The Best Homemade Chai Masala

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Chai Masala by Indiaphile.info

Chai is one of those drinks that evokes strong memories of childhood for me. There is nothing quite like a cup of chai to help lift my spirits. But it must be good chai because badly made chai can do just the opposite!

The secret to a great cup of chai is the masala, the spice mixture. When I was growing up my mom was always experimenting with her chai. She would tweak the recipe one way or another, sometimes adding new ingredients. More than a few times we woke up to orange-zest chai. That was my least favorite of her experiments. All of her trial and error was worth it in the end because now she makes the best chai in the world!

Dried ginger for chai masala by indiaphile.info

Even though my mom still experiments with her chai, she has a masala that serves as the base of most of her chais that she will then add other ingredients to, such as lemongrass, mint, extra black pepper or ginger for an extra kick.

In our house, Steve and I usually only have chai as a weekend treat. But I love having this chai masala on hand. It makes a delicious cup of chai with minimal effort and without having to open too many spice jars. This is the recipe for my mom’s chai masala that she has worked on and perfected over the years. Her secret ingredient is saffron! This masala lets me make a chai that comes close to but is never quite as good as hers!

Chai Masala by Indiaphile.info

Chai Masala by Indiaphile.info

Chai Masala by Indiaphile.info

Chai masala

The Best Homemade Chai Masala

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 50
Calories: 3kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ginger powder
  • 2 tbsp cardamom ground
  • 1 tsp nutmeg grated
  • 1 1/2 tsp cloves ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper ground
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon ground
  • 1/4 tsp saffron

Instructions

  • Mix all the ingredients and store in an air tight container.

Notes

Notes:
I always start off with whole spices to get the best flavor. I grind them individually in a coffee grinder and then mix them to make the masala.
When I made this batch of masala, I did not have any dried ginger on hand. So I just cut up a ginger root into slices and stuck it in the oven at 200 degrees for about 2.5 hours. Perfectly dried ginger! Then I just ground that up in the coffee grinder.
You can grind most of your spices in a coffee grinder. I have one just for spices that I don’t use for coffee. Grind some white rice in the grinder a few times to clean it out between spices you don’t want to mix.
Feel free to experiment with the proportions depending on the flavors you like most.

Nutrition

Serving: 5g | Calories: 3kcal | Potassium: 8mg | Vitamin C: 0.1% | Calcium: 0.6% | Iron: 0.7%

Comments on "The Best Homemade Chai Masala"

  1. March 1, 2013
    El Oso con Botas:

    Beautiful work of photography, beautiful mortar and great recipe ;)

    1. March 1, 2013
      Puja Thomas-Patel:

      Thank you so much! I love your photos as well! :)

  2. March 1, 2013
    kitchen queen:

    Tea is incomplete without this masala.

    1. March 1, 2013
      Puja Thomas-Patel:

      It sure is! :)

  3. March 2, 2013
    Simone:

    I've been seeing recipes for chai so many time now that it would be a sin not to make it! Love the sound of this recipe and will definitely try it. Thanks so much in sharing yours for the home made challenge! Loving the photos!

    1. March 3, 2013
      Puja Thomas-Patel:

      Thanks Simone! I am so glad you're going to make this chai. I'd love to hear how it works out! :)

  4. September 19, 2013
    Claire:

    Thank you for this beautiful post, but how do you use the masala spices, tea, and milk into chai? What are the proportions and do you need to strain out the spices before serving in a cup? Thank you!

    1. September 19, 2013
      Puja Thomas-Patel:

      Hi Claire. Here's the post I did for chai. https://indiaphile.info/chai/
      Let me know if you have any questions. :)

      1. October 15, 2013
        goodgirl:

        Thank you so much for this recipe! It sounds delicious and with cold winter coming up around here, it will be perfect for a cosy evening :).

  5. December 9, 2013
    renkiyo7:

    Hello, I'm on a mission to make the perfect cup of chai.

    The best chai I ever had in America was from Kasa eatery. Their chai has a wonderful pop of cardamom in it, along with other spices and a rich tea taste. I'm wondering if ground spices are better to use than whole spices? I heard that grinding the spices in small batches can bring out the flavor a little better.

    1. December 10, 2013
      Puja Thomas-Patel:

      Hello,
      This ground spice mix is what my mom uses to make chai. I know I'm biased, but I think my mom makes the best chai around!
      Grinding the spices increases the flavor and aroma of the spices. Because ground up spices lose flavor faster, I grind mine in small batches (just as the recipe above). This recipe makes about 1/2 cup of chai masala. If you don't think you can use up that much within a couple of months, just halve the recipe when you make it.

  6. January 26, 2014
    m1tal:

    What a lovely page. I am also a true chai fan in Vancouver missing my mum's homemade recipe, but I discovered Trudy Ann's Bombay Masala Chai. She's Vancouver-based and only really sells at local Farmers Markets and stores, but she now sells online and her recipe is spot on! I like your suggestion of saffron - will definitely try it!

    1. February 7, 2014
      Trudy Ann:

      Lovely recipe and beautiful pictures!!! Thanks m1tal for the mention of my chai. Well done Puja.

  7. March 22, 2015
    The Gourmet Gourmand:

    Where do you get your cinnamon?? It is beautiful!

    1. March 22, 2015
      Puja Thomas-Patel:

      Thanks Sarah!
      I just get it at the local ethnic market. :)

  8. September 16, 2015
    Marc Lamarre, Montréal, CANADA:

    Namasté!

    I have been a spice nut since I don't know when... Visiting India, Nepal and Sri Lanka was a spice nut dream come true!!! It could be interpreted as weird but I put chai masala in my homemade bread. I just can't live without it!!! Very destabilizing, very unusual taste but once tasted: there is no coming back to white bread. Dhanyavard!

    Marc. Lamarre, [email protected]

    1. September 16, 2015
      Puja Thomas-Patel:

      Hi Marc,
      Thanks for your comment! Adding chai masala to bread actually sounds really good. I'll try it the next time I make bread. Thanks for the tip!
      Puja

      1. October 4, 2015
        michele:

        Sounds like a wonderful fall recipe! Do you measure the cloves and pepper before or after you grind them?
        Thanks

        1. October 4, 2015
          MarcLamarrer:

          Hi!\Namasté!

          Take all desired spices and weigh them before grinding. After, I mix them with flour before adding wet liquids (water/milk). Marc

  9. December 27, 2015
    Mckenzie:

    How much black tea would you recommend adding to the masala and what kind?

    1. December 29, 2015
      Puja @ Indiaphile:

      Hi McKenzie. I have a recipe for chai that you can refer to https://indiaphile.info/chai/ . Any blank tea would work but an Indian Darjeeling or Assam is always nice. Enjoy!

  10. April 17, 2018
    Abu bakr:

    This is the greatest chai Masala I've ever seen, it include saffron.
    Thanks alot for this post. Could you believe that, after making your own recipe, I had to discard the previous spice.

    Beautiful picture, and lovely cinnamon stick.

  11. August 20, 2018
    Bruce L:

    Hi Puja, just what I was looking for. I have to say I cheated and used pre-ground spices, so it's not as good as it should be, but I do go through a lot, so to feed my masala chai addiction every day at work without having to resort to expensive pre-made spice blends or "chai" tea bags (which here in Scotland seem to be uniformly bland and disappointing no matter how much money one spends on them) this is perfect. The next best thing to being able to pop out to the chai wallah, thank you!

  12. November 21, 2018
    Lisa:

    This chai masala is exquisite! I would like to know how much to use in combination with tea and water please.

    1. November 27, 2018
      Puja Thomas-Patel:

      Hi Lisa! I'm so glad you like it. We love it too! I would recommend using about 1/2 teaspoon per 3 cups of liquid and adjust based on taste. Here's a recipe. https://indiaphile.info/chai/

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