Mom It Down: Whole Wheat Chai Muffins

I am a chai lover. Chai lattes are a personal favorite of mine. I don’t drink them often, but on chilly or rainy days, they’re a perfect treat. A while back I thought it might be nice to come up with a chai muffin recipe, combining two things that I love. And so I began researching the spices involved. I have included four of those spices in this recipe. (Can you name them without cheating? hehe)

I wouldn’t say these muffins are set in stone, especially since every time I make them I change them up a bit. But the foundation is there and they’re really quite good as is. 

What you will need

  • Muffin tins
  • Mixer


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg

Mom It Down!

Preheat oven to 400. Line muffin tins with papers. If you’re not using papers, grease the pan. 

Pour a cup of milk into a medium-sized saucepan. Add maple syrup, cardamom, cinnamon, ground ginger, and cloves. Heat the milk up but don’t let it boil! You just want to get most of the spices to dissolve, basically, you want to treat it like you might a cup of hot cocoa. (MMmmmmmMMMMm cocoa!) 

Let that cool. While that’s happening, feel free to add all remaining dry ingredients into your mixer. Let that sit. I also took my egg out to warm and got the 1/3 cup oil ready as well. Multitasking! :]

Once the milk mixture has cooled a bit, add it to the dry ingredients. Add the egg and the oil. Mix it up. You’re done!

Fill the muffin tins (or baking papers) no more than two-thirds full. They will puff up quite a bit. That’s OK. 

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. 

Overcoming Obstacles

I have made these before without steaming the milk, syrup and spices together. They’re just a little stronger in flavor. So, if you don’t have time to heat up the milk and the syrup, feel free to just dump it all into the mixer. I might suggest cutting down on the cardamom if you do so. Also, the first time I made them, I did not add any syrup. But felt they needed a little bit more sweetener. 


If you’re not a huge fan of cardamom, I might suggest cutting the teaspoon down to a half. I imagine figs, raisins or walnuts would be amazing additions to these muffins. 

Chai also includes star anise and peppercorns. Feel free to play with the spices. Also, I feel that nutmeg, (while not normally found in chai) would be a nice addition.

If you don’t wish to use syrup for whatever the reason may be, you could probably add in a little more sugar instead. You can also substitute in some molasses or brown sugar.

I found that these pair well with some fat, whether it’s a scoop of ice cream, some cream cheese icing, or some butter. Personally, I think the ice cream is perfect especially if they’re still warm. If you want the full awesomeness, definitely add a scoop of ice cream to accompany your muffin.

As usual, please feel free to give suggestions as these are very much a work in progress.

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  1. I adore Chai! This recipe is going in the file! I can’t wait to try these little suckers.


  2. i’m definitely trying these. they must make the house smell so good!

    one little question: do you really mean chives, the same little green things i put on my baked potato? i’m scared, but if you swear it’s right, i’ll put ’em in.


  3. OMG! NO!!!!

    I meant CLOVES!!! Cereus, thank you! Ugh, I do hope those who may have written this down already check back!

    Imagine chives? EWWWWW!!!


  4. This recipe is delicious! I can’t want to make it!

    I’m a *huge* fan of cardamom. If you really like it too, I’d suggest getting the whole pods, and then crushing them in a mortar & pestle — there is a discernible difference in taste to fools like me.

    Peppercorns & nutmeg are both pretty common (i think mace too), though pepper might taste weird in a baked good like this. I think licorice root is more often used than anise.. but they taste the same!

    Incidentally, just tossing these same things in coffee while you brew makes completely delicious ‘indian coffee’. And a stupid trick — stale coffee tastes fresher if you drop in a couple of macerated cardamom pods and peppercorns with the grounds.


  5. Glad I checked here…I was really thrown by the chives thing! I mean, I love chives, but more on my baked potato than in Chai muffins…

    Now these look FANTASTIC. I too am a big fan of Chai flavors.


  6. When you say maple syrup do you mean the REAL stuff or the cornsyrupy cheap stuff? I’ve always found real syrup much thicker, sweeter and substantial then the other so I wanted to make sure before using that much!


  7. Yes, the real stuff.


  8. MMMMmmm! These look amazing! I love chai tea, so I am definitely going to give these a shot! Thanks for posting such a unique recipe!


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