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.


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. (Sorry, I’m loopy from puffing on my inhaler today.)

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.”

thai tea ice cream-9989


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.



37 Responses to Simple Thai Tea Ice Cream
  1. tea_austen
    April 26, 2010 | 7:14 pm

    This looks delicious—what gorgeous photos!

    • ivoryhut
      April 26, 2010 | 7:36 pm

      Aww. Thanks, Tea! Hey, you could say my Thai Tea ice cream is named after you. Or your Thai double. :)

  2. Jessica @ How Sweet
    April 26, 2010 | 7:17 pm

    That ice cream looks incredible. It is such a gorgeous color.

    • ivoryhut
      April 26, 2010 | 7:37 pm

      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.

  3. CKay
    April 26, 2010 | 8:07 pm

    Looks yummy! Mmmmmmm. I think the hubs would like it!

  4. LadyG
    April 26, 2010 | 8:26 pm

    Yeegads! This looks fabulous – I like making ice cream, so I think I shall definitely have to try this!

  5. shutterboo
    April 26, 2010 | 8:48 pm

    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.

    • ivoryhut
      April 26, 2010 | 10:03 pm

      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.

  6. Megan (Best of Fates)
    April 26, 2010 | 9:37 pm

    I love thai ice tea, and am crazy excited about this possible new development. I mean, a combination of two delicious items? Only brilliance can follow.

  7. Valen
    April 26, 2010 | 11:21 pm

    Beautiful ice cream! Love that color!

  8. anna
    April 27, 2010 | 12:43 am

    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!

  9. Melanie
    April 27, 2010 | 10:46 am

    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.

  10. Dcan
    April 27, 2010 | 11:23 am

    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.

  11. Christine
    April 27, 2010 | 11:40 am

    This ice cream looks AMAZING and has just prompted me to add this ice cream maker to my wedding registry!

  12. Karina
    April 27, 2010 | 2:58 pm

    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???

    • Cooking Enthusiast
      October 2, 2011 | 1:55 am

      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!

  13. Nadia
    April 27, 2010 | 9:32 pm

    Yum! What a genius and original idea. Sounds delicous!

  14. Memoria
    April 28, 2010 | 3:09 pm

    What a lovely flavor and color of ice cream! I’m bookmarking this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  15. TripleScoop
    April 29, 2010 | 1:57 pm

    Very nice looking Thai Ice Tea Ice Cream. I wonder how it would taste with a little Boba?

  16. ivoryhut
    April 29, 2010 | 11:45 pm

    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!

    • Cooking Enthusiast
      October 2, 2011 | 1:57 am

      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..

  17. Pam D
    April 30, 2010 | 1:32 pm

    That looks delicious! I have a 10 year old boy who loves sushi and Thai tea; we’ll have to experiment with this tomorrow. Yum!

  18. Jenny Flake
    May 21, 2010 | 2:27 pm

    Wow, what pretty ice cream!! Looks delish!

  19. Maria
    May 21, 2010 | 2:40 pm

    Gorgeous photos! Love this frozen treat!

  20. Cookin' Canuck
    May 21, 2010 | 11:18 pm

    What a simple and beautiful recipe. You have inspired me to think of different tea-based ice creams. I can’t get over how beautiful your photos are – really.

  21. Jen @ How To: Simplify
    May 24, 2010 | 12:22 pm

    I can’t go a day without having a cup of tea. Tea-flavored ice cream? I love this idea!

  22. penandra
    June 17, 2010 | 2:51 pm

    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.

    • ivoryhut
      June 18, 2010 | 8:34 pm

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

  23. Nicki » We all scream!
    August 30, 2010 | 10:44 am

    […] Thai Tea Ice Cream from The Ivory Hut […]

  24. baahar
    September 20, 2010 | 5:37 pm

    Mmmmh … chai would definitely turn out wonderful :)

  25. Luis Villa
    October 19, 2010 | 5:56 pm

    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!

  26. Jenn C.
    May 9, 2011 | 9:38 am

    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.

  27. […] “This would make a really good ice cream!”. The next day I did some hunting and found a recipe for Thai Tea Ice Cream on a food blog called The Ivory Hut. I will definitely make this recipe soon! Expect a blog post […]

  28. Stan
    May 28, 2013 | 10:05 pm

    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

  29. Nathan
    June 2, 2013 | 5:07 pm

    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.

    • Stan
      June 2, 2013 | 5:44 pm

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

  30. ivoryhut
    June 3, 2013 | 8:38 am

    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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I write, cook, play music, and make pictures. Not necessarily in that order. I was born and raised in the Philippines, and it shows. That means I eat rice with every meal, love my cousins like my own siblings, and firmly believe that avocados are best eaten with cream and sugar.

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One summer night in 2010, our house burned to the ground and we lost everything we had. This is the story of what happened and how life and hope can always rise from ashes.