Want a super quick iced tea recipe that takes less than 10 minutes to make? This is it! An easy recipe that makes 2 quarts of perfect iced tea each and every time.
I make iced tea two ways: cold brew and ice chill. Cold brewing tea makes for the best iced tea but it takes at least 8 (yes, EIGHT) hours to make.
I don’t always have the time to make cold brew, so when I want iced tea fast, I make flash chilled or iced chilled tea.
Ice chilling tea takes less than 10 minutes and you get a refreshing and tasty drink without the long wait.
Quick and Easy Iced Tea
Ice chilling makes the fastest iced tea. Once you brew tea with hot water, you add ice to cool it down quickly. No need to make it colder by putting it in the refrigerator. It’s ready to drink right away.
To make sure you don’t end up with watered down tea when you add the ice, you need to make really strong hot tea, basically doubling the number of tea bags.
I make 2 quarts at a time, which is 8 cups, and it’s great for when you have company and you need to whip up iced tea fast.
Best Tea for Ice Chilled Iced Tea
The best tea to use for iced chilled tea is black tea in sachets or tea bags.
I use good quality loose tea when I make cold brew tea but when it comes to iced chilled tea, I use tea sachets or tea bags which aren’t as good quality as loose tea.
Tea in tea bags or sachets are mostly broken tea leaves, unlike loose tea which is usually whole tea leaves, so they give off the flavors quickly which is what I want to make iced tea fast.
For ice chilled tea, I prefer black tea like Assam or orange pekoe since I like how the strong flavors comes through to make a brisk, refreshing drink.
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What I Used to Make This Iced Tea
Let’s get started! I’ll walk you through, step by step.
How to Make Iced Tea
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 icy temperatures. You want to look for borosilicate glass or a BPA-free plastic, which is what I’m using to make this iced tea.
Bring 4 cups of water to a simmer.
You can simmer water on the stovetop or in an electric kettle. Set the water temperature to 170°F when using the electric kettle.
Using boiling water causes the iced tea to turn cloudy quickly so I use a lower water temperature.
In a 2 quart (8 cup) pitcher safe for drastic temperature changes, steep 5 tea sachets in 4 cups of hot water for 5 minutes. Discard tea sachets.
Aim for 10 teaspoons of tea for a 2 quart pitcher. A tea sachet holds 2 teaspoons of tea so I’m using 5 sachets. A tea bag holds 1 teaspoon of tea so I recommend using 10 tea bags. A family-size tea pouch holds about 9 teaspoons of tea.
I’m using 10 teaspoons of tea for 8 cups since I want a strong brew since the iced tea will get watered down when it’s served in cups with ice.
I cut the paper tags off the ends of the sachets since I’m submerging the entire sachet in water.
Stir in 2 tablespoons of sugar until completely dissolved.
You can use any type of sugar you like. I used regular white sugar. The smaller the sugar, the faster it’ll dissolve in the hot tea.
You can also use simple syrup, maple syrup, brown sugar, or honey instead of white sugar.
Add 5-6 cups of ice to pitcher and close with leakproof lid. Shake pitcher for 15 seconds.
I just held both ends of the pitcher and just moved it upside down 15 times. The ice will start melting right away, cooling the hot tea.
Ice cold iced tea is now ready to drink! Serve in cups with ice.
Optional: Garnish with lemon slices and mint leaves.
Iced Tea Tips
- The longer you brew the tea, the stronger it’ll get but it’ll also get more astringent and bitter. Don’t steep for more than 8 minutes to prevent this from happening. I found 5 minutes to be the sweet spot.
- Sugar should be adjusted to taste. I like 2 tablespoons of sugar but if you like a sweeter tea, go with 3 or 4 tablespoons.
- I’m using 10 teaspoons of tea for 8 cups since I expect the tea to be watered down once it’s served in cups with ice. If you don’t want a stronger tea, use 8 teaspoons of tea (4 tea sachets) for 8 cups.