Chai is an amazing tea to use in lots of different ways. Learn how to easily use chai tea in my guide with lots of recipes for cakes, bakes, lattes, iced tea and more.
Chai is a traditional Indian tea that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Traditionally, masala chai is made hot with milk or cream and sugar or honey. However, this aromatic and bold tea can be enjoyed in so many ways such as in buns, pies, hot chocolate and even massage oils!
Common Chai Tea Questions
Here are some commonly asked questions about this unique aromatic spicy Indian tea:
History of Masala Chai
Masala chai originated from India and has been used in Ayurvedic rituals for hundreds and possibly thousands of years. But the masala chai we know and love today is very different to the masala chai used way back then. It wasn’t until the 1800s that black tea was added to the recipe. During the 1800s, the Indian Tea Association (British owned) encouraged Indian workplaces to provide tea breaks for their employees. Brits enjoy tea with milk and sugar and that’s how it was served to Indian workers. They also incorporated traditional Indian spices to the tea to reduce the overall cost of the tea. This is the move that brought about the milky aromatic and sweet masala chai that we enjoy so much all over the world today.
Is Masala the Same as Chai?
The words masala and chai are often confused to have the same meaning, however, the word ‘masala’ means ‘spice’ and the word ‘chai’ means ‘tea’. Masala chai is a traditional Indian mixed spice tea. Sometimes we refer to masala chai as ‘chai tea’ but in actual fact we are saying ‘tea tea’.
What are the Health Benefits of Masala Chai
Masala chai comes with a whole host of health benefits. The spices found in chai vary but almost always include black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger and black peppercorns. Chai is well known to aid in digestion due to the warming and soothing properties found in the tea and the herbs and spices. Tea contains wonderful antioxidants, cinnamon is known to have anti inflammatory properties, cardamom and cloves are known to improve oral health, ginger contains immune boosting properties and black peppercorns for aiding in fighting bacteria.
Can I Drink Masala Tea Everyday?
Many people indulge in masala chai every day and whilst is it considered safe to do so, it is always best to check with your healthcare provider before taking herbal teas and supplements. Everything in moderation is always best!
Is Chai More Healthy Than Coffee?
Both tea and coffee naturally contain caffeine. There are pro’s to drinking caffeine such as the energy boost and con’s such as the jitters. An average cup of black tea will contain around 40mg of caffeine and an average cup of coffee will contain much more at around 95mg. Also, tea contains something called L-Theanine which can counter balance some of the negative effects of the caffeine. Tea can provide an energy boost and promote calmness at the same time which means that getting the jitters is far less likely when drinking tea compared to when drinking coffee.
Read more: Tea for Anxiety
10+ Ways to use Chai Tea
Here are my favourite ways to use this wonderfully warming tea is so many recipes and ideas:
1. How to Make a Masala Chai Latte
A masala chai latte is a very milky tea made with aromatic masala chai and topped with steamed milk. You can enjoy a chai latte hot or iced. Here are some marvellous masala chai latte recipes to try out:
My favourite type of chai latte is THIS simple coconut chai latte. Made by infusing masala chai directly in hot milk with coconut cream and adding a drizzle of smoky maple syrup. I would highly recommend a HUGE slice of this sultana and pecan tea cake with a cup of this warming soothing tea.
Alternatively, you can enjoy a dirty chai latte, this a spiced coffee latte, hence the ‘dirty’ reference. For a dirty chai with a twist, try this dirty dalgona with golden honeycomb. This sweet milky chai is topped with trendy whipped dalgona coffee and sprinkled with golden honeycomb.
Watch: How to Make Masala Chai Lattes
2. How to use Chai in Cakes
Incorporating masala chai into cakes is super easy to do and adds a wonderful bold flavour. Some cake recipes call for the tea to be added directly, sometimes the tea needs to be infused in water or milk before adding to the cake mix. Either way, adding tea to cakes is a great combination! Here are some of my favourite recipes:
One of my favourite masala chai cakes is this masala chai infused carrot bundt cake with zesty orange icing. Carrot cake has been around for thousands of years. Carrots have been used in many cake recipes to provide natural sweetness before sugar was imported into Europe. The recipe for carrot cake has been adapted quite a bit over the years to the carrot cake that we enjoy nowadays.
If you are a fan of carrot cake, you may also like to try this carrot cake pancake cake infused with masala chai. This is a cake made with American style pancakes stacked up and sandwiched with a cashew cream filling.
I also love these chai spiced pumpkin crumble top muffins at Halloween time. Using pumpkin in cake is very similar to using carrots, they are both sweet root vegetables that are used to add natural sweetness to desserts. Carrot cake is perfect for Easter time and pumpkin muffins are perfect for Halloween time. Pair these fall flavoured pumpkin muffins with a pumpkin pie latte. As soon as October arrives, the first thing we do make a huge batch of these muffins. They make the house smell sooo good.
3. How to add Masala Chai to Massage Oils and Ointments
Using tea in creams and oils is wonderfully soothing and so good for the soul. By using masala chai, you don’t only benefit from the tea leaves but the healing herbs and spices too.
I love infusing masala chai into sweet almond oil. Here’s what to do:
QUICK METHOD: Use 50g of loose leaf tea to 200ml of oil. I love using sweet almond oil as it’s great on the skin. Pour the oil into a saucepan and warm on a low heat. Add the tea and stir continuously on low for around 10-15 minutes. Do not allow the oil to heat too quickly or bubble up. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before using a cheesecloth or strainer to separate the oil from the leaves. Store your massage oil in a mason jar and in a cool dry place.
SLOW METHOD: Use 50g of loose leaf tea to 200ml of oil. Pour the oil and tea into a mason jar and secure the lid. Place on a windowsill in direct sunlight for around 14 days. Turn the oil twice a day. After 14 days, use a cheesecloth or strainer to separate the oil from the leaves. Store your massage oil in a mason jar and in a cool dry place.
Using masala chai in massage oil isn’t for everyone. Ayurvedic massage oils are designed to balance out the bodies energy. The herbs and spices in masala chai represent heat and fire (‘pitta’ qualities) and so therefore if a person already has these energies, they will need to balance this with either ‘vata’ or ‘kapha’ qualities. If you have warm skin, you may want to try a mix of olive oil with more cooling herbs.
4. How to Use Masala Chai in Indulgent Hot Chocolate
For this chai infused hot chocolate, I gained my inspiration from Mexican Hot Chocolate. Using masala chai in indulgent hot chocolate is a totally fabulous idea. My hot choc chai is made with milk, cream, dark chocolate chips and is naturally sweetened with either honey, agave or maple syrup. There is also the option to make it dairy free by using coconut cream.
For even more indulgence than my hot choc chai, try my chai spiced mudslide hot toddy. made with aromatic masala chai, milk, cream (or coconut cream), ice cream, whipped cream AND a shot of baileys (or baileys almande). It’s so outrageously good, it could pass for dessert rather than a drink!
Oh and I also make this terrific vegan tipsy hot chocolate with tequila.
5. How to Make Easy Iced Masala Chai
Making iced tea is easy to do, you can either hot brew the tea and pour over ice or cold brew the tea slowly. Here’s how to make iced chai tea:
HOT BREWED METHOD: Use 1 teaspoon of tea (or 1 tea bag) per 1/2 a cup of freshly boiled water, allow to infuse for 3-5 minutes, add a sweetener of your choice and then pour over a large glass of ice. Some teas will require less or more steeping times so it’s always best to follow the package instructions.
COLD BREWED METHOD: Use 1 teaspoon of tea (or 1 tea bag) per 1 cup of cold water, allow to infuse for a minimum of 4-6 hours, overnight is best. Cold brewed iced tea is my favourite way to infuse tea as it provides such a wonderful natural sweetness without any astringency. If using the cold brewed method, you will need to sweeten with simple syrup. Sugar or honey will not dissolve in cold tea as well as in hot tea. Here is a brilliant way to use chai tea in sparkling iced tea!
You can add milk of your choice to your iced chai to make iced chai lattes, just like this indulgent pumpkin spice iced latte recipe.
Read more: What is the best non dairy milk for tea?
6. How to Make Masala Chai Smoothies
Making masala chai smoothies is fantastic too, I love freezing chai into ice cubes and using them in a smoothie. Use them in any of your favourite smoothies to add flavour. I love making these pumpkin spice smoothies. Alternatively, add masala chai ice cubes to an apple and blueberry smoothie, or a carrot and orange smoothie!
If it’s ice cream inspired smoothie bowls you are after, give this chai chunky monkey smoothie bowl a try. We love these smoothie bowls on movie nights in our house. You can make this smoothie bowl in a high powered blender or a food processor. Next time you make a big batch of creamy chai lattes, save some and freeze into cubes ready for your next smoothie bowl.
7. How to Make Masala Chai Infused Mulled Wine
Masala chai is quiet possibly my favourite Christmas time tea. The warming aromatic spices just scream festive spirit and I love to use it lots and lots to make Christmassy treats just like this chai tea mulled wine. Made with masala chai, orange juice and sweetened with a little honey. It reminds me of a spicy hot sangria.
I also make a fab dairy free chai tea eggnog at Christmas too. Made with coconut cream and sweetened with honey or maple syrup. You can even make this vegan by switching the eggs for cashew butter to give it that thick indulgence just like real eggnog. Plus you can add your homemade eggnog to a black tea latte to make a joyful eggnog latte.
The possibilities are endless with chai at Christmas time. I love adding chai to make Christmas cake slices, mince pies and this dairy free chai spiced christmas freezer fudge!
8. How to add Masala Chai to Fruity Pies
Masala chai is the best tea to add to sweet fruity pies! I recently made this apple and blueberry pie and infused it with wonderfully spicy masala chai. I love to soak the fruit in strongly brewed chai to soak up the phenomenal flavours and aromas, before adding the fruit to the pie crust. I love using my homemade paleo shortcrust pie pastry recipe, however, with all of my pies, you can use whatever pastry you prefer. If you have your own favourite pastry recipe or you like to buy shop bought pastry, go ahead and use it for any of these fruity pie recipes:
9. How to add Masala Chai to Tea Time Buns
There really isn’t anything better than enjoying afternoon tea to help with a 3 o’clock afternoon slump. I especially love buns with a hot cuppa. At the moment, I’m loving these Skinny Fat Rascals Made With Masala Chai. If you have ever had a Betty’s fat rascal you will understand my latest obsession! These fat rascals really are quite naughty little rascals. But as the name suggests, they aren’t low in calories (or fat!) So, I decided to create a different, lower calorie version. Instead of butter and sugar, I use mashed banana and a drizzle of maple syrup for a slightly healthier tea time treat.
For something a little less healthy, try these Masala Chai Infused English Rock Cakes. An old English rock cake is a tradition British bun made in a similar way to fat rascals and scones. Just because they are called rock cakes, doesn’t mean they are as hard as rock. A well made rock cake should look like a rock rather than taste like one!
10. How to Infuse Masala Chai Into Cocktails and Mocktails
Creating and making tea inspired cocktails and mocktails is one of my favourite past times. I love infusing the flavours of tea to create interesting drinks. Mixology and tea mixology has been around for about a century and it’s wonderfully creative and great to experiment.
There are no strict rules when creating cocktails and mocktails, it’s all down to personal choice. I love hot tea toddies, earl grey whisky sours, chai mulled wine and tipsy tea hot chocolate!
My favourite wintery masala chai infused cocktail is this Apple and Chai Hot Toddy. This hot tea toddy is perfect for autumn, for halloween, for campfires and paired with s’mores!
If it’s a mocktail you fancy, try this Sparkling Orange and Chai Mocktail. Infusing tea in to mocktails is a brilliant way of adding booze-like astringency and layers of flavour without the actual booze. This sparkling chai mocktail is totally fabulous and if you want to make it a real cocktail, try adding a shot of vanilla vodka :)
Do you have a favourite way of enjoying masala chai?
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