Iced Chai Latte from Scratch

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The best iced chai latte is the one made at home, from scratch. Sweet, spicy, and milky, my iced chai latte recipe is one you’ll make over and over again.

  • Iced chai latte is so much better when it’s made from scratch since it can tailored to your taste.
  • A custom chai blend of black tea and spices makes this drink absolutely delicious.
Pouring milk into a cup with ice and chai.

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What is Chai?

Chai is a drink from India that’s made with black tea, milk, and a blend of spices.

It’s known as masala chai in India but we, in the U.S., just shorten it to chai.

Chai translates to the word “tea” in Hindi so it’s incorrect to say “chai tea” since you’re just saying “tea tea.”

RELATED: 7 Benefits of Drinking Chai Tea

Recipe Highlights

  • This iced chai latte recipe is made with ice, black tea, milk, a blend of spices, and sweetener.
  • There’s no single set blend of spices that makes up a chai and this recipe was created through A LOT of trial and error, mixing a variety of spices to get the perfect balance.
  • There aren’t artificial ingredients in this recipe and the sweetness can easily be adjusted. (Powdered chai mixes are WAY too sweet.)
  • This recipe includes a chai concentrate which you can use to make iced (and hot) chai lattes all week.

RELATED: Starbucks Iced Chai Tea Latte Copycat

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients to make a chai latte on a surface and each item labeled with the name.
  • Black tea: The base for chai is black tea and since it’s a beverage out of India, black tea from that area, like Assam, is the natural and obvious choice. You can use loose tea, tea sachets, or tea bags.
  • Water: Use good quality water for a better tasting drink.
  • Spice blend Cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, whole cloves, star anise, black peppercorns, ground nutmeg, ground ginger: The spices that are easy to find and available in India make up the blend. Use whole spices whenever possible since they’ll extract the most flavor.
  • Vanilla extract: Vanilla smooths out the spice blend notes. It’s a flavor enhancer.
  • Honey: Use any sweetener you like but I’m using honey. Brown sugar would also be great.
  • Milk: Any kind of milk is fine to use and I often make it with oat milk.

For full ingredients and detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

Tea Sommelier’s Tip: Since the black tea is going to be blended with strong spices and milk, you don’t want to use the highest quality. Tea bags are fine to use for this recipe. Even Lipton tea bags are fine to use if that’s what you have.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Crushing star anise, cloves, and cardamom pods.

Step 1: Crush and roughly chop star anise, cloves, and cardamom pods.

Bigger whole spices are crushed to make it quicker to infuse the drink.

Chai ingredients in a sauce pot.

Step 2: Combine all chai concentrate ingredients except for the vanilla extract in a saucepan. Simmer on low heat.

Straining chai mix into a cup.

Step 3: Crush and roughly chop star anise, cloves, and cardamom pods.

Bigger whole spices are crushed to make it quicker to infuse the drink.

Pouring milk into chai latte.

Step 4: Combine all chai concentrate ingredients except for the vanilla extract in a saucepan. Simmer on low heat.

  1. Strain solids and add vanilla extract. Let cool.
    The chai concentrate can be cooled in the refrigerator for about an hour or chilled in the freezer for a few minutes.
  2. Pour chai concentrate halfway into a cup with ice and add milk.
    Use 1 part chai concentrate and 1 part milk.

Expert Tips

  • If possible, get the whole spice instead of ground since it’ll taste more flavorful. (Although I did use ground nutmeg since it’s easier to work with.)
  • Make this iced chai latte recipe vegan by using oat milk and maple syrup instead of honey.
  • If you want a stronger chai flavor, use less milk and more chai concentrate.
  • Whole milk or half & half will give you a creamier iced chai latte.
  • Cardamom is the most used ingredient in chai and it’s usually blended with ginger, star anise, cloves, cinnamon and pepper. Other spices that can be added include nutmeg, fennel seed, coriander, and vanilla.

Questions You May Have

Is there caffeine in chai?

Yes, iced chai lattes are made with black tea which contains caffeine.

What’s the best tea to use in chai?

Any strong black tea works great for chai but I like to stick with black teas like Assam, Orange Pekoe (Ceylon & India), and English Breakfast tea.

What food pairs well with chai?

Any baked good or pastry, like a scone or pound cake that isn’t too sweet, is great with chai. I find cakes with icing and pies to be overly sweet for it to be a good pairing. Chocolate also pairs well, especially dark chocolate.

How can I store the chai concentrate?

Chai concentrate can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in a covered or airtight container. It’ll keep for up to 4 days. Don’t add milk into the chai concentrate until it’s ready to drink.

Iced chai latte in a glass with swirls of milk.

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4.65 from 94 votes

Iced Chai Latte

By: Jee Choe
Sweet and spicy, this iced chai latte is one you’ll make over and over again.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups milk, (any kind)
  • 4 cups Ice

Chai Concentrate

  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons black tea
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns

Instructions 

MAKE CHAI CONCENTRATE

  • Crush and roughly chop the star anise, cloves, and cardamom pods.
    Bigger whole spices are crushed to make it quicker to infuse the drink.
  • Combine all chai concentrate ingredients except for the vanilla extract in a saucepan. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
    Stir occasionally.
  • Strain solids and add vanilla extract. Let cool.
    The chai concentrate can be cooled in the refrigerator for about an hour or chilled in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

ASSEMBLE DRINK

  • Pour chai concentrate halfway into a cup with ice and add milk.
    Use 1 part chai concentrate and 1 part milk.

Notes

  • Instead of 2 tablespoons loose tea, use 4 tea sachets or 6 tea bags.
  • If possible, get the whole spice instead of ground since it’ll taste more flavorful. (Although I did use ground nutmeg since it’s easier to work with.)
  • Make this iced chai latte recipe vegan by using oat milk and maple syrup instead of honey.
  • If you want a stronger chai flavor, use less milk and more chai concentrate.
  • Whole milk or half & half will give you a creamier iced chai latte.
  • Chai concentrate can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in a covered or airtight container. It’ll keep for up to 4 days. Don’t add milk into the chai concentrate until it’s ready to drink.
  • The base for chai is black tea and since it’s a beverage out of India, black tea from that area, like Assam, is the natural and obvious choice. You can use loose tea, tea sachets, or tea bags.
  • Since the black tea is going to be blended with strong spices and milk, you don’t want to use the highest quality. Tea bags are fine to use for this recipe. Even Lipton tea bags are fine to use if that’s what you have.

Nutrition

Calories: 152Carbohydrates: 24gProtein: 5gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 75mgPotassium: 217mgFiber: 2gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 198IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 180mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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22 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wow! Really good! It was strange how flavorful it is compared to Starbucks, it always tastes watered down to me which is why I never get it there anymore.

  2. I’m looking forward to trying some of these recipes, saved this first. My husband and I are not tea drinkers, correction not much for hot tea. I know this is iced but even some of your hot tea recipes look enticing.
    Btw, Chai or Tsai is the Greek word for Tea. Since we don’t have a C in our alphabet it would be Tsai & same, you’d just ask for Tsai not Tsai tea since that’s what it means. Interesting to see similarities in other languages as well as cultures.

  3. 5 stars
    I use Blue Lotus Chai (a powdered chai). Hands down the best. It has a spicy profile, perfect! And no junk in it. Great recipe, thanks for sharing.