I got addicted to chai in college when I discovered that a local coffee shop near my university served my favorite brand of spiced chai for $1.50. And it was a large chai latte, too! Somehow now chai tea lattes cost around $4 on average, so I rarely get them. It’s just principle. I’m all for treating yourself, but when you can make the same thing at home for half the price, I can rarely bring myself to do it!
Nonetheless, my love affair with chai began and it really never stopped. Chai-infused things are just lovely. And moving into spring I’m already getting into ice cream mode. Not dairy ice cream, vegan ice cream! My body can’t handle the cream and whole milk versions anymore (waaaaaaaa). But thankfully cashews and coconut milk save the day!
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.
This Indian-inspired recipe is simple as it requires about 10 ingredients (give or take a spice) and doesn’t require any boiling and chilling, which saves you time. The preparation happens before you ever start by simply chilling your ice cream maker and soaking your cashews to get them blend-able and creamy.
From there the chai flavor is added with a concentrated brewed chai tea and dry chai tea spices.
The traditional spices in chai are cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom and black pepper (learn more about its origins here). If you don’t have all of these on hand, just use what you have and let the chai tea compensate the rest of the flavor. And if you don’t have chai tea packets or loose leaf on hand, just use a black tea and add a touch more of each spice. Hopefully one way or the other you’ll be able to pull off that deep spicy chai flavor.
Exciting news! I attempted my first recipe video and am excited to share it with you guys! Let me know what you think.
Q: Do you like recipe videos? Do you find them helpful? Would you like to see more of them on Minimalist Baker? I had a blast putting it together and look forward to developing that skill to make our recipes come to life.
Once you add all your ingredients to your blender, just blend until creamy and smooth. Then transfer directly into an ice cream maker and churn until thick and creamy – about 45 minutes. Scoop into a freezer safe container and freeze until firm. Then scoop, scoop away!
Oh, I was SO pleased with how this turned out! It’s
& Perfectly chai-spiced
The best part? It tastes so creamy and rich that you’d never guess there wasn’t an ounce of cream or whole milk inside. Vegan recipes for the win! Enjoy.
Vegan Chai Ice Cream
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked for 4-6 hours or overnight, then drained)
- 1 cup light coconut milk (or sub another dairy-free milk, such as almond or rice)
- 3 packets chai tea (or ~4 tsp loose leaf as original recipe is written // or sub black tea for a more subtle chai flavor)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (or olive oil)
- 1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup (or sub honey if not vegan)
- 1/4 cup cane sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp each cinnamon and ginger powder
- 1/4 tsp each black pepper, ground cloves, and cardamom* (optional)
- Set your churning bowl in the freezer the night before to chill. Soak your cashews the night before as well, or for at least 4-6 hour before blending.
- When ready to prepare ice cream, steep your chai tea in 3/4 cup boiling water (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) for at least 10 minutes. It should be very strong. Remove tea bags, squeezing out excess tea, and let cool in the fridge.
- In the meantime, drain cashews and measure out other ingredients.
- Add tea and all remaining ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy and smooth – about 3-4 minutes, using liquify if you have the option. Taste and adjust sweetness/flavors as needed.
- Add mixture to your chilled ice cream maker bowl and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions until thoroughly chilled, about 45 minutes. It should resemble thick soft serve.
- Transfer to a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze until hard – at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Will keep in the freezer for up to a week.
*Inspired by / loosely adapted from Isa Chandra.
*Preparation time reflects hands-on preparation, not soaking cashews and/or extra freezing.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.