Make Ahead

Almost Instant Chai

September  7, 2013
4.7 Stars
Photo by petitbleu
  • Makes about 3/4 cup
Author Notes

This is the perfect blend of warming spices for a cup of spicy, sweet chai. The dried orange peel is hardly an authentic chai ingredient, but I love the little citrus kick it gives. Brew a cup of this to combat a chilly autumn day, a head cold, or the blues. You'll feel almost instantly better. —petitbleu

  • Chai Masala
  • 1/4 cup ground black pepper (about 1/3 cup peppercorns)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon (about four 5-inch cinnamon sticks)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cardamom (about 1/4 cup whole green cardamom pods)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves (about 18 cloves)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated nutmeg (about 1 whole nutmeg)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried orange peel, optional
  • Chai
  • 1/2 teaspoon chai masala, above
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (coconut milk is especially nice)
  • 2 teaspoons black tea, such as Ceylon or Assam
  • Sweetener to taste
In This Recipe
  1. Chai Masala
  2. Grind each spice individually in a spice or coffee grinder. Be sure to grind them as finely as possible to avoid chunks of whole spices in your tea.
  3. Sift each spice with a fine-mesh sifter and return any large pieces of spices to the grinder to powder them further.
  4. Combine the ground spices in a bowl and store in an airtight jar or container.
  1. Chai
  2. Bring the water, milk, masala, and tea to a slow simmer. Cover and remove from the heat. Allow to steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Strain carefully into a cup and sweeten to taste.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • K.V.
  • Deborah M Vera Fausset
    Deborah M Vera Fausset
  • Bob
  • Kt4
A southern girl with a globetrotting palate, I work alongside my husband John Becker to update and maintain the Joy of Cooking cookbook, website, and app. I love to bake, ferment, and preserve, and I spend an inordinate amount of time perusing farmers markets and daydreaming about chickens and goats.

7 Reviews

K.V. December 23, 2021
I like my chai with a nice bite and this recipe has the right amount of black pepper and ginger for me. I'm giving half of it to a tea-loving friend. Thank you, @petitbleu.
Michelle September 8, 2015
WHY why WHY didn't I read the feedback 1st!!!! I like Bob am now tryi g to save this. All those expensive spices. Ehhh it should be call flaming dragons breath, cause my mouth is on fire! Way too much pepper. Covers he other flavors too.
Deborah M. June 17, 2015
Thank You, that was very helpful.
M J. June 15, 2015
This is a wonderful blend, but after reducing the black pepper by half I also had to practically double the cinnamon (I used Vietnamese) to counter the heat from the ginger and cardamom upon testing this.

Thus, I would use equal parts black pepper and cardomom (2 slightly rounded T of each, ground), 1/4 cup cinammon, along with the other spices in the amounts listed above.

In addition, I brewed a strong, black tea with the spice mixture BEFORE adding milk. This seemed to allow for optimal steeping.
Deborah M. June 12, 2015
How much pepper do one of you recommend, since it was too much?
Bob January 5, 2015
This is awful. I just wasted so many beautiful spices making this. I went against my better judgement thinking "this has too much pepper" but added the amount called for anyway. It needs less pepper and more of the other spices. So disappointing. I'm now going to attempt to salvage this catastrophe......
Kt4 March 12, 2014
WAAYY too much pepper for me. Other than that, the chai came together quite nicely. I need to get an orange so I can try it that way too. I also like to add vanilla with a touch of sugar. Congratulations on your well deserved Community Pick!