Spiced Chai Cupcakes

Chai cupcakes are a delicious, spicy fall-winter treat. This recipe is extremely versatile and makes the perfect autumn dessert. They pair well with a nice cup of coffee or hot tea on a cold evening. If you’re like me, for breakfast… ahem.

Fall flavored cupcakes go well with fall-themed parties and celebrations. They also make the perfect autumn dessert to bring along to school or work for a brunch or afternoon treat. Chai dessert recipes are always a bit hit in any November gathering. Just be prepared to become the person who brings these tea flavored cupcakes every year.

What is Chai?

“Chai” means tea in most languages of South Asia, including Urdu and Hindi.

Chai originated in the Indian subcontinent, where it continues to be a popular drink. Traditional chai is an aromatic spiced tea that often includes ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and pepper. The flavor may vary based on personal preference or region.

What is in Chai Tea?

Traditionally, chai was brewed with black tea. Ingredients included spiced Indian masala blend (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, ginger) in powdered form, sugar or honey and milk or cream to taste.

Why This Recipe Works

These cupcakes capture the essence of chai in a sweet treat, perfect for both dessert and breakfast (or maybe that’s just me?). In order to achieve the flavor profile typical of chai tea, I chose to use white cake mix as opposed to a yellow cake mix. The vanilla extract reinforces the creamy flavors present in this dish.

How to Make Chai Cupcakes

This recipe makes for a rich dessert that pairs well with strong coffee. Made with a homemade ingredients, the cupcakes are easy to make and look like you’ve been in the kitchen all day making these gorgeous treats!

FAQs About Chai Cupcakes

What Goes Well with Chai Cupcakes?

Chai tea cupcakes can be enjoyed on its own as a tasty treat. However, it pairs well with other desserts as well as coffee drinks. In fact, it makes a nice addition to spice up an otherwise ordinary drinking experience.

For those who enjoy drinking milk and tea, chai tea and milk go well together. However, it can also be paired with other drinks such as coffee and hot chocolate.

When pairing chai cupcakes with a drink, consider the drink’s intensity so that one does not overpower another. For example, while coffee is strong in flavor too much of it may overpower the delicate flavors of chai tea cupcakes.

How to Make Vegan Chai Cupcakes

If the person eating chai cupcakes is vegan, substitute an egg replacement like flax seed or Ener-G powder for each egg. Substitute vegan margarine and yogurt for butter and Greek yogurt respectively. This should create a vegan version of the chai cupcake recipe.

Can You Make Chai Cupcakes Ahead of Time?

Chai cupcakes can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer. To store them, let the cupcakes cool completely then place into a freezer bag or container then into the freezer. To defrost, leave at room temperature until thawed then serve to enjoy.

Can I Make Chai Cupcakes with White Chocolate Chips?

Chai cupcakes taste wonderful when following the recipe, however, white chocolate chips can be added for an unexpected twist of flavor. When adding white chocolate chips, fold them into the prepared batter gently so that they do not break or crumble.

How to Make Chai Cupcakes without Milk?

To make chai cupcakes without milk, consider using soy milk instead of cow’s milk. For this substitute, simply follow the recipe as instructed, but use soy milk instead of regular milk for an excellent cupcake full of chai flavor.

How to Make Chai Cupcakes with Boxed Cupcake Mix?

Some people prefer the ease of baking using a boxed mix. However, it can be tricky trying to substitute boxed cake mix for scratch recipes.

To bake chai cupcakes using a simple box mix recipe, follow the instructions on the box but add 2 teaspoons of chai spice mix into the batter. Again, be careful not to over-mix the batter or else the cupcakes will be tougher rather than soft and fluffy.

To make Vegan Chai Cupcakes using a boxed mix , simply follow the box’s instructions but substitute vegan margarine, soy milk, and yogurt for their normal counterparts listed in the recipe.

Chai Cupcake Variations

While the original version is delicious in its own right, there are several ways to change things up a little bit. This recipe would work well with so many flavors of cupcakes. Get creative with your fall themed cupcakes.

A few fall cupcake flavor ideas to try are:

  • Gingerbread Cupcakes
  • Pumpkin Cupcakes
  • Apple Cupcakes
  • Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes
  • Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes
  • Pecan Pie Spice Cupcakes
  • Salted Caramel Pecan Chai Cupcakes

Chai cupcakes are an excellent performer in the kitchen and anywhere they are served. This delicious treat can be changed up to fit different occasions and audiences. There is something for everyone with this fall cupcake recipe. Happy baking!

Yield: 18 Cupcakes

Spiced Chai Cupcakes

Spiced Chai Cupcakes


Chai Mix

  • 5 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 3 tsp Ground ginger
  • 3 tsp Ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp Allspice

Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

  • 1 Chai tea bag
  • ½ C Milk
  • 1 ¾ C Cake flour
  • 4 tsp Chai spice mix
  • ¾ tsp Baking powder
  • ¼ tsp Baking soda
  • ¼ tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ C Unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 3 Egg whites
  • 2 tsp Pure vanilla extract
  • ½ C plain Greek yogurt

Chai Spiced Frosting

  • 1 ½ C Unsalted sweet cream
  • 3 C Powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp Chai spice mix
  • 6 tbsp Heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp Pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Large piping bag with star tip

Chai Spiced Sugar

  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp Chai spice mix

Chai Spiced Caramel Sauce

  • 1 C Sugar
  • 6 tbsp Unsalted sweet cream butter
  • 6 tbsp Unsalted sweet cream butter
  • ½ C Heavy whipping cream
  • ½ C Heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ tsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp Ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp Ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp Ground ginger
  • ⅛ tsp Ground ginger
  • ⅛ tsp Ground cardamom
  • ⅛ tsp Ground cardamom
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp Ground cloves
  • ⅛ tsp Ground cloves
  • 1 Medium squeeze bottle
  • 1 Medium squeeze bottle


Chai Mix

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside

Vanilla Chai Cupcakes 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners
  2. Using a small pot, bring the milk to a simmer 
  3. Place the tea bag into a bowl and pour the hot milk over the tea bag. Let it steep for about 40 minutes 
  4. Using a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, 4 tsp chai spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
  5. Using a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, egg whites, Greek yogurt, and vanilla until combined and smooth 
  6. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until combined 
  7. Gradually beat in the cooled milk, until combined and smooth 
  8. Fill the cupcake liners ¾ way full and bake in the oven for 22 minutes
  9. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely 

Chai Spiced Frosting 

  1. Using a standing mixer or handheld mixer, beat all ingredients together until the frosting is creamy, smooth but stiff and holds peaks 
  2. Scoop 1 ½ C into the piping bag and set aside

Chai Spiced Caramel Sauce

  1. Using a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and butter over medium heat
  2. Gradually stir in the heavy whipping cream until combined 
  3. Whisk in the salt and spices until combined 
  4. Remove from the heat and pour into a squeeze bottle 

Building the Cupcake

  1. Take a small ice cream scoop and scoop frosting onto the top up the cupcake and smooth into a thick mound 
  2. Coat with the chai sugar mixture 
  3. Take the piping bag and pipe a dollop of frosting in the center 
  4. Drizzle the chai caramel sauce over the top of the cupcake and sprinkle some cinnamon on top
  5. Top with a cinnamon stick and enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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