Chai latte from scratch with whipped cream is perfect for those cold winter days and nights. You’ll never want to go back to store-bought chai after making this!
Chai Latte from Scratch
Masala chai is a spiced tea drink common in India. Masala chai means mixed-spice tea. In the US, we shorten masala chai to just chai.
- Chai is made by brewing black tea with Indian spices.
- Chai translates to tea. (So it’s incorrect to say ‘chai tea’ since that’s saying ‘tea tea.’)
- There is no universal chai spice blend that everyone uses but you’ll taste some overlapping flavors like cardamom, ginger, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon with each version.
- To make chai from scratch, I created my own chai spice blend using a bunch of different spices.
RELATED: Starbucks Chai Tea Latte Copycat
3 tips to make it Easy & delicious
1. Use a basic black tea
Indian black tea is the best tea to use in a chai latte recipe. Assam tea with its full-bodied, strong flavor is great since it can hold up to the spices.
2. Use whole spices whenever possible
I use a blend of spices (whole and ground) and I’ve found whole spices have a richer depth of flavor than ground spices. I only use ground spices if it’s the only option.
3. Whip cream using a handheld milk frother
My secret to making whipped cream for drinks in seconds.
Chai Latte INgredients
- Assam black tea
- Spices: Cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, whole cloves, star anise, black peppercorns, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cinnamon
- Vanilla extract
- Brown sugar
- Milk (any kind)
- Heavy cream
- Filtered water
My Black Tea Pick:
How to Make Chai Latte From Scratch
1. MAKE CHAI CONCENTRATE
Crush or chop star anise, cloves, and cardamom pods into smaller pieces so that the flavors can be infused better.
In a saucepan, add all ingredients for chai concentrate except the vanilla extract. The vanilla extract will get added later.
Use filtered water if you can since it’ll make your tea taste better.
On low heat, let the tea and spices simmer. Stir occasionally.
This can be made ahead of time and into multiple batches to heat up for chai lattes throughout the week.
Tea Sommelier’s Tip: Since there are so many spices and flavors combined together, you don’t need to use the highest quality black tea. Feel free to use tea sachets or tea bags instead of loose tea.
Strain out tea and spice solids using a mesh strainer.
Add vanilla extract. The chai concentrate is now done!
2. HEAT MILK
Bring milk to simmer on the stovetop. When you see little bubbles form along the edges, take it off the heat. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t boil.
3. MAKE WHIPPED CREAM
There are a few ways to make whipped cream and the easiest I’ve found is using a handheld milk frother to whisk the heavy cream and sugar together. Use a tall container so that you don’t make a mess.
I like to make the cream with soft peaks and not too stiff so it lays on top of the chai latte better, spreading out on top.
4. ASSEMBLE DRINK
This recipe makes 4 servings so divide each part (chai concentrate, milk, whipped cream) into 4 cups.
Start by pouring half a cup of the chai concentrate into a mug.
Add the hot milk, leaving room on top for the whipped cream.
Spoon on the whipped cream.
Optional: Garnish with ground cinnamon and a whole star anise.
More CHAI LATTE TIPS
- This recipe makes a chai concentrate so you can make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.
- The chai concentrate can be used to make iced chai lattes in the summer.
- I’m using loose tea but you can use tea sachets or tea bags instead. Instead of 2 tablespoons loose tea, use 4 tea sachets or 6 tea bags.
- Chai made from scratch is so much better than store bought since you control what goes into it so customize it however you like!
- Iced Chai Latte
- Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte
- London Fog Drink (Earl Grey Tea Latte)
- Chamomile Tea Latte
- Decadent Milk Tea
Chai Latte from Scratch
- 2 ½ cups milk any kind
- Optional garnish: ground cinnamon
- 2 ½ cups water
- 2 tablespoons Assam loose tea
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise (optional: 1 more for garnish)
- 10 cardamom pods
- 10 whole cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
MAKE CHAI CONCENTRATE
- Crush and roughly chop star anise, cloves, and cardamom pods.
- In a saucepan, add all ingredients for chai concentrate except for the vanilla extract.High quality water will make your tea taste better so use filtered water if you can.
- Simmer on low for 10 minutes.
- Strain out tea and spice solids.
- Add vanilla extract.
- Simmer milk on low on the stovetop until you see little bubbles form along the edges. Turn off heat.
MAKE WHIPPED CREAM
- Whip together heavy cream and sugar.Use a handheld milk frother to whip heavy cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Whisk the ingredients in a tall container so you're not making a mess.
- Into a mug, pour in the chai concentrate, then milk, and top with whipped cream.This recipe makes 4 servings so divide each part (chai concentrate, milk, whipped cream) into 4 cups.OPTIONAL: Garnish with ground cinnamon and a whole star anise.
41 thoughts on “Decadent Chai Latte from Scratch”
Hi, Jee. My husband & mom in law love chai tea. I enjoy making it for them. I only have vanilla chai tea bags (individual serving) onhand and no milk frother.
How many individual tea bags would you recommend for this recipe (per serving) , and would it be ok to froth this in a blender?
Thank you and be well,
Hi Ari, I would do 1 tea bag per 8 ounce serving. If you’re using a big cup, go with 2 tea bags. And yes, you can make froth in the blender but you’ll get a lot of big bubbles.
If I am wanting to make a single serving chai latte(one tea bag), how much water and milk should I use?
Hi Jennifer, I would just steep the chai tea bag in a cup of milk and skip the water. Heat milk on the stovetop with the chai tea bag together until the milk is comes to a simmer.
I am so excited to try this recipe! I drink a lot of Chai Lattes and have been looking for a good homemade version to replace what I use. I wanted to see if the calories listed in the nutrition info is for the entire recipe (which I think was 4 servings?) or one serving? Thanks for the great recipe!
Hi Barbara, the nutritiion is for one serving!
A+Mazing!! I’m going to make an Earl Grey chai. Do you have recommendations? I drink “Supreme” every day, but do you recommend A more traditional earl grey tea base? Thanks!!
Hi! This recipe sounds delicious. Question for you: If I wanted to add turmeric, how much do you think would be a good amount? I’ve had it recently and wanted to try and recreate it at home .
Hi Shawna, start with 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric and see how it tastes and add more if needed.
Hi! Is vanilla extract required for this recipe or can it be optional? My family uses vanilla extract a lot so it runs out quickly and when I need it it’s usually already gone haha
Hi Sarah, you can take it out if you don’t have any!
I loved this recipe, it was delicious. I was wondering where you got those beautiful glass mugs because they make all of your drinks look amazing. Thank you for the amazing recipe.
I loved this recipe. I was wondering if you could tell me where you got those awesome glass mugs. They make all of your recipes so beautiful. Thank you for the recipe
Hi Natalie, the glass mugs are called Cantina mugs and they’re from CB2: https://www.cb2.com/cantina-glass-mug/s190268
Best chai I have ever tasted!
LOVE this. Was not too “spicy” for lack of a better word. Took a day to gather up the whole spices, mostly from Amazon including the tea. Made two batches and placed in large mason jars for fridge for later. Your recipe was easy to follow. Your photography and aesthetics are incredible. Love the little videos. so glad I found your site. Going to make many more including the milk tea and butterfly tea which I actually have. Used Assam tea which was great until I realized I had some Afternoon Ceylon from Harrods around. Thank you so much!
I just tried this recipe for the first time. I’ve never made homemade chai before. I used only 2 cups of water, because I like my chai strong and I used fresh ginger slices instead of ground. I followed the rest of the spices exactly, and it is AMAZING!!! This is legitimately the best chai I’ve ever had! Thank you so much for the recipe!
Hi! I’ve been planning on experimenting with my own chai blends for a while. Would you mind if I used this as a jumping-off point, along with other blends that I like?
Also, when you say ‘use filtered water’, what are you trying to remove? I know in cities people usually have weird-tasting things in their water, but I have (very!!) good-tasting well-water. Would I still need to filter to remove other things, or is the point just to have good-tasting water?
For ways to make it decaf, I’m thinking either using a decaf black tea or using rooibos tea. (Although rooibos isn’t actually from the tea plant, it’s still very good !)
Really good! A little too much nutmeg though in my opinion, it kind of dominates the flavor. But love the addition of the whip cream yum!
Hi! Just made this and it’s yummy BUT any suggestions on making it spicier? I usually buy Tazo’s chai latte concentrate and it’s got a great kick to it. I’d like to replicate using your recipe if possible. Thoughts??
Hi April, try adding more ginger or peppercorns to make it spicier.