The Ivory Hut: Simple Thai Tea Ice Cream

Simple Thai Tea Ice Cream

I love Thai iced tea, and so does my son Tim. He always orders it if we’re at a restaurant that has it on the menu. So it was only natural that, as I started experimenting in the kitchen to come up with a good recipe for Green Tea Ice Cream, I couldn’t help but think that Thai Tea Ice Cream would be just as good. Or even better, since it already is typically served sweet and creamy.

Thai tea has a unique flavor and a cool orange color. The flavor comes from the star anise powder that’s blended in with the black tea, as well as orange blossoms. Some varieties include cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, and sometimes, rose tea leaves. No wonder it tastes so awesome with cream! It also has food coloring added, and if you need any additional proof of that, look at my fingers after brushing some of the tea off my table with my bare hands.

The Ivory Hut: Simple Thai Tea Ice Cream

Orange mutant ninja fingers. I was tempted to lick them just for kicks, but decided against it. Nope. As far as you know, I didn’t do it.

This ice cream was very easy to make, since I already used a similar method to make my Honey Vanilla Chamomile Garlic Coconut Ginger Chicken Adobo Ice Cream. Minus the garlic and chicken adobo.

To give you an idea of how good this was, Tim—who is very particular about the texture of ice cream and wants it properly frozen with some bite to it—had a serving and a half of this while it was still in its soft serve state. He took one taste and said, “Now that’s good.”

The Ivory Hut: Simple Thai Tea Ice Cream


Simple Thai Tea Ice Cream

1 1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk (I used whole milk)
4 tablespoons loose leaf Thai tea
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Put the half-and-half or milk in a sauce pan and scald the milk. Add the Thai tea and sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Once it comes to a simmer, take it off the heat and continue to stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool, allowing the tea to continue steeping, then add the heavy cream. Put the mixture in the refrigerator and let it get cold. You can also stick it in the freezer to speed up the process.

Strain, then pour into your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Makes about 1.5 quarts.

Tip: I used a coffeemaker basket strainer (or you can line a regular strainer with a paper coffee filter) to strain the mixture, as the tea can have very small particles that ordinary strainers won’t catch.

The ice cream tastes exactly like the drink because, well, it has exactly the same ingredients. It’s a wonderful end to any meal. The process is incredibly simple, and I fully intend to experiment with other tea variations. Early Grey, chai, jasmine …

I think I may have to start making ice cream in half-batches. This could get ugly. And I mean that in an utterly delicious way.

The Ivory Hut: Simple Thai Tea Ice Cream


37 thoughts on “Simple Thai Tea Ice Cream”

    1. Thanks, Jessica! Yes, it’s a beautiful color. In fact, next time I make it, I might add just a hint more tea so I can get an even deeper orange color. It looks so pretty with a sprig of mint.

  1. I love all these different flavors of ice cream you’re churning. I can only imagine the smooth, creamy coolness. Bah, now I need some vanilla in my belly. BRB.

    1. Haha! I know how you feel. As much as I love experimenting with flavors, sometimes I just want some creamy vanilla ice cream. Okay, maybe with some coconut in it.

  2. Thai tea is amaaaazing, isn’t it? I haven’t made ice cream with it (yet!) but I’m planning a panna cotta this week. I just love the color of your ice cream!

  3. Thai Iced Tea is absolutely my favorite thing to drink ever, but I never knew how to make it myself (can you believe that?!). I just might give it a go at home, instead of waiting for the next time I’m at the Thai restaurant.

  4. Oooh I love Thai iced tea! I want some of that ice cream right now. I am going to try that recipe this summer. I was thinking you were going to add the spices – I guess I just need to find some Thai tea.

  5. My boyfriend has been looking everywhere for Thai tea leaves to make Thai Ice Tea, every asian food store in town, we’ve been to! We even went for Thai food and ask where they get theirs lol it was orange pekoe! Do you make your own thai iced tea from scratch? Where can i find some???

    1. I’ve found amazon has some very respectable thai teas with the spices mixed in to brew a perfect cup…and you can even get 3 or 4 brewings from the same set of leaves!

      I’ve been enjoying home made thait tea all day and will make up a bath to turn into ice cream as soon as I can find an ice cream maker! I know what’s going on my christmas present list!

  6. Thanks, everyone! And Christina, congratulations on your upcoming wedding! I hope you get the ice cream maker. :)
    Karina, I just get my Thai tea from my local Asian grocery. I’ve seen it online, too. Amazon has the one I used: Por Kwan Thai Ice Tea Mix. (But I also read somewhere that you can make your own by mixing black tea with star anise powder, and some cinnamon, cloves, and orange blossoms (to taste, likely).
    Anna, Thai tea panna cotta sounds delicious. I’d love to try that!

    1. I definitely second the Amazon Thai Tea Ice Tea Mix…it brews the perfect cup and tastes just like in the restaurant…and it’s a very simple process…well maybe a little orange staining in drip locations..

  7. Just found you through a web search. I recently made Chai ice cream and was browsing the web for some other recipes to see what others had used for experiments! Like you, I have a basic ice cream recipe and used that for my Chai experiment (I use half and half and condensed milk — the condensed milk seem to give the finished product a richer mouth feel) and steep the chai spices (including peppercorns) in my milk mixture. It’s like eating a chai latte in a bowl ;-) Can’t wait to try your Thai tea recipe . . . I’m going right past Ranch 99 tomorrow.

    1. Ah, yes! Chai tea and green tea are on my list of future ice cream flavors. I’ll have to check yours out!

  8. I liked your recipe, as well as your pictures, for Thai Tea Ice cream. My wife just gave our family the Kitchen Aid Ice Cream maker bowl and my first ice cream was based on your recipe. I changed it a bit to make it richer. After making the milk tea I strained it and added it slowly while stirring, to two beaten egg yolks. I put this over low heat stirring constantly until the mixture thickened. It was not as thick as a crème anglaise. After cooling and processing it on the ice cream maker, the result was a deliciously rich ice cream.
    Another great thing about making my own ice cream is that even using the best ingredients available it’s less expensive than premium store-bought ice cream.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  9. For Mother’s Day we went out for Thai food and I, of course, ordered some Thai Tea–an all time favorite drink of mine. Before we left I jetted toward the server and asked if had ever heard of Thai Tea ice cream. He hadn’t. I’m looking to make my first batch of ice cream in my KitchenAid stand mixer. I’m so glad I found your recipe! Hopefully, my husband still has some Thai Tea in the pantry.

  10. This recipe is so simple and it came out perfectly. My first attempt at ice cream making and this was a delicious recipe to start with. Thank you

  11. Can I use instant Thai Tea instead of the leaves? I can’t manage to find the leaves in any Asian store I go to.

    1. Nathan,
      I actually used two Thai iced tea tea bags in the half and half base and it came out great. Hope this helps.

  12. Hi Nathan! I would imagine you can use instant Thai tea in place of the leaves and just adjust the amount of sugar to taste, since instant tea has sugar in it.

    Stan, thanks for your quick response too! Yes, Thai iced tea bags work great too. So glad you tried the ice cream!

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