Indian Masala Chai


Every Indian family has their own way of making chai. This is my family’s quick and easy chai recipe. This is the real deal – an authentic cup of chai is so easy to make!

Indian Masala Chai by Ashley of

I took my mom to Starbucks for chai once… it didn’t go well. We spent the morning shopping, and by the afternoon, she was craving chai. We had two choices: go home so my mom could make her own chai OR convince mom to go to Starbucks so we could keep shopping. I (wrongly) chose the second option. We stood in a long line, and I ordered my mom a “chai tea” with milk. After taking literally one sip, my mom handed me the tea and said she couldn’t drink it.

This was many years ago, so hopefully their recipe has improved, but I wouldn’t know. I’m pretty sure it’s still nothing like a homemade cup of chai though.

So forget about ordering a chai tea or chai latte at Starbucks. It will never taste as good as what you can make in your kitchen in just a matter of minutes. To make authentic masala chai, all you need is some black tea, a few spices, and your milk choice.

I grew up watching my parents drink chai two times a day – morning and afternoon. I’m Punjabi, so we actually call it “cha” and not chai, but same difference. Both words mean tea. Whenever we visit India, it seems like people are always drinking cha. It’s so good.

Regular chai is so easy to make. After making it just once, you’ll probably wonder why you ever spent $5 on a chai latte.

There are a few spices that you’ll need for masala chai: cardamom, cloves, fennel seeds, cinnamon (optional), and sometimes I’ll add fresh ginger too. Add these spices along with water to a teapot. Bring the water to a low boil, and then add the black tea. When the color of the water changes to a nice deep brown, add your milk. Bring everything to a boil and then turn off the heat, put the cover back on the teapot, and then strain the chai and serve. Make sure you carefully watch your pot while boiling the tea to make sure the milk doesn’t boil over.

Personally, I like my chai strong with a spicy ginger flavor. Ginger can act as an anti-inflammatory, and while that’s a bonus, I love the flavor.

Indian Masala Chai by Ashley of

I use black tea bags for the recipe below, but you can certainly use loose black tea if you’d like. Most people probably have easier access to the bags, which is why I’m using them here.

As for the milk, you can use whatever you like! I prefer whole milk because it makes the chai perfectly creamy, but non-dairy milk is just fine too. When it comes to non-dairy milk, oat milk is my preference, but almond milk or cashew milk works too.

Indian Masala Chai

Indian Masala Chai by Ashley of

Indian Masala Chai

5 from 14 reviews
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Servings 2 cups



  • Pour the water into a teapot or small pot and add the spices. Bring the water to a low boil.
  • Add the tea to the pot and cover the pot for 2 minutes.
  • Remove the cover and once the color of the water changes to your liking, add the milk.
  • Bring everything to a full boil, then turn off the heat (be sure to carefully watch the pot so the tea doesn’t boil over!).
  • Put your cover back on the pot, strain your chai and serve.
  • Add sweetener to taste (I prefer using regular sugar when enjoying chai)


  • If you’re using non-dairy milk such as almond milk, I like using 1 cup of water and 1 cup of almond milk.  You can adjust this according to your taste and to how creamy you prefer your chai.
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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Ann says


    My family is also originally from Punjab and we call it ‘cha’ as well. I could never make it ‘right’ according to my mom…and like you, I’m finding myself drawn back to the tastes of my youth (though I still won’t try karela again). I have the same question as one of your other posters – when I add tea leaves and put the cover on the pot, do I leave the pot off the stove for the 2 minutes so the tea can ‘steep’ before returning it to the stove for the boil? Also, can you please post a video…so much of making cha is about technique and I’m sure I don’t get it right. Finally, can you tell me if it is beneficial to do a double boil or a ‘pull’ with the tea during the cooking process as I’ve read elsewhere? Thank you (I’m determined to get my cha tasting like the kind from the chaiwallas in India!)

  2. Nabila Kane says

    Masala chai was so easy & so good. Never thought of making it with tea bags but tastes just as good as with loose tea. Really love all your recipes. Thanks

  3. Aman says

    I’ve been making cha for as long as I can remember and absolutely can’t start my day without a nice warm cup of it. Recently I’ve (unfortunately) decided to change up my diet and cut out dairy. Ive attempted to make cha with almond milk in the past and and found it went horribly wrong and tasted awful. Im wondering if it’s because I didn’t change up the regular order you use when making cha or if it’s the choice of almond milk (not holding up the same as milk?). I’m curious to know if you know a way around this or possibly a better suited milk alternative?

  4. Betsy says

    5 stars
    My husband just said that this was the most AMAZING cup of tea he has ever had!!!!! And he is from INDIA and a total chai snob!!!!
    Thank you!!
    1 million stars!

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