If you like your iced tea to really taste like tea, this is for you! Easy recipe, very customizable. Add lemon, mint, peach, or raspberries.

Iced tea in a tall glass with a paper straw.

Every year around this time my iced tea cravings begin! And they are powerful!

I know a lot of people enjoy ice tea all year ’round but for me it’s really a warm weather thing. It’s so refreshing, and it gives me a little pick-me-up in the afternoon. I really get so much pleasure from sipping on a tall, cold glass in my back garden.

So it’s pretty simple to make but I thought I’d share my go-to method, for anyone who might want an actual iced tea recipe.

With this recipe, you can make it as sweet (or unsweet) as you like, you can use any kind of tea you like (black, green, etc.), and you can add lemon, mint, raspberries, or peaches, whatever! It’s completely customizable and so easy.

Check out all my best drink recipes for lots more summer refreshment, including my strawberry daiquiri, pina colada, and peach Bellini recipes!

Ice tea served in clear glasses with lemon and fresh mint in the background.

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What is iced tea?

Tea is made from the leaves of a special type of camellia plant. They ferment and dry the leaves and that is tea. The more you know!

When added to hot water they flavor it. You can drink it hot (I do! With milk and sugar!) or cold.

Iced tea is just tea that’s served cold, over ice.

Why this is the best iced tea recipe

  1. Tastes amazing: I simply cannot do bottled iced tea, or especially not the powdered mix! Tastes nothing like tea to me. This recipe does! You get that incredible tea flavor that I love so much.
  2. Few ingredients: Do water and ice even count as ingredients?
  3. Easy to make: It’s as easy as dropping a few things into a pot and letting them sit.
  4. Versatile: Make it as sweet as you like, use any type of tea, and flavor it up with whatever you can think of!

What does it taste like?

What I love most about this recipe is it actually tastes like tea! So many store-bought iced teas do not. They taste like nothing but sugar and fake lemon flavoring.

This is all-natural and it really spotlights the flavor of tea!


Ingredients for making iced tea, with text labels.

Water: The temperature doesn’t matter. You are going to heat it up anyway.

Sugar: Or any kind of sweetener really! Honey would be nice too, especially with green tea. Use as much or as little as you like. Personally, I like my iced tea just a little bit sweet.

Tea: I prefer tea bags but you could use loose tea if you like! You’ll need an infuser if you do. Ever since I went to Ireland I am a die-hard Barry’s Tea customer. It’s my favorite brand, it tastes so good! Robust and full-flavored but not at all bitter or tannic.

Ice: This will be used to cool the tea down quickly.

Special equipment

  • Pot: A medium-sized pot, in which to brew the tea.
  • Slotted spoon: For stirring in the sugar and fishing the tea bags out.
  • Pitcher: Once the tea is cooled it can be transferred to a pitcher for keeping and serving.

How to make iced tea

This easy recipe comes together in just 4 simple steps.

Step 1: Heat the water

Put the water in the pot and set it on the stove over medium-high heat.

Step 2: Dissolve the sugar

Toss in as much or as little sugar as you like!

As the water heats up the sugar will dissolve. You’ll know it’s fully dissolved when you stir it. If it’s not dissolved you can see and feel the grainy crystals at the bottom of the pot.

Step 3: Let steep

Once the water is hot and the sugar is dissolved, cut the heat and throw in the tea bags.

Water, sugar, and tea bags in a medium pot.

Let them steep for as long as you like. I personally like my iced tea pretty strong, so I’ll leave them in for like an hour.

Fish them out with the slotted spoon once your tea is brewed to the strength you prefer.

Step 4: Pour over ice

Once the tea has cooled down it can be poured over ice.

Pouring brewed tea over ice.

The ice will dilute the tea as it melts. That’s one of the reasons I like to brew it so strong! Just keep this in mind when you’re brewing and when you’re sweetening your iced tea.

How to serve iced tea

Iced tea is tasty and refreshing at any time of the day or night.

I especially love it during the warmer months.

Fill a glass with ice and pour the ice tea on top. Add a straw if you like!

Or garnish with a sprig of mint and/or a slice of lemon.

Expert tips

Allow it to cool: If you are using a glass pitcher, be sure to let the tea cool before you pour it over the ice. If you don’t the pitcher could shatter due to the extreme change in temperature. If you’re using plastic it’s not an issue!

How to make hard iced tea: Add about a cup of vodka to this to make hard iced tea. A flavored vodka could be really nice here!

How to make an Arnold Palmer: Mix in a batch of my homemade lemonade to make Arnold Palmers, which are just half iced tea and half lemonade.

Infuse other flavors: You could also add slices of lemon, sprigs of fresh mint, raspberries, or peaches to flavor your lemonade. Add them in to the hot tea if you want a stronger flavor, or wait until it’s cooled for something a little more subtle.

How to make iced tea with real tea and citrus, mint, or fruit.

Frequently asked questions

What kind of tea should I use?

You can use any kind of tea you like.

I prefer a black tea such as assam, orange pekoe, or darjeeling, but green tea works well too and so does Earl Grey or any kind of herbal tea, rooibos, or tisane.

Does iced tea have caffeine?

It depends on the kind of tea you use. If you use Barry’s like I do, then yes, unless you buy the decaf kind.

Most black teas do have caffeine, and so does green tea and rooibos tea. But herbal teas usually don’t.

If you’re concerned about your caffeine intake, it’s best to just buy decaffeinated tea bags.

How to make unsweetened iced tea?

If unsweetened tea is your jam, just leave out the sugar! It’s as simple as that.

How much iced tea does this recipe make?

You should get around 2 quarts of iced tea from this recipe.

What is the serving size?

I’ve figured on a serving size of 8 ounces of iced tea. So this batch should yield about 5 large glasses.

Can iced tea be made ahead?

Ok so I just did some quick research and found that the CDC says no more than 48 hours!

That seems crazy to me, tbh. I keep it in the fridge for a week, sometimes more, and have never had an issue!

So I guess use your best judgement? If it looks, smells, or tastes at all funny then toss it. But again, I’ve never had that happen and I’ve been making homemade iced tea for decades!

Iced tea recipe brewed and presented with a floral cloth in the background.

A few more of my best warm-weather recipes

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Iced tea in a tall glass with a paper straw.
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Iced Tea

Servings: 5 glasses
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Chill Time:: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
If you like your iced tea to really taste like tea, this is for you! Easy recipe, very customizable. Add lemon, mint, peach, or raspberries.


  • 1 1/2 quarts (1419.53 g) water
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar, or to taste (honey can also be used)
  • 2 (8 g) tea bags, any kind
  • 3 cups (709.76 g) ice
  • 1 lemon, sliced (optional)
  • a few sprigs fresh mint, (optional)
  • 1/2 raspberries, fresh or frozen (optional)
  • 1 peach, pitted and sliced, fresh or frozen (optional)


  • Place the water in a medium pot over medium-high heat.
  • Stir in the sugar and allow it to completely dissolve.
  • Take the pot off the heat and add the tea bags.
  • Allow the tea to steep to your desired strength.
  • Fish out the tea bags with a slotted spoon.
  • Pour the brewed tea over ice.
  • Add lemon slices, sprigs of fresh mint, raspberries, or peaches, if desired.
Serving: 8ounces, Calories: 96kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 0.2g, Saturated Fat: 0.01g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.05g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g, Sodium: 26mg, Potassium: 67mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 23g, Vitamin A: 103IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 20mg, Iron: 0.2mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Drinks
Tried this recipe?Mention @bakingamoment on Instagram or tag #bakingamoment.


  • Allie

    Allie is the creator and owner of Baking a Moment. She has been developing, photographing, videographing, and writing and sharing recipes here since 2012.

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