Homemade Masala Chai Spice Blend
Homemade Masala Chai Spice Blend, a tasty spice blend of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and black pepper. Perfect for chai tea lattes and as a chai spice for baked goods. Let’s get spicy!
Are you a chai tea lover? I enjoy a good chai latte afternoon pick-me-up or late-night herbal tea before bed. I firmly believe in the power of ritual and think there is real magic in taking a few moments for yourself every day — and having a chai tea is a great way to savor a few minutes for yourself.
You may order a chai tea regularly, but did you know you can make your own batch of masala chai spice mix to use at home? I love mixing together this rich spice mix and using in drinks or baked goods, or even giving as gift to friends and family for holidays and birthdays.
Want the recipe for this great make-ahead Homemade Masala Chai Tea Spice Blend? Let’s do it!
What is Masala Chai?
So, first things first, what is masala chai? While there are many chai spice recipes floating around, “chai” actually just means “tea” in India…so when you say “chai tea” you're actually saying “tea tea.”
Most English-speakers associate the word “chai” with what is actually masala chai, a tea with spices. There are many different variations of masala chai, but most use green cardamom as a base and usually also have cinnamon, ginger, cloves, fennel seed, and black pepper. Other recipes add more spices as well, including star anise, nutmeg, vanilla, and cloves.
Spices used in this Homemade Masala Chai Spice Blend
I tested many different variations of this masala chai blend recipe before landing on what I’ve found to be the perfect blend, including:
Cardamom is a strong spices made from the small pods of the Zingiberaceae plant species, which is grown in India and Southern Asia. It is used in both sweet and savory Asian cuisines, as well as more widely in baking.
Cardamom contains antioxidants which may reduce inflammation and may have antibacterial effects.
Cinnamon comes from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree species, which is grown in Southern Asia, specifically China and Indonesia. The bark is dried and then ground to produce ground cinnamon, which is commonly used in baked goods.
Like ginger, cinnamon has a long history of use as a digestive aid and some research suggests it may have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Cloves are small flower buds from a tree in the Myrtaceae family that is native to Indonesia. The small buds are dried and used whole or ground as spice for culinary use.
Cloves are a traditional remedy for pain, particularly toothache, in many Asian cultures, however research is inconclusive and consuming large amounts of cloves (much more than this recipe uses) may cause issues with those with liver damage.
Ginger is a cousin of turmeric, and is a flowering perennial plant with a root that is used in cooking both raw and dried and ground into ginger powder.
Ginger is from the southern part of India and Asia, as has long been used to cure nausea and upset stomach, and some studies show that ginger creates a calming effect when consumed.
Nutmeg is made from the ground seed of the Myristica tree, an evergreen tree found in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. It is used in both sweet and savory dishes worldwide and is used in alternative medicine for pain relief and digestion.
Black pepper is the ground spice made from the peppercorn fruit from the Piperaceae plant, which is native to Southern India but is now also grown in Vietnam. It is now a staple spice used in cuisines throughout the world.
How to make Homemade Masala Chai Spice Blend
This simple spice mix recipe for masala chai is super easy to make and is ready in three easy steps:
- Simply add ground cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and black pepper in large bowl and mix well with a whisk or wooden spoon.
- When you’re ready to make a chai latte, just add 1-2 teaspoons of the masala chia spice mixture to a milk of your choice (hot or with ice) with a black tea bag.
- Alternatively, to make a traditional chia tea simply steep a black tea bag in hot water and add a splash of milk and masala chia spices.
- Sweeten if you like a sweeter taste, and enjoy.
Storing this spice blend is simple: store in an airtight jar or container in a cool dry place until needed. Because spices have a long shelf life, this can be kept for up to two or three years.
Spices don’t necessarily go rancid, or bad, they just lose their flavor potency after time, so use your judgement on the flavor if they’ve been stored for awhile (it definitely won’t make you sick to eat spices past their due date, they just may not taste as good).
This chai spice mix can also be used in other foods as well: add it to your oatmeal, cookies, cakes, vegetables, curries, soups, stews, or even over meats like chicken or seafood. The possibilities are endless!
Homemade Masala Chai Spice Blend: Tips, tricks, and tools
This simple chia spice blend recipe is as easy as mixing together the ground spice in a bowl with a whisk (literally), but there are a few tips and tricks I recommend to make sure you are buying ethical, sustainable, and fair trade spices:
- Go Fair Trade Certified: the world’s spice industry is large and many of the most common spices are grown and processed in countries that do not have fair working wages or who have very serious human rights violations. For this reason I try to always source my spices from Fair Trade Certified makers.
- Spice brands we believe in: Frontier Co-op, Curio Spice, Oaktown Spice are all Fork in the Road favorites
- Buy the good stuff: once you begin building your spice cabinet with well-sourced spices, you will notice the flavor difference compared to what you picked up at the local store. Spending a little more to ensure you’re sourcing from fair supply chains you’ll feel good AND your food will likely taste better. And you’ll find that a little of the good stuff goes a long way.
- Buy in bulk when possible: my local organic grocer has an amazing bulk section with organic, fair trade spices; do a little research in your area and see what your local store carries. If they don't have what you need, just ask! Many grocery buyers are happy to stock what you need
Love this simple DIY chai spice blend recipe? Check out our other spice blend recipes, like our favorite Homemade Golden Milk Spice. A perfect DIY golden milk mix full of antioxidants!
Did you make this Homemade Masala Chai Spice Blend? Leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let us know how it turned out. Save this spice recipe for later by pinning to your favorite winter Pinterest board and make sure to tag me on Fork in the Road’s Instagram to show me your chai spice creations!
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper (optional)
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, and black pepper and mix with whisk until well combined.
- To use: use as a spice blend in cookies, cakes, pancakes, as a topping for oatmeal, or add spices to black tea or to milk for a twist on traditional masala chai.
- Notes: This spice blend uses ground spices, which means it is best used in baked goods or as a spice topping. It can be added to a tea bag, however chai tea blends using whole spices instead of ground will make for better chai tea.
- Tools Needed: This spice blend recipe is very minimal and only requires glass mixing bowls and a whisk.
- Prep Ahead: This chai spice blend recipe is perfect to make ahead and save to use in baking throughout the year.
- Leftovers and Storage: Store in an airtight container (leftover jam or mason jars are great!) until needed. Over time spices will lose their potency but won't necessarily go "bad," so use your judgement. However, this blend will still taste and smell great after one year.
- Nutrition notes: This spice blend does not contain sugar, so it's a great spice addition to add flavor with adding calories.
Serving Size:2.5 teaspoons (1 serving)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 3Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g