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Best ways to make iced tea

Iced tea is the perfect drink for a hot day. It’s very refreshing and gives you that mild buzz of caffeine you might be missing if it’s too warm to enjoy hot coffee or tea. Luckily making ice tea is quite straightforward. If you can make a cup of hot tea, you’ll have no problem making iced tea, though it’s slightly more involved and requires ample chilling time, as well. 

Once you know how to make basic iced tea, it’s easy enough to adjust it to meet your individual preferences.

Types of tea to use for iced tea

English breakfast

If you want to make classic iced tea or sweet tea, you should use black tea. Many black teas — such as English breakfast — are blends of various varieties of black tea. You can also buy single variety black teas, such as Assam or Ceylon. 

green tea

If you just want a slight variation on classic iced tea, try using Earl Grey, a black tea flavored with bergamot. You can also use green tea, white tea or fruit teas — although the latter two don’t contain any tea leaves.

How to make iced tea

The following recipe makes a gallon of iced tea or about 8-12 glasses.

Boil water

Cuisinart Temperature Adjustable Electric Kettle

Boil 4 cups of water in either a saucepan or a tea kettle; this amount of water will make a concentrated tea base that you’ll top up to make a gallon. If you intend to make iced tea regularly, we’d highly recommend investing in an electric kettle, such as the Cuisinart Temperature Adjustable Electric Kettle.

Steep tea

Now you need to steep your tea bags in your boiling water for 3-5 minutes. You’ll need 12 standard tea bags for a gallon of iced tea. If you used a saucepan to boil the water, you can simply add the teabags in there. Otherwise, place the teabags in a heatproof jug and pour over the water. Remove the teabags once steeped. 

Add sugar for sweet tea

If you want to make sweetened iced tea — or sweet tea, as it’s often known in the southern states — you’ll need to add sugar. One cup of sugar is a moderate amount in a gallon of tea; use less if you don’t like your iced tea overly sweet. Add the sugar while the tea is still hot and stir until fully dissolved.

Top up with water


Pour the concentrated steeped tea into a gallon pitcher and top it up with cold water. You’ll need to add another three quarts of water. If you don’t have a gallon pitcher, you can use several smaller pitchers


Iced tea is best enjoyed chilled, so put your jug of iced tea in the fridge and chill it for at least 4 hours before drinking it. 

How to serve iced tea


Ice tea should be served in tall tumblers — 16 ounces is a good size. Fill your glass half full with ice and pour your chilled iced tea over the ice. Although you don’t have to garnish your glass of iced tea, adding a slice of lemon and a sprig of fresh mint is a nice touch. While many people are happy to sip straight from the glass, you could opt for a reusable straw

How to store iced tea

You’ll probably get through your iced tea quicker than you imagine, but if you don’t drink it all on the day you make it, don’t worry. Iced tea will stay fresh in the fridge for three to five days. Ideally, you should store it in a pitcher with a tightly-fitting lid. 

What you need to make iced tea

Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Red Tea

Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Red Tea

A strong yet delicately-flavored black tea that’s ideal for making a classic iced tea. The rich blend makes it a perfect drink for mornings and afternoons.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Sterilite Corp Ultra Seal 1 Gallon Pitcher

Sterilite Corp Ultra Seal 1 Gallon Pitcher

A gallon pitcher is just the right size to hold large batches of tea made for sharing. The pitcher has measuring marks, which can be helpful while mixing or serving iced tea.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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