You need these chewy, sweet, delicious chai sugar cookies in your life this fall! The warming chai spices with sweet brown sugar in these cookies will be a hit for anyone who tries them. This recipe can be done in under 30 minutes with just one bowl!
Even if you aren't a chai tea fan, these cookies are some of the best ever and full of fall flavors. This recipe uses a basic sugar cookie formula without eggs, but with more brown sugar and added warm chai spices from a chai tea packet. The brown sugar makes these super soft cookies with a chewy texture even after they've cooled.
Not only are these chai latte cookies fast and so darn delicious, you also probably already have all of the ingredients in your pantry! These brown sugar cookies would be perfect at a fall or winter party, served with my Pumpkin Spice Margaritas or Apple Cider Margaritas!
Additionally, if you want to add a fun eggnog icing, inspired by the Taylor Swift chai cookies recipe, I include the steps for that too in the recipe notes!
Table of Contents:
📖 Recipe Origins
I will be the first to admit that this is nowhere near a traditional use of a masala chai, and – quite frankly – it's a bit of a bastardization of it.
However, I really love using these chai-inspired flavors in these cookies, so it is really really important to me that we properly acknowledge the history of chai.
Here is a great introduction to chai from The Spruce Eats:
In 1835, the British set up tea farms in Assam, India. The black teas produced there made their way into local masala chai recipes. This was the first appearance of masala chai as it's known today, complete with spices, milk, sweetener, and tea. However, this mixture lacked mass appeal in the region, as tea was primarily an export and was too expensive for most Indians.
In India, masala chai is made from scratch with fresh ginger and fresh-ground spices. In the U.S., it is widely available as a syrup concentrate—common in coffeehouses—and as a tea "blend" with dried spices, but it rarely made from scratch.
Chai has a deep history, rooted in many acts of British colonization, then becoming a very popular traditional tea in India, to now, where it has become sort of hijacked by white Americans.
Masala chai translates to "spiced tea." However, we have a pretty common idea of what goes into what we now call "chai."
For a great resource on all things Indian food, especially chai, check out the blog by my friend, Masala and Chai.
🎥 Watch the video of this recipe
Why you'll love these chai cookies
- Easy and Quick! You only need ONE mixing bowl for this recipe and the whole thing is done in less than 30 minutes. What could be easier than that??
- Simple Ingredients - You might already have all of these ingredients at home! If not, they're easy to find! PLUS, no eggs means you can steal as many bites of cookie dough as you want!
- Perfect for Fall & Winter! These are good all year, but especially when the weather is cooler. Have this for dessert after eating some Pumpkin Mac and Cheese!
🥘 What you need for this recipe
Ingredients and Substitutions:
- Stick Butter - Regular unsalted butter or vegan butter will work. If using vegan butter, I highly recommend using stick butter instead of tub butter. Earth Balance is the best I have found so far. If you can't find stick butter, tub butter will still work.
- Light Brown Sugar - Brown sugar makes these cookie so moist and chewy! I don't recommend replacing this ingredient.
- White Sugar - For flavor, a little bit of regular granulated sugar is needed.
- Vanilla Extract - For a more robust flavor, try using vanilla bean paste instead!
- Milk - I used almond milk, but any non-dairy milk is fine as long as it is plain and unsweetened. If not making these vegan, regular milk is fine too.
- All-Purpose Flour - Just regular all purpose flour is great. For gluten-free, try to find a 1:1 flour blend!
- Chai Tea Bag - You can always make a chai spice blend, but I found the easiest method was to just tear open a chai tea bag and mix it into the dough!
📋 How to make chai cookies
Step 1: Prep the Oven and Ingredients
Preheat your oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
Pull out the butter to allow it to get to room temperature.
Step 2: Make the Batter
In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the softened butter along with the brown and white sugar until well combined.
To this mixture, add the vanilla and the milk, then mix again.
In the same large bowl as the wet ingredients, add the flour, baking powder, and chai spices. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to combine dry ingredients until you get a doughy texture.
Step 3: Bake the Cookies
Using a cookie scoop (or your hands), scoop out eight even-sized cookie dough balls.
Place each cookie dough ball onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet with at least 1 inch between each cookie.
Sprinkle the tops of the dough with a bit more white sugar before baking.
Bake the cookies at 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 10-11 minutes. For a fully soft cookie, 10 minutes. For a soft center and crispy edges, 11 minutes is ideal.
Allow the cookies to cool on a cookie sheet or wire rack, then enjoy!
💭 Expert Tips & Tricks
- To get evenly cooked and sized cookies with best results, I highly recommend using a cookie scoop! For this recipe, I used a 1 ½ tablespoon scoop!
- If you want to make a homemade chai spice blend instead of using the tea bag, mix aromatic spices together: 1 tsp. cardamom, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. allspice, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ground cloves, and 3 tsps. ground ginger. Optionally add a pinch of black pepper.
- For a simple icing like taylor swift's chai cookies, combine ¼ cup powdered sugar with about ½ tablespoon milk or almond milk OR eggnog and just a drop of vanilla extract and whisk until smooth. Add cinnamon for a nice touch. Drizzle this icing after the cookies are mostly cooled.
Store these brown sugar chai cookies in a sealed airtight container at room temperature for about 1 week, or in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Definitely! Turn these cookies into a dirty chai version by sprinkling a bit of ground coffee or espresso powder into the batter and mixing thoroughly!
I highly recommend stick butter, but if you must use tub butter, just add 1 extra tablespoon of flour to the dough so that the consistency remains.
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Chai Cookies (Vegan Option)
- Cookie Scoop (optional)
- Electric Mixer
- Glass Bowl
- Baking Sheet
- Parchment Paper
- Preheat your oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
- Pull out the butter to allow it to get to room temperature.
- In a mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the softened vegan butter along with the brown and white sugar until well combined.
- To this mixture, add the vanilla and the non-dairy milk, then mix again.
- In the same bowl as the wet ingredients, add the flour, baking powder, and chai spices.
- Use a mixing spoon or spatula to combine until you get a doughy texture.
- Using a cookie scoop (or your hands), scoop out eight even-sized balls.
- Place each cookie dough ball onto a parchment lined baking sheet with at least 1 inch between each cookie.
- Sprinkle the tops of the dough with a bit more white sugar before baking.
- Bake the cookies at 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 10-11 minutes. For a fully soft cookie, 10 minutes. For a soft center and crunchy edges, 11 minutes is ideal.
- Allow the cookies to cool, then enjoy!
- This recipe makes 8 cookies.
- To get evenly cooked and sized cookies, I highly recommend using a cookie scoop! For this recipe, I used a 1 ½ tablespoon scoop!
- If you want to make your own chai spice blend instead of using the tea bag, mix together 1 tsp. cardamom, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. allspice, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ground cloves, and 3 tsps. ground ginger.
- For a simple icing, combine ¼ cup powdered sugar with about ½ tablespoon milk or almond milk OR eggnog and just a drop of vanilla extract and whisk until smooth. Add cinnamon for a nice touch.