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Best Chai Recipes

Top "Chai Tea" / Masala Chai Recipes


Also known as "chai tea," masala chai is a blend of spices, tea, sugar and milk from India. Popular chai spices include cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger and black pepper, but chai recipes vary widely across India, and there are many Americanized adaptations of masala chai that have spun off new and innovative chai recipes.

This collection of chai recipes is a cross-section of the world of masala chai. It features some of the best chai recipes on About.com, including recipes for Kashmiri chai and caffeine-free chai, as well as a step-by-step photo tutorial for how to make masala chai from scratch.

How to Make Chai from Scratch

Woman straining chai tea at stall
Hemant Mehta/Getty Images
This step-by-step photo tutorial explains how to get a bold, spicy, creamy flavor without making your chai too tannic / bitter or adding too much sugar. The basic principles for simmering chai used in this recipe can easily be applied to other recipes in the list or to your own chai recipes.

For more step-by-step instructions for making chai, check out this chai video recipe from Natasha Levitan.

Chai Coffee Cocktail Recipe

An image of Chai-Spiked Coffee with a cinnamon-rimmed glass
Lindsey Goodwin
Much like a "dirty chai" (a chai with a shot of espresso), this chai cocktail recipe melds the flavors of chai and coffee into one drink. It's made with Voyant Chai Cream Liqueur and fresh-brewed coffee, and the glass is rimmed with honey and cinnamon for additional flavor.

Kashmiri Chai Recipe

In India, masala chai is especially popular in the northeastern district of Kashmir. There, saffron, roses and almonds are abundant, and green tea is more popular than black tea. For that reason, masala chai recipes often feature ingredients like saffron threads, rose petals, slivered almonds and green tea. This Kashmiri chai recipe includes saffron, powdered almonds (for ease of preparation), cardamom and cinnamon. You can opt to use green or black tea.

Vanilla Chai Recipe

Vanilla is not a traditional masala chai spice, but it is a very popular flavor in Americanized chai recipes. This vanilla chai recipe gets its vanilla flavor from a piece of vanilla bean that is simmered with allspice, cloves and cinnamon stick. I highly recommend this recipe to newer chai drinkers and fans of coffeehouses' flavored chais, such as vanilla chai, chocolate chai or mint chai.

Spicy Milk Tea Recipe

This chai recipe calls for green tea instead of black tea. It has a brighter, more refreshing flavor than many chai recipes, even though it has a fairly large amount of milk for a green tea recipe. Cinnamon, cloves and ginger give Spicy Milk Tea its characteristic "chai" flavor.

This recipe makes a fairly large batch of chai--it serves four.

Banana Chai Smoothie Recipe

An image of a Banana Masala Chai Smoothie made with instant chai tea and strawberries.
Marko Goodwin
This quick chai smoothie recipe uses a chai concentrate for ease of preparation and a rich chai flavor. (Personally, I recommend Rishi's Masala Chai Concentrate for this recipe.) If you prefer your chai smoothie to be made from scratch, check out this Banana Chai Smoothie Recipe on About.com Herbs and Spices.

Masala Spice Chai Recipe

This easy chai recipe is great for beginners. It contains classic chai spices ("nothing too exotic" says the recipe's creator, Sean Paajanen) and a lower level of milk and sugar than most chai recipes.

Similarly, Sean's Four-Spice Chai Recipe is easy to prepare and to enjoy for "chai tea" newbies and masala chai aficionados alike.

Masala Chai Recipe for Two

This delicious, traditional masala chai recipe from About.com's Indian Food guide, Petrina Verma Sarkar, serves two people. Like this Chai Tea with Fennel Recipe, it has a licorice-like flavor from fennel or aniseed.

Chai Frosting Recipe

An image of angel food cake with "chai tea" frosting and bananas.
Marko Goodwin
Although it isn't a drink, this Chai Frosting Recipe is one of the most popular "chai" recipes on the site. It combines pure vanilla extract, ground spices and chai concentrate for an unusual frosting flavor that's fantastic on cupcakes, cookies (such as these Chocolate-Chai Cookies) and other sweets. Try it as part of an avant-garde tea party menu.

Apple-Chai Martini Recipe

An image of an apple chai cocktail in a martini glass
Lindsey Goodwin
This all-organic chai martini recipe was the winner of the November/December 2010 "Holiday Tea Cocktail"-themed tea recipe contest. It is high in flavor and naturally caffeine free. Yum!

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