Homemade Chai Masala Powder

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This easy and aromatic recipe for chai masala powder is the best way to help you make a comforting cup of authentic and fragrant masala chai in a hurry!

A small bowl of chai masala with a spoon in it.
Chai masala

There are so many different ways Indians enjoy their cup of tea. The most popular ones are ginger tea (adrak wali chai), cardamom tea (elaichi chai), and Indian masala chai (spiced Indian tea).

Ginger and cardamom tea are relatively easy to make when compared to masala chai. This is because masala chai calls for a spice mix that, when made fresh, can take a few minutes to prep.

And that’s when having a pre-made spice mix comes in handy!

This homemade chai masala powder is the perfect way to make the signature blend of spices in advance. You will be ready to make a creamy, frothy, and aromatic cup of masala chai at a moment’s notice.

Perfect for guests or for whenever you get a hankering for this Indian masala tea.

What is chai masala?

Chai masala powder is a powdered blend of spices that craft the perfect cup of Masala Chai, which is a popular milky Indian tea made with black tea and fragrant spices.

While the blend of masala tea spices that goes into homemade chai masala can vary greatly by family, it most often contains ginger, cardamom, cloves, fennel, black peppercorns, and small amounts of cinnamon. Nutmeg and crushed rose petals are also popular additions.

Chai masala powder is prepared by toasting and blending the spices into a powder and then using it as an easy shortcut to make a frothy, silky, and perfectly spiced cup of masala chai.

It’s a great time saver and is surprisingly simple to make at home.

Chai masala also goes by a variety of alternate names, including:

  • Tea masala
  • Chai ka masala
  • Indian tea masala
  • Spiced masala chai mix
  • Masala chai spice mix
  • Masala chai powder
  • Tea masala powder
  • Indian chai masala
A hand holding a small container of homemade tea masala powder.
Tea masala powder

History

The history of chai masala is intertwined with the history of the beverage the blend creates: masala chai. It’s not exactly clear when Indian tea vendors began grinding their spices in advance, but we do know that it is a very popular way to make this traditional beverage in many Indian households. 

Masala chai (pronounced muh·saa·luh chai) began as an ayurvedic drink, dating back over 500 years, and was often used as a medicinal beverage. It wasn’t until the British colonization of India that black tea leaves were added, and finally, milk was added in the 1900s. 

Due to mandated tea breaks during colonization, chaiwallahs (tea vendors) started popping up everywhere to serve Indians their daily cups. To cover up the low-quality tea that British growers were producing, the vendors added spices and milk, creating what we now refer to as Masala chai.

Benefits

Chai masala is a blend of aromatic spices, many of which contain their own individual health benefits. Chai masala contains spices that aid with digestion, inflammation, immunity, and many other ailments. It’s also low in calories and is a delicious addition to a healthy diet.

Reasons to love this recipe

You should make chai ka masala at home not only because it is cheaper and better than storebought but also because it is..

  • Completely customizable – you can tailor the ingredients according to your preference.
  • More potent than storebought – a tiny bit goes a long way.
  • Has no fillers/additives like storebought ones – Made with ingredients that are good for you.
  • Helps you make masala chai quickly whenever you have a hankering for it.

Here’s what you need to make the recipe

Chai masala ingredients

Most of the spices used in this spiced tea mix have medicinal properties. A few are high in antioxidants (cloves, cardamom), some help digestion (fennel seeds, dry ginger powder), and a few help reduce inflammation (black peppercorns, cloves).

  • Cinnamon sticks (dalchini): A traditional aromatic spice that is warming and comforting.
  • Cloves (laung): This pungent spice is a common and traditional addition to chai masala.
  • Fennel seeds (saunf): Offer additional sweetness and adds a cooling element to the tea.
  • Green Cardamom (elaichi): Whole pods add sweetness and fragrance to homemade chai masala.
  • Nutmeg (jaiphal): Has a rich aroma and a bittersweet flavor. If using store-bought nutmeg powder, just use a pinch.
  • Black peppercorns (kal mirch): Has a sharp and mildly spicy flavor that adds heat to the mix.
  • Dry ginger powder (adrak powder or sonth): Has a strong aroma and pungent flavor.
  • Crushed rose petals – for fragrance.
  • Saffron (optional) – adds a sweet aroma.

To prepare Masala Chai:

  • Black tea leaves
  • Water
  • Whole milk
  • Sugar
The spices needed to make a chai masala mix.
Ingredients for tea masala

Tools

Mortar and pestle or Coffee/spice grinder – For crushing the spices into a coarse powder.


TIPS

  • Make a smaller batch since its potency reduces with time.
  • Store it in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place.
  • As with any spice powders, use a clean, dry spoon when scooping out masala chai powder.
  • Lightly toast the spices on low heat for 15-20 seconds to draw out the moisture making it easy to crush and increasing shelf-life.
  • To avoid the bitter aftertaste, always add the ground chai masala after the milk has been added and has come to a boil.

How to use chai masala

To use your masala chai powder, use about 1/4 teaspoon of the mixture for 1 cup of tea, or add a bit more if you like it spiced up.

Here’s how you can chai masala to make tea

  • First, bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat and add tea leaves and sugar.
  • Allow the tea to steep for 1-2 minutes. Then, add milk to the tea mixture and return to the heat.
  • Bring the milky tea to a boil, add in the chai masala powder and mix well.
  • Turn off the heat and allow to rest for 30 seconds, then strain and serve.

Variations to try

  • Vary the recipe by season: During summer, increase the amount of cooling spices such as fennel seeds, and rose petals, whereas, in winter, you can increase the amount of dry ginger powder.
  • Don’t have ground ginger in your pantry? Skip it and instead use freshly minced ginger instead. Grate a 1-inch ginger piece and add it while boiling water.
  • Herbs: Either you can add fresh mint leaves and holy basil (tulsi) while making tea or add the crushed dried-up version to the masala powder. Some even add lemongrass to their tea – though I haven’t tried it.
  • Love spices? You can experiment by adding mace or star anise. Remember, when it comes to spices, less is more.
  • Amp up the fragrance – Make your masala tea powder even more aromatic by adding a few strands of saffron.
A small glass of masala chai.
Masala Chai

Storage tips

Store your homemade chai masala in an air-tight container for up to 3 months at room temperature. For a longer storage time, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Pink circle with light bulb

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to toast the spices for chai masala?

You can skip toasting the spices when you are making the masala for one-time use. Toasting is important if you make a big batch because doing so removes the moisture, makes it easier to grind and increases shelf-life.

Is Chai masala good for health?

Chai masala contains many aromatic spices well-known for their health benefits, including cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, and fennel. Many of these spices aid digestion, inflammation, immunity, and other common ailments.

What’s the difference between chai and masala chai?

The word “chai” means tea, even though, in the American context, it refers to tea made with spices. American chai was inspired by Indian Masala chai, but it is not the same. Masala chai is an Indian milky tea beverage that was first made by street vendors with an aromatic blend of spices. It includes black pepper, fennel, cloves, cardamom, and just a small amount of cinnamon. The American version is very sweet and contains a lot of cinnamon, making it an entirely different drink.

Other homemade spice mix recipes to try

  • Sambar masala powder – Sambar powder is the quintessential spice mix you will find in most South Indian homes.
  • Kundapur masala powder – Cut your cooking time for Mangalorean dishes substantially by making Kundapur masala powder ahead of time.
  • Rasam powder – A zesty, aromatic spice blend from South India that makes rasam (a tangy lentil-based soup) taste so darn good.
  • Roasted cumin powder (Bhuna Jeera) – A one-ingredient recipe for a warming, aromatic spice that provides a nutty flavor to any dish it seasons. 

Homemade chai masala powder recipe

A small container of chai masala mix.

Homemade Indian chai masala

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This easy recipe for chai masala powder is the perfect way to help you make a comforting cup of authentic masala chai in a hurry!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 6 minutes
Servings: 5 tablespoons
Diet : Gluten-free, Nut-free, Vegetarian
Course : Beverages, Spice mix
Method: Blender
Cuisine : Indian

Ingredients
  

Chai masala

Masala Chai

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 teaspoons tea leaves
  • 4-6 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon chai masala

Instructions
 

Chai masala

  • Place a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat. Add all the spices except dry ginger powder and rose petals. Toast them for about 30-60 seconds.
  • Transfer the spices to a plate and let it completely cool down.
  • Blend the spices to a coarse powder along with dry ginger powder and rose petals.
  • Store it in an air tight container for up to 3 months.

Masala Chai

  • Boil water in a saucepan kept over medium heat.
  • Once the water comes to boil, add tea leaves and sugar. Let the tea leaves steep in the water for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add milk to the tea mixture and let it come to a boil.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of chai masala and mix well. Turn off the heat in about 30 seconds. Note: You need only 1/4 teaspoon for 1 cup of tea. Add more or less as desired.
  • Strain and serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Use your serving cup to measure the water and milk to have the exact amount of tea to serve.
  2. Add a teaspoon of grated or minced ginger to make masala ginger tea. 

Variations to try

  • Vary the recipe by season: During summer, increase the amount of cooling spices such as fennel seeds, and rose petals, whereas, in winter, you can increase the amount of dry ginger powder.
  • Don’t have ground ginger in your pantry? Skip it and instead use freshly minced ginger instead. Grate a 1-inch ginger piece and add it while boiling water.
  • Herbs: Either you can add fresh mint leaves and holy basil (tulsi) while making tea or add the crushed dried-up version to the masala powder. Some even add lemongrass to their tea – though I haven’t tried it.
  • Love spices? You can experiment by adding mace or star anise. Remember, when it comes to spices, less is more.
  • Amp up the fragrance – Make your masala tea powder even more aromatic by adding a few strands of saffron.

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Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Calories: 37kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.3gSodium: 7mgPotassium: 144mgFiber: 4gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 11IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 2mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

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Keyword : Authentic, homemade, spice mix

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