My Best Sticky Chai Recipe Ever

Many years ago, I decided to ditch a habit that was causing harm to my health. It was no easy feat. I had a massive void in my heart that was aching to be filled. I searched for what felt like oolong time to fill the spot, but alas, no luck.

And then, I went to India, and fell in love. Sweet, warm and a little spicy. Suffice to say; I fell hard.

If you haven’t guessed it by now, the void I was trying to fill was an almond latte-shaped one. I tried peppermint tea, green tea and even went so far as a magical unicorn latte (yes it's a thing!), but nothing hit the spot quite right.

I searched throughout the region for an alternative drink (okay, the cafes around my neighbourhood). But it wasn’t until I sipped on a chai from a street vendor in India, that I discovered what I'd been missing all along.

Since then, not a day has gone by without a chai. Chai is my motivator, life source and for any yogi’s out there, my prana.

For any newbies out there, let me quickly introduce you: this is chai, a flavoured tea beverage made with black tea and aromatic Indian spices or herbs. Chai loves walks in the park, dairy-free milk, rom-coms, and a dash of excitement. You can easily make your own chai spice at home you just need to have a few ingredients handy.

Since tasting that authentic chai, I've been tinkering around for years trying to perfect my own version and one that can live up to the hype and universal appeal of this drink. My motto being, if at first you don't succeed, chai chai again.

IMHO a good chai needs to be well balanced with spices, have a warmth and sweetness, give you a big hug from first to last sip and its whole should be greater than the sum of its parts.

I’ll stop being modest here for a second and cut to the chai-se, this is the tastiest chai you’ll ever make. I know what you’re thinking: Lee, I think you’re a little bit biased here. Maybe you’re right, but if you're a chai lover I'd really love for you to try it out.

So, you may be asking, what goes into making a good chai? A good chai needs to be the perfect temperature, creamy enough to be warm and comforting, but not too sweet that it overpowers the spices.

But, we’re not here to make a good chai; we’re here to make a great one...

If you avoid caffeine, chai is inclusive, so you can make it with a caffeine-free tea as a base. I’ve added a version where I've swapped out the regular black tea for caffeine-free rooibos tea- but you can make it with either.

My chai spice mix (masala tea) includes a mix of spices, including cardamom pods, ginger, cinnamon, whole cloves, star anise, fennel seeds and saffron. This blend is perfect for creating a dreamy creamy at-home chai.

Once you’ve created your chai mix, feel free to keep it in a glass jar and leave it in your spice cabinet for future use (like, ahem, tomorrow) or the fridge.

This simple recipe makes for the perfect pick-me-up, and as a bonus, makes the house smell like Christmas!

The Best Sticky Chai Recipe I have Ever Tasted

Makes: 1 jar

  • 12 cardamom pods
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 3 cinnamon quills
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 tbs fennel seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups rooibos tea leaves or use English breakfast tea
  • 1 tbs vanilla fresh, liquid or powder
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Pinch saffron (optional)


In a small pan toast cardamom pods, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, whole cloves and fennel seeds.

Transfer to blender or mortar and pestle and smash or whizz until pieces are chunky.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir in vanilla and honey to coat. I usually do this bit with my hands.

Keep in airtight container - I store mine in the cupboard, but you do you!.

Sticky Oat Milk Rooibos Chai

Serves 2


  • 3 tbs chai mix
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup oat milk
  • Ground cinnamon, to serve

Place 3 TBS of chai and 2 cups of  water in a small saucepan over a medium heat.

Heat slowly  and then turn down to a simmer. (This will protect the nutrients in the honey as rapid heat can destroy them).

Add 1/2 cup of oat milk and warm gently.

Turn off heat and let steep for 5 minutes allowing the flavours to mingle.

Strain into a mug and top with ground cinnamon.

Hope you enjoy this delicious Sticky Chai recipe. Let me know how it works out for you in the comments section below.

Lee 🙂

48 Responses to “My Best Sticky Chai Recipe Ever”

  1. Bob Renaldo says:

    hi Lee, i’ve never heard of chai but the way you describe it makes me tempted to try it. i don’t have cardamom… is it a necessary ingredient? is there a substitute for it? are there any other spices one might add besides the ones you list? and finally, where does the”sticky” name come from? thanks, Bob

    • Lee says:

      Hi Bob you don’t need the cardamom if you don’t have it and you can also add nutmeg if you prefer. I call it sticky chai as I have added honey for the stickiness 🙂 lee

  2. Christina says:

    Hi Lee, are cinnamon sticks the same as quills? Thank you this looks amazing, Christina

  3. Maribel says:

    Hi Lee, how should I use ginger ? Fresh or powder?
    From Mexico

  4. Tono Stark says:

    So yeah, had to tell you that the recipe is fantastic and I guess I should try it more often to achieve the perfection you did there! Just by looking, the texture seemed so perfect I am sure you must’ve had a great feeling after preparing this.
    Well, lemme tell you it wasn’t the case for me though. I guess I added the sugar a bit too much or my love for my wife is too much so got it really sweet and wasn’t eatable but as we had our anniversary last night so got it ordered from http://www.speedfood.com.au and yeah got it in no time.

    Next time, I’ll make sure I add a lil less sugar and make it awesome just like the way you did there!

    Keep posting such amazing recipes and yeah, I’ll keep preparing for my wife. Have a great day!

  5. Suzy says:

    Hi Lee…..Can’t wait to try this Sticky Chai…..at what stage would you add the saffron…..I love saffron?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Suzy, it will change the colour of the tea to a deeper colour, you can add it when making the mix or when warming on the stove top 🙂 Lee

  6. Wilhelmina Mcivor says:

    Hi Just used your recipie just wondering if milk powder coyld be added ro the blend so its an instant cup or should i boil the milk when brewing

  7. Sonia Falcon says:

    Hi Lee! Thank you for this lovely recipe! I am hoping to make this blend and ship as part of a gift to family members out of state. You mention that the mix can be stored in the cupboard. Just double checking since fresh ginger is included – have you had any issues storing in the cupboard vs fridge? Wondering if the honey perhaps acts as a preservative? Hoping this may be shelf-stable for a few days shipping time. Thanks!

  8. Kylie T says:

    Sounds delicious, look forward to giving it a try.

  9. Deborah KING says:

    I’ve been searching for that perfect sticky chai mix so I’m keen to give this a try. I bought some the other day made with Rooibos but would like to make my own.

  10. Fran smith says:

    Is the recipe correct for the amount of tea leaves. 1 1/2 cups. Seemed too much for the small amount of herbs.

    • Lee says:

      Hello yes it’s a great combination with the rooibos tea and you can add more herbs as needed. If you are using English Breakfast tea and like it more spicy you can add more herbs to it also. I usually always use the rooibos amount of leaves and add 3 tbs of English Breakfast tea as well. Hope this makes sense 🙂 Lee

  11. Gina Raucci says:

    Sounds great combination of spices can we use different milk thanks Gina

  12. Bianca says:

    I’m looking to make this with roasted dandelion instead of the tea leaves, would you use the same amount? Thanks! B x

  13. Gila says:

    Hi Lee is there a way to make the chai without honey? I am sugar free (which also includes honey 🙁

  14. Ashok Tea says:

    I landed up on your blog from Google. Thanks for sharing this article. Looking forward to reading more from you.

  15. […] to which makes me more conscious of where I spend my money. For example, I enjoy making my own homemade sticky chai above, instead of buying one […]

  16. sue says:

    Hey Lee. Your recipe sounds possibly perfect for what I want. I am going to make heaps of homemade goodies for friends and family and chai being one of them. Its now July. Will this recipe last till Christmas in glass jars in a cupboard. What is the expected shelf life? And, if using dry ginger, do you think it would take approx half the grams amount? I love sticky Chai so i will certainly be making this shortly. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lee says:

      Hello 🙂 I would keep it in the fridge for up to 6 months and yes using half of the ginger would work 🙂 Lee

  17. […] Black and green tea: the perfect excuse to try The Best Sticky Chai. […]

  18. Shona says:

    Love , love ,love chai and think we may be kindred spirits, as I keep a rooibos blend ( slightly different but similar) in the cupboard at all times. I was devastated recently when I saw a video by Sadhguru, talking about not heating honey, as it causes alot of ama(toxin, mucus) in the body. So now I wait for the chai to cool a little and add my honey last . Still delicious. Just thought I would let you know. Just look the video up on insta or YouTube if you want to watch it. Thanks for sharing your yummy recipe. I’m going to put a pot on the stove now and enjoy every sip 🙂👍🏼

  19. Ness says:

    Hi im looking forwatd to making this. In one of your photos the cardamon pods are whole in the brew, then further down your mix shows it all cut up. Are the pods to be brewed whole?

  20. Pam Copeman says:

    Hi Lee
    Love the idea of a chai but after doing your detox some years ago I’m off caffeine, could you suggest an alternative for the tea leaves or do I just make it without them?

  21. Arnaud LEGLISE says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipe.
    Sounds great. Unfortunatelly i think i overtoasted my spices.
    Not sure how to know when it is ready, i was lookong for a golden color appearing, but i feel like i lost all the smell..
    Also, i would like to know how do you toast the ginger, do you put the all pieces in the pan, or do you shred it? Or something else…
    Not sure about how to proceed.
    Thank you.

  22. […] a charming teapot with your favourite tea. My preference is sticky chai tea, here is my own best ever chai recipe but you may choose to use earl grey, mint or chamomile. Bring out classy teacups and matching […]

  23. […] a charming teapot with your favourite tea. My preference is sticky chai tea, here is my own best ever chai recipe but you may choose to use earl grey, mint or chamomile. Bring out classy teacups and matching […]

  24. Sab says:

    Could I ask what the shelf life is? Do you have to refrigerate?

  25. Radhika says:

    How much 1 1/2 cups of tea in grams?
    How much is 1/4 cup of honey in grams?

  26. Manon says:

    I dislike fennel and anise… is there something else I can use or can I just make the tea without it?

  27. Sunny says:

    Hello 👋
    I’m so keen to try your recipe, before I do I have a Q for Masala blend would you add/remove any ingredients?

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