Behold, a seriously dreamy cup of chai. It’s creamy, dairy-free, naturally sweetened, caffeine optional, and perfectly spiced.
We already have recipes on the blog for Caffeine-Free Chai Mix and a Vegan Chai Latte. But as we’ve played around more with customizing the spices and perfecting the flavor, we came up with this version, which uses fresh ginger and whole spices.
We must say, this is our perfect cup of chai. Swoon! Let us show you how easy and totally not intimidating this recipe is.
This masala chai recipe is the perfect balance of spicy and sweet. And it comes together in just 25 minutes with 8 ingredients in 1 pot.
What is Masala Chai?
Masala chai is a creamy, spiced tea that’s most popular in India but is increasingly enjoyed around the world. The primary difference between chai and masala chai is that masala chai includes spices, while chai is simply tea and milk.
Chai is typically made with four components:
- Black tea (we prefer bagged or loose-leaf, decaf when possible)
- Milk (we went dairy-free with coconut and/or cashew )
- Sweetener (we went for a little maple syrup)
- Spices (ginger, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, black pepper)
The spices vary depending on the recipe, but our favorite combination is cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, cloves, and ginger.
For a more authentic recipe and to learn more about this delicious Indian tea, see this video from Bhavna’s Kitchen.
How to Make Chai Tea
Our inspired version begins by lightly crushing the spices in a mortar and pestle (or a cutting board and heavy pan will do!).
Slightly crushing the spices opens them up more and makes for a stronger infusion (so you get more flavor out of a lesser amount), packing more of a punch with fewer ingredients and less cost.
The crushed spices are added to a saucepan with water and freshly grated ginger and left to simmer for about 15 minutes. Grating the ginger makes for a stronger ginger flavor. But if gingery chai isn’t your thing, slice instead of grating and/or slightly reduce the amount.
We prefer steeping first in water alone because we find it makes a stronger infusion than adding the milk too soon.
The black tea and dairy-free milk are then added and heated slightly. For a full-bodied drink, we like using thick, rich dairy-free milks such as our Cashew Coconut Oat Milk.
Then all that’s left is to add your sweetener of choice and strain.
It’s the perfect drink to enjoy cuddled up with a blanket and a good book. Or make a big batch and reheat on the stovetop or in a milk frother on busier days.
We hope you LOVE this chai! It’s:
& Simple to make
More Chai Recipes
- No-Bake Vegan Chai Cheesecake
- Vegan Chai Ice Cream
- Vegan Chai Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Chai Spiced Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bars
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Easy Masala Chai Recipe
- 1 whole cinnamon stick
- 6-8 green cardamom pods
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 3-4 whole cloves
- 2 ½ cups water
- 2 Tbsp grated ginger (for less intense ginger flavor, slice instead of grating)
- 3 Tbsp loose leaf black tea (or ~3-4 black tea bags // use decaf as needed)
- 2 cups dairy-free milk (we favor oat milk, coconut milk, and cashew milk // use thicker, richer dairy-free milks like canned coconut milk or our Oatly recipe for creamier chai!)
- Sweetener such as stevia, organic cane sugar, or maple syrup to taste
- Add cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, peppercorns, and cloves to the bowl of a mortar (or cutting board) and use pestle (or heavy pan) to slightly crush the spices. You aren’t pulverizing into a powder, just slightly crushing into small pieces (see photo).
- To a medium saucepan add crushed spices, water, and grated (or sliced) ginger and bring to a boil over high heat. (Note: For a less gingery chai, reduce amount of ginger and slice rather than grating). Then reduce heat slightly to medium/medium-low and maintain a simmer for 15 minutes or until it reduces by about one-third.
- Add tea (loose leaf or bags) and dairy-free milk of choice (we love light canned coconut) and lower heat to low. Cover and continue cooking for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Then turn off heat and let steep for 5 minutes more (covered) or longer for deeper flavor.
- Add sweetener of choice to taste (we prefer stevia or maple syrup, but sugar is more traditional). Strain through a fine mesh strainer before serving.
- Keep strained, cooled leftovers covered in the fridge up to 3-4 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in a milk frother. Not freezer friendly.