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Chai Tea Ice Cream


This recipe comes together fairly quickly and easily using an ice cream maker. The flavor is authentic with freshly ground spices, black tea, and heavy cream.


Units Scale
  • 12 green cardamom pods
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 black tea bags
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 8 oz granulated sugar


  1. Grind all of the spices (cardamom pods, peppercorns, anise seeds, ginger, and cinnamon) to a powder using a spice grinder.
  2. Combine the milk and cream in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Take the cream mixture off the heat.
  3. Add the spices and tea bags to the saucepan, cover, and set aside for 30 minutes.
  4. While that sits, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
  5. After 30 minutes, remove the tea bags and pour the milk mixture into the bowl with the yolks, whisking to combine.
  6. Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and reheat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Continue to cook until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spatula. Make sure it does not come to a full boil.
  7. Remove from the heat and strain into a bowl. Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4-5 hours, or overnight, until very cold.
  8. Pour the chilled mixture into your ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to churn it. When it’s ready, scoop it into a container and smooth it into an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap tightly and freeze until firm.
  9. Enjoy!


If you don’t want to make your own chai spices, use chai tea bags instead of black tea bags. This will eliminate a few steps.

You can add 2 teaspoons of allspice to your spice mixture if you wish. This will add a warm, spicy flavor that accentuates the peppercorn and star anise flavors.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, put the mixture in a loaf pan in the freezer instead of the refrigerator in step 7. After six hours, take it out, transfer it to a large bowl, and use an electric beater to mix the ice cream together for a few minutes. This will ensure a smooth, creamy product without ice crystals. Return it to the loaf pan, cover it with foil, and freeze until firm.