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How to Make Iced Tea

posted in Beverages by Emily Chapelle

Did you know that June is National Iced Tea Month?

Well, now you do, and there’s no better beverage to enjoy on a hot summer day!

The way the story goes, Richard Blechynden, a tea plantation owner, attended America’s first World’s Fair in St. Louis. He had planned to give out free samples of his hot tea, but it was such a warm day that no one was interested! So, he threw in some ice and offered his beverage “on the rocks.” The treat was so refreshing, he quickly had a long line of people waiting to taste it.

There are many ways to make iced tea, and countless variations on the basic recipe. If you haven’t tried iced tea before, maybe one of these variations will pique your curiosity. And if you’re not a fan of iced tea, it’s worth trying a new version – there’s probably one out there that suits you.

The basic method for making iced tea is:

  • Boil water (the amount depends on how much tea you’re making!)
  • Steep tea (loose or bagged, whatever flavor you like)
  • Strain the tea if you used loose leaves, or remove the tea bags.
  • Add sugar to taste. Some people prefer unsweetened, and some people use up to 2 cups of sugar for a 2 quart pitcher. It depends on personal taste.
  • Cool. Some people refrigerate it, others pour it over ice (which also dilutes it a bit), and some people mix it with ice water.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Sounds simple (and vague) enough, right?

Right! Anyone can make iced tea and its variations:

  • For a true Southern Iced Tea, read this entertaining recipe by Lemon Tartlet. She adds a bit of baking soda to the water before boiling. This cuts down on bitterness from accidental over-steeping and reduces cloudiness in the tea.
  • There’s a step-by-step guide to making Lemon Iced Tea at Cooking For Engineers.
  • Poppytalk gives us the easiest method of all. Brew loose tea in a special pitcher that has a removable diffuser, remove the diffuser, and refrigerate. No sugar, no flavoring, just pure iced tea!
  • Tea Party Girl, an advocate of loose leaf teas, gives us a simple method for making loose-leaf iced tea, which ends up costing pennies per pitcher.
  • But if you’re a tea bag person, you can try CFWhitney’s mother-in-law’s tried and true tea bag method.
  • Thai iced tea is made from a specially flavored tea and is absolutely delicious. Try topping it with coconut milk or sweetened condensed milk for another twist on this Asian favorite!
  • If you’re into more exotic iced teas, try tea sangria, which has fruit mixed into it.
  • Rhubarb iced tea sounds amazing – it calls for rhubarb stalks to be boiled before adding tea and sugar.
  • Ginger peach iced tea is one of many delicious-sounding iced tea recipes

Whether you brew for 3 minutes or overnight in the fridge, prefer a simple black tea or a raspberry herbal, enjoy your iced tea this summer!

Tip: You may have heard of “sun tea”, which is made by starting with room-temperature water and tea bags in a jar, then brewing the tea by placing the jar in a sunny spot for a few hours. This method, however is not recommended. Bacteria can develop in the tea and it can become a potential health risk. Sorry!

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Norris Hall said:

There’s also Thai iced coffee


It’s got about 30 recipes each one with a cooking video to go along. The Thai iced coffee is there too!

Jenny said:

Great post!

chris L. said:

I drink gallons of Iced Tea ~ Here is how I make it:

Gallon Jug (glass), 2 Family size Tea bags, quality is best, at least 10 cups of filtered water , 1 1/2 cups white sugar. Lots of lemon wedges.

Boil water in a copper or stainless pot or kettle, add tea bags, turn heat off and steep at least five to ten minutes. Pour tea into jug, add sugar stir til disolved, add enough filtered water to fill the jug . Cool serve over lots of ice and lemons.

Lemon Tartlet said:

Thank y’all for the mention!

startcooking team said:

Thank you Norris for the link! It’s very useful!

Thank you chris for your ice tea recipe! We all agree, ice tea is THE drink for hot summer days!


the startcooking team :)

Tea Party Girl said:

I’m still receiving multiple visitors daily as a result of this link. Thank you for it! And congratulations on a well-trafficked blog.

gothic girl said:






1 cup of Lemon jucie

Kathy Maister said:

Thanks for the recipes! For me, iced tea is indeed a summer time drink. For my family that lives in South Carolina, it is a year round beverage! Gothic Girl, your recipe would just be called “sweet tea”.

Chambers Odds & Ends said:

Very Good recipe. Ice tea is my favorite summertime drink also. YUMMY! 10 out of 10 article. GREAT RECIPE!

Jeanie said:

Hi, what brand of tea is best?

Chris L. said:

In the South you can buy Louisiane Tea it’s the best but you can use Liptons.

startcooking said:

My husband, who is from England, will only drink PG Tips tea. There was a time when they only sold it in England but now you can actually buy it at the grocery stores here in the USA!

Jeanie said:

A BIG thank you to “Chris L.” and “startcooking” for your advice, Im in the UK so PG Tips is the easier for me to get but I will try and get Louisiane and Liptons tea on line. Im looking forward to making my own :-)

Cho Yung Tea said:

This is an excellent post. I hope you don’t mind if I tweet this
I know it will be appreciated by my followers

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