Masala Chai (Indian Spiced Milk Tea) is a very popular Indian drink made using black tea leaves, milk, and aromatic spices. It comes together in under 10 minutes using 6 ingredients and one pot. Learn to make this authentic Indian beverage at home (vegetarian, gluten-free).
About Masala Chai
Masala in Hindi means Spices and Chai means Tea. So Masala Chai is basically tea made with fragrant spices.
Masala Chai (Indian Spiced Milk Tea) is a beverage that is popular not only in India but also worldwide. The day of most Indians starts with a cup of chai and they just need an excuse to sip on this warm earthy drink all through the day.
In the US people call it Chai Tea, Chai Tea Latte, or Chai Latte. But if you ask any Indian, Chai Tea literally means repeating the word two times. There is nothing like Chai Tea in India, it’s just Chai.
Chai is sold in every nook and corner of the county and you will find people gathered around the chai shop all day long.
Every house has its own way of making it. Although it is made using the same 6 ingredients, the taste change from home to home. I am very particular about the taste of my masala chai and everyone who has tasted my tea has fallen in love with it.
My recipe is extremely easy to make, just like any other masala chai tea recipe but just the proportions of ingredients, the taste of chai masala, the sequence in which the ingredients are added and the cooking times make all the difference.
This masala chai recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free. You can easily double or triple it as per your requirement.
So waste no time and make a perfect cup of Indian masala chai using my easy recipe!
Here are some more chai recipes that you may like
- Turmeric Ginger Tea
- Hibiscus Tea
- Strawberry Tea
- Adrak Wali Chai
- Kashmiri Kahwa Tea
- Sulaimani Tea
- Pudina Chai
Tea – Indians mostly use Assam Tea or Darjeeling Tea (Black Tea, Chai Patti) to make chai. There are many brands available but my personal favorites are Tata Gold or Tajmahal. You can source the tea either online or from any Indian grocery store.
Use loose tea or tea bags. In India, typically loose tea is used and is bought in bulk quantities to last the entire month.
Milk – Masala Tea tastes best when made with whole milk (full-fat milk). You can however use any milk of your choice. Almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, or coconut milk can also be used.
Sweetener – In India, regular granulated white sugar is used to sweeten the milky chai. Some people also add jaggery. You can use maple syrup or honey if you wish to. Sugar-Free substitutes also work fine.
Spices – Each and every household has its own unique combination and ratio of spices that they add to their tea.
Freshly crushed warm spices give this tea a very unique flavor. The spices most commonly used are fresh ginger root and dried whole spices like green cardamom pods (hari elaichi), cloves (laung), and cinnamon (dalchini).
I like to make my own blend of spices called Chai Masala Powder. You can make a batch of this spice blend for the entire week or month and keep using it for making the chai. I have mentioned the tea masala recipe below.
How To Make Indian Masala Chai
Heat 2 cups of water in a pan over medium-high heat.
Once the water comes to a boil, add 1 teaspoon grated (or crushed) ginger and 1 teaspoon chai masala powder and boil for 2-3 minutes.
Add 2 teaspoon sugar and 2 teaspoon black tea leaves (or 2 tea bags) and boil for a minute. You can adjust the sugar according to your taste.
Now add ½ cup whole milk (full-fat milk) and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Keep stirring once in a while.
Strain the tea into 2 servings cups using a tea strainer and serve immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
Homemade Chai Masala gives this drink a very delicious taste.
It is very economical to make at home and the result is much better than the store-bought ones. I have a detailed recipe to make Homemade Chai Masala here but if you need a quick recipe, here it is.
¼ cup cloves (laung)
¼ cup green cardamoms (hari elaichi)
¼ cup cinnamon stick (dalchini)
¼ cup black peppercorns (kali mirch)
2 tablespoon dried rose petals
2 tablespoon fennel seeds (saunf)
2 tablespoon dry ginger powder (santh)
1 nutmeg (jaiphal), crushed
Mix all the ingredients in a grinder or a food processor and grind to make a coarse powder.
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
Note – You can also make your own unique blend of spices as per your taste. Some people also add star anise to this blend.
Chai is plain Indian milk tea. It is made using water, milk, tea leaves, and sugar. However, Masala Chai has a special spice mix added to it which gives it a very unique taste.
Replace dairy milk with any plant-based milk like almond, cashew, oats milk, etc to make a vegan version of Indian masala chai.
Yes, it can be made without milk. This version is commonly known as “black masala chai”. You can follow the same process of brewing tea leaves and adding spices but omit the milk. The resulting beverage will have a stronger and spicier flavor.
Yes, it is made with black tea leaves which contain caffeine. The amount of caffeine can vary depending on the type of tea leaves used and the brewing time. However, compared to a regular cup of coffee, masala chai usually contains less caffeine.
Boil the ginger very well in water with the black tea leaves before adding milk. Ginger contains a proteolytic enzyme called zingibain. When ginger is added to masala chai, the zingibain enzyme may interact with the proteins in the milk, causing them to coagulate and form curds. Boiling the ginger in water until its boiling point will destroy this enzyme and your tea will not curdle.
Health Benefits Of Masala Chai
- Prevents Cold
- Anti Inflammatory
- Relieves PMS
- Improves Digestion
- Regulate Diabetes
- Boost metabolism
Side Effects Of Masala Chai
If you drink Masala Tea in excess, it might have the following side effects
- Anxiety and Restlessness
- You can get addicted
- Sleep Deprivation
Pro Tips By Neha
Water Milk Ratio – You can adjust the quantity of milk while making masala tea. If you like your tea creamy, add more milk and less water.
You can also increase the quantity of chai masala if you like it to be strong and spicy.
You can add some fresh tulsi leaves to this spiced tea along with the chai masala.
To make it a little rich, you can add in a few strands of saffron too.
If you like your tea strong, then boil it for longer or use more tea leaves. If you like it light, use fewer tea leaves and boil it for a shorter time.
This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
If you like your tea frothy, you can use a milk frother to add extra froth to the tea.
Serve this tea immediately in teacups. You also get a special glass called cutting glass that is very popular in India to serve this hot beverage. It is a small glass and is perfect to serve a small quantity of tea. The tea served in this glass is called cutting chai. Instead of having one big cup of tea, many people prefer to drink multiple cutting chai. Make sure to fill the glasses until ¾th full so that you can hold them from the top without burning your fingers.
Serve the Indian masala chai with cookies and namkeen mixture.
Butter toast or bun tastes amazing with a cup of masala chai, do try it!
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Masala Chai Recipe (Indian Spiced Milk Tea)
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger (or crushed ginger)
- 1 teaspoon chai masala powder
- 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar (adjust according to your taste)
- 2 teaspoons black tea leaves (chai patti) (or 2 tea bags)
- ½ cup whole milk (full-fat milk) (can use skim or plant-based too)
- Heat water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Once the water comes to a boil, add ginger and chai masala powder and boil for 2-3 minutes.
- Add sugar and black tea leaves and boil for a minute. You can adjust the sugar according to your taste.
- Now add milk and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Keep stirring once in a while.
- Strain the tea in 2 servings cups using a tea strainer and serve immediately.