Masala Chai Recipe



5 min


25 min


1 cup

Masala Chai Recipe

Photo, Carmen Cheung. Prop Styling, Catherine Doherty. Food Styling, Michael Elliot.

Tea is a comforting balm, but masala chai takes it to another level. While chai simply means tea in India and other countries, the term has become interchangeable with masala chai, or tea cooked with spices and herbs.


  • 1 orange pekoe tea bag
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 2/3 cup 2% milk
  • granulated sugar


  • Combine tea bag with water, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan set over high. Bring to a boil.
  • Stir in milk and continue cooking, watching closely, until mixture just starts to rise up the side of the pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 min.
  • Strain mixture through a sieve into a mug. Add sugar to taste, if desired.

Ingredient Tip

Use 1% or 3.25% milk for a lighter or creamier chai. For an extra luxurious cup, stir in evaporated milk after cooking, to taste.

Where Does Masala Chai Tea Originate?

There are many chai origin stories, including remnants of ancient Ayurvedic rituals that used spices for their medicinal properties. More-recent history includes the colonial British, who set up tea plantations in India in the 1800s. Hoda Paripoush, a tea sommelier and founder of Sloane Fine Tea Merchants, says chai methods differ based on the history of the region. For example, in agrarian Punjab, where she was born, chai has a higher milk-to-tea ratio. This is my sister’s recipe, but masala chai offers infinite possibilities. Some use tea bags; others, loose leaf. Your spices can be simple, or you might add fennel, cloves and ginger. “It always hits the spot for me because it’s not a tea that you can whip up within a minute,” says Paripoush. “It requires a lot of simmering, a lot of love.” —Radiyah Chowdhury