What Is Golden Milk?

By Whitney Crouch, RDN, CLT

Popularized across social media, golden milk is a cross-cultural drink originating in Asian countries consumed for its ingredients’ bioactive properties and pungent flavor. Also known as golden milk latte or turmeric tea, golden milk is made with freshly grated or ground turmeric, a pinch of freshly ground pepper, honey or lemon to taste, and hot water, milk, or dairy alternative.The addition of freshly grated or ground ginger adds extra flavor and additional desirable characteristics, with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg rounding out the flavor.1

While turmeric is the star of the show with its golden color and unique flavor, golden milk is a purposefully designed mixture including ingredients that aid in the absorption and delivery of turmeric’s polyphenolic compound, curcumin, the primary curcuminoid found in turmeric. Curcumin is a poorly absorbed compound on its own, but the addition of piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper, can greatly increase the absorption of curcumin.2 Another clever feature of the golden milk beverage involves the use of whole-fat milk or added fat (such as coconut milk or oil) to facilitate bioavailability of the fat-loving (lipophilic) curcuminoid phenols; leveraging a lipophilic design has been shown to allow for greater bioaccessibility of curcuminoids.3

The typical golden milk recipe includes 0.5-3 teaspoons of turmeric, or approximately 3-9 grams of ground turmeric root.1,4 With the lower bioavailability of dietary curcumin, and the curcumin content of the turmeric root averaging 3.14% by weight5 actual curcuminoid intake per golden milk drink ranges from 0.05-0.28 mg when preparing it with 0.5-3 teaspoons of turmeric (based on simple math).

Golden milk tea is a popular drink that complements a nutrient-dense diet and lifestyle.

  • Try this easy, delicious recipe!

    • Ingredients:
    • 8 oz. coconut or almond milk
    • 1-2 tsp. organic turmeric powder
    • 2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
    • ¼ tsp. cinnamon powder
    • ½ tsp. cardamom powder
    • 3-4 whole black peppercorns
    • 1 tsp. organic honey (if desired)
    • Directions:
    • In a saucepan, heat coconut or almond milk. Add all the ingredients except honey. Stir well. Bring to a simmer. Remove pan from heat. Strain and add honey if desired. Enjoy!


  1. The New York Times. Rao T. Turmeric Tea. https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018548-turmeric-tea. Accessed June 7, 2018.
  2. Shoba G et al. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med.1998;64(4):353–356.
  3. Fu S et al. Enhanced bioaccessibility of curcuminoids in buttermilk yogurt in comparison to curcuminoids in aqueous dispersions. J Food Sci. 2016;81(3):H769-776.
  4. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. 02043, Spices, turmeric, ground. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/02043?fgcd=&manu=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=turmeric&ds=&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing=. Released April, 2018. Accessed June 7, 2018.
  5. Tayyem RF et al. Curcumin content of turmeric and curry powders. Nutr Cancer. 2006;55(2):126–131.
Whitney Crouch, RDN, CLT

Whitney Crouch is a Registered Dietitian who received her undergraduate degree in Clinical Nutrition from the University of California, Davis. She has over 10 years of experience across multiple areas of dietetics, specializing in integrative and functional nutrition and food sensitivities. When she’s not creating educational programs or writing about nutrition, she’s spending time with her husband and young son. She’s often found running around the bay near her home with the family’s dog or in the kitchen cooking up new ideas to help her picky eater expand his palate.

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