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

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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

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.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: vanilla
Servings: 4
Calories: 100kcal


  • 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
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper


  • Place all ingredients into a food processor or large blender. Blend until it is a fine powder. Store in airtight container.
  • 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.


    Calories: 100kcal
    Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

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    1. Cardamom is a wonderful addition to many things, sugar cookies, any “vanilla” cakes, even cream of wheat cereal. It doesn’t take much. I consider it a “sweet spice” as opposed to a “savory spice”. My husband was from India and he drank chai tea all the time.

    2. I was so excited to see this recipe popup in today’s newsletter. I have everything butbthe instant tea. (A reason to shop) Chai Tea is one of my favorites.
      My Mom made something called Russian Tea way back in the 70’s. I’m off to search your site now.

    3. I just made a double batch of this for my daughter’s care package I’m sending her at college in Alabama. Hopefully this and the fall scented candles will help it feel a little more like Fall 🙂 Thank you Christy, I know she and her friends will love it!!!!!

    4. Hello,

      I just made this using erythritol and it was WAAAY too sweet, so I added back 1/2 the ingredients again minus and sweetener, and it’s still too sweet. Any ideas?

      1. I’m afraid I only make this recipe with Splenda. If I deviate from that I generally go to swerve. What you did to try to correct is exactly what I would do, though. I would try making a cup and if it’s still too sweet adding in 1/2 of the ingredients again.

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