Easy Chai Recipe

A few weeks ago I made a pot of chai for the 60-plus people I anticipated would come to a cooking class I was teaching that day. That’s a lot of chai, so I pulled out my largest cooking vessel, one that could easily house a small child. When it came time to brew the tea, I realized my recipe was more complicated than I remembered. It called for several different whole spices, which I didn’t have, and involved straining the entire thing through a sieve, a feat I wasn’t sure I could manage singlehandedly. I knew it was a good recipe, but I wondered if it could be good without requiring a special trip to the market or risking bodily harm from hot liquid. And so I set to simplifying it. Initially for my own ease, ultimately for yours too. 

easy chai recipe

What Is Chai

In India and other parts of Central Asia, chai is simply tea. In fact, the Hindi word chai translates literally to “tea”, which means all the years I was offering friends a cup of chai tea, I was actually saying, “would you like a cup of tea tea?” Here in the west, we’ve come to associate chai with an Indian preparation that is deeply spiced, milky, and pleasingly sweet, without being cloyingly so.  You make it by steeping spices that can vary by region or household, but commonly include cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves. 

Benefits of Tea

Cultures the world over have preached the healing properties of tea for centuries, but it’s only recently that this has been backed up by science. Black tea, from which chai is brewed, is rich in polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant. The caffeine in black tea can have upsides too, linked with greater mental focus. Just be sure to cut yourself off from the caffeine early enough in the day that it doesn’t interfere with your slumber. 

Chai is comfort

To me, chai is a cup of comfort, much like a mug of hot cocoa. And like cocoa, anything that comes from a box, carton, or store-bought mix can’t hold a candle to one you make yourself. Lately, it’s been my go-to brew when real comfort is in order, whether it’s one of my girls under the weather or a friend suffering a loss. A glass jug filled with homemade chai delivered to a doorstep is love in a jar, if you ask me. 

How to Make Chai

Making chai isn’t tricky, it just requires a handful of spices and a bit of patience. Here’s the step-by-step tutorial  (with an easy chai recipe below).

easy chai recipe

Step One

Combine thinly sliced fresh ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla, along with honey and sugar in 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for five minutes. 

easy chai recipe

Step Two

Remove from heat, add four black tea bags, and steep for 10 minutes.

easy chai recipe

Step Three

Scoop out the tea bags, ginger slices, and cinnamon stick.

easy chai recipe

Step Four

Add two cups of milk. I prefer whole or two percent milk here, since a little richness goes a long way. You can also use plant milk. My preferred one is a blend of almond and coconut milk. 

Easy Chai Recipe

Step Five

Gently heat the tea to your liking, pour into mugs, and savor every sip.

If you’d like to check out my original post on Chai, you can find that here. And for something tasty to go with your chai, I’m crazy for these Whole-Grain Date, Walnut, Teff Scones.  

Easy Chai Recipe
5 from 2 votes
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Easy Chai Recipe

Chai, a milky, deeply spiced, and lightly sweetened tea, is a comforting brew if ever there was one. Simply steep ginger and spices with black tea, honey, and sugar, add milk, and pour. You may want to start with half the sugar and honey, since you can always add it in later if you prefer it sweeter. 

Keyword chai
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Resting time 15 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 127 kcal
Author katiemorford

Ingredients

  • One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, unpeeled, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 black tea bags, such as Assam or English Breakfast
  • 2 cups 2 percent or whole milk (use coconut or coconut/almond milk for a plant-based version)

Instructions

  1. Put the ginger, sugar, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and water into a small saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. 

  2. Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Steep for 10 minutes.

  3. Scoop the ginger and cinnamon out of the tea and add the milk. Warm on the stove and serve. Store leftover chai in the fridge, where it will be tasty for up to 5 days

Adapted from a recipe by Solage Resort

Comments

04.02.2019 at 4:24 AM #

Les

Sounds delicious! Can the base be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge? How long would it keep?

04.02.2019 at 4:24 AM #

katiemorford

That sounds like a great idea. I would think a week at least, since it won’t have the milk and you’ll have removed the ginger and cinnamon.

04.02.2019 at 7:05 AM #

Ginny

Just made it – delicious!

04.02.2019 at 7:05 AM #

katiemorford

Yay! You’re quick 🙂

04.05.2019 at 8:01 PM #

Rosemary

Love this chai! For my taste, half the sugar and honey was perfect. I’ll be making it often 🙂

04.05.2019 at 8:01 PM #

katiemorford

That’s a great point, Rosemary. I will make a note in the recipe, since everyone has a different taste for sweet.

04.06.2019 at 8:47 AM #

Bliss

Hi Katie!
I’m so glad to have this recipe. I will probably try it with honey alone. I don’t often come across recipes with two sweeteners. Is it simply about taste?
Thank you!

04.06.2019 at 8:47 AM #

katiemorford

Honey has a more dominant flavor than sugar and I like the balance here. But by all means, just use honey. Maybe use a little less and then add more if needed, since honey is a little sweeter than sugar (hence all those bees 🙂

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