Easy Homemade Chai Tea Syrup spiced to perfection. This Starbucks copycat recipe captures the essence of traditional chai, perfect for all types of drinks!
Table of contents
Originating from India, Chai Tea Syrup is a fan favorite in big coffee shops like Starbucks. Masala chai syrup is an explosion of natural flavors made with a unique blend of aromatic spices. Made with warm and roasted spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, black peppercorns and black tea, this homemade syrup is the perfect balance of warmth and sweetness.
I've been a loyal fan of chai tea ever since I first tried it years ago. Nowadays I make a big batch of this recipe every month and store it in the fridge. It's perfect for sweetening and spicing up any drinks, like coffee, latte, tea or even cocktails!
Homemade Chai Tea Syrup is really easy and simple to make, only needing a handful of ingredients. It can be easily stored and used for your favorite iced chai latte or as a spicy, aromatic topping on your favorite pancakes or waffles.
Looking for more delicious chai recipes? Check out this perfectly spiced Homemade Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte, this creamy and milky Pumpkin Chai Latte, or this perfect Japanese fusion Matcha Chai Latte. If you're looking for a less sweet version of chai tea syrup, you might want to check out my Chai Tea Concentrate recipe instead!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Flavorful & Aromatic: This homemade chai syrup is a perfect blend of black tea and rich, aromatic spices. The unique masala chai flavors like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and peppercorns create a really fragrant syrup. A few teaspoons can transform any beverage into a flavorful, cozy and warm drink.
- Very versatile: This delicious homemade chai syrup can be used on any types of drinks, from regular black tea to Iced Chai Tea Latte or Matcha Chai Latte. The fun doesn't stop at drinks, as you can also drizzle it on top of pancakes, waffles or ice cream.
- Quick and easy to make: In just a few minutes and a handful of ingredients, you can whip up a batch of syrup that tastes better than any store-bought version. You don't need any special equipment or tools for this recipe.
- Coffee shop flavors at home: Apart from how easy it is to make, the best part of this recipe is that it tastes just like the Starbucks chai syrup. So if you're craving a Starbucks chai tea latte, skip the queues and make it at home for much cheaper!
- Sugar - You can use plain white sugar or dark brown sugar for a more caramelised flavour.
- Whole Spices – Cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves, black peppercorns, star anise and nutmeg. If you don't have whole spices, you can also use ground spices, but the texture of the syrup might be thicker.
- Ginger - Fresh ginger brings a spicy kick and complements the warm spices. Grate or finely chop for the best flavor infusion. Alternatively, you can also use ground ginger.
- Black Tea - Any type of black tea works, like Assam, English breakfast or Earl Grey. You can use either tea bags or loose leaf tea, just ensure it's fresh and good quality.
Substitutions & Variations
This homemade chai syrup recipe is easily customizable, so you use what you have on hand or can tweak the ingredients to your personal taste.
- Chai Masala Powder – If you don't have individual spices on hand, substitute with chai masala powder. It's a balanced blend that can simplify the process while maintaining that rich chai flavor.
- Chai tea bags – can be used if you do not have the right spices. It's a ready made blend of black tea and masala powder spices that give flavor to the syrup. Add the teabags after cooking the syrup, then let steep for 5 minutes. However, the flavor won't be as intense as using whole spices.
- Vanilla – Adds sweetness and a floral flavor to the syrup. You can use either vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract.
- Fennel Seeds – Not included in all chai blends, but adding fennel seeds add a lovely liquorice flavor.
- Maple syrup – adds a caramelised and rich flavour. You only need 1-2 tablespoons for the entire batch.
How to make Chai Tea Syrup at home
1. Crush cardamom pods and grate the nutmeg. Combine with the remaining spices.
2. In a saucepan, combine water, sugar, and the spice mix. Simmer on medium heat, then reduce to low until thickened.
3. Add black tea, then cover to steep. Strain the mixture using a fine sieve or cheesecloth.
4. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a sterilized container.
Making sugar-free syrup
You can also make this reciope sugar free by using sweeteners. Although the consistency won’t be the same, it’s a good alternative with lower calories.
Here are some sweeteners you can use:
- Erythritol – my favorite, as it has little to no aftertaste
- Stevia – very popular option
- Monk fruit sweetener
Success Tips & Tricks
- Whole spices: Always opt for cinnamon sticks instead of powder for this syrup. Cinnamon powder can result in a thicker, viscous texture which might not be ideal for your chai.
- Crush spices: For a robust chai recipe, crush your spices before adding them to the mixture. This releases the essential oils and ensures a stronger flavor in your syrup.
- Don't steep for too long: stepping black tea in the syrup for too long can give it a bitter, unpleasant taste. I recommend steeping for a maximum of 4 minutes.
- Strain well: After simmering, use a cheesecloth or fine sieve to strain the chai tea syrup. Be careful not to burn yourself with the hot syrup!
- Sanitize jars: It's important to properly sanitize jars to prevent bacteria from spoiling the syrup. If stored correctly, this syrup can last for almost 1 month in the fridge.
This Homemade chai syrup is so versatile can can be used in more than just drinks. Here are some of my favorite ways to use it:
- Starbucks Chai Latte: Whip up your own Starbucks copycat recipe by adding this chai syrup to steamed milk.
- Classic Chai Latte: Mix with warm milk of your choice, dairy or plant-based.
- Dirty Chai Latte: Like regular chai, but with a cheeky shot of espresso.
- Cocktails with a Twist: Add to your favorite cocktail for an warm hint of spice. I recommend adding to Old Fashioned, White Russian or Latte Martini.
- Chai Hot Chocolate: Add to your favorite hot chocolate recipe for a warming and spiced flavor.
- Pancakes & Waffles: Drizzle over your favorite pancakes, waffles or French toast for an extra kick.
- Ice Cream Topper: Pour over vanilla or plain flavored ice cream for a unique flavor.
Frequently asked questions
It's best to store chai tea syrup in an airtight container, like a glass bottle or mason jar. Make sure you properly sanitize the container beforehand, then store refrigerator for up to 3-4 weeks.
You can slightly reduce the level of sugar, but this will make it more watery in consistency. If you want little or no sugar, I recommend checking out my Homemade Chai Concentrate recipe instead.
No, this recipe does not contain dairy.
Yes, this syrup is made using black tea, which contains caffeine. However, the caffeine levels are much lower than coffee. You can also make it fully caffeine-free by using decaf black tea.
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If you’ve tried this recipe out, please don’t forget to rate and comment on this post. I love hearing from you, so feel free to reach out to me on social media as well and tag me in your posts!
Easy Homemade Chai Tea Syrup (Starbucks Copycat)
- 2 cups water (500 grams)
- 2 cups sugar (400 grams)
Using Masala Chai
- 4 teaspoons masala chai powder
Using Whole Spices
- 2 teaspoons cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg, grated
- 2-3 small cinnamon sticks*
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger* or 3-4 slices fresh ginger
- 4-5 black tea bags*
- pinch of salt
- If using masala chai powder, skip this step. Using whole spices: Crush the cardamom pods with a rolling pin or knife, then grate the nutmeg. Add them to a bowl, along with cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, cloves, ginger and a pinch of salt.
- In a medium saucepan add the water and sugar. Heat over medium fire until the sugar dissolves, then add the spice mix or chai masala powder. Bring to a gentle simmer, then cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from heat, the add the black tea. Cover with a lid and let cool down to room temperature.
- Use a fine sieve or cheesecloth to strain out all the spices, then pour the chai tea syrup into a sterilized bottle or jar.
- Store in the refrigerator for 1 month.
- Cinnamon sticks - can be replaced with 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- Ground ginger - can be replaced with 3-4 fresh ginger slices
- Black tea - teabags can be replaces with 3-4 teaspoons of loose leaf tea
- Nutritional value is estimative and is calculated per serving, without any optional ingredients. This recipe makes 14 servings or 1 ½ cups of syrup.
- Sterilize jars: wash with soap, rinse well, then place in the oven at 250℉ (130℃) for 10 minutes.