This cardamom milk captures the essence of traditional South Asian flavors in a cup. It's a soothing mix of milk, cardamom, rose water plus a hint of turmeric – sweetened with some honey.
And perfect for chilly evenings when you're in the mood for a warm, comforting drink.
Love flavored milk? Try my melon milk recipe next.
Here are some helpful notes on ingredients you'll need. See the recipe card below for exact quantities.
- Milk – I prefer full-fat but low-fat options will work too.
- Cardamom – you'll need ground cardamom (aka cardamom powder) which can be found in Middle Eastern, Pakistani and Indian grocery stores. Or in international food aisles in some big supermarkets. If you can only find whole cardamom, grind it in a spice/coffee grinder. Or use a mortar and pestle – but strain the drink before serving. Do not use black cardamom – that's a completely different spice (get the green pods).
- Rose water – for giving the drink a nice fragrant lift. It's usually sold in Middle Eastern, Pakistani, Persian and Indian grocery stores. Also easily available online and in big supermarkets. Make sure it's food-grade (don't confuse it with skincare products). If looking for more ways to use it, check out my melon milk and rose hot chocolate recipes.
- Turmeric – for some vibrancy and a subtle earthy taste.
- Honey – use regular unflavored honey. Adjust the quantity to your liking.
How to make cardamom milk
Follow these simple, photo-assisted instructions to prepare this recipe. Check out recipe card below for a printable version that has quantities, instructions and notes in one place.
Step 1: Pour the milk into a small saucepan.
Step 2: Also add ground cardamom, rose water, ground turmeric plus honey. Bring to a simmer on medium heat. Then turn down the heat a little and let it gently simmer 10 minutes.
Step 3: Stir frequently to prevent the milk from scorching. Do not let it come to a boil.
Step 4: Remove from burner, pour into a cup, top with a few saffron strands and enjoy!
- Burnt taste – always simmer milk on gentle heat and stir frequently so it does not stick/scorch. If it has already burned, don’t scrape the bottom – just transfer to a new saucepan. Oh and using a heavy-bottomed one helps with even heating.
- Weak flavor – ground cardamom loses its potency over time so if yours isn't fresh you may have to use a little more. Always taste the drink before you adjust the quantity and simmer for a couple more minutes after the addition.
- More or less sweet – feel free to adjust the quantity of honey. If the drink turns out too sweet for your liking – add some more milk.
- Grainy texture – if the cardamom you're using is not finely ground, use a fine mesh strainer when pouring the drink into your cup.
Substitutions and variations
- Dairy alternatives – vegan options like almond, soy or oat milk can be used – but the flavor and creaminess of the cardamom milk will vary.
- Saffron – a few saffron strands will enhance that golden color from turmeric while adding a delightful flavor that really complements cardamoms.
- Other sweeteners – maple syrup, agave nectar or a sugar substitute like stevia are all fine replacements for honey. You could even use date syrup for a Middle Eastern touch. Each option will bring a different sweetness profile though.
- More spices – feel free to add different spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. But don't go overboard. You can even infuse the drink with a vanilla pod. Oh and remove any whole spices before serving.
- Creamier texture – put a dollop of whipped cream on top for an indulgent version.
- Nut addition – add chopped almonds or pistachios to the saucepan when adding milk for a very Indian-style twist. Soaking nuts overnight will make the chopping easier.
What to serve it with
- Traditional Indian desserts – sip the milk with South Asian classics like jalebi, rice pudding (kheer) or gulab jamun.
- Spiced cookies – think ginger snaps or cinnamon cookies.
- Tea sandwiches – cucumber or egg salad tea sandwiches can be a lovely savory contrast.
- Shortbread – a buttery, crumbly treat that pairs great with this drink.
- Warm pastries – like a flaky buttery croissant or a sweet Danish pastry.
- Cakes and loaves – a slice of pound cake, banana bread or carrot cake would be perfect for a high tea.
Storage and reheating
- Storage – cool the cardamom milk to room temperature then transfer to a clean bottle or jar with a tight lid. Or cover your mug/cup with some plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to three days. A bit of separation is normal and will get fixed when you mix and reheat.
- Reheating – pour into a saucepan, reheat on low heat and stir frequently. If using microwave, reheat in 30 second intervals and stir after each spurt.
Just so you know
- Cardamom milk is enjoyed as a warm beverage during colder months but is also refreshing when served over ice on a hot day.
- This recipe takes inspiration from traditional Indian-style masala milk (masala doodh) but focuses on cardamom's unique flavor.
- Don't rush the process. Simmering is important so the flavors can get properly infused in the milk.
- This is a great make-ahead drink and is perfect for entertaining. Just reheat before you serve.
- 1.5 cups (355 ml) whole milk - (Note A)
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom - aka cardamom powder (Note B)
- ½ teaspoon rose water - (Note C)
- 1 pinch ground turmeric - aka turmeric powder
- 1.5 teaspoons honey - or sweetener of choice
- a few saffron strands
- Add milk, ground cardamom, rose water, ground turmeric plus honey to a saucepan.
- Bring this mixture to a simmer on medium heat. Then turn down the heat just a little and let it gently simmer for 10 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the milk from sticking to the bottom of pan. Do not let it come to a boil.
- Remove from heat, pour into a cup, top with saffron strands and enjoy!
- Step-by-step photo instructions
- Recipe troubleshooting
- Substitutions and variations
- Serving ideas
- Storage and reheating
The nutritional information provided here is calculated using a third-party nutrition calculator. These values are estimates, and we cannot guarantee the correctness of the displayed numbers. Please see our disclaimer page.