine water and spices in a saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove.

  2. Add milk, sugar, and tea. Bring to a boil again, reduce heat and simmer for three minutes.

  3. Remove from heat. Cover and allow to steep for ten minutes.

  4. Strain out and discard solids.

  5. Pour into cups and serve.
Chai Tea and Spices

Viola...Chai Tea!

Chai Tea Recipe Using Tea Bags

To make things even simpler, start with chai tea bags. This recipe is just enough effort to make you feel like you're concocting something special.

My friend Lacy, who likes making a single serving of "to-go" iced chai before she leaves for work, recommended adding the vanilla extract. I agree it's a nice touch.

Makes 4 servings.

What You'll Need:

  • 3 cups water
  • 4 Chai tea bags like Tazo, Twinings, Adagio, or your favorite brand
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Combine water, milk, sugar, and tea bags in a saucepan.

  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.

  3. Remove from heat. Pour into cups and serve.

Make It an Iced Chai!

It's no more trouble to make a summer-y version of this yummy drink. After the chai is made (using any of the above methods), just chill it in the refrigerator and pour over ice to serve.

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