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Iced Tea Recipe

May 23, 2024

Energizing and refreshing, homemade iced tea is a summer staple. Sweeten it, or brew it extra strong, however you like it, we’ll show you how to make it yours in this easy iced tea recipe.


a glass of homemade iced tea with a metal straw sweetened with sugar and garnished with a lemon wedge
Photography by Gayle McLeod

Our Homemade Iced Tea Recipe

Hot summer days require iced drinks, and iced tea always hits the spot. We sip it all day — in the morning with summer Fruit Salads, and on through the afternoon, with Chips and Guacamole on the side. You can cut it with lemonade to make an Arnold Palmer, you can sweeten it more or less than we suggest. Once you’ve got the idea, experiment! Brew it with herbal teas instead of caffeinated black tea, or cold-brew it slowly overnight in the fridge. Our super easy iced tea recipe is just a starting place — let’s dive in!

black tea bags, lemon wedges and sugar in prep bowls to make iced tea

Iced Tea Ingredients

  • Black tea bags (it’s fine to use decaf black tea or even herbal tea if you don’t want the caffeine)

  • Cold water

Optional iced tea add-ins:

  • Sugar or other sweetener (optional)

  • Fresh herbs, like mint, thyme or lemon verbena

  • Lemon slices (optional)

black tea bags steeping in boiling water
sugar being poured into a pot of black tea concentrate
cold water being poured into a pitcher of sweetened black tea concentrate
homemade iced tea being poured into a glass with ice with lemon wedges beside for garnish

How To Make Iced Tea

  1. Boil water. Grab your favorite pot and boil some water.

  2. Steep! Off the heat, add the tea bags. 4 minutes is probably long enough. If you want a stronger tea, don’t steep it longer, just add another teabag or two. You’re basically brewing a tea concentrate that you will cut later (much like our Chai Concentrate). A kitchen timer is helpful here.

  3. Take out the tea bags.

  4. If you like it sweet, this is your moment! Stir in the sugar until it has dissolved.

  5. Pour it into a pitcher and add another 4 cups of water.

  6. Chill. At least an hour in the fridge, so that the iced tea is cold and refreshing.

  7. If you want to add fresh herbs, now is the time!

  8. Serve over ice, and enjoy!

2 glasses of homemade iced tea with a metal straws sweetened with simple syrup and garnished with a lemon wedge

Tips For Mixing Up The Best Iced Tea

  • Tea brands. The best tea for making iced tea is any tea that you love! It seems like a cop out answer, but it’s true. Lipton black tea is a classic iced tea choice, but feel free to get a little fancy. Smith Tea is a local favorite here in the Pacific Northwest.

  • Store your iced tea in the fridge for up to 5 days.

  • Make it with herbal tea bags. You can use this recipe with green tea, white tea or even herbal tea bags. Just be sure to follow the tea maker’s recommended brew time.

  • Spike it! If it’s inching toward afternoon, you may want to spike your tea with a little whiskey or bourbon. We say go for it!

  • Add fresh herbs. Fresh mint brings so much brightness to your iced tea. Add the herbs after the tea has cooled, so the flavor is delicate and not overpowering.

  • A note on sweetening the tea. If you’re serving your iced tea to a crowd, it’s really nice to brew it unsweetened and let your guests sweeten to taste. However, granulated sugar doesn’t dissolve very well into cold tea. The solution? Simple syrup! You can buy it or make it (just simmer equal parts sugar and water until the sugar dissolves and bam, you’ve made simple syrup).

2 glasses of homemade iced tea with a metal straws sweetened with simple syrup and garnished with a lemon wedge

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Iced Tea Recipe

  • Serves: 6
  • Yields: ½ gallon
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  5 min


  • 8 bags black tea, such as Lipton
  • ¼ cup sugar, plus more to taste (optional)
  • 1 lemon, sliced (optional)


  1. In a large pot over, bring 4 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Remove the pot from the heat and add the tea bags. Steep the tea for 4 minutes.

    black tea bags steeping in boiling water
  2. Remove the tea bags and discard. If you prefer sweet tea, add the sugar or your preferred sweetener of choice to the tea and stir until dissolved, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a pitcher and stir in 4 cups of water. Taste and add more sugar if desired. Chill until ready to serve, about 1 hour.

    sugar being poured into a pot of black tea concentrate
  3. Serve over ice with a lemon wedge if using. Store leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

    2 glasses of homemade iced tea with a metal straws sweetened with simple syrup and garnished with a lemon wedge


Just like with hot tea, if you prefer a stronger tea we recommend using more tea bags versus steeping it for longer than 4 minutes. The longer tea steeps, the more bitter the tea will be. If you prefer a weaker tea, we recommend adding 1 additional cup of water to the iced tea.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories33
  • Protein0 g
  • Carbohydrates8 g
  • Total Fat0 g
  • Dietary Fiber0 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium0 mg
  • Total Sugars8 g

Iced Tea Recipe

Questions & Reviews

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    Any questions?

    Need to change up some ingredients? Unsure about a step in the method? Click the Ask a Question button above. We’re here for you.

  • Brittany

    Simple, sweet, refreshing, perfect for summer.

    Thanks Brittany, we are so glad you love it!