Best Ever Vanilla Chai Mix – Sounds Southern if you say it right :)


In the mood for more traditional Southern cooking? Click here to check out Crispy Breaded Pork Chops with MeMe’s Mashed Potatoes and Milk Gravy, or try some fried cabbage and Sweet and Sour Green Beans. For dessert, how about peanut butter  or  coconut pie? YUM! Now that we’ve done all that mental cooking, it’s time to sit down with a nice hot drink….

A few months back I met my friend Lisa in a local coffee shop for a little chat and when I got there she had ordered me their Spiced Vanilla Chai. I had never had this stuff before and one sip had me leaping over the moon, it was so good! I was really surprised that it wasn’t coffee because it has such body to it and depth of flavors. It was like a perfectly baked ginger cookie dipped into perfectly made coffee – I was in heaven. Lisa was quick to tell me that this Chai was exceptional and not to get it anywhere else expecting it to be this good. She told me not to even attempt to try it at Starbucks because theirs can’t come close. I took another sip as my eyes just about rolled back in my head it was so good!

However, I don’t drink sugar for a multitude of reasons so when the lady behind the counter told me she couldn’t make it sugar free, I was pretty disappointed. Good thing I don’t give up too easily!

Me and Kelly :)

I set about on a mission to recreate their recipe. Since they could only make it one particular way I assumed they were using a mix of some sort, and it had to be one they made themselves to boot. At first I started making tea and adding in little spices here and there, but then I tried out several recipes online and eventually found myself at my friend Kelly’s blog. Lo and behold, Kelly’s recipe turned out to be an exact flavor match.

The great thing about this recipe is that I could easily make it sugar free (or significantly lower in sugar) and that is what I’m bringing you today. If you’d like Kelly’s original recipe please click here to visit that and be sure and tell her I sent ya! I want to thank her for generously giving me permission to share her recipe with you today.

Update: Mama and I were out of town recently and I brought a little jar of this mix with me. Mama really doesn’t like hot tea at all. I know that seems odd to 90% of the world’s population but you’ve got to understand that where I’m from we only drink tea iced all our lives so the thought of suddenly drinking it hot really does strike us as odd, but like I said, this stuff tastes so much like coffee that I just knew she’d love it. So that morning I ran some hot water through the little coffee machine in our room and made her a cup. She took one sip and said “Are you serious? This is really tea?” Since then I’ve made her two batches of this mix. She and I have both got to drinking it more than we do coffee. I told her I was going to do this tutorial yesterday and she said “Well if you’re going to be making some more I’m down to only half a jar…”

You’ll need: Powdered milk, Ideal Sweetener*, Instant unsweetened tea, Sugar Free French Vanilla Creamer, and non dairy coffee creamer.

*You can use regular sugar or splenda in place of the Ideal Sweetener. I found Ideal at Krogers packaged under their own label, but with “Ideal” listed on the front.

You’re also gonna need a lot of spices, but they’re what MAKE this tea so stinking good.

Ginger, Allspice, Cloves, Nutmeg, White Pepper, Cinnamon, and Cardamom*.

Go for the cheap here wherever you can. I know some folks really get a thrill out of spending $20 plus on a little bottle of spices and if you’re in that camp, knock yourself out. I cruise the store brands and sale bins for mine. Nothing but the cheapest for my family! ~grins~

*Now this cardamom is going to cost a fortune. I spent around ten dollars for my bottle. However, you’ll have enough of it to make several batches. I have no idea how many times I’ve made this and I’m still using the same bottle.



Place all ingredients into a food processor.

Now this is where you decide if you like stronger or weaker beverages. If you prefer stronger flavors, use heaping measurements with your spices. I use heaping teaspoons, rather than teaspoons. If you prefer your flavors a little milder, use the exact measurements listed in the recipe.


Once you have all ingredients in your food processor, put the lid on that puppy and get ready to make some mix!

I’m using my workhorse Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Food Processor. They now have a deluxe version that is even less expensive than mine was (click here to see it).

I’ve had this for a few years now and really put it through the ringer and it’s held up like a champ.

If you don’t have a food processor, you can also use a blender but you may need to make it in smaller batches to have room. Just put your tea, spices, and powdered milk in first and mix those up really good, then you can stir the rest in by hand.


This is what it will look like when done.

Now, just store this in an airtight container to keep fresh.

I like to put mine in little 8 ounce canning jars so I can have one or two to give away to friends.

To make your chai, simply add two heaping tablespoons of mix to 8 ounces of hot water or milk and stir (I use hot water).

Vanilla Chai Mix
  • 1 Cup Non Fat Dry Milk Powder
  • 1 Cup Powdered Non Dairy Creamer (Coffee Mate)
  • 1 Cup Sugar Free French Vanilla Powdered Non Dairy Creamer
  • 2-1/2 Cups Ideal Sweetener, Splenda, or Sugar
  • 1-1/2 Cups Unsweetened Instant Tea (can use Decaf)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor or large blender. Blend until it is a fine powder. Store in airtight container.
  2. To make Vanilla Chai, add two to three tablespoons of mix to 8 ounces of hot water or milk (I use hot water).
Makes about 6 cups of mix. For more information about substitutions and ingredients, please see the recipe post.

 Train up a child in the way that they should go –

and make sure you go that way, too!

Saw on Facebook courtesy of Janie Upchurch. Thanks Janie!


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  1. Anne Foster says

    This is absolutely delicious! Just made it and my husband came walking by and asked what I was drinking as he picked up my cup to take a sip. His eyes lit up and said, “That is really good!” He immediately went and made himself a cup! Thank you SO much for this recipe! Oh yes, the Cranberry Banana Bread is a HUGE hit in this house! Last Christmas we made two loaves daily while my daughter and son-in-law were here from LA! DELICIOUS!

  2. Cindy says

    So good!! Add a small amount (about a tablespoon) of your hot liquid to powder and stir into a syrup, then add to remaining hot liquid. This will eliminate the sediment at the bottom of the cup.

  3. Katy Zundel says

    Hi, my bulk company I have been buying 2 lb. bags from for years, sold and the new owners discontinued my vanilla chai. Thank you, for publishing this recipe, I will try it right away.
    I need both low sugar or sugar free and caffeine free!!!

  4. Sharon says

    I was just trying to think of a gift for the ladies in my family. We usually focus on gifts for all the kids, then do small things, like $5 or less, for each other. This will be perfect! I’ll just get some cute containers at the dollar store and fill them up. They will LOVE this!! Thank you, Christy!

  5. Sharon says

    Hey, Christy – Do you make a little money each time we pin something from your site? If so, I was wondering. When I run my cursor over the picture of the recipe, two pin buttons show up – one is a small rectangle on the upper left, and the other is a bigger circular button on the lower right. Does it matter which one I choose? I just want to make sure you get credit for the pin. :)

  6. Ashley J says

    Hey Christy I am looking for a good peppermint hot chocolate recipe similar to Ghiradellis That I can make. I stumbled upon some on clearance 10cents each and decided to try it man oh man should have gotten more. Suggestions?
    I love all you recipes and stories

  7. Susan the farm quilter says

    I am seriously addicted to chai tea! I’ve been making this recipe for 2 years now and love it. But I found something much simpler – Celestial Seasons has a decaf tea called Bengal Spice…I add my sugar (real or fake) and some milk and it is wonderful!!! I drink iced tea year round and I use one big regular iced tea bag and one Bengal Spice bag in my iced tea maker (I keep adding water to the tea maker until my pitcher is full) and there is a delightful hint of spice to the iced tea. One Bengal Spice bag makes 2 strong cups of hot tea!!! I love it so much I went to Celestial Seasons website and bought 4 cases of the tea!!!

  8. Connie says

    Thanks for posting this recipe, I gathered everything up and made it today. I made it without sugar so that I can share it with a friend of mine who is diabetic and can add her sweetener to it. I used only 2 tsp mix per 8 ounce cup of hot water and added 1 tsp of sugar and I like this. Thanks again for the wonderful recipe.

  9. Kristen says

    Made this weekend, and sipping on a cup as we “speak”. DELICIOUS! I don’t need the sugar either, and this recipe is PERFECT. Plenty sweet and gives my local “5-Bucks” a run for their money! I will be packaging in a mason jar and including in my neighbor gift baskets this Christmas. Thanks Christy! :)

  10. Patti Rosendahl says

    Dear Christy,
    My husband volunteers at the VA Clinic 3 days a week at Ft Rucker and at least once a week I try to make a treat of some kind for the Drs, Nurses and other staff that work there. I sent a quart jar of your Vanilla Chai Tea last week and it was such a big hit that they are asking for more, so I promised them a jar once a month :) My husband also has cancer and goes to the Cancer Center in Enterprise daily for radiation treatments. This morning I left the staff there a quart jar of your Vanilla Chai also. All of these people not only work so hard but give so much of themselves, its amazing how appreciative they are for homemade treats like this that they dont have time to make for themselves. Thank YOU Christy for sharing your recipes with us :) You make a bad day good for so many people and you dont even know it :)

  11. Patti Rosendahl says

    Christi one of the nurses at the VA Clinic asked me if this would taste as good with the sugar free chocolate coffee creamer???? She loves it just the way it is but shes a chocoholic lol :)

  12. Eva says

    HI Christy, I asked on facebook if regular tea powdered up would work, you didn’t think so, because finding instant tea that isn’t sweet iced tea mix is difficult, I am not a fan favourite of sweet tea of anykind. However that isn’t why I am posting this time, try to find a store that sells middle eastern, or Indian foods and spices, cardamom is used in both foods, I get cardamom by the bag full, and all I have to do is take the dried shell off, although you can grind that up too, and grind the seeds, its a bit hard to do in a regular spice grinder, but if you have a mortar and pestle its simple, its much better fresh ground as it does loose its flavour in the jar. I grind some every year at Xmas for cookies etc, and use up the leftovers over the next few months, its super deluxe in blueberry pie, which isn’t real highbush blueberries but low growing berries a lot call huckleberries, although my mother said they weren’t real huckle berries, due to the shape, they are round like blueberries and the huckle berries are long, they have very close flavours so we just picked all of them and called them blueberries or huckleberries depending on which we had the most of!

  13. Jennifer Woods says

    Just made it to take with me to work tonight. It is soooo delicious! Even though I did not add Cardamon(too expensive) and Allspice. I thought I had the allspice, but it turns out I didn’t. Next time I make this, because there will be a next time, I will add the extra spices. It’s still good even without them.

  14. Sylvia says

    Christy you did it again! This is beyond delicious. I made it exactly by your recipe. It is PERFECT! I am so happy to have something truly sugar free and truly delicious to give to my diabetic friends. Thank you so much for this recipe.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    P.S. My little food processor won’t hold all the ingredients at one time so I mixed everything in a bowl then processed it in small batches. I put the blended mix into another bowl and stirred it all together just to be sure the spices were dispersed properly. Worked like a charm.

  15. Sharon says

    I made this mix and gave it to my mom, sisters, and girlfriends for Christmas. I put some in a cute ziploc bag, put that in a pretty mug (from the Dollar Store), and added a plastic scoop (2 for $1 at Dollar Store). They have all commented how delicious it is and asked for the recipe. An inexpensive gift that was very well received. Thanks, Christy!

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