Vegan Indian Chai Tea. Masala Chai. Gluten-free Recipe

A quick how-to post today.

Masala Chai was the last of the non-vegan foods to be eliminated from our diet. Hubbs and me both grew up guzzling cups of chai every morning with breakfast. It would be mostly milk and lightly flavored with tea till we hit the teens, then it was small cups every now then with friends, every time we visited anyone, at evening hang outs, in the wee hours of the morning during exams, and on and on. Dad still has a cup every 2-3 hours at work.

No wonder we were so stuck to it, or more stuck to the dairy in it. The thick creamy concoction made with dairy milk, boiled for minutes and minutes, had not only the addiction from milk and tea but also several memories associated with it.

I have an older post with a creamer that was the recipe we finally settled on some years back. And now after trying several other plant milk options, this is our current chai. The recipe works well with other almond milks and soy milk too. The additives in some of the packaged plant milks though change the texture and consistency of the chai enough that it can go from great to unpalatable if not used correctly(over heated or not heated enough, or curdles at high heat). Some of the preference is also related to the fact that the Chai has to uphold to our strong taste and texture memories. For someone who is flexible with the taste, the recipe will work with a lot of other plant milks as well.

I also made this Chai with So Delicious Barista creamer. The creamer gives it the appearance of thick and creamy chai, but doesnt add as much creaminess as the almond breeze. I think it has to do with all the gums, thickeners and additives. Home made almond milk or coconut milk also does not work as well. The creamer is a really good shelf stable option for travelling or just heading out to a non vegan event.

Why the hassle to find the home made or packaged plant milks that works best? Same reason we all look to find cheese alternatives or other things from our pre-gan days. With the preference for steeped in water teas growing in this house, soon we might not be drinking the morning chai at all. It is a great option to have for anyone visiting though. Mom and dad drink Chai 3 to 6 times in the day. Mom loves the easy access to almond breeze when she visits.

There is also the option to use cashew milk, packaged or home made. The thing with cashew milk is that the heat thickens up the cashew milk really quickly and the thick texture might feel too different or new.

For any milk you use, give it some time. Try it a couple of times instead of just once. It takes time to get used to the change. Sometimes just 1 or 2 tries and you find the one, and sometimes many. Keep trying different plant milks for the ones that work best for you.

More Indian Beverages
Thandai – Creamy Spiced Poppy Seed Almond milk Spring drink. 
Aam Panna – Spiced Raw mango cooler
Mango Lassi – Sweet mango yogurt Smoothie


Get all the ingredients for the chai ready. Clockwise from the top. Raw sugar, grated fresh ginger, Chai patti(dry loose tea), chai masala blend.

Boil the tea, chai masala, ginger and sugar in water. Bring to a rapid bubbling boil.

Pour the plant milk slowly.

Bring to just about a boil, then strain and serve. 

This creamy Chai Latte.

You can also use an infuser. Add the tea and spices to the infuser and keep that in the boiling water. Add the milk, bring to just about a boil. Pour tea in a cup. Remove or keep the infuser in the cup and serve.

Masala Chai

Allergen Information: Free of dairy, egg, corn, soy, gluten, yeast

serves 2

3/4 cup water

1.5 Tbsp raw sugar or other sweetener to taste
2 tsp chai patti/loose tea (we currently use Jivraj Brand loose tea leaves)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp chai massala blend 
1/2 to 1 tsp minced/grated fresh ginger (some fresh gingers are too strong, so use to taste)
1 cup Almond breeze plain almond milk or other non dairy milk. 


In a small deep pan at medium heat, add water, sugar, tea leaves, chai masala blend and ginger. Bring to a bubbling boil. 7 to 9 mins
Slowly pour the almond milk. Bring the mix to just about a boil. 6 to 8 minutes. 
Strain into a cup and serve hot. Compost the tea leaves.

Note: some plant milks tend to separate when added to the hot water. Add a Tbsp cold/room temperature water to the boiling water to bring the temperature down. Then pour in the plant milk. 
For a quick masala chai, add 1/4 tsp cardamom powder, 1/8 tsp cinnamon powder, 1/8 tsp ginger powder, a generous pinch of cloves powder and black pepper to the water and continue as above. 

Chai Spice/Masala blend:
Grind 3/4 cup green cardamom pods, 1/4 cup cinnamon sticks or 2 Tablespoons cinnamon powder, 1/4 cup cloves, 2 Tablespoons whole black pepper, 2 to 3 Tablespoons ground ginger. 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds(optional). Store in airtight container.
Change the quantities around to preference. Add more ginger for a winter chai masala. Add a tsp of nutmeg and all spice for variations.  

Use the spice blend in ice creams, doughnuts, caramel, bread, granola and more.

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  1. says

    Ohhh I’m so glad I found your site, it’s filled with amazing recipes and stories~:D I may not have drunk Indian chai very long (only 2 weeks), as I had it everyday when I was in Punjab in 2010! But I have serioussslslyyyy great memories associated with the stuff, and even though I’m not a sweet drink kind of person, chai is one of the tastiest things I’ve ever had. I think their raw/fresh milk really made a huuuuge difference! But I’m looking forward to making this for my husband since he misses it so much. <33Have a beautiful day.

  2. Anonymous says

    It looks wonderful! I haven’t had chai tea very often, so it looks like a tasty new territory for me to venture into! Thank you! I have 2 questions. I am trying to stay away from sugar and those calories, so I use Pure Via sweetener. Will that work OK or does the real sugar contribute to the overall texture you referred to? Second – how do I pronounce the name correctly? Ch – ai as in Ch-erry? Or hard “k” – K-ai? Thank you.

    • says

      The sugar isn’t adding much to the texture, so you can use a different sweetener. Add it while boiling or after depending on how it holds up to heat.
      its Ch (ch- erry) a (a – re), i pronounced as ey in (h – ey) , or ‘a’ as in when you say a the alphabet.

  3. says

    The pics of the tea that you have provider are really awesome and it feels to have the tea every time when you see this pics.
    I have one question.
    Is it necessary to add chai masala(TEA MASALA) in tea every time when we make tea?

    • says

      you can omit the masala. The recipe is for masala chai. The masala helps mellow the difference in taste with the different non dairy milks.

  4. Anonymous says

    Vanilla soy milk tastes the best in India Chai. However after reading about controversies re.Soy, we recently switched to Vanilla Almond Milk. It does separates if poured in hot boiling tea even after reducing the flame. But now I use your technique of adding few drops of cold water to hot tea which helps enjoy creamy Indian Vegan Masala Chai.
    Thank you

  5. says

    I totally understand what you mean by tea being the last frontier to veganize. I had the same experience and over 6 years of strict vegan diet finally found an amazing milk alternative to make a thick milky indian tea. Try Vitasoy brand which is a Hong Kong brand and you can get it most Chinese stores. It is thick but not like some of the soy milks specially made for coffee. In Canada I can find it in most Loblaws in the Asian section. I use almond milk 99% of the time except when I make tea (Wag-Bakhri brand), mix with lemongrass, ginger, clove and Vitasoy milk. Yum.

  6. ed says


    Is cashew milk or almond milk pitta aggravating? i have pitta dosha, wanted to consume cashew milk in my tea on a daily basis, will it be ok?



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