Want a super quick iced tea recipe that takes less than 10 minutes to make? This is it! An easy how-to recipe that makes 2 quarts of perfect iced tea every time.
What is Ice-Chilled Tea?
- The fastest way to make iced tea is to make hot tea then cool it down quickly by adding a lot of ice. This is the ice-chill method and it’s ready to drink right away.
- No need to cool down hot tea using the refrigerator, the ice does all the work.
- Makes 2 quarts, which is 8 cups.
- Easy clean up since it’s made with tea sachets.
- Cool and refreshing iced tea made in 8 minutes.
iced tea cheat sheet
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- Black tea sachets
Any basic tea will work but for a classic iced tea, use black tea like Assam or English breakfast. Tea sachets are a lot better in quality than tea bags and easier to use than loose tea.
- Filtered water
Better iced tea is made with good quality water so use filtered water whenever possible.
The finer the sugar, the quicker it’ll dissolve. Avoid using raw sugar since they’re bigger in size.
I like using these smaller ice cubes since they melt faster.
- Optional garnish: Sliced lemons and fresh mint
How to Make Iced Tea
- Make hot tea concentrate
- Cool down tea with ice
Here’s a quick overview of the steps to make iced tea. For full ingredients and instructions, scroll to the bottom.
To make this 8 cup iced tea, you need a 2 quart pitcher with a leakproof lid that’s safe to use with boiling hot and cold temperatures. Look for borosilicate glass or a BPA-free plastic.
1. Make hot tea concentrate
Simmer water on the stovetop or use an electric kettle (set it to 190°F).
Tea Sommelier’s Tip: I don’t use boiling hot water to make iced tea since it takes longer to cool AND makes it really cloudy. I use water that’s a little under a boil.
Steep tea sachets in hot water then discard tea sachets.
I cut the paper tags off the ends of the sachets since I’m submerging the entire sachet in water.
Stir sugar into hot tea until completely dissolved.
RELATED: How to Make Cold Brew Iced Tea
2. Cool down tea with ice
Want to know how to make iced tea in 8 minutes? Ice! A lot of it.
Add ice to pitcher and close with leakproof lid. Turn it upside down 15 times.
Pour tea into cups with ice.
RELATED: Raspberry Iced Tea from Scratch
Garnish with lemon slices and fresh mint leaves.
If you want to fancy it up a bit, add a bit of sparkling water to give it a little fizz.
Notes & Tips
- Don’t steep tea for more than 5 minutes. The longer you brew the tea, the more astringent and bitter it’ll get.
- If you don’t want a stronger tea, use 6 tea sachets instead of 5.
- Sugar can be adjusted to taste. I like 2 tablespoons of sugar but if you like a sweeter tea, go with 3 or 4 tablespoons.
- Use any type of sugar you like. The smaller the sugar, the faster it’ll dissolve in the hot tea.
- Iced tea can be kept in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days.
- If the drink becomes cloudy in the refrigerator and it has been less than 4 days, it’s still safe to drink.
- If you want to clear up the cloudiness, pour a little hot water.
Questions You May Have
Yes, since the iced tea is made with black tea which contains caffeine.
There are three ways: iced-chilled (the quickest way), hot brewed (making hot tea and cooling it down in the refrigerator), and cold brewed (brewed in cold water in the refrigerator for 12 hours).
Tea sachets make brewing and clean up easy, and the quality is good. I avoid using tea bags since it contains the lowest quality tea.
Also called iced tea pouches, family-size tea bags are made for 1 or 2 quart pitchers (4 or 8 cups).
When using a high temperature water to brew tea, a lot of tannins are released and that’s what can make the drink cloudy.
Yes! Black tea is what’s used for classic iced tea but feel free to experiment with other types of tea.
More Iced Tea Recipes
- Quick & Easy Lemon Iced Tea
- Decadent Ice-Chilled Coffee
- Easy Sweet Tea
- Arnold Palmer (Iced Tea and Lemonade)
- Earl Grey Iced Tea with Cream Froth
Quick & Easy Iced Tea
- Simmer water.Bring 4 cups of water to a simmer and turn off heat. Simmer water on the stovetop or use an electric kettle. Set the water temperature to 190°F when using the electric kettle.
- Put tea sachets in pitcher and add hot water.Cut paper tags off the sachets and submerge the entire sachet in water.
- Steep for 5 minutes. Discard tea sachets.
- Stir sugar into hot tea until completely dissolved.Use any type of sugar you like. The smaller the sugar, the faster it'll dissolve in the hot tea.
- Add ice to pitcher and close with leakproof lid. Shake for 15 seconds.You can hold both ends of the pitcher and just turn it upside down 15 times. The ice will start melting right away, cooling the hot tea.
- Pour tea into cups with ice.Optional: Garnish with lemon slices or mint leaves.
- Use a 2-quart pitcher that’s safe to use with drastic temperature changes from boiling hot to ice cold. Look for borosilicate glass or a BPA-free plastic.
- Using boiling water causes the iced tea to turn cloudy so use a lower water temperature.
- Filtered water makes for a better tasting iced tea than tap water.