This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

When it comes to cupcakes, I find that inspiration can always be found near and far – and this recipe is no exception. These easy, homemade chai latte cupcakes combine deliciously warm chai spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger with soft and fluffy cupcakes. Topped with my chai spice buttercream, it’s the ultimate coffeehouse-inspired treat. Sip and savor, my friends!

chai latte cupcake with a cinnamon stick garnish

Can I confess something? I’m over pumpkin spice lattes. Am I even a real foodie if I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes? They’re too sweet for me, which is ironic given the mountain of buttercream in these photos. (I also don’t like matcha lattes. They taste like grass-flavored milkshakes. Can someone – anyone – please say they feel the same?!)

So, when brainstorming new cupcake recipes, I naturally turned to my favorite fancy coffeehouse beverage: a warm chai latte. A dessert you can prepare ahead of time, these chai latte cupcakes are fall must-try whether that means a batch of seasonal cupcakes for your coworkers, a unique contribution to a fall bake sale, an impressive ending to a Friday night dinner party, a Sunday football treat, or even if you just freakin’ love chai tea lattes like I do!

What’s not to love? When you combine the airy cupcake base with the rich chai spice buttercream, this dessert pushes all other fall-flavored desserts to the back of the line. I have a feeling you’ll appreciate this autumnal, beverage-inspired cupcake as much as I do!

Tell Me About These Chai Latte Cupcakes

  • Ease: There are 3 simple parts to these chai latte cupcakes: making the homemade chai spice blend, preparing the chai-infused cupcake using my basic vanilla cupcakes recipe as the base, and mixing up the chai spice buttercream. 
  • Texture: The best cupcakes are light and airy, and this chai latte is no exception. Soft, fluffy, and moist, it has an irresistible texture that will delight the most discerning cupcake lovers! In fact, here’s a run-down of my vanilla cupcakes recipe explaining why cake flour, sour cream, and egg whites are KEY to an irresistible texture.
  • Flavor: Chai may be an unusual recipe flavor, but you’ll be impressed with the outcome. Infused with deep, aromatic notes of warm spices, the cupcake is intensely flavoured with a double-jolt of chai flavor by combining the chai latte cupcake WITH the chai spice buttercream.
  • Time: You’ll need to steep the tea for 20-30 minutes, then make the batter and bake the cake for about 20 minutes. That lush buttercream frosting can be prepared while the cupcakes are in the oven. You can complete this recipe in a little over an hour, allowing for cool time before frosting the cupcakes. (If you plan on making mini cupcakes, you’ll shave off about 10 minutes of the total time.)
chai latte cupcakes

chai latte cupcakes on a wood slice cake stand

When cooking or baking, I encourage you to use the best-quality spices you can. While spices don’t necessarily expire, they do tend to lose their flavor and intensity over time and it’s worth replacing them every three to four years.

Overview: How to Make Chai Latte Cupcakes

The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through it so you understand each step before you get started.

  1. Make the homemade chai spice mix. This blend of 4 readily available kitchen spices makes the delicious chai spice flavor you love. Grab some cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and allspice. This mix will be used in both the cupcake batter and buttercream, as well as the garnish on top.
  2. Prepare the chaiinfused cupcakes. We’ll use my basic vanilla cupcakes as the base, adding a generous amount of our chai spice mix. Instead of regular milk, we’ll use chai tea milk made from a bag of chai tea steeped in 1/2 cup warm whole milk (steep it the night before to save time). This concentrated amount of chai flavor turns our spiced cupcake batter into a delicious chai cupcake batter. It’s the secret sauce. Let the milk cool before adding to the batter. 
  3. Whip up the chai spice buttercream. Remember when I said rainbow chip frosting is the best frosting in the world? Lies. This richly flavored vanilla buttercream is spiced with our homemade chai spice mix. It’s unbelievable how much flavor dry spices can add to frosting.
  4. Decorate the chai latte cupcakes. This chai spice buttercream, in all its creamy, silky-smooth glory, sits at the top of the frosting world. I used the Wilton 8B piping tip (which I love) for this recipe. (Remember my white chocolate strawberry cupcakes and lemon buttercream photos?) You simply start in the center of the cupcake and swirl upward. You can watch me use it in this frosting tutorial video (1:09 mark).
  5. Garnish cupcakes. A cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of sugar/leftover chai spice mix adds a rustic chic garnish to our chai latte cupcakes. 
chai spice mix in a white measuring cup

First, here is our chai tea milk that we’ll use in the cupcake batter. This stuff is potent!

Chai tea milk in a glass measuring cup

Because of the chai tea milk and chai spices, the chai cupcake batter is a beautiful shade of caramel. 

Chai latte cupcake batter in a glass bowl

chai cupcake batter in a cupcake pan before baking

Tip: Fill the cupcake liners only about 2/3 full to avoid overflowing.

When it comes to leavening in baking, balance is key. You can learn all about it in my baking powder vs baking soda post. Find out why some recipes – like these chai latte cupcakes – call for both.

chai buttercream in a glass bowl
chai buttercream swirled on cupcakes with cinnamon stick garnish

More Chai Inspired Recipes

And here’s the separate page for chai spice buttercream in case you want to pair it with other flavor cakes and cupcakes!

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
chai latte cupcake with a cinnamon stick garnish

Chai Latte Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 14 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Soft and moist chai latte cupcakes prepared with chai tea, chai spices, and topped with whipped chai buttercream. This simple cupcake recipe tastes exactly like your favorite coffeehouse chai latte drink.



Chai Spice Mix

  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice


  • 1 bag chai tea
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (207g) cake flour* (spoon & leveled)
  • 3 and 1/2 teaspoons chai spice mix (above)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature

Chai Spice Buttercream

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 5.56 cups (660-720g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chai spice mix, divided
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • optional for garnish: cinnamon sticks + mix the remaining chai spice mix


  1. Prepare chai spice mix: Mix all of the chai spices together. You’ll have 5 and 1/2 teaspoons to use between the cupcake batter, buttercream, and garnish.
  2. Steep the tea*: Bring milk to a boil or heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Pour over tea bag and steep for 20-30 minutes. This chai milk is the milk you’ll use in the cupcake batter. This can be done the day before and refrigerated overnight. Make sure the chai milk is room temperature before adding to the cupcake batter.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2-3 liners – this recipe makes 14-15 cupcakes. Set aside.
  4. Make the cupcakes: Whisk the cake flour, 3 and 1/2 teaspoons of chai spice mix, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  5. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the egg whites on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour and mix in the chai milk *just* until combined. Do not overmix. Batter will be slightly thick and smell incredible!
  6. Pour/spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only 2/3 full to avoid baking over the sides. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 35 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  7. Make the frosting: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and add 5 and 1/2 cups (660g) confectioners’ sugar, the heavy cream, 1 and 3/4 teaspoons chai spice mix, the vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. If frosting looks curdled or greasy, it’s best to beat in more confectioners’ sugar to smooth it out. Beat in up to 1/2 cup (60g) more confectioners’ sugar to smooth out if needed. If frosting seems too thick to pipe or spread, beat in another Tablespoon (15ml) of cream. Taste and beat in another pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  8. Frost cooled cupcakes and serve. I used Wilton 8B piping tip, stuck a cinnamon stick in some of them, and sprinkled with a mix of the remaining chai spice mix and a pinch of granulated sugar.
  9. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: An easy way to get a head start is to prepare the chai spice mix and steep the milk/tea 1 day ahead of time (steps 1 and 2). Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Measuring Cup | Chai Tea | Cupcake Liners | Cupcake Pan | Cooling Rack | Wilton #8B Piping Tip | Reusable Piping Bags or Disposable Piping BagsWood Pedestal Cake Stand
  3. Step 2: You’ll steep 1 bag of tea in 1/2 cup of hot milk to use in the cupcake batter. You could also steep a 2nd chai tea bag with the heavy cream to use in the buttercream, if desired! Make sure it’s hot when steeping, then cool to room temperature when adding to buttercream.
  4. Cake Flour: If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, use this homemade cake flour substitute. I suggest doing this twice, mixing it all up in 1 bowl then removing 1/4 cup since you need 1 and 3/4 cups in this recipe.
  5. What to Do with Leftover Egg Yolks? I have some recipe ideas for you!
  6. Why is Everything at Room Temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information.
  7. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!
  8. Cake Version: I suggest following my white cake recipe as the base, which is almost double this cupcake recipe. Use 2 tea bags for the milk since that recipe calls for 1 cup. For the chai spice mix, increase the cinnamon to 2 and 3/4 teaspoons, ginger and cardamom to 1 and 1/2 teaspoons each, and the allspice to 3/4 teaspoon. You’ll have 6 and 1/2 teaspoons of chai spice mix. Use 4 and 1/2 teaspoons in the cake batter and 2 teaspoons in the vanilla frosting recipe listed with the cake.

Keywords: chai latte cupcakes

chai latte cupcake with a bite taken from it

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I am trying this as a “tumeric spiced chai cake” as I’m modifying to account for tumeric flavour I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate you putting measurements in metric for those of us international. Thank you!

  2. This is SOOOOO good! Especially if your a lover of chai tea like me! IT was so fluffy and almost melt in your mouth, it was a hit with my family and I can NOT wait to make it again! Thank Sally!!

  3. Hello! I just made this recipe GF and Dairy free, I used dairy free butter in the cake itself, and replaced sour cream with a homemade oatmilk heavy cream, but you could use coconut cream (turn can upside down, chill in fridge overnight or in freezer a couple of hours, and then scrape just the cream off top and use it 1:1 sour cream/yogurt. I’ve also seen folks make their own sour cream by using any sort of dairy free milk and mixing a teaspoon of baking SODA in it, letting it sit and develop bubbles for a bit before adding it to the mixture. Also, I used vegetable shortening (organic Nutiva brand, it’s red palm shortening) entirely for the frosting, plus the heavy cream mix and powdered sugar, a super stable buttercream! I love the cake of these, I could eat it by itself for days! However, the frosting is a bit too sweet for my liking, which is what I feel is what often happens when making a dairy free/vegan buttercream is that it just ends up too sweet. I am still trying to figure out the right balance for myself, but this recipe was super easy!

  4. Just made these a couple days ago and the cupcakes were more dense than I was expecting – almost a bit chewy. I think I may have overmixed after adding the milk because I mistakenly added it all at once rather than slowly pouring as it mixed, and that forced me to then mix longer in order to make sure it was all incorporated. Does that sound likely, or is there some other likely cause?

    1. Hi John, Yes that was likely the culprit! When you overmix the batter, you run the risk of over-developing the gluten. This results in squat-looking cupcakes, dense-textured cupcakes, and heavy-tasting cupcakes. Here are more of my Tips for Baking the Best Cupcakes if you are interested!

  5. I’m not a huge fan of chai so I used this recipe as inspiration for a London fog cupcake instead. I steeped the milk with loose leaf earl grey tea (then strained the leaves out of course) and replaced the chai spice mix with 3.5 tsp of finely ground loose leaf earl grey tea (ground in a coffee grinder and then passed through a sieve worked the best) and BOY are they good. I topped them with your vanilla buttercream and garnished with some loose tea leaves. When I initially dug into them they were delicious but the tea flavor was really subtle and somewhat overpowered by the buttercream. But when I tried one the next day the tea flavor really developed in the cupcake and it really tasted like a London fog!! I think the flavors need a day to blend together just like with a good french macaron. I’m so happy with how they turned out so thanks for this great recipe! I’m never going back to all purpose flour again!!

  6. Made these yesterday exactly as written and they were delicious! I halved the frosting and still had a ton leftover as mine were not as beautifully frosted as Sally’s. The cupcakes were soft, and not dense with a strong chai flavor. It smelled like autumn in my kitchen while these were baking.
    Anyways.. I do still have 3 egg yolks in my fridge that I need to make tomorrow — maybe one of your pudding recipes??

  7. Hi Sally, I wanted to try these because they looked so delicious! And I have done many of your recipies and that’s why I was surprised when they didn’t come out as expected. I followed perfectly the recipe and it tasted delicious! But when I put them in the oven they got bigger and they got the perfect form, I didn’t open the door of the oven or anything like that, but then they got all the way down, do you know why this could have happened?

    1. Hi Camila! Do you mean they rose perfectly, then sank down? Two things can come into play here– first, make sure you aren’t over-filling the cupcake liners. Second, the cupcakes could have been under-baked. A couple extra minutes in the oven will help for next time.

  8. Quick question: Can I use milk in the frosting if I don’t have heavy cream?

  9. My friend and I made this recipe and it was delicious. The only modification we made was we added just 5 cups of powdered sugar to the recipe instead of 5.5. We are both definitely in the mood for fall now! Would definitely make these cupcakes again!

  10. Hiya, what alternative can you use if you can’t get hold of cake flour? Can I use self raising flour instead?

    1. Hi Aisha, See the recipe notes for how to make a homemade cake flour substitute. We don’t recommend self rising flour – that would take additional recipe testing.

  11. Love these. Only sub was I used SMBC instead of ABC. I could eat the frosting right out of the bowl. Made a second batch, but I feel they were a bit drier or maybe denser?? I did mini cupcakes instead of regular, took them out at 11min. I think I may have had one of two issues. The sour cream may not have been warmed up enough, or I over mixed. Not sure which one, or both contributed to the drier, maybe denser texture. Still a winner. I think that frosting would be amazing on pumpkin anything.

  12. Hi! Made this recipe today. Instead of cupcakes I used a 9×13. The flavor is great but I find the cake rather dense and feel like it should have risen more. I used the AP flour/corn starch alternative and followed directions precisely and sifted 3-4 times.

    Next time I made beat the egg whites separately and fold into the batter.

    What crumb should I have achieved with the recipe? Would my cake flour substitute have caused this?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Carol, it could have been the cake flour substitute but I’m concerned about the size of the cake pan. This batter isn’t enough for a 9×13 inch cake so it may have tasted flat and dense because there simply wasn’t enough. Whipping egg whites separately does help lift up the crumb, but you may have better luck using the cake version linked in the recipe notes. I also wrote an article about preventing dense cakes if you want to give it a read as well.

  13. I made these today been looking at the Recipe, for a week . So today was the day. They did not disappoint . So delicious, and taste just like a chai Latte … so yummy Thanks for the recipe, and your instructions. I am so enjoying going through them all keep them coming , and all your tricks

  14. Hi Sally!
    Absolute love you. I’m making this recipe on a pretty big scale (distributing many in lieu of having a party) I know for the cake version, you mentioned a different recipe but I want to stick to this one. If I makes this recipe x5 can you advise on how best to freeze and then thaw out accordingly when needed? Also same thing for your “favourite carrot cake + cream cheese frosting” recipes. I’ll be preparing these three things tomorrow and just want to ensure they turn out as amazing as they usually do, if I freeze them for a few days prior. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Anita, We actually have a whole post on How to Freeze Cakes that you will find helpful! One thing to note is that for the best results we do recommend making any cake or cupcake recipe one at a time instead of doubling or more. It helps to avoid over or under mixing which results in a dense and heavy texture.

  15. Hi Sally, I made these today and I am pretty sure I followed the directions precisely; however my cupacakes have the texture similar to a banana bread. The only change I made was the almond milk, which a previous person had asked and you said it would work well so I don’t know what happened. Thanks for all our recipes, tips, and videos by the way!

    1. Hi Kelly, I’m unsure of the exact bake time needed for jumbo cupcakes but use a toothpick to check for doneness. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, they will be finished baking.

  16. Hi! These cupcakes were amazing in flavor. I went exactly by the recipe. The texture was too dry and spongy/ dense. I don’t know if an egg you’ll would help? Not using a mixer? What happened?? I really want to make them again. Thank you!

    1. Hi Elizabeth, We are so glad you enjoyed the flavor of these cupcakes! For the best texture be sure you are using cake flour and that you are measuring it correctly – spoon and level (or weigh) instead of scooping. It’s also possible they were slightly overbaked, next time try reducing your overall bake time by a minute or two. For more troubleshooting help you can visit the post 10 Tips for Baking the BEST Cupcakes.

  17. Hi Sally! I love this recipe and have made it many times– do you think I can color this frosting (purple) without it turning into an ugly mess? Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Hi Heather, Yes you should be able to color this frosting purple – we highly recommend gel food colors over the liquid.

  18. I made this recipe into a 3 layer 6 inch cake for my birthday. I love chai lattes and this cake tastes exactly like a delicious, warm, cozy chai latte! Followed the recipe exactly except I used 2 chai tea bags in the steeped milk. And I think you’re right, the frosting is the best thing I’ve ever tasted!

  19. I’ve made these cupcakes with a chai SMBC, and they were delicious. I want to make an Earl Grey cupcake. I was thinking to seep the milk with Earl Grey tea and grind up early grey tea to replace the chai spice. It makes sense in my head. Any thoughts or do you see any forseeable problems?

    1. Hi Jenn, that sounds incredible! We haven’t tested any Earl Gray tea desserts but would love to hear what you try.

  20. Sally, these were absolutely amazing!
    I appreciate the “make ahead” instructions when you’re preparing for a larger party.
    Thank you for all you do, and sharing your love of cooking, and baking!

  21. I love love all your recipes Sally! This one is no exception! These cupcakes were amazing! So soft and full of chai flavour. Yummy. I made SMBC with 2 tsps of chai mix and it was divine.

  22. May I use enriched cake flour, that’s what I have on hand. The recipe looks delicious.

  23. This was totally amazing! It took me awhile to make because midway through I forget I didn’t have vanilla. I refridgerator the dough and baked it the next day and it came out perfect. Everything about it all was truly wonderful and a great blend. Chai tea latte cupcakes are my new favorite. I originally hopped on this site for chocolate cupcakes and I saw this recipe in the corner and couldn’t resist.

  24. Hi Sally,
    My daughter asked for a Chai cake for her birthday cake. So I wanted to use this recipe. You said to use the white cake as a base for this cake. So does that mean I do not double the the eggs and sour cream in the recipe? For clarification, I should use 5 egg whites and a half of cup of sour cream and the same amount of sugar (1 3/4 cups) and vailla (1TBSP) used in the white cake recipe. The vanilla extract for chai cake calls for 2 tsp. Thanks in advance for your help. By the way my daughter loved the chai cookies I made last summer. We really enjoy your recipes.

    1. Hi Stacy! Yes, just follow the recipe for white cake with the adjustments listed in these recipe notes, do not double it. Would love to hear how the chai cake goes for you!

      1. Trina,
        The Chai cake was so delicious. I followed the recipe as stated according to the white cake recipe. It was a huge hit with my family. Thank you so much for the quick response and advice. I will post a picture of the cake to the Sally’s Facebook page.

Leave a Review!

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.