Herbal Chai Recipe: Warm Up with 7 Healing Blends You’ll Love

If you like chai tea, you’re going to love a caffeine-free herbal chai recipe! I have 7 delicious, healthy blends for you to try.

There’s something really special about sitting down with a steaming cup of creamy, spicy chai tea. Notes of cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom swirl around with a touch of sweetness and make me want to sink back into a cozy chair with a sigh.

But regular chai has a black tea base, and black tea contains caffeine. That’s not a problem if you want to sip your chai in the morning, but I like to enjoy mine in the afternoon and evening.

After sampling a delicious caffeine-free chai made with rooibos, I started working on creating my own herbal chai recipe. Once I started, I never looked back.

In fact, I make multiple herbal chai recipe blends now, and I have seven to share with you here. If you like chai, I’m certain you’ll find one you love!

What’s In Traditional Chai Tea?

Chai, a traditional Indian tea blend, is made with a variety of warming spices, like cinnamon chips, cardamom seeds, ginger pieces, anise pods, and whole cloves, along with black tea. Some classic chai recipes even include unexpected additions like bay leaves and black peppercorns!

Along with the spices, regular chai tea is made with a black tea like oolong, Ceylon, or Assam. After the brew is done steeping, you top off your mug with enough milk or cream and honey to taste, leaving you with that signature spicy and creamy drink.

While you can, in a pinch, mix up spice powders and stir them into a cup of black tea for a cheater chai, the taste isn’t the same. Whole spice pieces carry so much more flavor than powders!

Milk swirling in a mug of homemade herbal chai tea

How Chai Boosts Your Health, or Harms It

If you drink it often, you might wonder if chai is good for you or if you can enjoy as often as you’d like. Like hot cocoa, chai has some health-boosting things going for it, but some versions are better for you than others.

Thanks to the yummy, warming spices, chai tea can

  • Improve your digestion and ease bloating or intestinal gas
  • Improve your circulation, warming your fingers and toes when it’s cold outside
  • Give you a boost of mental focus thanks to a boost in blood flow
  • Provide your body with a healthy dose of anti-inflammatory plant compounds.

However, some chai drinks offer fewer benefits, and perhaps even some downsides.

  • Black tea contains caffeine, so it can lead to dehydration, sleep disturbances, or adrenal dysfunction when taken at night or regularly throughout the day.
  • Coffee shop chai is usually made from a syrupy concentrate that often contains excess sugar and little to no honey, making it more like a dessert than a healthful drink.

When you make your chai tea at home, though, you can eliminate any of chai’s potential health downsides so you can sip it whenever you’d like. As a bonus, when you make your chai with herbs, you can even increase the healthful benefits of your brew!

Disclosure: Affiliate links are included. If you purchase through a link, your cost is the same while I can earn a commission.

Enjoying a cup of my herbal chai recipe while relaxing in a cozy chair

The Secret to Brewing Chai Tea at Home

When you brew an herbal chai recipe at home, you can get away with steeping it all together like your typical cup of tea. But if you want to make a really great cup of herbal chai, here’s the secret.

Brew it in two steps: a decoction and an infusion. Let me explain.

Start with a Spicy Decoction

First, you make a decoction. That’s herb-speak for simmering tough plant pieces like bark, roots, and seeds in water like you do to make homemade elderberry syrup. For your herbal chai, you’ll make the decoction with your chai spices (more on that in a moment).

I like making my chai spice decoration in a saucepan with a lid so I can keep it covered while simmering it. That ensures all the important volatile compounds from the spices don’t evaporate off into the air. You want them in your mug!

Most people enjoy their chai best after simmering the spices for 30 minutes, but you can go longer or shorter depending on your taste preferences. I’m all about a long simmer for super strong chai.

Then It’s Time to Infuse

After your decoction finishes, it’s time to make an infusion. That’s herb-speak for adding more fragile plant material, like leaves and flowers, to hot water. Usually, when you make an infusion, you pour hot water over the plant material. But for the chai, you’ll simply remove your spiced decoction from heat and add your herbs (or black tea for traditional chai) to the decoction.

After it infuses for 5-10 minutes, it’s time to strain out the plant material, add your milk or cream of choice, and sweeten to taste with honey or maple syrup, if you’d like.

Pour your herbal chai tea through a small metal mesh strainer that fits in your mug
Straining herbal chai is easy with a mug-sized strainer

But Then There’s Reality

Now, with all that said, I’d be a shameless liar if I didn’t admit that sometimes I just throw everything into a pot and simmer it together. I know I might reduce some of the helpful compounds in fragile herbal material by simmering it, but my chai is still delicious when I cheat a little with brewing methods.

You can even make the chai with the infusion method and simply pour hot water over the spices and herbs. It’ll taste best if you let it steep for at least 30 minutes and cover it while steeping. Infused chai won’t be as strong as decocted chai, but it’ll still be yummy.

So if the two-step brewing process feels too complicated, you have my permission to brew it however feels easiest to you. After all, it’s your tea!

Great Chai Starts with a Spicy Foundation

Crafting a delicious herbal chai recipe comes down to creating a chai spice blend you love. This spice blend is the foundation for every herbal chai blend I’m sharing.

You can find all sorts of spices in chai, but the most common include

  • Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, C. ceylon)
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)
  • Cardamom, hulled or whole (Elettaria cardamomum)
  • Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)
  • Allspice (Pimenta dioica)
  • Star anise (Illicium verum)
  • Anise seeds (Pimpinella anisum)
  • Fennel seeds (Foeniculum vulgare )
  • Black peppercorn (Piper nigrum)

Of course, you won’t usually find all of these in a single chai recipe. The included spices won’t be in equal amounts, either.

Chai spice blend ingredients for herbal chai recipe
Chai Spice Blend ingredients are the foundation of your herbal chai recipe

After tinkering with my own herbal chai recipe, I came up with my favorite blend of spices that I now use anytime I want a yummy cup of health-boosting caffeine-free chai.

In fact, I simply keep a giant jar of my favorite chai spice blend in my tea cupboard. Then, when I want to make an herbal chai recipe, I simmer my spices and add whatever herb I want at the end to finish the tea.

My chai spice blend is just a starting place, though. I created it to my taste, which is why you won’t see cloves (meh) or anise (blech!) in it. You can play with my blend, adding other spices you like or taking out some of the ones you don’t enjoy as much.

I won’t even fault you if you add back in the anise.

Chai Spice Blend Ingredients

Makes 1 pint Chai Spice Blend

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cinnamon chips, Ceylon or cassia (Cinnamomum verum, C. cassia)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons ginger pieces, cut & sifted (Zingiber officinalis)
  • 1/2 cup dried orange peel (Citrus sinensis)
  • 1/4 cup hulled cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
  • 2 tablespoons licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra), omit during pregnancy or if you have high blood pressure

I love a lot of cinnamon and ginger in my chai, so those take the top spot in my blend. Orange peel adds an interesting element and brightens up the tea. Cardamom is delicious, but expensive right now. Thankfully, a little goes a long way!

Licorice root naturally sweetens the tea and rounds out all of the flavors, but you don’t need much. Since licorice can deplete potassium from the body, it’s best to avoid it during pregnancy or if you have high blood pressure.

To make your Chai Spice Blend, simply mix your chai spices in a bowl, then store them in a labeled jar.

For your convenience, I’ve got all of these ingredients included in a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, along with all of the herbal recipe variations.

Herbal Chai Recipe: Warm Up with 7 Healing Blends You'll Love

Try Each of These Herbal Chai Recipes

Once you have your Chai Spice Blend finished and you’re ready to brew some tea, it’s time to choose the herbs that will make your perfect cup of chai.

(Side note. How amazing are herbs? Along with adding them to homemade chai, you can use them in skincare, put them in cookies, and sneak them in smoothies, too.)

I have seven different blends for you to try below. But just like with your Chai Spice Blend, use my ideas as a springboard for even more options.

For each blend, you can either brew with the 2-step process I explained above, or one of the simpler methods, using around 16 ounces of water. That’s enough for 2 mugs of herbal chai, either to share with a friend or enjoy in two servings.

To easily strain your chai after brewing, you can pour it through a mug-sized tea strainer or a small metal mesh strainer. Then add your favorite milk or cream and honey or maple syrup to taste. An herb-infused honey is especially delicious.

Although, the chai spice blend is so good you might even enjoy it plain!

Red Rooibos Chai Tea Blend

Rooibos chai tea recipe

Rooibos is an antioxidant-rich herb from South Africa. It has a mild, smooth flavor with hints of vanilla. It works beautifully in an herbal chai recipe!

  • 1 tablespoon Chai Spice Blend
  • 2 teaspoons rooibos leaf (Aspalathus linearis)

Adaptogen Chai Tea Blend

Licorice root, included in the Chai Spice Blend, is a soothing adaptogen by itself. But add in other classic adaptogens like ashwagandha and eleuthero, and you’ve got an adrenal support powerhouse in your mug!

Since this blend contains all hard herbal pieces, you can simmer everything in a small pot at once.

Love Your Liver Chai Tea Blend

Love Your Liver Chai, an herbal chai recipe with dandelion and burdock

Roasted dandelion root (Taraxacum officinalis) and burdock root (Arctium lappa) lend deep, earthy flavors to chai. They also support liver and digestive health.

Since this blend contains all hard herbal pieces, you can simmer everything in a small pot at once.

Mighty Mushroom Chai Tea Blend

Medicinal mushrooms are superstars of the herbal world, but they can be bitter. By brewing them into herbal chai, you get a delicious tea that might even remind you of pumpkin spice coffee.

Even though the mushrooms are powdered, you can simmer them with the Chai Spice Blend to help extract more of the beneficial properties.

Tulsi Delight Chai Tea Blend

Herbal chai recipe with holy basil

Holy basil, often known as tulsi, makes for a delicious tea all on its own. But its health properties and spicy flavor go perfectly in a chai blend, too.

  • 1 tablespoon Chai Spice Blend
  • 2 teaspoons holy basil (Ocimum teniuflorum, O. gratissimum), any variety

Mineral Boost Chai Tea Blend

Nettle leaf, red raspberry leaf, and dandelion leaf are chock-full of minerals. They can be a bit bland on their own, but turning the into an herbal chai blend makes them delicious! For an easier Mineral Boost Chai, you can use just one of the mineral-rich herbs in your tea.

Golden Chai Tea Blend

Golden Chai Tea, an herbal chai recipe with turmeric

If you like the idea of just simmering your chai in one step, or can’t get enough of Golden Milk, this is the perfect blend for you! Simply stir turmeric powder into your chai spice decoction, and you’ve got a smooth, anti-inflammatory drink that’s perfect for bedtime.

  • 1 tablespoon Chai Spice Blend
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon turmeric powder (Curcuma longa)

Chai is Better with Friends. Brew a Big Batch.

When friends visit in the fall and winter, or my big crew of kiddos wants to spend a few hours outside sledding, I love brewing up a giant batch of chai to sip all afternoon. It warms everyone up and always gets rave reviews, especially when we enjoy it with some toasted sourdough bread.

Making a big batch of herbal chai tea couldn’t be easier. Just use a larger pot, more herbal chai blend, and more water to brew. A good place to start for 4 people is

  • 1 quart of water
  • 2 tablespoons Chai Spice Blend
  • 2 tablespoons of your chosen herbs

But you can easily double or even triple it if you need to! After all, chai tastes better with friends.

Especially when you’re all sitting back in cozy chairs together.

Printable Recipe Card: 7 Delicious Herbal Chai Tea Blends

7 Delicious Herbal Chai Blends

7 Delicious Herbal Chai Blends

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

If you like chai tea, you’re going to love a caffeine-free herbal chai recipe! Try each of these 7 delicious, healthy blends, then use them to create your own.


  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cinnamon chips, cassia or Ceylon
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ginger pieces, cut and sifted
  • 1/2 cup dried orange peel
  • 1/4 cup hulled cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons licorice root*
  • Additional herbs for each blend (see Notes)
  • Milk or cream, to taste (optional)
  • Honey or maple syrup, to taste (optional)


  1. Combine all of the spices and store in a labeled jar. This is your Chai Spice Blend.
  2. To brew your tea, gently simmer 1 tablespoon of the Chai Spice Blend with 16 ounces of water in a small, covered saucepan for 15-30 minutes. Check the pot to be sure the water isn't boiling too hard and evaporating off.
  3. After simmering, turn off heat and add the herb(s) from the specific blend you're making. Allow the herbs to infuse for 10 minutes, then strain the tea into a mug.
  4. Add milk or cream, and honey or maple syrup, according to your preferences.


Add the following herbs to finish your Herbal Chai Tea.

  • Red Rooibos Chai Tea Blend: 2 teaspoons rooibos (Aspalathus linearis)
  • Love Your Liver Chai Tea Blend: 1 teaspoon roasted dandelion root (Taraxacum officinalis) and 1 teaspoon burdock root (Arctium lappa), can simmer together with Chai Spice Blend
  • Adaptogen Chai Tea Blend: 1 teaspoon eleuthero root (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and 1 teaspoon ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), can simmer together with Chai Spice Blend
  • Tulsi Delight Chai Tea Blend: 2 teaspoons holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum, O. gratissimum), any variety
  • Golden Chai Tea Blend: 1/2-1 teaspoon turmeric powder (Curcuma longa)
  • Mighty Mushroom Chai Tea Blend: 1 teaspoon reishi powder (Ganoderma lucidum) and 1 teaspoon chaga powder (Inonotus obliquus), can simmer together with Chai Spice Blend
  • Mineral Boost Chai Tea Blend: 1/2 teaspoon nettle leaf (Urtica dioica), 1/2 teaspoon red raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus), and 1/2 teaspoon dandelion leaf (Taraxacum officinalis)

To make herbal chai tea for a crowd, use approximately

  • 2 tablespoons Chai Spice Blend
  • 2 tablespoons herb blend add-ins (or up to 2 teaspoons turmeric powder for Golden Chai Tea Blend)
  • 4 cups water

You can double or triple this for bigger groups.

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    1. Have any of you ever roasted you own dandelion root? Does it just consist of heating it in a pan in the oven?

      1. A few years ago I harvested, cleaned, dried, and roasted dandelion roots from our unsprayed yard. It was a good experience, but more work than it was worth for me. 😉 This year I could only get dried dandelion root at our herb store, so I roasted it in our toaster oven. It doesn’t take much heat and you have to watch to be sure they don’t burn. I think I do around 250 or 300? You could probably do it in a pan over low heat, too.

    2. I love love love chai! Like you I love the black tea version but had to part with the caffine so I made my own red rooibos chai but never thought of adding dandylion root! That sounds wonderful, may have to give it a try!

      1. I hope you like it if you try it, CeAnne! It’s definitely yummy with just rooibos, but I do love the extra depth the roasted dandelion gives. Enjoy!