Golden Chai

$4.72 recipe / $1.13 each
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.88 from 16 votes
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Have you guys heard of golden milk or turmeric tea? It was the hottest food trend last year, picking up where chai left off years ago. It’s an earthy, slightly savory spiced milk drink full of vibrantly colored turmeric. I’ve made it and loved it, but when I had Golden Chai at a local coffee shop I fell deeply, madly in love. Golden chai is the love child of golden milk and chai tea. It has all the exotic warm spices of chai paired with the earthy tones and slightly savory edge of golden milk. I knew I had to modify my chai concentrate recipe to make some Golden Chai at home ASAP (because I don’t want to pay $4 for each drink, lol).

Golden Chai

Two mugs of Golden Chai with frothy milk and turmeric sprinkled on top and foamed milk in a carafe on the side

Fully Adjustable Flavor

This recipe is super flexible and will most likely need to be tweaked depending on the potency of your ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves, type of tea, and how sweet you like things, so play around with it. And YES you can absolutely use non-dairy milk. :)

I reduced the sweetness from my original chai concentrate recipe by half because I like my golden milk to have only a hint of sweetness. I also used honey instead of sugar this time around because honey has a really distinct flavor that I thought would go really well here. Of course, you can use whatever sweetener is your favorite or that your budget allows.

The Golden Chai mix (without milk added) will stay good in your fridge for 3-4 days, so drink up!

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Golden Chai

4.88 from 16 votes
This Golden Chai is full of warm exotic spices, earthy turmeric, and just a hint of natural honey. It's warm, comforting, and perfect for fall! 
This Golden Chai is full of warm exotic spices, earthy turmeric, and just a hint of natural honey. It's warm, comforting, and perfect for fall! BudgetBytes.com
Servings 4 16 oz. each
Prep 5 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 25 mins

Ingredients

  • 3-4 2-3" cinnamon sticks ($1.50)
  • 1-2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced ($0.11)
  • 10 whole cloves ($0.39)
  • Freshly cracked pepper ($0.05)
  • 4 cups water ($0.00)
  • 4 bags black tea ($0.51)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract ($0.14)
  • 1 Tbsp ground turmeric* ($0.30)
  • 1/4 cup honey ($0.48)
  • 4 cups milk ($1.24)

Instructions 

  • Place the cinnamon sticks, sliced ginger, cloves, cracked pepper, and water in a medium sauce pot. Place a lid on the pot and bring it up to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for five minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, add the black tea bags, replace the lid and let the tea steep for 4-5 minutes. Pour the tea into a bowl through a fine mesh strainer or colander.
  • Whisk the vanilla, honey, and turmeric into the tea. Taste and adjust the sweetness or other spices, if desired. This Golden Chai tea mix can be refrigerated and saved in the refrigerator for a few days.
  • To make each drink, heat 8oz. of milk (stove top, microwave, or steamer) and combine with 8oz. of the hot golden chai tea mix. Make sure to stir the Golden Chai tea mix just before combining with the milk. Serve while hot. 

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Notes

*If you have access to fresh turmeric, you can peel and slice it just like the ginger and simmer it with the ginger and other ingredients in the beginning. I haven't tested how much to use when fresh, though.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 115.28kcalCarbohydrates: 23.18gProtein: 2.4gFat: 2.13gSodium: 92.3mgFiber: 0.7g
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @budgetbytes or tag #budgetbytes on Instagram!

Close up of a mug full of Golden Chai with frothy milk swirled on top

Two mugs of Golden Chai with cinnamon sticks and a ginger root on the side

Step by Step Photos

Ginger Cinnamon Pepper Cloves in the sauce pot

Place 1-2 inches fresh ginger (peeled and sliced) into a medium sauce pot along with 3-4 cinnamon sticks, a generous dose of freshly cracked pepper, and about 10 whole cloves. Add 4 cups water, place a lid on the pot, and bring it up to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down and let it simmer for 5 minutes.

Add Tea Bags to water in sauce pot

After simmering for 5 minutes, turn the heat off, and add 4 black tea bags. Let the tea steep for 4-5 minutes.

Strain Chai tea into a bowl

Strain the tea into a bowl using a wire mesh sieve or a colander.

Add Vanilla Honey and Turmeric then whisk

Whisk 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 Tbsp ground turmeric, and 1/4 cup honey into the tea. This is your Golden Chai tea mix, which you can serve now with milk, or refrigerate for later. The mix will be good in the refrigerator for a few days. The turmeric won’t dissolve, so the mix must be stirred each time before combining with milk.

Front view of a mug of Golden Chai with a spoon lifting the foamy milk on top

To make your Golden Chai, heat 8oz. milk for each drink you want to make (do this on the stove top, microwave, or with a steamer), then combine the hot milk with the hot Golden Chai tea mix. I garnished with an extra sprinkle of turmeric. :)

Overhead view of a mug full of Golden Chai with a spoon

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  1. I hope you realize that turmeric and chai are more than just the “hottest food trend” and have been used and consumed in India for thousands of years. Nice recipe, but I hope you can at least acknowledge the cultural background. Don’t chalk the spices up to just being “exotic;” they’re literally from India.

    1. She’s from Tennessee USA, of course another country, India, is exotic. It’s literally the definition of the word ‘exotic’. Middle America is exotic to someone in India.

      1. Pretty much. It’s trending – here, because a couple of years ago, hardly anyone one in this part of the world knew what golden chai was and now it’s all over. 

        It makes me wonder what’s trending in other places that I grew up with my whole life. Like if a whole bunch of people discovered ranch dressing and then suddenly it was everywhere for a summer

  2. OMG!! THIS TEA IS THE BEST TEA I’VE EVER HAD!! I love this tea with all my heart! I will definitely be making this again! It’s warm and cozy for winter time and the taste is very, very savory! I was able to taste all the spices I put in.
    For each serving, I really, really recommend putting in each cup: 1/2 cup of your Golden Chai Tea and 1 cup of frothed milk. It is SO good! And the frothy milk makes the tea even more creamy and delicious!
    Thank you so, so much Beth! This tea is so savory and cozy and makes your winter days feel so special!

  3. I am super duper excited to make this! My parents have started teaching me how to cook more food, so I haven’t had much experience (I might ask a lot of questions). So, can I use ground cinnamon instead of the cinnamon sticks for my Golden Chai Tea?

    1. You can, but that will leave a lot more sediment in the bottom of your tea. Ground cinnamon doesn’t dissolve into liquids, unfortunately.

  4. I’m so excited to make this Golden Chai! Can I use 4 cups of milk instead of 4 cups of water?

    1. I haven’t tried steeping the spices directly in milk. I’m not sure how that would alter the outcome. :)

  5. So good! I made a batch of this to keep in the fridge to make up a nice hot drink as an afternoon pick-me-up as I work from home this winter. I’ve never had golden milk or golden chai, and I wasn’t sure if I’d like the turmeric but the ever so slight savoury edge is wonderful. I added a little bit of extra honey to sweeten it to my liking, but other than that it was perfectly balanced and really easy to make. Will try your regular chai concentrate next :)

  6. Super good. I don’t drink black tea so instead of doing the first two steps I made some bengal spice celestial seasonings tea. At the end I did feel like it needed a bit of sugar and salt. But so yummy! Tasted like “nectar of the gods” by Atticus coffee shop.

  7. OMG YES! I’ve made some golden chai recipes out of just powdered spices, and they just didn’t impart the same flavor as this does. I like to only add 1T of honey to the original mix, and add more later depending on how sweet I feel! Another hack I tried was putting the ginger and cloves in my infuser ball (bigger than a normal tea ball), mostly because I don’t have a mesh strainer, but it also was nice and easy to remove (and then go fishing for the cinnamon sticks!)

  8. This also works well as an iced latte on a hot day! Bonus: use a straw and you can stir up the bottom sediment before each sip!

  9. Delicious, L.O.V.E. this mixture!  Thank you for your posts … I look forward to each and every one

  10. This recipe is wonderful! I love the earthy, spicy, sweetness it has. I made it with vanilla tea and used almond milk instead of regular milk. Thank you for publishing!

  11. I have a general question about “golden milk” and other hot beverages that are made with dried/powdered spices like turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper (which helps the body absorb the turmeric) — do people totally strain out the spices from the final liquid, or do they drink/eat the remaining spice sediment that falls to the bottom of the saucepan (and the mug), simply as a part of consuming the golden milk?
    I make golden milk with all jarred spices, not fresh, and even when I just make 2 servings that we drink right away, there is a tablespoon or two of sediment from the spices at the bottom of the saucepan, and I don’t know if we are meant to pour that into our mugs as well and ingest part or all of it (for the health-giving properties of those spices), or if they are considered to have served their purpose by imparting the liquid with their flavor, and they are meant to be left in the saucepan and thrown away. This seems like such a silly question to have to ask, but I have never had golden milk in a restaurant (where I live is not very cosmopolitan and is about 20 years behind the times in most things), and I have actually looked at approximately 50 recipes online for golden milk/turmeric tea, I have even typed into a search engine keywords about straining it or not, but I have not been able to find any explicit information about what people do with the leftover clump of spice powder! I have, of course, seen instructions where people are to pour the beverage through a colander to strain out large pieces of any fresh spices that they may have put in the mixture (chunks of fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks, and the like), but nothing about what people do with the bottled-powdered-spices sediment.

    1. It’s not a silly question. :) I usually just let the spices settle to the bottom of my mug and I drink down as much as I can without getting a mouthful of grounds. You can certainly strain it through cheesecloth if you prefer, or even swallow the ground spices if the texture doesn’t bother you. Once the milk is infused it has taken on some of the benefits of the spices, but eating them will give you even more. It’s totally up to you. :)

  12. I love this recipe! I’m about to mix up my second batch. I’m curious how you keep the turmeric from sinking to the bottom of the mugs though? Even when I mixed beforehand most of the turmeric is left at the bottom of the mug. I’m guessing using fresh turmeric would solve that problem?

    1. Even if you use fresh turmeric (grated) the pieces will fall to the bottom because turmeric doesn’t dissolve into liquids. Even when it does settle out, the turmeric has infused into the liquid so you still get that flavor and color (like when you steep tea). :)

  13. I have everything to make this, except for the cinnamon sticks! How much ground cinnamon would I need to substitute? Thanks!

  14. I made this! It took me a little time to squirrel away each ingredient because I wanted to follow it to a T. Afterwards, I decided to buy a handheld milk frother just for this recipe!

    I don’t think steeping it longer would hurt (both the spices and then the tea bags). The color of the finished drink was beautiful, I’m planning on making ginger apricot scones with browned butter drizzle and I think this would just be divine with it.