Refreshing, creamy, and distinctively orange, Thai Iced Tea is easy to make at home and is exactly like the tea you get from your favorite Thai restaurant or on the streets of Bangkok.
When I think of our years in Bangkok, the flavor and color of Thai Iced Tea is an essential part of those memories. There are few pick-me-ups better suited to a steamy tropical afternoon than a cup of crushed ice filled to the brim with sweet, fragrant, bright orange tea. The memories of sipping these in the bright Bangkok sunshine are some of my favorites
The great news is that it is incredibly easy to create a homemade version that is exactly like what you can get in Thai restaurants. No special techniques or equipment needed. If you can brew tea, you can make Thai Iced Tea.
What is Thai Iced Tea?
Thai Iced Tea is a refreshing drink that is served over ice and made with brewed black tea and spices like vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise. It is usually served with sweetened condensed milk and has a signature bright orange color. This drink is common in Thailand but has gained popularity in Thai restaurants around the world.
- Thai Tea Mix - Start with one of these Thai tea mixes - I like Pantai Tea Mix or Number One Brand Thai Tea Mix. If you’ve been to Bangkok, Number One Brand is the one that you most likely would have stacked up in canisters in the stalls of Thai Iced Tea vendors. The mixes can be brewed just like any variety of loose tea.
- Sugar - This tea is sweet. If you want it to taste “right”, you need to add sugar. Feel free to play with the amount though, starting with less if you prefer a less sweet tea.
- Milk - This is always served creamy. Sweetened Condensed Milk is the most common addition, but you could also use whole milk, half and half, or coconut milk. Keep in mind that none of these substitutes are sweet like sweetened condensed milk, so you may need to add some additional sugar if you want that classic flavor. Coconut milk will also work if you want a dairy-free option.
How to make Thai Iced Tea at Home
- Bring water to boil in a saucepan or tea kettle.
- Remove water from heat and stir in Thai Tea Mix and sugar.
- Cover and steep for 15 minutes.
- Strain tea and cool completely.
- Just before serving, stir in sweetened condensed milk.
- Serve over ice.
Why is Thai Iced Tea orange?
Food coloring. The bright, unique color of Thai Iced Tea comes from food coloring added to black tea in Thai Tea Mix. On its own, the brewed tea is deep red. Stir in sweetened condensed milk (or another type of milk), and the tea turns orange.
How to store Thai Iced Tea
Brew and strain the tea. Allow it to cool at rom temperature and then transfer to a sealed container or pitcher. Refrigerate for up to a week. Add sweetened condensed milk right before serving.
What's the difference between Thai tea and milk tea?
Thai Tea and Milk Tea are both iced black tea brewed with sweet spices and served with sweetened condensed milk. Thai tea has a distinct bright orange color while milk tea is light brown. Both varieties of iced tea can be customized with dairy or non-dairy milks and varying levels of sweetness.
- Adjust sugar - The benefit of using my Thai Iced Tea recipe is that you can completely customize the sweetness in the tea. Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar to fit your preference or use unsweetened dairy.
- Change milk - Whole milk, half and half, or unsweetened condensed milk will all work. For a non-dairy version, coconut milk is a great option. Just be sure to add some additional sweetener if needed.
- Add citrus - This tea is great with a slice of lemon, lime, or orange. A bit of citrus makes the other flavors really shine!
More Refreshing Chilled Drinks
- Bourbon Lemonade Slush
- Two-Ingredient Green Smoothie (just mango and baby spinach!)
- Cold Brew Coffee Spritzer
- Thai Tea Mix - I recommend Pantai Iced Tea Mix or Number One Brand Thai Iced Tea Mix.
- Tools for making tea - Anything you use to brew and strain tea will work here. A traditional tea kettle and strainer. For a truly authentic version, try making it with a Thai-style tea filter (shown in photos above).
Thai Iced Tea Recipe
- Saucepan or Tea Kettle
- 6 cups Water
- ½ cup Thai Tea Mix
- ⅓ cup Granulated Sugar
- 4 Tablespoons Sweetened Condensed Milk, plus more to taste (divided, see note)
- Bring water to a boil in a saucepan or tea kettle.
- Remove saucepan or kettle from heat. Combine hot water with tea mix and sugar and stir to combine.
- Cover and allow tea to steep for 15 minutes.
- Strain tea and allow it to cool completely. (At this point you can transfer the tea to the refrigerator for up to a week.)
- When you’re ready to serve, pour tea over ice. Stir in sweetened condensed milk, adding more or less depending on how sweet and creamy you’d like your tea.
With everything being shut down and my favorite restaurant being closed until June, this sure hit the spot. It was easy to make and very smooth tasting. I consumed all 4 servings in one afternoon...all by myself!
Wonderful - so glad you liked it!
I have been dying for Thai iced tea! Finally broke down and bought the tea and a strainer... drinking it right now and I am loving it!!! Thank you. I love that the sweetness can be adjusted - I do like mine on the sweet side. 😉
I'm so glad you gave it a try and liked it!! It's so nice to know how to make it - you can have it anytime a craving strikes!
It's awesome and looking delicious. Thank you for sharing this Thai Ice tea recipe.
Best recipe I’ve tried! Still doesn’t taste just like my favorite restaurant’s... but it’s pretty darn close!
Thanks for the recipe! I have a question, how do you get the condensed milk dissolved in the ready Thai iced tea? I used the normal canned ones and it became a cluster when it hit the iced tea😅
Hi Janice - I've never had that problem, so I'm puzzled! I wonder if you could try refrigerating the condensed milk before adding it - perhaps if it's the same temperature as the tea, it might work better.
you could probably add the condensed milk to the warm tea then add to a chilled glass filled with ice. Then you can quickly cool the tea.
helen m dael
You made a comment about adding a slice of citrus. Wouldn't that curdle the milk?
It definitely won't curdle shelf-stable condensed milk. If using 2% it should still be fine unless you add a really heavy squeeze of citrus juice.
Looking for help! I love the taste but my tea is always coming out with a burnt taste, any solutions?
Hi William - it's possible you just got a bad batch of tea. Have you tried a new bag? There are two other things that sometimes lead to that burned flavor - using water that is too hot, or pressing down on the tea leaves after they have brewed (pressing down on the tea leaves can release some bitter flavors).
jamesthai iced tea
everyone would love to drink tea and coffee in the morning. i think its the best Thai iced tea. its so amazing taste. thanks for sharing this amazing article and recipe cold iced thai tea.
Thank you! So glad you liked it!
Best recipe I’ve tried! Still doesn’t taste just like my favorite restaurant’s... but it’s pretty darn close! thanks for sharing this article.