Decadent Chai Latte from Scratch

4.62 from 148 votes

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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

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Chai Latte from Scratch

Masala chai is a spiced tea drink common in India. Masala chai means mixed-spice tea. In the U.S., we shorten masala chai to just chai, which means tea. (So it’s incorrect to say ‘chai tea’ since that’s saying ‘tea tea.’)

Chai is made by brewing black tea with Indian spices. There is no universal chai spice blend that everyone uses. However, 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

Recipe Highlights

  • After many tests, this recipe was found to have the best flavor and combination of spices.
  • The recipe yields 4 1-cup servings, but you can double the ingredients if you want to make more.
  • Find expert tips for making the perfect chai latte from scratch, plus how to make a rich whipped cream from home.

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.

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Chai Latte INgredients

Chai latte ingredients

My Black Tea Pick:

Assam Tea

Photo Credit: Harney.com

A great black tea that tastes good alone or when used in drink recipes that require black tea.
BUY ON HARNEY.COM

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.

Expert 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!
  • Any milk can be used, but whole milk will have the creamiest texture.

Questions You May Have

Is there caffeine in chai?

Yes. Chai is made with black tea, which is a caffeinated tea.

What is a chai latte made of?

Chai latte is made of black tea, spices, and milk. This recipe also has a whipped cream topping for extra richness.

How do you store chai concentrate?

Store chai concentrate in an airtight container, like a jar, in the refrigerator. Use it within 4 days for the best flavor and freshness.

Chai Latte from Scratch

Author: Jee Choe
A delicious chai latte made from scratch using a blend of tea and spices.
4.6 from 148 votes
Prep Time 8 minutes
Steep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Course Drinks
Yield4 servings

INGREDIENTS
 

Chai Concentrate

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

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.
    Stir occasionally.
  • Strain out tea and spice solids.
  • Add vanilla extract.

HEAT MILK

  • 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.

ASSEMBLE DRINK

  • 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.

NOTES

  • 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!
  • Any milk can be used, but whole milk will have the creamiest texture.
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NUTRITION

Calories: 385 | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 314mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 1122IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 254mg | Iron: 1mg

About Jee Choe

Welcome! I'm a certified Tea Sommelier and a self-proclaimed bubble tea and iced tea master. I'm all about making tea EASY and DELICIOUS.

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42 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve been making the chai over and over. And here’s my two cents.

    It’s a great base recipe. Definitely try following the recipe to the T the first time then adapt as you like. To me these modifications leveled up my chai game. Ps. All personal preference 🙂
    I omit Anis because I truly don’t like it, and also reduced the nutmeg by half. Up the black peppercorns because I like my chai spicy. Once I tried to make with powdered everything and the end result was grainy, definitely use the whole spices. I once did with Earl Grey and although absolutely delicious I thought the citrus was a little overpowering. I most often use coconut sugar, tastes great. I leave the tea out and simmer until it starts to reduce, it’s so syrup-y and very aromatic, I can taste all the spices. Then I add my Assam tea, boil for just a minute, turn off the heat and let it steep for 10-15 min.
    I think that’s all. I really love it. So much that I make it weekly.

    PSA Trader Joe’s now sell Organic Assam Black Tea bags.

  2. 3 stars
    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,
    Ari

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 5 stars
    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!!

  5. 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 .

      1. 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

  6. 5 stars
    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.

  7. 5 stars
    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