An easy dairy-free Homemade Masala Chai that is full of incredible depth of flavor, rich aromas and the perfectly-spiced coziest mug to warm you up! Cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, cardamom, allspice and cloves infuse amazing flavor and this will surely become your new go-to.
Meet one of my favorite things to drink...Masala Chai. Just as I shared in my Instagram stories earlier this week and that I stated yesterday on Instagram this was coming, you all were messaging for me to share my recipe, so here it is! I am a lover of all things spice-related. I've mentioned this many times on the blog before, but I love cinnamon, ginger and chai spice more than even chocolate. Nothing beats a hot cup of masala chai.
I've bought many chai blends from the store and they are always, just ok, not ever quite flavorful enough for me. Also, oddly enough, for some reason anytime I drink tea, I get a headache. Makes no sense because it can't be caffeine-related since coffee doesn't do it. I have no clue why. Because of this, I've stopped buying tea pretty much.
That's what is kind of funny about my recipe, I didn't actually even use any tea in this recipe, so it's optional. Funny, since chai means "tea" but I promise you, it doesn't need the tea bag and this way I know it's 100% good for me too and caffeine-free and also safe for kiddos. I'd highly suggest making the recipe as written exactly first and then you can see if you want to even bother adding it.
Served with my Dark Chocolate Biscotti....also coming to the blog..
My purpose of creating this recipe is to have something warming, delicious, satisfying and completely healthy for me.
There are a ton of recipes for masala chai and they are all completely different. Some use a lot of milk, some use a little, and many recipes call for different blends of spices as well as the methods are all over the place. I came up with what I loved the most for ease, comfort and getting the most flavor. I found simmering the spices, cinnamon sticks and fresh ginger for 15 minutes infused SO much flavor.
'Masala" simply means "blend of spices", so I used what I wanted in mine to give the exact flavor I wanted. Although, I kept with the very authentic spices of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cloves. Some use fennel or star anise but I wanted this recipe to be the easy-to-find ingredients and not require a mortar and pestle. I also do not want the flavor of fennel in mine. I like it in savory recipes, but not my drinks.
HOW DO YOU MAKE A DAIRY-FREE MASALA CHAI?
- organic cinnamon sticks, trust me on this, it makes all the difference!
- fresh ginger, don't skimp on true flavor by using powder
- ground allspice
- ground cloves
- black peppercorns
- dairy-free milk
- pure maple syrup
You simply add all of the spices and simmer them for 15 minutes and the water gets infused with so much flavor. Add the milk (if desired) and heat through and then strain.
Using fresh cinnamon sticks and fresh ginger really is SO much better than powder and the smell is fantastic.
A note about the cinnamon sticks, please do not ask to sub with ground cinnamon. This recipe is tailored to using real cinnamon sticks. The rich aroma and depth of flavor from the cinnamon sticks is simply amazing, so don't skimp on it! I got mine at Sprouts. Make sure you are buying organic for the best flavor.
Also, as you can see from the photos, I have 2 versions. One with milk and one without. Classic masala chai is made with a blend of both milk and water. I actually prefer it with just all water. Why?? Well, simply, the spices are more potent and rich that way! The milk version is good, but it's more mild since the milk dilutes the intensity a bit. Try both ways and see which you prefer.
Other Chai Recipes:
Homemade Masala Chai
- 4 organic fresh cinnamon sticks you really want new organic for best flavor, don't pick some from the back of your pantry that are years old
- 1 1/2 inch chunk of peeled/freshly grated ginger 15g, fresh is needed here for the best flavor)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons 40g pure maple syrup
- 3 1/2 cups water if using the milk otherwise use 4 1/2 cups water if only using water
- 1/2 cup 120g your favorite non-dairy milk, keeping in mind they will all yield different creamy and flavor aspects, I used "lite" coconut milk
- Peel the ginger and weigh it for best results (15g) so you get the right level of ginger and kick in the recipe. This recipe comes out wonderfully spiced and a nice kick, but not overly so at all.
- If making the milk version, add 3 1/2 cups water to a medium pot. If wanting to only use water, add 4 1/2 cups.
- Add the cinnamon sticks, peeled and grated ginger (I just grated it right over the pot and roughly chopped the remaining that I couldn't finish grating. Add the cardamom, crushed black peppercorns, allspice, cloves and syrup.
- Give it a good stir and bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to low to a gentle simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Proceed to the next step if using milk or tea bags. Otherwise, it's done at this point for just the water and caffeine-free version.
- Now, if using the milk, add the 1/2 cup milk now after the 15 minutes. We are only using 1/2 cup here because we don't want a bland overly milky drink, which would just dilute all those wonderful spices too much! I find 1/2 cup to be perfect. Add the milk, give it a stir and bring back to a boil, let it simmer 2-3 minutes and remove from the heat.
- If using a tea bag, add 1-2 tea bags per preference of strength and cover with a lid. Let it steep 3-5 minutes.
- Strain all of the masala chai over a large bowl with a very fine mesh strainer to catch all of the ginger bits, cinnamon sticks, etc. and any tea bags.
- Drink and enjoy! And AS GOOD as this is right away, the flavors even further intensify and taste even MORE incredible the next day. So, store any leftovers in the fridge and reheat in the morning and drink that mug of spice heaven.