Authentic Masala Chai

Authentic Masala Chai

Around this time of year, without fail, there is a craving for all the fall spices. Hence, this authentic masala chai recipe is making its way to you. No less from my close friend, Annie and her mama, who are the true pros of this delicious cozy tea. Annie and I are med school pals (and fellow pediatricians!), and always gravitate to having convos about food, which is the best types of chats, no?

Anyways, in true Three TEAS fashion, chai is a frequent point of discussion amongst us. First let’s start off by saying that in both Indian and Iraqi culture we refer to tea as chai – how cool is that? See this Iraqi Chai recipe for proof! And in India, Masala means spice. So there you have it, masala chai = spiced tea.

Chai Spices

As Annie explained, there are a number of common spices that may be in masala chai, but every family gravitates to their own spice variation and method of preparation.

First let’s go through the common spices:

  • Green Cardamom Pods
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Whole Cloves
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Whole Peppercorns
  • Star Anise
  • Fennel Seeds

It’s important to note that the spices are typically whole, rather than ground. In her family, they usually use cardamom and ginger to spice their tea. But by all means, you can add all the above, or any variation.

How to make Masala Chai

Just like the spices, the ratio of ingredients and timing of adding each may vary between families and to taste. Lets quickly go through the typical tea ingredients:

  • Water (optional)
  • Milk or milk alternative
  • Spices – see above
  • Loose black tea or black tea bags – Assam or Darjeeling are common black tea types because they are grown in India, but any black tea variety would work. Annie’s family recommends the brand Tata Tea.
  • Sweetener – white sugar, maple syrup, honey or any other sugar alternative

In this recipe, we start with our chosen spices and equal parts water and milk in a pot. If you are looking for a richer taste, you can skip the water all together. Next, bring it all to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, quickly remove from the heat and add the tea and sweeter and allow to steep for 5 minutes. That’s all it takes!

This method creates for such a balanced cup of tea. Neither the spices nor tea are overpowering, and with the milk and sugar it is just so smooth and tasty. Like I said, all these fall spices – cinnamon, clove, ginger – make this the perfect cup for this time of year. I’d drink THREE cups of TEA to that (YOLO @threeteaskitchen)! Thank you Annie for making my fall dreams come true.

Once again, HAPPY FALL Y’ALL!!

Authentic Masala Chai

This delicious tea is brewed with the warm spices of cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and clove. Kissed with milk and sugar to your liking, it really is the perfect cup of tea.
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 12 mins
Course Tea Time
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2 people


  • 2 tbsp loose leaf black tea, Assam or Darjeeling are common, but any black tea variety would work
  • 4 cardamom pods*
  • ¼ inch fresh ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk or milk alternative**, we used 2% milk
  • 2.5 tsp white sugar or sugar alternative, such as maple syrup or honey, adjust to taste


  • Place spices, water and milk in a small saucepan on stove. Turn stove on to high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Once it starts to boil (the liquid will start to raise in the saucepan) take the saucepan off the heat.
  • Now add the tea and sugar and allow to steep for 5 minutes.
  • Time to enjoy! To serve, place in a tea kettle with a self strainer (like in the pictures above) or strain tea with a sieve and then pour into cups. Makes one large cup or two smaller cups of chai.


Three Teas Tips:
* As mentioned previously, you can use any of the following spices in any quantity you prefer, it is all to taste. 
  • Green Cardamom Pods
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Whole Cloves
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Whole Peppercorns
  • Star Anise
  • Fennel Seeds
The spices we chose in the recipe above is based on our taste, maybe yours too!
** For a richer tasting tea, you can replace the water with just milk. But we find it is a nice balance to have equal parts water to milk. 
Keyword cardamom, Chai, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, tea, tea time

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