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Cold Brew Iced Tea

Cold Brew Iced Tea is the easiest way to make the most delicious, smooth and refreshing real iced tea. Ditch the powdered mix and give it a try!

Iced tea isn’t just for summer. I drink it all year long. It’s always been one of my favorite drinks, and there’s nothing better than a tall glass of the real deal – iced tea made with real tea, sweetened exactly how I like it, with a twist of fresh lemon.

The best part? It’s ridiculously easy to make!

Whether you hot brew it or cold brew it, making iced tea is so simple there’s really no reason to use a mix. Ever. It’s a lot less expensive, too!

I’ve made iced tea both ways, and the cold brew method is my absolute hands-down favorite – mostly because it’s just so darn simple. Put water in a pitcher. Add tea bags. Let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. Remove tea bags. Done!

BUT in addition to its sheer simplicity, the cold brew method actually results in a much smoother tea that is less acidic, less bitter and tastes so much better than hot-brewed iced tea!


  • Water
  • Tea bags


four images showing the steps to make cold brew iced tea

Generally, you use one tea bag for every cup of water (so 8 tea bags for 8 cups of water), but I like to add 2 extra bags for a bit of a stronger brew (so 10 total tea bags). Use more or less tea bags depending on how you like your tea.

In addition to just liking the flavor of a stronger tea, I also figure if I’m going to be pouring my iced tea over ice (which I almost always am), it will get watered down by the ice, so having a stronger brew helps with that.

OR…you could also be a super fancy pants and make some extra tea and freeze it in ice cube trays and use that instead of regular ice in your iced tea. Very cool (pun totally intended)!

I usually put the water and tea bags in the refrigerator before I go to bed and just let it sit overnight. It’s usually about 12 hours by the time I get to it, which makes the iced tea just the way I like it (I’ve even let it sit longer).

The first time you make it, I would start tasting it at about 8 hours. If it needs more time, just let it sit a little longer until it tastes the way you like.

hand holding a glass of cold brew iced tea

This recipe makes unsweetened iced tea. I always make my iced tea unsweetened and let everyone sweeten their own glass because everybody like theirs different (and most people don’t like a little tea with their sugar, like me!).

The best way to sweeten iced tea is to make simple syrup. The sugar is already dissolved, so you just pour it in, give it a quick stir, and you’re good to go. No more pouring sugar into a glass of iced tea and stirring and stirring and stirring, yet the sugar never seems to dissolve!

Head on over to my post on how to make Homemade Simple Syrup for the quick and easy recipe. I make a mason jar full and keep it in the fridge. It lasts for a few weeks at a time, and a little goes a long way.

two glasses of cold brew iced tea with ice and lemon slices on the rim with a clear glass pitcher of simple syrup on the side

I usually keep it classic and use black tea for iced tea, but I’ve recently gotten into drinking green tea and have used this method to make iced green tea with excellent results. You can try this method with other types of tea as well, and you can use regular or decaffeinated tea.

Cold brew herbal tea is also amazing! Some of my favorites are lemon ginger, hibiscus (and any of the hibiscus blends like raspberry, lemon, mixed berry, etc.), and peppermint.

I hope you try this recipe for Cold Brew Iced Tea and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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2 glasses of cold brew iced tea with lemon and a pitcher of iced tea in the background

Cold Brew Iced Tea

Cold Brew Iced Tea is the easiest way to make the most delicious, smooth and refreshing real iced tea. Ditch the powdered mix and give it a try!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Steeping Time in Refrigerator: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 2 minutes
Servings: 8 (8 ounces each – recipe makes 2 quarts total)
Estimated Calories: 0.01


  • 8 cups cold water
  • 8 tea bags (black tea or green tea), use more tea bags if you'd like a stronger brew (I usually use 10)


  • Place the cold water in a pitcher; add the tea bags.
  • Cover the pitcher and place it in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours or until the tea reaches the flavor you like (I usually just let mine sit in the fridge overnight. By the time I get to it, it's usually been about 12 hours, and the tea always tastes great. I've even let it sit longer than that. Start tasting it after 8 hours. If it needs more time, let it sit longer).
  • Remove the tea bags.
  • Sweeten each serving to taste and add a twist of lemon, if desired.


  • I’ve only made cold brew iced tea with black tea and green tea, but you could try using other teas as well!
  • Simple Syrup is the best way to sweeten iced tea. 
  • Unsweetened iced tea has 0 calories per serving. 
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!
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