Become your own, in-house barista by making this delightful Vanilla Chai Latte at home. It’s so easy, using black tea bags, whole milk (or milk of your choice), and whole spices- cardamom, allspice, cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and ginger. These stunning flavor combinations just scream autumn and are a great alternative to a Pumpkin Spice Latte!
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Vanilla Chai Latte
The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions and ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required and understand the steps and timings involved.
Pumpkin Spice Latte season is upon us, but as an alternative, why not learn how to make a Vanilla Chai Latte at home?
The term “chai” originated from the Hindi word “chai”, which was derived from the Chinese word for tea, cha. In English, this spiced tea is commonly referred to as masala chai, or simply chai, even though the term refers to tea in general in the original language. Numerous coffee houses use the term chai latte or chai tea latte for their version to indicate that it is made with steamed milk, much like that used to make a caffè latte, but mixed with a spiced tea concentrate instead of espresso.Wikipedia
In our chai tea recipe, the black tea bags are steeped directly in warm, spiced milk, rather than water, for a rich and satisfying treat!
You can use your choice of milk when making a Vanilla Chai Latte, be it whole milk as in the recipe, or plant-based alternatives such as coconut or almond milk. (However, be advised that plant-based alternatives will impact the final taste).
For an even more decadent hot drink, you could make a VCL with a combination of milk and heavy (double) cream.
A variety of whole spices are used in this milky drink including cardamom, allspice berries, cloves, star anise, and cinnamon – you can adjust the quantities of each to your personal taste.
For sweetness, we have used honey, but you can use any sweetener that you prefer.
Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe
While most ingredients can be bought in grocery stores, for your convenience, any specialized or notable ingredients (and equipment) needed for this recipe have been listed below and linked to Amazon or other stores if available online.
It does not include staple ingredients such as oil, salt, sugar, etc., as you’re likely to have those in your kitchen. The complete list of ingredients with measurements is found in the recipe card.
- Fresh Produce – Ginger
- Dairy – Whole MIlk – or your milk of choice
- Cardamom Pods
- Whole Allspice Berries
- Whole Cloves
- Whole Star Anise
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Pure Vanilla Extract – always buy good vanilla as it really does make a flavor difference.
- Honey – try to buy locally produced honey when possible.
- Black Tea Bags
Optional Garnish: Ground cinnamon and/or whole star anise
Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog use both cup measurements and/or weighted measurements. American cups and kitchen food scales are handy pieces of equipment to have in your kitchen as it means you’ll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog. I try to give American, imperial, and metric measurements in my recipes. Please note, you can mix cup measurements with weighted measurements, but never mix imperial (pounds, ounces, pints, etc.,) with metric (kilograms, grams, litres, etc.,).
More Recipes Using Tea
One of the hero ingredients in this dish is tea, so here are some more recipes using the same:
- Ginger Peach Iced Tea Recipe
- Fresh & Delicious Passion Tea Lemonade (Starbucks Inspired!)
- Refreshing Blackberry Iced Tea in the Instant Pot for Summer Tea Parties
More Hot Drink Recipes
Looking for more hot drinks to make? Check these recipes out next:
- Pumpkin Spice Irish Coffee with Baileys Irish Cream
- Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe
- Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte
- For a less milky latte, you can brew the tea first in one cup of hot water and stir it into two cups of warm, spiced milk before serving.
- Although whole milk is used in this recipe you can use your choice of milk, a combination of milk and heavy cream, or plant-based alternatives such as coconut or almond milk. However, be advised the plant-based alternatives will impact the final taste.
- Some chai latte recipes recommend ground spices rather than the cracked whole spices as described here. Although ground spices are a bit easier to use, they can leave an unpleasant gritty residue behind even after straining.
- If you can’t find the whole spices in your local grocery store, you can find them online.
How Do I Make Vanilla Chai Latte?
Check out the printable recipe card below with full ingredients and instructions. Any demonstration photos do not print out to save your ink.
- 3 cups whole milk
- 2 Tbsp cardamom pods
- 1 Tbsp whole allspice
- 1 Tbsp whole cloves
- 5-6 whole star anise
- 3-4 (2"/5cm) cinnamon sticks
- 2"/5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp real vanilla extract
- 2-3 Tbsp honey (adjust to suit personal preference)
- 3 black tea bags
- Ground cinnamon and/or whole star anise
- Pour milk into a pan set over slightly less than medium heat.
Tip: Set temperature between medium and medium-low. The milk should get very warm, but not scald.
- Place the cardamom pods, allspice, and cloves in a plastic bag and place them on a cutting board. Gently pound on the spices with a meat mallet or rolling pin just until they crack. (They should remain mostly whole, but opened up a bit).
- Add the cracked spices, star anise, cinnamon sticks, ginger, vanilla extract, and honey to the pan and stir to combine. Simmer for 5-6 minutes until the milk is very warm and fragrant Then add the tea bags to brew for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and discard the tea bags, squeezing first to release as much flavor as possible. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, reserving the liquid. Discard the solids and divide two-thirds of the remaining liquid between individual serving mugs and set aside.
- Pour the remaining mixture into a blender and blend on high for 1-2 minutes, or until a nice foam develops.
Tip: Make sure the blender cap is properly vented to prevent the hot liquid from exploding.
- Divide the liquid from the blender among the serving mugs and top off each with a big spoonful of foam. Sprinkle with some ground cinnamon and garnish with star anise, if desired, and serve immediately. Enjoy!
- Makes 2 (12-oz) servings (as shown) or 4 (6-oz) servings.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 487Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 184mgCarbohydrates: 86gFiber: 7gSugar: 71gProtein: 13g
This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
Make It A Full Meal
You’ve made the post-dinner drink with dessert, but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to make a full meal for a dinner party or special occasion:
- Appetizer: Savory Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
- Soup: Oven-Roasted Fall Harvest Soup with Butternut Squash & Apples
- Salad: Apple Walnut Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Main Dish: Amazing Pecan Crusted Pork Chops with a Fresh Plum Sauce
- Side Dish: Instant Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes – A Quick & Tasty Side Dish
- Beverage: Bourbon Apple Cider Maple Fizz Cocktail
- Dessert: Gluten-Free Black Cherry Crisp Recipe
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy – please feel free to check them out too.