Chai Latte Cupcakes – Shugary Sweets

This Chai Latte Cupcakes recipe is inspired by a favorite coffeehouse drink. Chai spice and a caramel infused buttercream frosting make these moist cupcakes perfect for fall!

Once you learn how easy it is to make chai spice mix, you’re going to want to put it in everything! Try these easy Chai Cookies next!

Chai cupcakes tooped with a swirl of chai frosting and a star anise.

Why These Cupcakes are Best

Why should pumpkin spice get all the love? I’m here to sing the praises of all things Chai Spice!

Chai might be a less obvious choice than pumpkin for a fall dessert. But it’s every bit as delicious, especially this time of year. Today’s cupcake recipe is made with the same blend of spices used in chai (tea) lattes.

  • Moist, fluffy vanilla cupcakes.
  • Flavored with an aromatic blend of spices.
  • Frosted with a sweet caramel cinnamon buttercream.
  • A bakery quality dessert made at home.

You’ll love these chai cupcakes with a cup of hot tea on a chilly day!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make chai spice cupcakes.

These cupcakes start with staple ingredients including flour, butter, sugar and eggs.

Chai Spice – Our homemade chai spice mix is perfect in these chai cupcakes!

Cinnamon and cloves – These are added to the buttercream frosting for even more fall spice flavor.

Caramel syrup – Any bottled ice cream caramel topping will do. It’s blended into the buttercream frosting, making it even richer!

Anise stars – We decorated each of these cupcakes with a whole star anise seed on top.

Step by step photos showing how to make chai cupcakes.

Easy Frosting

These Chai Latter Cupcakes were delicious all on their own merit. But it’s the chai buttercream that catapults them into the territory of desserts so good you find yourself dreaming about them afterwards.

When deciding what frosting to use on the chai cupcakes, I couldn’t decide between cinnamon frosting and caramel frosting. Both sounded like the perfect complement to the warming chai spices.

So, I made a frosting with both! The caramel turned the frosting into a beautiful latte color.

It’s so easy to make, too!

  • Beat butter with an electric mixer until it’s fluffy.
  • Add ground cloves and cinnamon.
  • Gradually mix in powdered sugar.
  • Add two teaspoons of caramel syrup. Mix until combined.

From here, you can taste test the frosting (the best part!). If you want a stronger caramel flavor, add more caramel a little bit at a time until you get the taste you like.

Chai cupcakes on a wire cooling rack.

Tips and Tricks

  • The cupcake batter will be very thin after mixing. It’s supposed to be! Don’t add additional flour or your cupcakes will be dense and dry.
  • The star anise seeds are meant to be decorative. While whole anise seeds are edible, they taste strong and bitter when eaten whole. I don’t recommend it!
  • Store these cupcakes in an airtight container. They keep well at room temperature for 5 days.
Chai cupcakes on a wooden cake platter.

Recipe FAQs

What can I use instead of chai spice?

If you don’t have chai spice ready made, you can make a small batch just for this cupcake recipe.
Mix together 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon cloves, pinch of black pepper, ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon cardamom. Use in the recipe as instructed.

Can the recipe be doubled?

Yes, you can double this chai cupcake recipe. Doubled, it will make about 2 dozen cupcakes.

Can I make this recipe as a cake instead?

Sure! I would double the recipe and bake it in round layer pans or a sheet pan. If making a cake, you will need to adjust the baking time accordingly.

Do these chai cupcakes have any tea in them?

We don’t use actual tea in these cupcakes. The name comes from the spice mix which is the same spice used to flavor the tea drink.

Chai Latte Cupcakes

This Chai Latte Cupcakes recipe is inspired by a favorite coffeehouse drink. Chai spice and a caramel infused buttercream frosting make these moist cupcakes perfect for fall!


For the Cupcakes

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons chai spice mix
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup water

For the Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons caramel syrup
  • 12 Anise stars, optional


To make the cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a 12 cup cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and chai mix. Whisk until combined.
  3. Add the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, eggs, and water. Beat until well combined. The batter will be thin.
  4. Fill the liners about ⅔ way and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.

To make the buttercream

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add the cinnamon, ground cloves, and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar while mixing on medium speed until completely combined. Add the caramel syrup until you reach the desired taste.
  3. Transfer to a piping bag. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and sprinkle with cinnamon. Top with an Anise Star.


  • Our chai spice mix is perfect for today’s recipe. You could also swap it out for 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon cloves, pinch of black pepper, ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon cardamom.
  • Store cupcakes in airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  • See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cupcake

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 548Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 81mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 1gSugar: 58gProtein: 3g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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If you love chai lattes, these chai cupcakes are for you! Put on a pot of tea and enjoy the warming comfort of fall spices in a sweet handheld dessert.

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