The Best Iced Tea (Cold-Brewed Iced Tea) Recipe

Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Cold-brewed tea is milder in flavor than tea made with hot water, with more aroma and less astringency.
  • Brewing tea in the fridge is safer than leaving it in the sun at a temperature that's ideal for bacterial growth.

As Kenji's tests have shown, there's really no reason to brew your tea in the sun, and hot tea chilled down with ice can taste mulch-y and bitter. Cold-brewed iced tea is naturally sweet, clean-tasting, and refreshing. This hands-off method is easy as can be, and works well whether you're tossing in regular ol' tea bags or stepping it up with fancy loose white, green, or oolong teas. You can even re-steep the same leaves in a second round to get the most out of your investment.

Recipe Facts

Active: 2 mins
Total: 5 hrs
Serves: 4 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 1 quart (1L) water (see note)
  • 4 tea bags, or 1 tablespoon (8 to 10g) loose tea


  1. Add water and tea bags or loose tea to a resealable container. Seal and refrigerate 5 hours (see note).

  2. Remove tea bags (or strain with a fine-mesh strainer to remove loose tea). Serve over ice.

Special equipment

Resealable container, fine-mesh strainer (if using loose tea)


Is it worth it to use filtered or bottled water for iced tea? Depends on your source. Read up on the results from our taste test.

While loose tea leaves are a bit more forgiving and can be steeped overnight, we find that tea bags are best brewed for around 5 hours.

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