This easy Chai Syrup recipe is an infusion of aromatic Indian chai spices and a sugar-based simple syrup. Warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves and star anise are what make this sweetener so flavorful.
As a nod to traditional masala chai and Starbucks chai drinks, I created this syrup recipe using a blend of many of the same spices.
For instance, Starbucks lists their chai ingredients as cardamom, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and star anise.
To bring out all the aromatic flavors, be sure to get whole spices and dry roast them. Trust me on this. Your tastebuds will thank you.
Overall, chai simple syrup has all the spicy goodness of chai tea, minus the black tea. Here’s my recipe for homemade chai tea concentrate for making drinks if that’s what you’re after.
Why You’ll Love this Chai Syrup Recipe
- Chai syrup has all the warm and cozy fall chai spices we crave: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom and more. The recipe is versatile, and you can add extra of the spices you love or less of the ones you don’t.
- Chai syrup is a delicious way to sweeten and flavor your favorite black tea or coffee drinks. You can also use it to make chai lattes or mix it with hot apple cider.
- Homemade chai syrup does not have any preservatives or additives. It only takes minutes to make and keeps fresh in the refrigerator for several weeks.
For this method of making homemade chai syrup you need a few whole spices, along with a some other simple syrup ingredients you probably already have on-hand.
Whole Chai Spices
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Cardamom Pods
- Black Peppercorns
- Star Anise
- Fennel (optional)
- Allspice (optional)
- Fresh Ginger
Chai spice mix has a warm and spicy, almost licorice-like flavor. Use more or less of your favorite spices. You really can’t go wrong.
Base Syrup Ingredients
- Granulated Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Honey (optional)
How to Make Chai Syrup
Homemade chai syrup is a simple 3-step process. Basically, you roast the spices, make the syrup, and infuse the syrup with the masala (spice mix).
- Crush the spices into large pieces using a pestle and mortar. A rolling pin or other heavy kitchen object also works. Then, in a pan over medium-low heat, dry roast the spices for about 45 seconds. Be careful not to toast or burn the spices. Remove from heat.
- Combine both sugars, water and sliced ginger with the spices in the saucepan. Add some grated fresh nutmeg, if desired. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring often. The sugar should be completely dissolved. The longer the spices steep in the syrup, the stronger the chai flavoring will be.
- Remove from heat, cool the syrup, stir in vanilla extract and strain the syrup. The simple syrup thickens as it cools. When it’s completely cooled funnel it into a sterilized storage bottle. Refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.
Detailed recipe and instructions are in recipe card at bottom of post.
Step 1: Crush and Toast the Spices
Crushing and opening up the spices, releases the oils. Do not grind them into a powder so they’re easier to strain out later.
Dry roasting the chai spice mix brings out even more aromatic flavors. You can do this in the oven, but I prefer to use the stove and the same saucepan for making the simple syrup.
As a bonus, it smells absolutely delicious!
My Pick for Mortar & Pestle
This unpolished granite mortar and pestle provides lots of friction for grinding spices and herbs.
Step 2: Make the Simple Syrup & Infuse with Chai Spices
The longer the masala steeps in the homemade simple syrup, the stronger the flavor is.
Since this recipe is not made with chai tea bags, you don’t have to worry about bitterness and oversteeping.
Step 3: Cool, Strain and Add Vanilla
Adding vanilla extract after removing the chai syrup from heat, avoids flavor burn-off.
To avoid sticky hot sugar spills, cool the syrup before straining out the spices.
Making Chai Syrup with Tea Bags
Chai blend tea bags are a quick way to make chai simple syrup without having to buy separate spices.
However, this method creates a syrup that has tea in it and therefore some caffeine.
To make the syrup with tea bags, first make the simple syrup. Once the sugar is dissolved, steep the tea bags in it for no longer than 5 minutes. For a more intense chai flavor, use more tea bags, not more time.
Over-steeped black tea is bitter. Check this out, to for more tips to make black tea properly.
Difference Between Chai Simple Syrup and Chai Tea Concentrate
In a nutshell, chai simple syrup is a flavored sweetener and chai concentrate is a flavored tea. They both get their distinct taste from chai spices, like cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom (to name a few).
Chai simple syrup is just that, syrup. It is merely a sweetener infused with spices.
Typically, the simple syrup does not contain tea, although some people use chai tea bags to infuse flavor into the sugar instead of whole spices.
On the other hand, chai concentrate is a drink. It’s usually combined with water or milk for lattes.
More Delicious Chai Recipes
- Homemade Iced Chai Tea Latte with Pumpkin Cold Foam
- Starbucks Dirty Chai Latte Recipe
- How to Make Masala Chai from Scratch
- Quick & Easy Starbucks Chai Tea Latte
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Whole Chai Spices
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 star anise
- 4 cloves
- 4 cardamom
- 8 black peppercorn
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
- fresh nutmeg, grated (optional)
Additional Syrup Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- honey or maple syrup (optional)
- Crush the spices into large pieces using a pestle and mortar. A rolling pin or other heavy kitchen object also work. Then, in a pan over medium-low heat, dry roast the spices for about 45 seconds. Be careful not to toast or burn the spices. Remove from heat.
- Combine both sugars, water and sliced ginger to the spices in the saucepan. Add grated nutmeg, if desired. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring often. The sugar should be completely dissolved. The longer the spices steep in the syrup, the stronger the chai flavoring will be.
- Remove from heat, cool the syrup, stir in vanilla extract and strain the syrup. The simple syrup thickens as it cools. When it's completely cooled funnel it into a sterilized storage bottle. Refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.
- The secret to flavorful homemade chai syrup is crushing and dry roasting whole spices. This simple step releases the oils and aromatic taste.
- The longer the chai spices steep in the simple syrup, the stronger the syrup's flavor will be. If you are making a variation of this recipe with chai tea bags, do not steep beyond 5 minutes.
- This simple syrup recipe is meant for drinks. For a slightly thicker syrup, reduce the amount of water slightly.