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Homemade Chai Spice

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If you're looking for a little something to jazz up your baked goods, try homemade chai spice! It takes less than 5 minutes to make and it's the ultimate warming spice blend for cooler weather. Here's a simple recipe to keep on hand in your pantry.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
A plate of unmixed ground spices.

I’ve been making this homemade chai spice blend for years now, to the point, that it’s become a staple I always have on hand in my pantry. The concept of ‘chai’ originates from India. ‘Chai’ translates to ‘tea’, and traditional masala chai is a blend of tea with spices and milk. This spice mix is inspired by those flavors and will add richness and depth to your baking.

Using recently opened or freshly purchased spices makes all the difference when making chai spice, as it ensures each is as aromatic and potent as intended. Consider this blend as an alternative to ground cinnamon; it works with many recipes where you would normally use cinnamon. I love chai spice in these (in my opinion terrific) chai-spiced Rice Krispie treats, this carrot cake with pineapple, and this Dutch oven apple crisp.

Beyond the flavor, there’s also an economic advantage. Making your own spice blends not only ensures quality but also cost-effectiveness. Store-bought mixes can be pricey, and often, you’re paying for the brand, not the blend.

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๐Ÿ’ž Why You’ll Love This Recipe

โœ”๏ธ Homemade chai spice is made with basic pantry ingredients.
โœ”๏ธ It keeps for a long time stored in a dark pantry or cupboard.
โœ”๏ธ It’s a nice change from using only cinnamon.

๐Ÿ“‹ Ingredients For Homemade Chai Spice

Ingredients to make homemade chai spice blend.

Ingredient Notes

Note, that all of the following spices are ground.

  • Cardamom: Derived from the seed pods of the cardamom plant, it has a sweet, aromatic flavor that’s often associated with chai. It’s the dominant flavor in this chai spice mix.
  • Cinnamon: Made from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees, it contributes a sweet and woody aroma, making it a staple in chai blends.
  • Ginger: Adds a spicy, warm kick to the mix. Ginger’s zesty undertones complement the other spices and enhance the overall warmth of chai.
  • Allspice: Despite its name, it’s a single spice made from dried berries. It has a flavor reminiscent of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon combined, adding complexity to chai.
  • Black Pepper: Provides a sharp, spicy kick. In chai, it balances out the sweetness of other spices.
  • Nutmeg: Derived from the seed of the nutmeg tree, it offers a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, adding depth to the chai mix.
  • Clove: Made from the flower buds of the clove tree, it has a strong, pungent flavor and aroma, adding a deep warmth to chai blends.

It’s important to note when making substitutions in recipes, the texture and flavor may be slightly different. However, these substitutes are the best options to change the original recipe.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Cardamom: Fennel seeds or a mix of cinnamon and nutmeg can be used as a substitute, though the unique flavor of cardamom is hard to replicate.
  • Cinnamon: Allspice or nutmeg can be used as a substitute, but they’ll give a different flavor profile.
  • Ginger: Allspice or a pinch of nutmeg can be used, but they won’t provide the same warmth as ginger.
  • Allspice: A combination of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg can mimic the flavor of allspice.
  • Black Pepper: White pepper can be used for a milder kick, or cayenne pepper for a spicier alternative.
  • Nutmeg: Mace or allspice can be used in place of nutmeg.
  • Clove: Allspice or a small amount of nutmeg can be used as a substitute, but they won’t replicate the strong, distinct flavor of cloves.

Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top of this post, or scroll to the bottom of the post, to see the PRINTABLE recipe card with ingredient measurements and complete instructions.

๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿณ How To Make Homemade Chai Spice

Process shots 1 and 2.

STEP 1โ€”Measure out the ground spices into a bowl or jar.

STEP 2โ€”Mix together until well combined. Store homemade chai spice in a dark dry cupboard or pantry as you would any other spice. Use as needed.

๐Ÿ—ฃ Expert Tips

1. Use new or recently opened spices, or grind them yourself.
2. To maintain freshness, store your homemade chai spice in a dark, dry spot like a cupboard or pantry.
3. Try playing with the measurements to make your own unique chai spice blend!

A jar of homemade chai spice.

๐Ÿ“ Recipe Notes

  • I like to make a double, or even triple batch to keep on hand for winter and Christmas baking.
  • This recipe is a starting point, and the beauty of homemade blends is the freedom to tweak. Trust your palate and adjust the spices to your liking.
  • While the core ingredients provide a classic chai flavor, don’t hesitate to venture out. Star anise introduces a subtle licorice note, ground fennel seeds add a hint of sweetness, and a pinch of salt can enhance and balance the overall flavor profile.
  • If you’re a fan of a spicier kick, especially in warm beverages, increasing the black pepper can elevate the heat.
  • Store your homemade chai spice blend in an airtight container, preferably in a cool, dark place. Freshness is key, so try to use it within 6 months for the best flavor.
  • Beyond hot drinks, use homemade chai spice in this nut-free granola, mix it into the cookie dough of these carrot cake cookies, or even incorporate it into savory dishes like this coconut milk chili for a unique twist.

๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™€๏ธ Recipe FAQ

Is chai a spice or is it tea?

The word chai actually translates to tea. Masala chai is tea mixed with a bit of milk and spices and is commonly called chai tea or chai latte in North America.

What is chai spice made of?

Recipes vary depending on tradition and preference, however, usually include cardamom, cinnamon, and clove.

Are cinnamon and chai the same thing?

No. Cinnamon is a spice made by grinding the bark of a native Sri Lankan tree called the Ceylon cinnamon tree. The word chai means tea.

Did you make this homemade chai spice? Please rate the recipe and tell me how it went in the comments below. Also, stay in touch with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to see more delicious food and recipes!

๐Ÿ–จ Recipe

A jar of homemade chai spice mix with a teasponn on the surface nearby with spices spilling out of it.

Homemade Chai Spice

Author: Kelly Neil
If you're looking for a little something to jazz up your baked goods, try homemade chai spice! It takes less than 5 minutes to make and it's the ultimate warming spice blend for cooler weather. Here's a simple recipe to keep on hand in your pantry.
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Garnish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 12 servings
Calories 6 kcal

Equipment

  • Measuring spoons or digital kitchen scale
  • Small bowl or glass jar with lid

Ingredients
 

  • 2 tablespoons cardamom, ground
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, ground
  • 1 teaspoon allspice, ground
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper, ground
  • ยฝ teaspoon clove, ground

Instructions
 

  • Mix the ground spices together with a fork or small whisk until well combined. If using a jar, measure the spices directly into the jar, secure the lid, and shake to combine. Store homemade chai spice in a dark dry cupboard or pantry as you would any other spice. Use as needed.

Notes

  • I like to make a double, or even triple batch to keep on hand for winter and Christmas baking.
  • This recipe is a starting point, and the beauty of homemade blends is the freedom to tweak. Trust your palate and adjust the spices to your liking.
  • While the core ingredients provide a classic chai flavor, don’t hesitate to venture out. Star anise introduces a subtle licorice note, ground fennel seeds add a hint of sweetness, and a pinch of salt can enhance and balance the overall flavor profile.
  • If you’re a fan of a spicier kick, especially in warm beverages, increasing the black pepper can elevate the heat.
  • Store your homemade chai spice blend in an airtight container, preferably in a cool, dark place. Freshness is key, so try to use it within 6 months for the best flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 10gCalories: 6kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.01gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 17mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 2IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 0.2mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know on Instagram @kellyneildotcom or tag #kellyneil!

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17 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I really didn’t know that this Homemade Chai Spice can be interchangeable with things we put cinnamon on. I agree. It surely is perfect for the cool weather.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve never made chai spice before, but I’ve always loved it. The aroma and taste just insist you relax. Great ideas for its use, thank for sharing and thanks for the shoutout!

  3. 5 stars
    It’s been on my to-try list for quite a long time, but I guess now that I’ve stumbled upon your post, it is finally time to change that. Really looking forward to it – so excited!

  4. Love the creativity in this post! Love me some chai! One of my all-time favorite drinks. Especially excited about the chai egg nog, yogurt, and French toast! All wonderful ideas!

  5. 5 stars
    Your chai spice combo is really nice, instead of white pepper if you use whole black pepper it will become traditional version.

  6. So glad to have found this. I love making my own spice mixes and blends. I’m a little bit of a spice rack junkie. I never buy the blends because I have the individual spices in my spice rack and can mix and blend as needed.

  7. 5 stars
    Kelly! this is such an awesome post…so informative and wow, who knew there were so many ways to use chai? This is just the perfect autumn post.

    1. Aw, thanks Bernice! I really so use it in almost everything this time of year! Making a batch of chai-spiced rice krispie squares this week. *drool*

  8. 5 stars
    This is definitely the time of year where I make a big batch of chai spice to have on hand for baking. I don’t think the recipe I follow has white pepper in it, so I’ll have to give your recipe a try! And thanks for including so many different recipes that can use chai. I hadn’t thought of adding it to my morning glory cookies, but I’m definitely trying it. Thanks for the shout out Kelly! Pinning. You’ve actually inspired me to create a new Pinterest board for fall baking!

    1. Amazing, thanks so much for sharing Leanne! I found out through another comment that white pepper isn’t traditional but it gives me an excuse to use up the jar I have in my pantry! lol

  9. 5 stars
    Homemade chai spice is the best!!! I used to look around for a chai blend but there was always so much sugar and other stuff in it that didn’t need to be there. This is way better and we use it all the time. I will be giving yours a try, because its always nice to switch it up now and again.

    1. That’s awesome Kristen! It’s so hard to go back to store bought once you realize how easy it is to make it at home. Thanks for stopping by! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. love the site..
    but you do know, that Chai means Tea and Masala means mix, right?
    so, a Chai Tea is really tea tea..
    but i do love the site, and seeing as how i from across the harbour originally, i give full props to the down east flavour of your project..

  11. 5 stars
    Wow I had no idea that this combination was a ‘Chai’ mix. I make very similiar except I don’t add Allspice and use less Cardamom. I also use ground White pepper.

    I always put my combination into anything Gingerbread I make. Next time I will add some Allspice and up the amount of Cardamom, since Cardamom is one of my favs!

    Thanks for the recipe.

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