Homemade Masala Chai (Chai Tea)

Homemade Masala Chai (Chai Tea)

The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
92 Calories
2g Fat
14g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 92
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 69mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 1mg 6%
Calcium 171mg 13%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 224mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Chai (rhymes with "pie") is the word for tea in many parts of the world. Masala chai, meaning "mixed-spice tea," originated in India, and is made with milk, black tea, and spices. It has become increasingly popular at coffee houses and is most often made from powders, syrups, and teabags.

Pre-made, however, can never compare to freshly brewed masala chai (also known as “chai tea”). Making it from scratch takes more time, but is infinitely more rewarding. This recipe is a barebone, traditionally-based version of masala chai including cloves, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and ginger. Freshly grated ginger is preferred and there is a lot of difference between the whole spices and their pre-ground versions. But you can make those substitutions if needed.

If you have difficulty finding some of these spices at your grocery store, look for an Indian specialty grocery or an international food store. Masala chai is a comforting and warming drink with one-third the caffeine as coffee. It can assist in digestion and is perfect for an after-dinner or before-bed beverage.


  • 2 cups milk (or milk substitute)

  • 2 cups water

  • 4 whole cloves

  • 2 pods green cardamom (crushed)

  • 2 peppercorns (crushed)

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 1/2-inch piece ginger (peeled and chopped or grated)

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 tablespoonsblack tea leaves (preferably ​Assam tea)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Homemade Masala Chai (Chai Tea) ingredients

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, water, and spices. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    combine the milk, water, and spices in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  3. Add the sugar and tea leaves. Stir, and then simmer for 5 minutes.

    Add the sugar and tea leaves to the mixture in the saucepan

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  4. Strain into glasses or mugs and serve.

    Homemade Masala Chai (Chai Tea) strained

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

Recipe Variations

  • Once you have made it this way, feel free to experiment with blending the many other chai spices out there into your brew—there is no set recipe, and versions vary from Indian household to household. While whole milk is typically used in India, you can certainly substitute skim milk or a milk alternative such as soy milk, almond milk, or rice milk, or coconut milk.
  • Other spices you can use include coriander, fennel seeds, lemongrass, star anise, allspice, tamarind, vanilla, and nutmeg.