The best chocolate chip cookies... possibly ever? These Chai Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies are perfectly crispy with a soft, chewy center. The subtle notes of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg intermingled with the ideal amount of dark chocolate chunks brings luxury and warmth to every bite.
These chai spice chocolate chip cookies are the best ones you'll ever bake! I know every person says that, but I'm always truly blown away by these. They're your typical chocolate chip cookie recipe that will check off every item on your "must have" list for the perfect cookie. I promise it will impress even the grumpiest person in your life.
They're soft and chewy in the middle, but crispy on the edges for that bit of crunch. The pools of dark chocolate are aesthetically beautiful and dispersed throughout the cookie for the optimal bite.
And the chai spice? Oof. I don't think I can ever have a regular chocolate chip cookie again. Each bite is loaded with subtle notes of cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger and hints of black pepper, mace, and star anise. The way the spices intermingle with the dark chocolate is heaven on earth.
It's genuinely hard to eat just one and walk away without coming back for another. No shame in that.
What is Chai Masala?
The word chai means tea in Hindi, and usually refers to a black tea with milk. So if you're say chai tea, you're essentially saying " tea tea". The word masala means spices. Masala chai therefore refers to black milk tea steeped with spices.
Chai masala translates to tea spices. It's a blend of sweet and warming spices - green cardamom, black peppercorn, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, mace, nutmeg, and star anise - used for making masala chai.
The history of adding spices to black tea traces back to the British colonization of India. Spices were added to chai to mask the taste of low quality black tea leaves.
The blend is also really popular for fall baking due to the fragrance, flavor, and warmth that it lends to anything from cinnamon rolls to muffins to buttercream frostings. It's also a great addition to oatmeal!
The cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves especially stand out in my homemade chai masala blend when exposed to heat and offers the best balance of spices. This way, we don't end up with a cookie similar to gingersnaps.
Ingredients - Notes and Substitutions
This recipe is measured in grams, so it requires a kitchen scale for the most accurate outcome. I did provide both metric and rough US customary measurements, but the grams are the most accurate.
The ingredients for these chocolate chip cookies is typical of most homemade cookies, but with the addition of a chai spice.
- Butter - Always use unsalted butter at room temperature for the best results.
- Sugar - Use light brown sugar if you have it on hand. Dark brown sugar has a higher content of molasses which will give the cookie a bit more of a caramel flavor, which we don't need due to the chai spice. The brown sugar adds a bit of that caramel flavor and the chew. The white granulated sugar helps the cookie spread and crisp up.
- Egg - Creaming the egg with the butter and sugar mixture creates the protein structures that bind the cookie and gives it the perfect texture.
- Vanilla Extract and salt - Provides flavor, but only enough to compliment the chai spice.
- Flour - Use unbleached all-purpose flour
- Chai Spice - Use a high quality, preferably homemade chai spice from freshly ground spices. I also really love Pur Spices.
- Leavening - The right ratio of baking soda and baking powder provides the perfect spread, rise, and texture on the cookies
- Chocolate - Chocolate chunks are superior, period. They melt better than chocolate chips, which have stabilizers, to provide those especially delicious bites. I used Guittard dark chocolate baking bars and roughly chopped them into my desired size. I like to reserve around an ounce of chocolate and press them on to the top and sides of the cookie dough balls to get puddles on the top of the cookie after baking.
This cookie dough can be made 24 hours ahead of time and chilled for up to a day until it's ready to bake.
First, take into account that the cookie dough needs to chill for at least an hour to prevent too much spread and allow the flavors to develop. The cookie dough can be made with a whisk, electric mixer, or stand mixer.
- Make the chai spice. If you're making your own chai spice, transfer your whole spices to a spice grinder and grind until the spices are a fine powder.
- Combine the wet ingredients. In the mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and the softened butter. The result will be a very pale airy and fluffy yellow mixture. Then, beat in the egg and vanilla until fully combine.
- Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once the wet ingredients have been combined, sift the flour, chai spice, salt, and leavenings into the bowl. Gently fold the dry ingredients in, and be sure not to overmix the dough. It should be just incorporated. Next, add the chopped chocolate use a rubber spatula to gently mix them into the batter, being sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as well.
- Scoop the cookie dough and chill. Use a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop to create cookie dough balls. This recipe makes exactly 16 cookies. I like to reserve some of the chocolate chunks to press them into the top and sides of the cookie dough ball to get chocolate puddles on the top of the cookie as it spreads in the oven. Chill the cookie dough for at least an hour minimum, and 24 hours at the most.
- Bake. Towards the end of the chill time, preheat the oven to 350°F. Be sure to use an oven thermometer to ensure accurate oven temperature and adjust accordingly. Transfer 6 balls of cookie dough to a half sheet that's lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Ensure they're evenly spaced to allow for plenty of spreading. Bake the cookies for 13 minutes if you want softer centers, or 14-15 minutes for crispier cookies. Remove the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to set for at least 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
How to Freeze Cookie Dough
I keep a stash of these cookies in my freezer at all times. To freeze the cookie dough:
- Use the cookie scoop to create balls of dough after making the batter
- Transfer them to a baking sheet and flash freeze them in a single line for an hour to prevent them from sticking together
- Once they've solidified, transfer them to a freezer bag. They'll last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Be sure to label the freezer bag with the expiration date.
Bake them directly in a preheated oven - no need to defrost them. Add 3-4 minutes to the bake time and adjust as needed.
More Cookie Recipes to try
Looking to bake more cookies? Here are some more delicious recipes!
More Chai Recipes to try
Obsessed with chai? Here are all the fall chai bakes, drinks and cocktails, and more that you could ever want!
Chai Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Fit the stand mixer or electric mixer with the paddle attachment. In the mixing bowl, add the unsalted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until the color is pale and the texture is light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla, and continue to mix to combine. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure everything is fully mixed.
- Sift the flour, chai spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the mixing bowl. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until it just combines. Do not overmix.
- Add about 7oz of the chopped chocolate into the mixing bowl and combine it with the rubber spatula until it's evenly dispersed throughout the batter.
- Use a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop 16 even balls of cookie dough onto a baking sheet. Press the remaining chopped chocolate on to the top and sides of the cookies.
- Cover the cookie dough balls with a tea towel and chill it in the refrigerator for a minimum of an hour. Towards the end of the hour, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silcone baking mat.
- Arrange 6 cookie dough balls per half sheet to allow for plenty of space for the cookies to spread. This may require two half sheets or baking in batches.
- Bake the cookies for 13 minutes, or until they just start to turn golden. For a crispier cookie, bake for 14 - 15 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to set for about five minutes before using a spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack.
- This recipe was measured and baked in grams. US customary measurements are rough conversions and may not produce the best result.
- To get a perfectly round cookie, use a cookie cutter or jar lid that's slightly larger than the cookie and move it in a circular motion to round out the cookie. This has to be done within 1-2 minutes of removing the cookies from the oven while they're still soft and malleable.
- Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.
- To freeze - instead of chilling the cookie dough in the fridge for an hour, transfer the balls of cookie dough to a separate baking sheet and freeze them in a single line so that they don't stick together. After an hour, transfer them to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Be sure to label the expiration date. When ready bake, directly transfer them to a preheated oven and add 3-4 minutes of extra bake time.