This easy chai buttercream frosting recipe is the only buttercream you need for fall. Full of warming spices (with an easy twist), this would be a great buttercream frosting for spice cake, for butter pecan cake, or any cake you want, really.Jump to Recipe
This easy chai buttercream frosting recipe is the only buttercream you need for fall. Full of warming spices (with an easy twist), this would be a great buttercream frosting for spice cake, for butter pecan cake, or any cake you want, really.
I love chai with my whole heart. The feeling of warmth and coziness that I get when I drink chai is just unmatched my anything else (even coffee). There’s just something about it. I look for chai wherever I go.
I really love making my own chai at home – I feel like most coffee shops make it too sweet – I want the spiciness, not the sweetness when it comes to chai.
My two favorite methods are either Tazo chai (this is what Starbucks uses) or Trader Joe’s Chai Concentrate, which just so happens to be my secret ingredient in this recipe.
Flavor: the frosting has a pretty distinct chai flavor. It’s sweet (because, duh – there’s two cups of sugar) but the spices help balance out the sweetness.
Texture: the secret to a super smooth buttercream frosting is to just mix the heck out of it. I let my mixer run for a total of about 10 minutes, and the resulting frosting is the creamiest, most decadent frosting you’ve ever had as a result.
Ease: this is an incredibly easy recipe – you mostly just have to throw things into a stand mixer and you’re good to go. You can make this with a hand mixer too, but I would up the mixing time by 1.5 to get the same results. Ex: instead of mixing for 10 minutes, you would go for 15 minutes.
- Unsalted Butter
- Powdered Sugar
- Chai Concentrate (Tazo or Trader Joe’s)
- Red and Green food coloring (optional)
Tips and Tricks
- For the pepper: use it sparingly – if you have a pepper grinder 1 or 2 turns should do it. If you have pre-ground pepper (don’t do this, it’s so much better to grind your own!) just a tiny pinch will do it. You want just a hint of pepper.
- Food coloring: to get a creamy dreamy brown color use 10 drops each of red and green food coloring. This is completely optional and is for looks only. I haven’t personally experimented with natural food colorings, so I cant recommend any good options for that.
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Why use chai concentrate AND chai spices?
You could definitely use one or the other, but I found the best flavor came from the combination of both. If you don’t have access to chai concentrate (TAZO is sold pretty much everywhere, including Amazon), you could just double the spices in the frosting instead, and add 3 tablespoons of milk or cream.
Do I have to actually mix the frosting for so long?
You don’t HAVE to, but if you want to get the lightest, fluffiest frosting that will wow your friends and family – it’s worth it to spend the time.
Where do I get the chai concentrate?
If you don't have access to a Trader Joe's, Amazon will ship some right to you!
How do I store leftover frosting?
Store leftover frosting in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To use after freezing – let it sit at room temperature for a few hours, then re-mix in the stand mixer until light and fluffy again.
How much chai buttercream does this recipe make?
Enough to very generously frost 12 cupcakes.
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Easy Chai Buttercream Frosting
- 8 ounces 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons chai concentrate
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- pinch of black pepper
- Red and green food coloring optional
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Add the chai concentrate and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper and beat on low speed until the powdered sugar incorporates, about 15-20 seconds.
- Increase speed to medium high and beat for 5 minutes until super light and fluffy.
- If using, add the food coloring - 10 drops each of red and green, and mix until fully combined.