We all have our weaknesses.

Chai tea lattes are one of mine. The cravings will ambush me on gray, dreary, lazy days. I’m weak against them… I rarely fight back, against my better judgement. When I snuck into coffee shops to indulge I would always leave with a happy belly, but also calorie regrets and spending guilt.

No more!


To appease my guilty mind I searched long and hard for a DIY chai latte mix; one that is healthier than most, but can meet my instant (chai) gratification needs.

Sadly, all the recipes I found included instant tea, powdered non-dairy creamer, and LOTS of white sugar. I’m not a big fan of instant ingredients, so I persevered to put together an (almost) instant chai latte mix made with less of the bad and more of the good. This “almost instant” recipe requires steeping a bag of tea in with each mug of the finished product.

It’s not a health drink by any means, but is healthier than most and crazy tasty!

“Almost Instant” Chai Latte Mix

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cup organic nonfat dry milk powder (there was no getting around this one for a powdered mix)
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar (for creaminess – make your own)–you can sub ¼ cup more dry milk powder if you like
  • 1 ½ cups organic cane sugar or other natural sweetener, to taste (find unrefined natural sweeteners here)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom (optional–this stuff is expensive!)
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper (optional–for a little kick!)

(Find a wide variety of bulk organic spices here.)

Directions:

1. Mix vanilla into cane sugar. Let it dry out, then break into small lumps. (You can speed the drying process by spreading vanilla-infused sugar onto a cookie sheet and putting in a 150°-170° oven for 7-10 minutes.)

Chai Latte Recipe Step 1

2. Measure out spices. If you only have whole spices on hand, grind in a coffee grinder, food processor, or high speed blender (like a VitaMix) until they’re a fine powder.


Chai Latte Recipe Step 2

3. In a large bowl, combine spices, cane sugar, powdered sugar, and dry milk.

Chai Latte Recipe Step 3

4. Stir well to combine ingredients.

Chai Latte Recipe Step 4

You’re almost ready for a hot cup of chai!

5. Stir in about 2 Tablespoons of your chai mix to a mug of hot water, drop in a bag of organic black tea, and allow tea bag to steep for a few minutes. Slowly sip and enjoy!

Chai Latte Recipe

This recipe makes about a quart of dry mix. It fits perfectly in an quart size mason jar, and makes lovely gifts for the chai lover in your life!

Tip: when giving away as gifts consider including a box of black tea and a gorgeous mug as companions to this delicious latte mix.

Additional Notes:

  • To avoid sediment or “floaties” in your finished drink, blend the powdered mixture in a food processor or blender in 1 cup batches until it becomes a fine powder.
  • If you want your chai latte mix to be truly instant, add 1 ½ cups of unsweetened instant tea to your dry mixture, and process in a food processor or blender in small batches until the consistency resembles a fine powder. (The tea bag in step 5 is unnecessary now!)
  • Feel free to personalize this mix to your tastes, experimenting with different spice mixtures and different varieties of tea!
  • If you prefer regular chai to vanilla chai, simply leave out the vanilla extract in the first step.

(For those interested in the origins of the modern chai tea latte, check the reference links below.)

*******


References

  • Masala Chai - Origins of Chai Tea Latte on Wikipedia
  • Chai Tea – The Indian Tea Latte Version on TeaZone.org
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Comments

  1. Danyell says

    I am with you. I am a Chai freak!! I would buy the instant because it was cheaper since I would have 2 or 3 cups a day. Since I have started eating a Traditional diet I am on the lookout for a chai that fits. It is very hard to make instant. I like your recipe though I would make a couple of changes. Instead of using the powdered milk just add cream or milk to your cup when you are steeping the tea with your spices. Although not quite instant, but if you are eating a Traditional diet the word instant is nonexistent! Also, did you find that your spices gel up in the bottom of your cup? When I was making my own instant mine would gel up.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Those sound like great alternatives to make it even healthier Danyell! My spices did not gel up at the bottom of my cup, but there is some sediment left in the last sip. I stir mine really well and sometimes swirl my cup toward the end to distribute some of these particles. :)

  2. says

    I adore Oregon Chai – but it is expensive to keep around. Thank you for the recipe, Betsy!

    @Danyell: Can you explain your “Traditional” diet? That’s a new one on me :)

    • Danyell says

      @Faye
      I follow “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon. Higher protein and good fats and lower carbs. Nothing processed, raw whole milk, and lots of fresh grass fed raised meat, butter, coconut oil, fresh pastured eggs, and lots of veggies. My health this last year since I started this Traditional eating has taken a 360 degree turn for the better. I have lost 60 lbs and am so healthy. It does go against the norm for eating (as in low fat) and it is hard to belive but is so much better for your body! Check it out.

      • says

        We eat very similar and are very healthy. I’ve never heard it termed “Traditional” but that makes sense. Whole foods are always best, local whenever possible.

  3. Marcia Hill says

    How did you know I was craving this? Where I live overseas, you can’t find this. I was just about to look up a recipe and . . . voila! There it was in my mailbox.

    Thank you so much! I’m making this today!

  4. Tracy says

    I wasn’t necessarily looking for an “instant” mix, just a more efficient way of making chai. Measuring out the spices every time means I don’t make chai nearly as often as I’d like. So I took the suggestion of one of the folks above and left out the powdered milk and will use fresh raw milk each time we make it instead of the powdered milk. I also threw everything in the food processor instead of mixing by hand. Since this makes the blend so fine, I used one tablespoon per cup of tea instead of two. It worked very nicely! My children love it too. I think this will make it to our Christmas gift giving list this year! Thanks, Betsy!

    BTW it fit nicely in a quart mason jar.

    Tracy

  5. Cammie says

    So excited to try this! I love chai tea lattes as well, but (usually) steer clear for the same reasons. Thanks for posting this =)

  6. mary w says

    For cheap carmadon try the middleastern or indian food store. Ethnic ingredients are always cheaper at the appropriate ethnic grocery store.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yes! This is where we got some whole cardamom a while back and I just ground it myself in our Vitamix! Thanks for reminding me about this Mary!

  7. says

    Thanks for the recipe. Not being a fan of white sugar, I left out the granulated sugar (I did leave in the powdered sugar, for creaminess). I stir in a spoonful of honey once the tea is steeped. You could also use Stevia or another sweetener of your choice. I pulverized everything in the blender to make a fine powder that dissolves instantly — this also helps keep the spices from sinking to the bottom. It worked great!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      We don’t use white sugar either…organic cane sugar for this recipe, but definitely use the sweetener of your choice. Honey sounds great!

  8. Norm says

    OMG this is gorgeous!

    I had to go to the shop to buy powdered milk but I had everything else in stock (I used xylitol instead of cane sugar though). I was too scared to put in the pepper but I love it as it is. I would occasionally make my own masala chai from scratch but I would say this tastes just as good. I have also used the ‘instant’ stuff from the shop but it was a rare treat as it’s so expensive. One of the things I love about this is I can use the sort of sweetener I want and the sort of tea I want too (I used a full flavour decaf today). I’ve not gone plastics free (though you’ve put the idea in my head now!) and I had a plastic jar that was heading for the landfill (not recycled in our area) so I rescued that and it’s perfect!

    I did blend mine so I’ll try it with one tablespoon as Tracy suggested and see if it still hits the spot (no gel in mine, just the sediment at the bottom – will swirl in future!).

    Thanks so much for this!
    Normy

    • Betsy Jabs says

      I’m tickled that you’re so pumped about this recipe Norm! It makes my day! :) I’m glad you tweaked it so it was more to your liking…we always encourage that!

    • Tempe says

      Norm — I really like the pepper! You ought to try it with just one cup; make a cup, and sprinkle a little pepper in, to see if you like it. Then, you could pepper up the whole batch if you want to!

  9. Norm says

    There’s only one problem Betsy – it’s addictive! I had to have another cuppa (in the interest of science of course) and one tablespoon was nice but not as gorgeous as the first cup. Works well with 1 1/2 tablespoons though. The fact that mine has xylitol in it will stop me from having it too often, though, or I’ll get undesired side effects, lol!

  10. N C says

    I brew double strength chai tea from a bulk tea. It is pre-seasoned with spices. Store in fridge and add soy, milk. I drink them cold and hot. There is no sugar, which I prefer. You can use plain black tea, add spices and then brew. I have done both. The second method allows me to use more ginger and pepper.
    This can also be done with green tea.

  11. Ashlee says

    I am an AVID Chai drinker. I have a cup every morning when I can. It is my one guilty pleasure. I have been wanting to find a homemade recipe not only for the cost benefits but for the ingredient control. We are going to start trying to get pregnant soon & the idea of having to give up the Chai for the sugar & caffeine was making me very sad. Now I can control the sugars & use decaf tea!!! So excited to give this a try!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yay! Chai lovers unite! Kidding, but I was hoping to help out a few other people like myself with this article. Glad you found it! :)

  12. Norm says

    Good luck Ashlee!

    Yes, I was very pleased to be able to use decaf and my own sweetener too (I used xylitol in the last batch, going to try stevia in the next batch – time to make some more today!).

    Just don’t store it in the same cupboard and in the same style jar as psyllium husks – apparently it looks very similar to ‘some people’, who will then make you the most disgusting cup of tea you’ve ever had!

  13. Tempe says

    Betsy:
    LOVE your chai tea! Because of a digestive issue, I have needed to quit coffee. And I love my coffee! Something I read said that chai might make it easier to quit. Well, I did, and chai did help me.
    I have made my second batch today. I made a few changes — Less milk and replace the milk that is missing with coffee creamer; no nutmeg (too grainy); more ginger and cloves and cinnamon and pepper (I think you can tell I love spices!) I get to try my new batch tomorrow!

  14. Liz McAllister says

    I just stumbled onto this site, and it’s wonderful. I was especially excited to see this particular recipe because I’d tried a chai mix of my own for the exact same reasons, but the only one I found was more of a concentrate than a powder. I’m excited to use this and have it last longer!

    Thank you!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      I’m so excited for you…only because I know how desperate I was to have a recipe like this for myself! Hehehe…hope you enjoy! :)

  15. Tempe says

    Hi, Betsy! Still enjoying your chai recipe — I use it everyday. One day my mix ran out, and I ran out of nonfat dry milk, and so I made a cup with real milk and powdered spices. It sort of worked like this — make a cup of tea, add about a quarter of a cup of milk, a spoon of sugar, and a lot of sprinkles of cinnamon and pepper and ground chives and cardamom. It seemed pretty ok, but I looked online for a recipe that used real milk, and GROUND spices. They all used whole spices, and it sounds like they taste great, but I bet they cost A LOT. Can you think up some ammounts for a dry mix for me that would not use the dry milk, and use real milk. Something like, make your tea with a teabag, add some milk, and add some powdered mix made of cinnamon and ground cloves and ground pepper and ground ginger and ground cardamom. Thanks in advance! Tempe

    • Ashlee says

      I’ve read a lot of people that suggest steeping store bought Chai bags in milk instead of water. I’m willing to bet this would work similarly. Make the mix as directed but without the milk & add to a hot cup of milk & steep your tea in that. Not positive of the order. Some people say to add the tea bags to cold milk on the stove & warm, others say to add the bags to the already hot milk. They all say warming on the stove is best, though. I’m no expert and haven’t tried it at all, just thinking about what you had asked. I would love to know if you try this. You might have to play with the amount of mix you use in each cup to get the ratio right. Best of luck!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      You basically nailed it Tempe! All you would have to do is:
      1. warm up a cup of water/milk (I would try 3/4 milk, 1/4 water for starters…but you may just like all milk as Ashlee suggests),
      2. steep your tea bag,
      3. and add your powdered mix. (Start with just a TINY bit, taste, and add more if needed…keeping in mind it will be very concentrated with spices*.)
      * Your pre-made mix could contain all the spices and sugar in the above recipe. (You could even leave out the powdered sugar since it’s mostly for creaminess…add more sugar to your mix if you like.)
      Let us know how it goes!

  16. Chris says

    Found this recipe yesterday and tried it today, great result – tastes really good! Thanks very much.

  17. Tina says

    So good! My kids love it too! I made it with earl grey and it was excellent! Thank you so much for this natural chai!! I try to make most food all natural and healthy so this was perfect..yummy, quick, and not too expensive! Nice treat for us all..especially on these fall days!

  18. Tempe says

    I have the chai each morning — it’s instead of coffee for me. So, I need to make a new batch every week or so. I have sped up the recipe by not putting vanilla in the recipe (the drying of the sugar takes a while and is an extra chore for me) and so I add a bit of liquid vanilla to the cup I make in the morning. I also don’t do the food-processor. It does make the cup a tiny bit grainy, but it saves a lot of time when I make the batch. This way, I can even make the chai mix the morning that I run out, even if it’s right before work.

  19. Heather says

    This will be an awesome addition to my annual Christmas gift baskets of homemade goodies! Thank you for the recipe….the mix smells heavenly, just waiting for the kettle to whistle and I will be able to taste it!

  20. Sarah says

    ARGHHH! I was recently introduced to Chai and became addicted! The instant chai was becoming an expensive habit so I thought I’d try and make it! I basically made the recipe, using just the spices and half the sugar. Then, I add hot water to a teabag as you would making a cuppa, milk (soy or cow’s), and 2-3 teaspoons of the spice/sugar mix. Can be a little bit grainy but I let it sit for a few minutes to settle and cool down, then skip the last mouthful haha. Works beautifully!! Next time I think I’ll skip the sugar and use vanilla powder if I can get a hold of it, and my usual stevia. Thank you so so much!

  21. Jan says

    Stevia users: how much stevia powder would you suggest for the recipe? I have pure stevia powder, not the stuff in packets that they try to pass off as stevia.

  22. Elaine D says

    Powdered sugar? do you mean confectioners sugar which has corn starch in it?
    or the fine ground sugar used for cold drinks?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Sorry…yes, confectioners sugar. :) You’ll want to purchase organic since it could likely contain GMO corn starch or sugar from GMO sugar beets.

      • Ashlee says

        I’ve been making it without the cardamom or pepper because I couldn’t find either. Well I just found the cardomom & wanted to try it the way the recipe states but couldn’t find white pepper. I’ll keep looking.

  23. dan says

    Is there a vegan alternative to the powdered milk? The mix alone would be good, but having the instant “milk tea” would be awesome.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yes! You could use rice milk powder, coconut milk powder, potato milk powder, almond milk powder, or soy milk powder (although we never recommend soy products). Most of these are available at health food stores or online. Pay close attention to ingredients when purchasing coconut or almond milk powder though, they often contain added dairy products.

  24. Jessica says

    I would have to call myself a chai connoisseur. I have tried chai from every coffee house at least twice. One of my Favorites was Black Scottie Chai from the Firehouse Coffee Shop in Ballard, WA (Seattle) (I MISS YOU!)

    I have NEVER been able to find a substitute for their perfection. I have been settling for whatever others made up.

    You have done it! THANK YOU
    I like spice. The Pepper was the trick!