Indian spiced tea, also known as chai masala, is rich and milky with a deep color and spiced flavor. In North America, chai tea is often sold in pre-made tea bags and has a lighter flavor than traditional chai.
While chai translates to “tea”, masala translates to “spice” and is what most Americans are referring to when they mention chai. Chai spice is great in so many recipes, from beverages, both hot and cold, like this masala tea and chai spiced milkshake, to baked goods like this chai pound cake. If you’re looking to make a great chai spiced recipe, but don’t have chai spice on hand, use the substitutes here to recreate the chai flavor we love.
Substitutes for Chai Spice
Chai spice is warming and comforting with a spicy finish. All of these qualities make it perfect for winter recipes. All chai spice blends contain different amounts of each spice, but most chai blends contain the following spices:
- Anise seed
- Green cardamom
- Star anise
- Fennel seed
You can use more or less of any of these spices to adapt to your liking.
Common Chai Substitute Questions
What Is The Best Way To Make Chai (Masala Tea)?
Our favorite combination of spices for chai is:
- 2 star anise
- 2 tablespoons ground cardamom
- 12 whole cloves
- 1 large piece of ginger
- 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
Combine all of these ingredients with 4 cups of milk and 8 bags of black tea and boil for 10 minutes. Strain into a mug and serve with a drizzle of honey or a pinch of brown sugar.
What Is Chai Spice Made of?
Every family recipe is different, but the most common spices included are cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and star anise.