Vanilla Masala Chai Sweetener

vanilla masala chai sweetener from

There’s something about the combination of warm cinnamon, floral cardamon and spicy ginger in strong, black tea that just heats down to your core on these cold winter days.  It’s a great way to add some kick to dreary days, especially as we near the end of winter and it seems like the sun is never going to come back out!  I crave masala chai on these days, and the last thing I want to do is go outside to the nearest coffee shop or Indian restaurant to get it.  So I needed a way to bring chai into my home!

I tried chai tea bags, but they just don’t do it for me.  The spices aren’t strong enough for me.  Chai concentrate or syrup is slightly better, but then you have to make sure you have milk or cream on hand (which isn’t always the case in our house!).  I’ve seen these chai sweeteners that add spices to sweetened condensed milk floating around this crazy interweb lately, and it seemed like the best of everything I wanted: milky AND sweet AND spicy!  Just add a spoonful to ridiculously strong black tea (and maybe a squeeze of honey) and you’re all set. 

vanilla masala chai from

I added vanilla to the mix, which isn’t traditional. But I think it really accents the cinnamon and spices beautifully.  You can simply leave it out if you’re more of a traditionalist.

Just a few notes: your results will vary based on how strong and fresh your spices are.  In particular, you may wish to start with less nutmeg, clove and cardamon, because too much of these spices can make your chai a little bitter.  Add more in 1/4 teaspoon increments until you’re happy with the balance of spices.  Also, I still needed a touch more sweetener in my tea so I added some honey to the tea itself.  There wasn’t quite enough sweetener in the condensed milk for me, but that’s a matter of personal taste.  

Keep a small jar in your office refrigerator to make yourself a fancy breakfast or afternoon treat.  Just don’t label the jar, in case your coworkers discover your secret stash.  The sweetener would really liven up bad workplace coffee.  And on that note: while a spoonful of this is great in coffee, the cardamom really . . . blooms, I would say.  It comes through pretty strong.  And again, you might need to add a touch of honey, sugar or agave syrup to get the result you desire.  

I would also love to play with this sweetener in baked goods.  Maybe in a cake?  Ooh, or a chai dulce de leche? 

chai sweetener from

Vanilla Masala Chai Sweetener
Make your own masala chai at home.
Write a review
  1. 1 can of sweetened, condensed milk (14 oz)
  2. 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  3. 2 teaspoons ground cardamon (may wish to start with less and add to taste)
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. 1 teaspoon ground clove (may wish to start with less and add more)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  8. pinch of salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar. Stir well to combine.
  2. Taste and adjust flavors as necessary.
  3. Add 1 or 2 generous teaspoons of the mixture to very strong black tea or to black coffee for a boost of milky, spicy flavor.
  1. Refrigerate in an air-tight container. It will last for 2-3 weeks.
Alyssa and Carla
The following two tabs change content below.
Alyssa has been cooking, crafting and entertaining for as long as she can remember. She is currently living in crazy Tokyo (say hi if you're in town!), but loves to travel all over the world. She's a little bit obsessed with cookbooks, whisky and stationary.

Latest posts by Alyssa (see all)


  1. Kay says

    Saw your article punk domestics and made it that night. Quick questions though, you mentioned nutmeg in the article but not in the recipe. When I first made this it was ok, but then I added some nutmeg and honey to the tea and was fantastic. This is a great substitute for the liquid concentrated chai. Our milk goes fast enough as it is so this will be a great addition to the fridge . Anyone else reading this make sure you listen to her and make your black tea strong, I did it both ways and it made a huge difference. I can’t wait to try this in my coffee at work (it can be pretty awful some days) Thanks for a great idea!

    • says

      Ah! Thanks, Kay! Good catch, I forgot to add the nutmeg in the recipe. I’ve updated the recipe :)

      I completely agree about it still needing something sweet. Question, did you add the honey to the mixture itself? Or are you just going to add it to the tea when you make it? I’ve been contemplating adding it to the mixture but haven’t tried it yet. Let me know!

  2. Kay says

    I just add honey to each cup of already made tea. I thought about adding it directly to the mix but wasn’t sure how much to add.

  3. Raegan says

    This is delicious. Seriously. I almost never comment on anything but I had to say something. I was going to ask how long it would keep in the fridge but I doubt it will last long enough to matter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *