Make this homemade Christmas morning chai recipe to wake the family. The kids love it, not just because it’s sweet but because of the rich creamy flavor. Want more spice? Just let your spices steep longer! Hot Chocolate isn’t the only Christmas morning drink. Chai spices are perfect for warming the whole family come Christmas morning! Rich milk and cream are such a perfect expression of the comfort and coziness of the day. Thankfully, you don’t need to sit at the stove to make this Christmas morning chai recipe. I’ve simplified it to prepare in the convenient instant pot! Christmas day is a time where connections with people are the most important thing. This instant pot chai will provide the perfect means for family time.
Note that this post contains affiliate links. Should you click on a link and follow through to make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend items we use or like. This post is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. I am not a health practitioner and encourage you to seek a health practitioner for health questions and problems.
What is Chai?
My first experience with chai was the super sweet coffee shop version. Perhaps it was Starbucks. Perhaps it was Dutch Bros. Either way, I couldn’t get enough of the creamy spiced drink. Because I couldn’t take dairy, I’d substitute other non dairy alternatives. I soon found a coffee shop that made their own chai, meaning it didn’t come from an “Oregon Chai Tea” box. Wow. As much as I’d loved the chai I’d become accustomed too, this was so good I went back to that central Oregon coffee shop over and over during the coming months: just for chai. Overtime, my taste in specialty drinks changed as I realized, my body couldn’t handle the high sugar and refined foods well. You can imagine my enthusiasm in finding there is a simple way to make chai at home. Simple and so good. This one surpasses hot cocoa ya’ll!
Chai is actually another word for “Tea” in the Hindi language if India. What we’re used to saying as “Chai Tea” would sound quite funny if you were in India. It would sound more like “Tea Tea.” A chai tea latte would be a “tea tea latte” or tea tea with milk. You can see how rediculous it starts to sound. That said, you may see me refer to it as chai tea in this post. Don’t fear. I’m not forgetting what I just said. It’s only because people are used to hearing it said this way in our culture.
Spices in Chai
The chai you’re accustomed to is most likely “Masala Chai.” Masala is made of spices steeped in the chai to give it’s famous flavor. Using whole spices is best so that’s the way we’re going to do it. You might see a handful of different spices such as:
- Cinnamon Sticks (or ground cinnamon if you don’t have)
- Peppercorns (whole black pepper)
- Star Anise
- Whole Cloves
- Fresh Ginger
- Green Cardamom Pods (or a pinch of ground cardamom)
- Cardamom pods
Best Places to Buy Spices and Tea
First, you need something to steep your spices. I like to use a cloth tea bag. I also use it for other loose leaf teas such as the ones I make from our garden. My tea bags came from Azure Standard, an online grocer that sells, natural, bulk and local groceries. I love using them for my pantry needs, especially during the holidays.
As for spices, I love the quality and vast selection from Mountain Rose Herbs.
As for teas, simple black tea bags of Earl Grey, English Breakfast or Darjeeling tea will work. However, if you are trying to avoid chemicals and want organic loose black tea leaves, these are some great options:
- Mountain Rose Herbs Organic English Breakfast Tea
- Beautiful Irish Breakfast Tea from Farmhouse Teas ( a small family owned company in my neck of the woods!)
The Christmas Morning Chai Recipe
The instant pot is crucial in this recipe. No slaving over a stovetop. So grab that instant pot instead of the small saucepan and get started!
Grab 4 cups of water and pour it into the instant pot. Now, prepare your spices. You can use any combination of the above spices but I’ll share my combination here. This combination brings out spices our family associates with Christmas: cinnamon, cloves, allspice, star anise and ginger. It’s a very simple combination but we don’t have kids who appreciate spiciness. That said, this recipe is for a mild flavored chai but you’re welcome to add more spice to it!
Ingredients for Christmas Morning Chai
1 1/2 t cloves
1 t allspice
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
thinly slices fresh ginger (about 1 inch by 1 inch)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups water
3-5 Teabags of black tea such as earl grey, english breakfast or darjeeling.
2 cups whole milk (milk alternative is fine)
1/4 cup sweetener of choice (sucanat, maple syrup, honey or coconut sugar are great)
1/2-3/4 cups heavy cream
How to Make Christmas Morning Chai
- Pour four cups of water into the instant pot. Fill a tea bag with all the spices and drop it in the pot. Cinnamon sticks can just be dropped in without a bag. Add in vanilla. Put on the lid and turn to “sealing.” Manually set the time to 2 minutes and start it.
- When time is up, release the pressure valve by turning to “releasing” from “sealing.” Be careful of the steam that comes out while doing this.
- As soon as the steam has stopped releasing and pressure has come all the way down, Open the lid and add in your tea. Cover and set to “sealing” then set the timer to steep tea for three minutes. Once timer goes off, take tea and spices out. Alternatively, you can leave spices in to make the chai spicier.
- At this point, add in your sugar or other sweetener, milk and cream and mix together. Congratulations! your Chai is done! If you aren’t serving it immediately, put the lid back on to sealing and set the instant pot to low/keep warm. Otherwise, grab the saucer and pour a cup of tea!
- 4 cups of water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 2 whole star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- fresh ginger about 1' x 1' thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-5 teabags of black tea such as English Breakfast or Earl Grey (or loose tea)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream
- Pour four cups of water into the instant pot. Fill a tea bag with all the spices and drop it in the pot. Cinnamon sticks can just be dropped in without a bag. Add in vanilla. Put on the lid and turn to "sealing." Manually set the time to 2 minutes and start it.
- When time is up, release the pressure valve by turning to "releasing" from "sealing." Be careful of the steam that comes out while doing this.
- As soon as the steam has stopped releasing and pressure has come all the way down, Open the lid and add in your tea. Cover and set to "sealing" then set the timer to steep tea for three minutes. Once timer goes off, take tea and spices out. Alternatively, you can leave spices in to make the chai spicier.
- At this point, add in your sugar or other sweetener, milk and cream and mix together. Congratulations! your Chai is done! If you aren't serving it immediately, put the lid back on to sealing and set the instant pot to low/keep warm. Otherwise, grab the saucer and pour a cup of tea!
Chai Recipe Variations
Seasonal drinks are offered at all coffee houses this time of year but what if you don’t want another gingerbread latte or french toast breve? Chai drinks are both cozy and warming. The other great thing about chai is there are endless variations. With all the different types of spices you can mix them up to find your favorite flavors and heat. You may just want to try the two following recipes. Make your own delicious chai tea drinks!
Cold Brew Chai Recipe
Want to make this a cold drink for Christmas? Easy peasy. Here’s the secret to making an iced version of the chai latte. On Christmas Eve, or at least four hours before drinking your iced chai, start the recipe. Follow the instructions but use 2.5 cups of water instead of 4. After you take out the teabags, add in your sweetener of choice. Let the tea cool for at least 15 minutes before pouring into a glass pitcher or jar and placing in the refrigerator overnight or at least four hours.
When you’re ready to serve this cold brew chai, add in your whole milk, cream and serve over 1/2 cup of ice cubes in each glass.
Christmas Morning Dutch Bros. Chai Recipe
So you want this to taste like you made a Dutch Bros Christmas morning run? Here’s how to make the coffee shop copycat recipe. Dutch Bros. signature chai tea latte is actually their own version of chai using Oregon Chai Tea concentrate, half and half and white chocolate syrup.
If you know me, you know I like to keep food as nourishing as possible. This is part of the reason why I simply use whole milk and cream (we get it fresh from a cow). You can find more on this below. Although white chocolate syrup can easily be purchased from a store, you can also make it with much simpler ingredients! Check out this post for how to make it.
Increase the vanilla extract to two teaspoons. In exchange for the 1/4 cup of sweetener, add 1/4 cup white chocolate syrup. Add 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream in place of the 1/2-3/4 cup cream. Don’t forget the whipped cream and nutmeg on top; Very important! Let me know what your taste buds think of this copycat recipe.
What to Eat With Your Christmas Morning Chai Recipe
Want something different than your usual cinnamon rolls to pair with your cozy drink? Try these einkorn flour recipes for Christmas morning breakfast. Never had the ancient grain einkorn? It’s packed with so much nutrition and easy on tummy’s sensitive to gluten. I’m a fanatic. Here’s more information on it. Pair with some fresh fruit such as oranges or berries and you have a perfect breakfast.
- Pumpkin Streusel Scones with Einkorn Warm your Winter
- How to Make Einkorn Sourdough Buttermilk Waffles
- My Favorite Farmhouse Buttermilk Biscuits with Einkorn
- Overnight Sourdough Bagels with Einkorn
Health Benefits of Chai
What are the health benefits to drinking chai? There are many antioxidants from spices, especially clove, ginger and cinnamon in chai. Polyphenols from plants are full of antioxidants. This means it’s good for fighting off free radicals. Spices used to make chai are often anti inflammatory as well. This article shares many of the anti inflammatory effects. This study researched the effects of clove and coriander oils with promising anti inflammatory properties as well. Ginger is also well known to help aid digestion. All in all, the spices in chai are a great benefit to your health.
Make it Healthier
My own version of Chai uses simple ingredients like whole milk and cream. Try to find cream that hasn’t been ultra pasteurized if at all possible. Ultra pasteurization is done to extend the shelf life but also sterilizes the milk of all natural good living nutrients. I’m also aware of the types of sweetener I use and look for those less refined and higher in nutrition. This is why I stick to things like, sucanat (dried cane sugar), coconut sugar or maple syrup. Using whole dairy and sweetener ingredients (which haven’t been pasteurized or refined in some way) helps keep it in a form the body can use.
How to Store Your Chai
If you’re not using your chai immediately, it’s best to place the dink into a pitcher and refrigerate for up to 48 hours. if you don’t plan to use it right away, I recommend making the chai without the milk and cream and adding it in when you’re ready to serve the chai. Then heat it on the stove.
Make this homemade Christmas morning chai recipe in your instant pot to share with the family.
I hope you enjoy this Christmas morning chai recipe and I’d love to hear if you make it for the holidays.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
From the Hilltop,