Chai syrup is a sweet, rich, and aromatic syrup with a delightful blend of Indian spices to flavour drinks and foods. This spiced tea sweetener has an amazing strong flavour, and making your very own version of Starbucks chai syrup is healthier and more affordable.
Instead of spending a fortune at coffee shops, this homemade tea concentrate makes it more affordable and nourishing to prepare your cafe-style drinks.
We discovered our perfect magical combo after experimenting with various spices and milk.
This chai syrup recipe has no preservatives and is quick and easy to make. It's incredibly earthy, comforting, and tasty.
What is Chai Syrup Made From?
Chai syrup is made from water, sugar, and aromatic spices like ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, whole cloves, fennel seeds and black peppercorns. Additionally, you can also add nutmeg and fennel seeds.
This chai syrup recipe is caffeine free and can be used as a substitute for an instant drink without the hassle of using too many ingredients. However, if you use tea bags to make this base, it will contain caffeine unless you use a decaffeinated version.
Best Chai Syrup Brands
Torani and Jordan's are two well-known chai syrup brands that are the closest store-bought tea base to the one at Starbucks. While you can easily purchase tea-flavoured anything from stores, the secret to making your drink taste amazing is using your own homemade sweetener.
It is better to make it from scratch because you can customise it by adding more, or less of your favourite or least favourite spices.
Chai Syrup Ingredients
You only need water, sugar, vanilla extract, and a blend of spices to make homemade spiced tea concentrate. Alternatively, you can also use tea bags instead of spices.
You can use a mix of any spices you want. However, use ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, whole cloves, fennel seeds and black peppercorns for the best taste.
Black tea is excellent for this chai syrup recipe. English breakfast is a close second, but we do not recommend using Earl Grey. You can use high-quality green tea, but the flavour will be very different and will add earthiness.
You can use any type of sugar you want. For our recipe, we used simple white sugar. White sugar adds a sweet flavour to the concoction that complements the spices and creates a rich consistency.
However, we recommend using at least 1 ½ cups of sugar to taste closer to the Starbucks version. Additionally, you can also use brown sugar to give it a faintly toasted caramel flavour.
You only need to substitute sugar with stevia, agave, or maple syrup for a healthier, sugar-free chai syrup.
How to Make Chai Syrup?
To make our chai syrup recipe, firstly, you need to add the spices, which include ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, whole cloves, fennel seeds and black peppercorns, into a pestle and mortar.
Lightly smash them until they break apart to release their oils. Or, give them a gentle smack under the knife blade. Do not grind them into fine powder as it will be difficult to strain them out.
Then, in a saucepan over low to medium heat, dry roast them for less than a minute to release even more flavour. However, avoid roasting the spices until they get toasted as this will create a bitter taste.
Next, combine the sugar and water in a small pot and stir it together. Bring the contents to a boil, then reduce to low heat for 5 minutes.
Add the chai spices to the simmering mixture. Stir well, then continue to cook for another 5 minutes. The longer the mixture simmers, the richer the spice flavours become, but be cautious not to make the mixture too thick, or it will be hard to use and may crystallise when cool.
Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let the mixture cool until you can safely handle it. Then, using a fine-mesh strainer or a mesh bag, strain the syrup into a clean jar with an airtight lid.
Just like that, the best chai syrup is ready and you can use it whenever you like.
Uses of chai syrup
We recommend drizzling it over sweets like ice cream or any dessert you like. You can also up your breakfast game with this simple sweetener. Serve with pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, or a yoghurt bowl. All you'll need is a drizzle.
It's perfect for coffee and tea drinks. To use this chai syrup for coffee, add a teaspoon or two, depending on your taste.
We also played with the concentrate to learn how to make chai syrup for latte. Add 2 - 3 tablespoons of syrup to hot, foamy milk for a quick chai latte.
If you are feeling adventurous, stir this tea base into your alcohol to make your unique chai syrup cocktail.
While this chai tea syrup recipe is delicious, you can try these other variations.
Using tea bags
If you do not have the spice blend or want to infuse the tea taste into this mixture, you can supplement the spices with tea bags. Please keep in mind that this will result in a caffeine-infused tea concentrate. Not only that but using tea bags also makes the base more velvety and dark in colour.
Here's a quick tip on how to make chai syrup with tea bags. Use at least three tea bags per cup of sugar to add more flavour to the concoction. Make sure you prepare a strong tea, otherwise, the flavours of the syrup will be lost.
Making chai skinny syrup
Our sugar-free healthier version of this classic sweetener has all the flavour of a traditional sweetener without the extra calories. You can substitute sugar with honey, stevia, or maple syrup for the chai skinny syrup recipe.
Replace equal parts of maple syrup with sugar to make chai skinny syrup. Because honey loses its health benefits when heated, we recommend making the tea in water and cooling it before adding it.
How to store
You can keep chai syrup at room temperature for up to two weeks or in the fridge for up to four weeks in a sterile, airtight container or sealed jar with a lid.
Alternatively, you can add a quarter teaspoon of citric acid to extend the shelf life by up to six months. Another option is a 2-to-1, sugar-to-water ratio, which produces a thick syrup with enough sugar content to prevent bacteria growth for up to six months.
You can pour the concentrate into ice cube trays and freeze it until solid to save for later. Then place the cubes in a freezer bag or an airtight container. The cubes can be frozen for 6-12 months. Then, use 1-2 cubes for each drink and enjoy.
After cooling, the chai syrup may become cloudy. This is because of the caffeine and tannins that are emitted from the tea leaves and spices at high temperatures. When they are chilled, they eventually bond. But, it is safe to use as long as it smells good and shows no signs of mould.
Chai Syrup Recipe
- 1 cup water
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tbsps ginger (chopped)
- 6-12 cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- Crush the spices using a pestle and mortar. Then dry roast them for less than a minute in a pot over low to medium heat to release more flavour.
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to low heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the spices to the boiling mixture. Stir well, then continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the concoction from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Let the mixture cool until it can be handled.
- Pour the chai syrup mixture into a mixing bowl using a fine-mesh strainer or a mesh bag. When refrigerated, funnel it base into a sealed jar with a cover and use it within 4 weeks.
- If you are using tea bags, add the tea to the water to brew the tea, then add the sugar and bring it to a boil as stated in the recipe. Use at least three tea bags for every cup of sugar.
- Also, remember that the longer the tea is steeped, the stronger the tannin concentration, resulting in a bitter unpalatable base.
- If you use honey instead of sugar for chai skinny syrup, brew the tea in water and cool it down before stirring in the honey.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.