Sri Lankan Milk Tea

We Sri Lankans can't go on the day without Milk Tea, the most popular Sri Lankan Beverage! It is so easy to make within less than 10 minutes and you only need tea, milk, water, and sugar (optional)
Sri Lankan Milk Tea pinit
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My husband says you’re not a Sri Lankan if you’re not addicted to Milk Tea. And that probably is true for many Sri Lankans cause we Sri Lankans LOVE our milk tea. It’s like coffee for westerners. Most of us cannot get on with the day without that milk tea in the morning.

Milk powder vs Fresh Milk

In Sri Lanka, we mostly use Milk powder to make milk tea. But when I moved to the US I had to get used to making milk tea using fresh milk. The taste I find is quite different. But don’t get me wrong, they are both delicious!

The key to making good Milk tea, I believe, is good quality tea leaves/ground tea. In this case, a good quality Ceylon Tea (I’ll list a few brands I like at the end). Tea is what adds the flavor. So, whether you use milk powder or fresh milk, you can make excellent milk tea when you have strong tea that tastes good as your base.

Milk Tea with Milk Powder Recipe

When I lived in Sri Lanka, for all 25 years, I only had Milk Tea made with Milk powder. Unless you get milk from a family farm, fresh milk wasn’t commercially available, at least in my area. Milk powder has always been the most popular option.

Believe it or not, Sri Lankans are excellent at making milk tea using milk powder. I’m sure my mom can make milk tea with her eyes closed. The method is very different from making tea from fresh milk. And the taste is quite different too.

If you’re looking for a milk tea recipe with milk powder, I’ll upload a proper recipe post for that later but for now, I can give you a rough guide.

For one person:

  1. To a cup, add two teaspoons of loose tea. You can use one tea bag as well. Add 1.25 cups of boiling water and set it aside for the tea to bloom.
  2. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of milk powder into another large cup (preferably steel, ceramic, or glass). Add sugar to your taste. I usually add about a teaspoon. You can make the tea without sugar as well. Mix them well together.
  3. Now, using a tea strainer, strain the tea into the large cup where you mixed the milk powder and sugar. Using a spoon, beat the mixture well to dissolve the milk powder. You can stir it too but I find that beating the mixture makes the milk powder dissolve better.
  4. Now using another strainer, strain the milk mixture into a mug. Your Sri Lankan Milk Tea is ready to indulge!

Here’s a little tip to keep the tea hot for longer:

I learned this from my Loku Ammi (my mom’s sister). She drinks tea maybe 10 times a day. I’m probably exaggerating, but she always has a mug by her side.

To keep the teacups/mugs hot for quite a while, you have to keep the teacups/mugs hot too. So pour some boiling water into your cup/mug when you start making tea. And then empty the cups/mug before you pour tea into it. Do this when you make tea for guests as well. The tea remains hot in teacups for longer this way. And it’s very comforting to sip tea when the cup rim is warm.

Recipe Video:

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Here are a few of my favorite sweet and Savory Snacks to serve with Sri Lankan Milk Tea :

We Sri Lankans love to Serve Milk Tea with Sweet or Savory snacks. Tea takes place in every Sri Lankan event and special occasion. You can serve them in mugs, tea cups, or in a teapot.



Buy Ceylon Tea and other products

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Difficulty: Beginner Cook Time 8 mins Total Time 8 mins
Servings: 2


We Sri Lankans can't go on the day without Milk Tea, the most popular Sri Lankan Beverage! It is so easy to make within less than 10 minutes and you only need tea, milk, water, and sugar (optional)



  1. Add loose-leaf tea/ground tea and water into a tall saucepan. Slowly keep simmering until the water reduces in half and looks dark red/golden in color. 

    highly recommend keeping a separate pot for tea and other beverages.
  2. Pour Milk into the saucepan. And let the milk slowly come to simmer. Keep the heat on medium low. Stir it a few times so the ground tea won't sink and stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the milk start to bibble up rapidly, turn the heat off immedietly before the milk boil over. 

    Don't distract yourself when you have a heating milk pot on the stove. Trust me I'm speaking from experience haha
  3. Mix in sugar to your taste(Or serve it on side so everyone can add sugar as they prefer). Strain with a tea strainer and serve! 

Keywords: Sri Lankan Milk Tea, Ceylon Tea, Ceylon Tea recipe, Sri Lankan Kiri Tea recipe, Sri Lankan drinks and beverages, Sri Lankan Tea, Easy Chai recipe, Chai without spices


  1. Hi Roshani! When I was little, my aunt was famous for her black cuttle fish curry – thal lo? Would the pork recipe work with fish?

    1. Hi Judy, cuttle fish cooks really really fast while pork takes about an hour to get tender. You can use the same marinade and the process but cut down the cooking time and also the amount of Goraka and you probably wont need to add any liquid.


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