Masala Chai Latte

These aromatic Masala Chai Lattes boast delicious complexity from the blend of spices brewed with the tea. The spices used to make chai in India vary by region and even by household, so adjust them to your preference. These lattes get a little subtle heat from fresh ginger and black peppercorns, and earthy, warming notes from cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. Crushing the cardamom pods before quickly toasting them in the saucepan with the other spices helps them release their flavor. After the ingredients have simmered and the tea has had time to steep, all that's left is adding milk and straining the mixture so you have nice, smooth lattes. The drink isn't too sweet — there's less than a tablespoon of sugar in each serving — which allows the flavors of the black tea to shine. The milk level is also balanced so that the aromatics still come through. Chill the lattes in the fridge for a few minutes and then add ice for something cool and refreshing, or heat the mixture for a few more minutes to serve it warm.

Masala Chai Latte
Photo: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Christina Daley
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
25 mins


  • 8 green cardamom pods

  • 5 whole cloves

  • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 4 individual-size black tea bags

  • 1 whole nutmeg, grated (about 1/2 teaspoon)

  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk


  1. Using bottom of a mug or small bowl, crack open cardamom pods. Heat a medium saucepan over medium. Add cracked cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, and fennel; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Add water and ginger to mixture in pan; bring to a simmer over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer, undisturbed, 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar until dissolved. Add tea bags to submerge, and stir lightly. Lightly stir in nutmeg; cover and steep 10 minutes.

  3. Add milk to mixture in pan. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a medium-size heatproof bowl or carafe; discard solids. Serve over ice, or return to pan, and heat over medium, undisturbed, until milk is warmed through, about 2 minutes.

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