Thai Iced Tea Recipe

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Thai Iced Tea Recipe



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Thai iced tea, or “cha yen,” is a beloved beverage from Thailand that has gained international fame for its rich, creamy texture and vibrant orange hue. This sweet and aromatic drink is perfect for hot summer days or as a delightful complement to spicy Thai dishes. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating this refreshing treat in the comfort of your own kitchen.


To make a traditional Thai iced tea, you will need the following ingredients:

1 cup of Thai tea leaves (found in Asian grocery stores or online)
4 cups of water
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of condensed milk
1 cup of evaporated milk or whole milk
Ice cubes
Optional: star anise, cardamom pods, or vanilla extract for extra flavor


Brew the Tea

Begin by bringing the 4 cups of water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, add the Thai tea leaves (and optional flavorings like star anise or cardamom pods) and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Allow the tea to steep for about 5-10 minutes, depending on how strong you prefer the flavor.

Sweeten the Tea

After steeping, strain the tea into a heatproof container to remove the leaves and any spices.

While the tea is still hot, stir in the cup of sugar until it is completely dissolved. This will give the tea its signature sweetness.

Cool the Tea

Let the sweetened tea cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 1-2 hours or until thoroughly chilled. This step is crucial for achieving the perfect iced tea.

Prepare the Creamy Layer

In a separate bowl or container, mix the condensed milk with the evaporated milk or whole milk. This mixture will provide the creamy, rich layer that Thai iced tea is known for.

Assemble the Drink

Fill a tall glass with ice cubes. Pour the chilled tea over the ice, filling the glass about three-quarters full. Slowly pour the milk mixture over the tea. For a beautiful presentation, aim to pour the milk gently over the back of a spoon so that it floats on top, creating a layered effect.

Mix and Enjoy

Before drinking, stir the tea and milk layers together to create a harmonious blend of flavors.

Taste and adjust the sweetness or creaminess to your liking by adding more condensed milk or sugar.

    Tips for the Perfect Thai Iced Tea

    Tea Quality: Use high-quality Thai tea leaves for the best flavor. These are often a blend of black tea, star anise, and other spices, giving Thai iced tea its distinctive taste.

    Sweetness: Adjust the sugar level to your preference. Traditional Thai iced tea is quite sweet, but you can reduce the sugar if you prefer a less sugary drink.

    Dairy Alternatives: For a dairy-free version, substitute the condensed milk and evaporated milk with coconut milk or almond milk. This will add a slightly different but equally delicious flavor profile.

    Making Thai iced tea at home is a simple and rewarding process. With its unique blend of sweet, creamy, and slightly spicy flavors, this drink is sure to become a favorite in your household. Whether you’re sipping it on a hot afternoon or pairing it with your favorite Thai dish, Thai iced tea is a delightful beverage that brings a taste of Thailand right to your kitchen.

    Variations and Customizations

    One of the great things about Thai iced tea is its versatility. Here are some variations and customizations you can try to make the drink even more exciting:

    Bubble Thai Iced Tea

    Add tapioca pearls (boba) to your Thai iced tea for a fun and chewy texture. Cook the tapioca pearls according to the package instructions, then add them to the bottom of your glass before pouring in the tea and milk mixture.

    Thai Iced Coffee

    If you’re a coffee lover, try making Thai iced coffee (also known as “Oliang”). Use strong brewed coffee instead of tea, and follow the same steps for sweetening and adding the creamy layer.

    Spiced Thai Iced Tea

    Enhance the flavor of your Thai iced tea by adding spices such as cinnamon, cloves, or a dash of nutmeg. These spices can be added during the brewing process along with the tea leaves.

    Thai Iced Tea Float

    For a dessert-like twist, top your Thai iced tea with a scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream. This adds an extra layer of creaminess and a deliciously cold contrast to the tea.

      Serving Suggestions

      Thai iced tea is a versatile drink that pairs well with a variety of foods. Here are some serving suggestions to complement your homemade Thai iced tea:

      Spicy Thai Dishes

      The sweetness and creaminess of Thai iced tea make it an excellent companion for spicy Thai dishes such as Pad Thai, Green Curry, or Tom Yum soup. The tea helps to cool down the palate and balance the heat from the spices.

      Street Food Favorites

      Enjoy your Thai iced tea with popular Thai street food items like spring rolls, satay skewers, or mango sticky rice. The refreshing tea pairs perfectly with the vibrant flavors of these dishes.

      Sweet Treats

      Serve Thai iced tea alongside desserts such as coconut custard, banana fritters, or Thai pancakes. The tea’s sweetness complements these treats, creating a harmonious end to any meal.

        Health Benefits

        While Thai iced tea is often enjoyed as a treat, it also offers some health benefits due to its ingredients:


        Thai tea leaves are rich in antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants are known to have various health benefits, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases.


        Drinking Thai iced tea can help keep you hydrated, especially on hot days. The water and ice content contribute to your daily fluid intake.

        Digestive Aid

        The spices used in Thai iced tea, such as star anise and cardamom, have been traditionally used to aid digestion and alleviate digestive issues.

          Thai iced tea is more than just a drink; it’s an experience that brings a touch of Thai culture to your home. With its bold flavors, beautiful presentation, and the ability to customize to your taste, it’s no wonder this beverage has become a favorite around the world. Whether you’re making it for yourself or serving it at a gathering, Thai iced tea is sure to impress and refresh.

          So, gather your ingredients, follow the steps, and enjoy a glass of this delightful drink. Your taste buds will thank you!

          Nutritional Information

          Understanding the nutritional content of your homemade Thai iced tea can help you enjoy this delicious beverage while keeping track of your dietary intake. Here’s a breakdown of the approximate nutritional information for a standard serving (about 12 ounces) of traditional Thai iced tea made with the ingredients listed in the recipe.

          Nutritional Facts per Serving (12 oz)

          Calories: 250-300 kcal
          Total Fat: 8-10 grams
          Saturated Fat: 5-7 grams
          Trans Fat: 0 grams
          Cholesterol: 20-30 milligrams
          Sodium: 80-100 milligrams
          Total Carbohydrates: 40-45 grams
          Dietary Fiber: 0 grams
          Sugars: 35-40 grams
          Protein: 4-6 grams

          Key Nutrients

          Calories: The calorie count in Thai iced tea mainly comes from the sugar and condensed milk used in the recipe. Adjusting the amount of these ingredients can help reduce the overall calorie content.

          Fat: The majority of the fat content is from the condensed and evaporated milk. Using low-fat or non-dairy alternatives can lower the fat content.

          Carbohydrates and Sugars: Thai iced tea is high in sugars due to the added sugar and sweetened condensed milk. For a lower sugar version, reduce the amount of added sugar or use sugar substitutes.

          Protein: The protein content is relatively low but can vary depending on the type of milk used. Dairy alternatives may have varying amounts of protein.

          Tips for a Healthier Thai Iced Tea

          If you’re looking to enjoy Thai iced tea while keeping it healthier, consider the following modifications:

          Reduce Sugar: Use less sugar when sweetening the tea, or substitute with natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit.

          Use Low-Fat Dairy: Opt for low-fat or fat-free condensed milk and evaporated milk to reduce the fat content.

          Non-Dairy Alternatives: Use plant-based milk like almond, coconut, or soy milk to lower the cholesterol and saturated fat levels.

          Adjust Serving Size: Enjoy smaller servings to reduce the intake of calories, sugar, and fat.

          Thai iced tea is a delightful treat that can be enjoyed occasionally as part of a balanced diet.

          By being mindful of the ingredients and making small adjustments, you can enjoy this flavorful beverage without overindulging. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or try a healthier variation, Thai iced tea offers a refreshing and exotic experience that’s sure to please.

          Enjoy your Thai iced tea, knowing that you can make informed choices about its nutritional content to fit your dietary needs. Cheers to delicious and mindful sipping!


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