Authentic Homemade Thai Iced Tea


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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. 

2 glasses of thai iced tea on a wooden tabletop

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.

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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 on a grey countertop


  • 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.
adding thai tea to a saucepan of water

How to make Thai Iced Tea at Home

  1. Bring water to boil in a saucepan or tea kettle.
  2. Remove water from heat and stir in Thai Tea Mix and sugar.
  3. Cover and steep for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain tea and cool completely.
  5. Just before serving, stir in sweetened condensed milk.
  6. Serve over ice.
straining black tea into a pitcher


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.

pouring iced tea into a glass

Possible Variations

  • 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!
mixing milk into thai iced tea in a glass
thai iced tea in a glass

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Thai iced tea in glasses with ice
4.16 from 33 votes

Thai Iced Tea Recipe

Refreshing, creamy, and bright orange in color, this 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. We like to keep a batch in the fridge in the summer, adding creamy sweetened condensed milk, to taste, just before we serve it.
Want to adjust the servings in this recipe to make more or less? Just click on the number next to “servings” and you can easily scale the recipe.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4


  • Saucepan or Tea Kettle


  • 6 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup Thai Tea Mix
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons Sweetened Condensed Milk, plus more to taste (divided, see note)
  • Ice


  • 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.
  • Serve!


If you’ve had authentic Thai Iced Tea in Bangkok, there’s a good chance it was mixed with sweetened condensed milk. This super thick, rich milk adds a slightly creamy texture to the drink. Feel free to customize this step. We recommend starting with 1 Tbsp of sweetened condensed milk to each glass of tea. You can also use whole milk, half and half, or coconut milk instead of sweetened condensed milk. Just keep in mind that if you use one of these substitutes the tea won’t be quite as sweet (and won’t taste quite as authentic) as if you use sweetened condensed milk.


Calories: 129kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 45mg | Potassium: 85mg | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 53IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 68mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $6.00
Calories: 129
Keyword: iced tea, thai drink, Thai tea
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Looking for help! I love the taste but my tea is always coming out with a burnt taste, any solutions?

    1. 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).

    1. 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.

  4. Hi Jess

    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😅


    1. 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.

    2. 3 stars
      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.

  5. 5 stars
    Best recipe I’ve tried! Still doesn’t taste just like my favorite restaurant’s… but it’s pretty darn close!

  6. 5 stars
    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!

      1. 5 stars
        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. 😉

        1. 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!