Chai Ice Cream Recipe

Photograph: Max Falkowitz

Masala chai in ice cream form, with strong notes of black pepper, ginger, and star anise. Whole spices that you toast yourself are best for this ice cream, but ground ones will work as well.

Recipe Facts

Active: 60 mins
Total: 105 mins
Makes: 1 quart

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  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted (3/4 teaspoon ground)
  • 1 teaspoon allspice berries (about 10), toasted (3/4 teaspoon ground)
  • 8 cloves, toasted (1/2 teaspoon ground)
  • 1 whole star anise, toasted (1/2 teaspoon ground)
  • 6 cardamom pods, slightly crushed and toasted (3/4 teaspoon ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, toasted (1/2 teaspoon ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup black tea leaves, like Assam, English Breakfast, or Orange Pekoe
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring cream and milk to a simmer. Toast whole spices and stir into dairy along with cinnamon and ginger. Bring dairy to a boil, then remove from heat and cover to steep for 45 minutes.

  2. After 45 minutes, return dairy to a boil, then remove from heat and stir in tea leaves. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes.

  3. Pour dairy through a fine mesh strainer into a measuring cup or bowl, pressing on tea leaves with a spoon to extract all liquid. In a clean medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until pale in color and slightly thickened. Slowly add strained dairy, whisking constantly.

  4. Heat mixture on medium heat, stirring frequently, until a custard forms on the back of a spoon and a swiped finger leaves a clean line. Stir in salt to taste, then strain custard into an airtight container and chill overnight.

  5. The next day, churn ice cream according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in freezer for at least 4 hours before serving.

Special equipment

ice cream maker

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