March 6, 2012

Simple Homemade Chai Concentrate {Powernap}

Homemade Chai Concentrate | The Naptime Chef

This is the latest installment of my Powernap column. The series where I share quick, easy food that can be made for all kinds of situations. Powernaps are short and sweet, and so are these recipes. These are the things I make in a jiffy when I need a quick snack, am in the mood for a recipe experiment, or simply need to clean out the pantry.

A few months ago I bookmarked the recipe for homemade chai concentrate on The Kitchn. As you all know, I am a huge chai drinker. I don’t drink it just for the caffeine either, I truly love the warm vanilla spicy flavors. I often buy my favorite chai tea at Target, but I loved the idea of making this concentrate at home. One simple scoop gives ordinary black tea an instant chai makeover. While readjusting to the post-Thailand time change last week this recipe suddenly seemed incredibly relevant. I was gulping down several cups of tea per day and was desperate for a new flavor while struggling to stay awake until 8pm.

Despite my waning energy levels I was easily able to mix up this concentrate while my daughter was at school. One tablespoon in my basic black tea created my sweet, creamy instant cup o’ chai. Maybe it was the jet-lag, but I couldn’t believe how incredibly delicious the beverage was, far less bitter (and cheaper!) than the Tazo tea from Starbucks, and not quite as sweet as the Oregon Chai mix found on most store shelves. I adjusted the spices a bit to suit my tastes and you should feel free to do the same. Best of all, the little effort I put into making this yielded enough concentrate for nearly a month’s worth of tea. The remaining half a mason jar (I drank an exceptional amount to get over the jet lag) is currently in our refrigerator. I will be having more with my breakfast tomorrow morning.


Homemade Chai Concentrate

adapted from The Oregonian

makes about 1 ½ cups


1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon raw sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg


1. Mix all the ingredients together and store in the refrigerator. To use, mix two teaspoons of concentrate into your preferred cup of strong black tea and enjoy.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

This concentrate makes an excellent gift. Store it in a glass jar and decorate it with a bow and cinnamon stick with a label noting how to use it.

Naptime Stopwatch

2 minutes

Naptime Reviews

This tasted like the best kind of creamy hot tea to me. Even though I’ve recovered from the jet lag I am still drinking it!

  • How do you think this would taste minus the cloves?  I’m allergic to them, and would love to be able to have chai without taking an allergy pill first.

    • Anonymous

      Hi! Absolutely! Cloves are not essential so you certainly don’t have to add them if you are allergic. Enjoy!

  • I love this idea! Yum. And with a two-month-old running my life at the moment, I’m totally digging the “powernap” concept. 

  • Susie

    how long will this last in the fridge?

    • Anonymous

      Hi Susie – about three weeks!

  • Maja Masterl

    I can’t get condensed milk over here, where I live. I was thinking I could make some sort of chai mix with dry milk powder, I just can’t decide how much of the powder for the amounts of spices given. Any ideas?

    • Anonymous

      Hi! I am not sure since I’ve heard that dry milk powder doesn’t reconstitute well, but it might in tea!

  • Julie

    This is one great recipe!  

  • Lauren Duggan

    Hey! I really want to try this recipe, but my boyfriend and I are lactose intolerant. Is there any lactose free substitute that you think would work? Otherwise I’m going to have to tough it out I guess. Looks tasty! 

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef

      Hi Lauren,
      I have never tried a non-dairy version but what about almond milk? It would require that alittle more be added to the tea for spice but it might work well. Alternatively, a non-dairy coffee creamer is thick and could possibly be similar to this. The last thing I am thinking of is Coconut Cream because it is so thick. However, it will lend a distinct coconut flavor to the chai. Let me know what you try! Best, Kelsey

  • Pingback: Dairy-Free Coconut Chai & Electric Tea Kettle Giveaway | The Naptime Chef()

  • Pingback: Writer’s Kitchen: Homemade Chai | Nooks & Cranberries()

  • Pingback: My Fave New Appliance: The Breville Milk Frother {Naptime Lifestyle} | The Naptime Chef()

  • siegmich

    hi! what about grinding your own cloves if you don’t have ground cloves?

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef

      That would work just fine!

  • Lindsay

    How long can it stay out of the fridge? I am thinking about making as a wedding favor? Or maybe your Rhoda’s fudge would last better out of the fridge for the night….

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef

      It wouldn’t be great if it is out all night. I think fudge would be better. Esp since you could process the fudge jars in a water bath to seal them and they will be shelf stable and you won’t have to worry about them being at room temp!