There’s nothing better than drinking a cup of sweet, milky, spiced chai in the morning or really at any time of the day. This Instant Pot masala chai is so easy to make for yourself, for a few people, or even for a large group of people. My recipe for Instant Pot Masala Chai is from my cookbook, Indian Food Under Pressure.
You might wonder why anyone would make chai in a pressure cooker. It can be faster to make it on a stovetop, especially a single cup. But when you make it in a pressure cooker, there’s no need to babysit the tea. I always use my pressure cooker when making chai for friends or a large party because it’s such a hands-off recipe. I also like making chai for myself and my husband before work. I can prepare the tea, get ready for the day, then come downstairs to a fresh cup of steaming hot chai.
Why Make Chai in an Instant Pot?
- It’s effortless to make for a large group of people
- You don’t have to babysit a pot on the stove (great for those of us who have hands full with kiddos!)
- no risk of having milk overflow onto the stovetop
- do other things while chai simmers
There is a time and place for chai: always and anywhere. 😉😂
But what’s the best way to prepare chai?
I really think the answer to that question depends on your personal circumstance.
For example, if I have some time to spare, I’ll make a cup of Masala Chai on the stovetop. If you ask my Indian parents, that’s the only way to make proper chai. Sometimes, if I know I’m going to have a hectic week, I’ll prepare a batch of Chai Concentrate, so I don’t have to worry about making a fresh cup of chai every morning.
If I’m honest, I don’t know how parents of young kids find time to make and drink a hot cup of chai. I have a 16-month-old, and I literally have to re-heat my chai in the microwave four times before I can get through it (and yes, I realize that even bringing up a microwave is basically sacrilege when it comes to chai).
So when is the right situation to make chai in an Instant Pot?
Whenever you need to make chai using the least amount of effort possible, yes, it may take longer than preparing it over the stove, but you won’t have to watch it simmer. I love this method of making chai when we have friends over. It’s the perfect way to make chai for a party. It’s really easy to scale the amount of chai according to the number of people in your group, too – see my recipe below for details on how to do that.
Tips for making Chai in an Instant Pot:
- Make sure to wash the lid on your Instant Pot before you make chai. Otherwise, the chai will taste and smell like the last thing you cooked.
- If possible, buy an extra silicone ring that you keep solely for sweet recipes. I have two rings, and one is dedicated to sweet dishes (desserts, oatmeal, plain rice, yogurt).
- Chai is a personal thing. Give my recipe a try, then adapt the recipe to your taste. If you prefer more spice, add more spice, or if you prefer to drink a less milky chai, then change the ratio and use more water instead.
Chai for 1
Chai for 4
- Multiply the ingredients according to the number of people drinking chai.
- Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot and add water, black tea, cardamom pods, cloves and fennel seeds to the pot. Once the water begins to steam, pour the milk into the pot (make sure the water is steaming before adding the milk as this will prevent the milk from burning at the bottom of the pot).
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 2 minutes at high pressure.
- Naturally release pressure for 15 minutes. Open the valve to release any remaining pressure.
- Add sweetener to taste, then serve.
- You may want to adjust the proportions according to your taste (e.g. if you prefer stronger chai, add more tea or if you prefer less milk then use more water).
- Make sure you have washed your lid prior to making chai, otherwise your chai will taste and smell like the last thing you cooked.
- I suggest keeping a separate silicone ring for sweet recipes. In fact, I have two Instant Pots and one is dedicated to sweet dishes (desserts, oatmeal, plain rice, yogurt).