If having the ability to easily add a little cozy, autumn goodness to all of your apple pies and pumpkin breads sounds amazing to you, then this simple 7-ingredient chai spice blend is right up your alley! Nothing says fall and holiday baking quite like the spicy flavor of chai.
I'm Usually More of a Pumpkin Gal Myself...
But I can get down with a good chai tea latte.
I remember the first time I tried a chai tea way back when I was a teenager. If felt so exotic to me. As a kid, I wasn’t much of an adventurous eater so something like a chai tea completely blew me away. Granted, the drink was most likely loaded with sugar, but I still remember how surprised I was by it’s yumminess! These spices I had never even heard of before mixed together to make such a delicious concoction. I couldn’t believe it. Is a chai tea phase a thing during your teenage years? Because I definitely had one.
What Exactly Is a Chai Spice Blend?
To be more accurate, I should really be referring to this chai spice blend as masala chai. In the Western world, chai and masala chai have become synonymous with one another. However, in many Eastern countries, the word chai actually means “tea.” And masala chai refers to the blend of spices we all love so much.
If you peruse the internet for chai spice recipes, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed. It seems as if no one has settled on what makes a good chai spice blend. Some recipes use five ingredients while others use eight. Some recipes use pre-ground spices while other, fancier recipes might use whole spice pods that they grind themselves.
It makes sense though. Like so many things, it really is just a matter of preference. If you enjoy a spicer chai, amp up the ginger and add a few pinches of black pepper. Feeling a little sweeter? Turn up the cinnamon and maybe add a teaspoon or two of brown sugar.
Here are the ingredients I used in this recipe (I like things on the spicer side):
Is Chai Good For Our Health
As a dietitian/nutritionist, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about some of the touted health benefits of the spices in a chai spice blend. But are these various spices really as beneficial as they’re claimed to be? Let’s break it down and look at the research.
- Cinnamon – there is some evidence that cinnamon may help lower blood pressure, help to reduce levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in our blood, and help to reduce insulin resistance and fasting blood sugar levels (1, 2, 3). It’s important to note that most studies used levels of cinnamon much higher than you would expect to consume in one serving of food or drink flavored with chai spices.
- Ginger – this spice is well known for its digestive benefits. Ginger is particularly helpful when it comes to relieving nausea. Studies have show that even a small amount of ginger can help to alleviate nausea, especially in pregnant women (4,5,6).
- Black Pepper – black pepper is high in antioxidants. Preliminary studies, conducted on rats, have shown that it may have some anti-inflammatory properties. However, more research is needed here as the anti-inflammatory effects of black pepper have not yet been studied in humans (7,8). Black pepper may also have some anti-bacterial properties and may promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut (9,10).
- Cardamom – another spice that is thought to be beneficial for heart health is cardamom. This spice may lower blood pressure due to its diuretic effect. Diuretics are compounds or medications that increase urination, which reduces the amount of fluid in your body (11, 12). The studies showing the blood pressure lowering effects of cardamom are promising, but limited, as they were only done on a small number of people or on animals.
As you can see, there are lots of potential health benefits to be gained by consuming the individual spices found in a chai spice blend. Since many of these spices and their possible effects on our health need to be studied more extensively, I wouldn’t recommend going crazy here. But, adding a little more chai spice to your life is never a bad thing.*
*Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be medical advice.
How To Use This Chai Spice Blend
This recipe is seriously so simple to make. Just put all of the ingredients into an airtight container and shake. That’s it! I definitely recommend making a double batch to keep on hand. That way, you can easily bake up chai-spiced treats on a whim all fall and winter long. Your family and friends will LOVE you!
A few of my favorite ways to use this spice blend include:
- Replacing the pumpkin spice mixture in pumpkin bread to make chai-spiced pumpkin bread.
- Similarly, replacing the cinnamon in apple crisp for a spicer spin on the classic.
- To make chai tea: simmer one-half teaspoon of the spice mixture with one-half cup of milk for 5 minutes. Strain. Mix with black tea and sweetener of choice.
- Treat friends and family to a spicy gingerbread cookie this holiday season by replacing the traditional gingerbread spices with an equal amount of chai spice blend.
Get creative and keep the cozy chai vibes going all season long!
Chai Spice Blend
- 6 teaspoons ginger ground
- 5 teaspoons cinnamon ground
- 2 teaspoons cardamom ground
- 2 teaspoons allspice ground
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg ground
- 2 teaspoons cloves ground
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorn freshly ground
- Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl or jar. Mix well to combine. Store in an airtight container to maintain freshness.