Made with warming spices, these chai cupcakes are one delicious treat. Simple to make, these light and fluffy cupcakes are topped with a vanilla cream cheese icing, for a sweet bite full of complex flavors.
Chai Tea Cupcakes
If you love chai tea, you are going to adore these super cute and tasty cupcakes! Made with a warming Indian spice mix, these are perfect to enjoy anytime of the year, but I especially love them during fall.
Time to get your bake on, because you won’t want to miss these beauties!
Why You’ll Love this Chai Spice Cupcake Recipe:
- Perfect for the holidays: Cupcakes are always so pretty and cute to serve at parties and gatherings, and the sweet and spice flavors are sure to impress!
- Easy: This is a pretty simple recipe that produces a light and fluffy cupcake. Even novice bakers will master these!
- Delicious: The chai spice in these cupcakes adds a warming but not overpowering flavor, combine that with the sweet cream cheese icing and we have a winner!
How to Make Chai Cupcakes
Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!
- Steep the chai tea bags in warm milk.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- In another bowl, mix the chai milk with the other wet ingredients.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
- Place the mixture into cupcake liners in a mold, bake and let cool.
- Make the cream cheese icing.
- Pipe the icing on top of the cooled cupcakes to serve.
Chai Cupcake Ingredient Notes
- Milk: Helps steep the tea to add more chai flavor but it also adds moisture to the cupcakes.
- Flour: The main dry ingredient in our cupcakes– make sure to measure correctly so you don’t end up adding too much flour (no one wants a dry cupcake).
- Sugar: I love the flavor of brown sugar with chai, but feel free to use granulated if that’s what you have on hand.
- Baking Powder: Helps the cupcakes rise.
- Chai Spice: I used a homemade chai spice blend, but feel free to use homemade or store-bought!
- Vegetable Oil: Adds moisture to the cupcakes and helps keep them from drying out.
- Eggs: Bind the batter together so the cupcakes don’t crumble apart.
- Vanilla: Enhances the flavor of the chai.
- Butter and Cream Cheese: The perfect combination for a frosting– make sure they’re both fully softened or you’ll end up with lumps in your frosting.
- Powdered Sugar: Gives our frosting structure and sweetness. If your frosting is too dry, feel free to add 1-2 tablespoons of milk, or until you achieve your desired consistency.
Chai is interesting because it’s actually the Hindi word for tea. In America, though, we recognize chai as a specific type of spiced black tea, and chai spice derives its flavor from that. Blends differ based on brand, but chai spice generally includes a mix of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and sometimes allspice.
If you can’t find chai spice, it’s easy to make your own. Simply combine 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground cardamom, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground allspice, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, and 2 teaspoons ground cloves.
If your cupcakes are a bit flat, that’s most likely because you didn’t add enough baking powder. Also, be sure to check the expiration date on your baking powder! If it’s expired, it just won’t do the trick.
If your cream cheese frosting is too thin, add cornstarch, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. If your cream cheese frosting is too thick, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.
These chai spice cupcakes are a wonderful way to elevate your desserts and treats! Super simple and easy to make, but the flavors are amazing, just like your local bakery!
These light and fluffy cupcakes are perfect for any occasion, holiday, or just with a cup of tea on a grey Tuesday! Warming and comforting, they are sure to disappear quickly!
Store chai cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
I recommend freezing the cupcakes and frosting separately. Unfrosted chai cupcakes can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Cream cheese frosting can be frozen in a Ziplock bag for up to 1 month. Allow cupcakes and frosting to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. You may wish to rewhip the frosting after thawing.
Chai Cupcake Substitutions
- Tea: You can use any type of tea in this recipe, although I recommend using black tea. Try Assam, English breakfast, or Earl Gray.
- Sugar: I used light brown sugar, but you could also use dark brown sugar for a deeper flavor or granulated sugar for a lighter flavor.
- Spice: If you choose to use another variety of tea, you could change up the flavor by using 3-4 tea bags, omitting the chai spice, and adding lemon or orange zest to the batter to bump up the flavor.
- Gluten Free: To make these cupcakes gluten free, use your favorite brand of gluten free 1:1 flour.
These cupcakes look great on their own, but I think adding a star anise pod (pictured) really makes them pop. You can buy star anise pods in the spice aisle of the grocery store or online. You could also decorate with cinnamon sticks or dust the cupcakes with ground cinnamon or chai spice for a simpler design.
If you are looking to impress, these chai cupcakes are an easy way to do it! Simple and easy to make, these should definitely be top of your baking list!
If you make this recipe be sure to leave us a comment or rating. Enjoy!
Chai Cupcakes Recipe
For the Cupcakes
- ½ cup whole milk 114 grams
- 2 chai tea bags 4 grams
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour 180 grams
- 1 cup brown sugar 213 grams
- 1 teaspoon baking powder 4 grams
- 2 teaspoons chai spice 6 grams
- ½ cup vegetable oil 100 grams
- 2 large eggs 100 grams
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4 grams
For the Cream Cheese Icing
- ½ cup unsalted butter 113 grams, room temperature (1 stick)
- 4 ounces cream cheese 114 grams, room temperature (½ brick)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4 grams
- 2½ cups powdered sugar 283 grams
For the Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-count cupcake tin with paper liners. Set aside.
- Place the milk and chai tea bags in a small saucepan set over medium heat. When the milk starts to steam, remove it from the heat and set it aside to steep for 5 minutes.½ cup whole milk, 2 chai tea bags
- While the tea steeps, in a large bowl, whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and chai spice together. Set aside.1½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 teaspoons chai spice
- In another bowl, stir together the chai milk (make sure to remove the tea bags first), vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla.½ cup vegetable oil, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk just until no large lumps of flour remain.
- Divide the mixture between the cupcake wells, filling about ⅔ full, and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cupcakes to a wire rack and cool completely before icing.
For the Cream Cheese Icing
- Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the mixer as needed.½ cup unsalted butter, 4 ounces cream cheese
- With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla followed by the powdered sugar.1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 2½ cups powdered sugar
- Once all of the powdered sugar has been incorporated, turn the mixer to high speed and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with your choice of tip.
- Frost the cupcakes as desired and top with a sprinkle of chai spice, if desired.
- You can use any type of tea in this recipe, although I recommend using black tea. Try Assam, English breakfast, or Earl Gray.
- I used light brown sugar in these cupcakes, but you could also use dark brown sugar for a deeper flavor or granulated sugar for a lighter flavor.
- If you choose to use another variety of tea, you could change up the flavor by using 3-4 tea bags, omitting the chai spice, and adding lemon or orange zest to the batter to bump up the flavor.
- To make these cupcakes gluten free, use your favorite brand of gluten free 1:1 flour.
- These cupcakes look great on their own, but I think adding a star anise pod (pictured) really makes them pop.
- You could also decorate with cinnamon sticks or dust the cupcakes with ground cinnamon or chai spice for a simpler design.