How to Make Iced Coffee

Learn more than one way to make iced coffee so you can have it whenever you want it.

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March 03, 2022

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Photo by: hiroyuki nakai/Getty Images

hiroyuki nakai/Getty Images

By Fraya Berg for Food Network Kitchen

Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network.

It doesn’t need to be hot for you to want a tall iced coffee. And there’s no reason to go to a coffee shop when you can make one right in your own kitchen. All it takes is a little planning ahead. Read on for step-by-step instructions plus answers to all your iced coffee-related questions.

What’s the Difference Between Iced Coffee and Cold Brew?

Iced coffee is made from regularly brewed hot coffee that's chilled and then served over ice.

Cold brew, on the other hand, is made by steeping grounds in room temperature water to create a coffee concentrate that you then need to dilute with water or milk. No heat is used, which means the concentrate has none of the bitter notes in iced coffee. If you're looking to learn more about cold brew and how to make it, head over to our story How to Make Cold Brew Coffee.

Two cup of iced black coffee in glass drinking cup on gray background. Shallow depth of field image.


Two cup of iced black coffee in glass drinking cup on gray background. Shallow depth of field image.

Photo by: twomeows/Getty Images

twomeows/Getty Images

How to Make Iced Coffee

To make iced coffee, you need to do a little planning ahead. We recommend brewing your coffee at least 1 hour (and up to 12 hours) before you want to turn it into iced coffee to give it time to cool down.

1. Brew Coffee

Brew your favorite coffee however you normally would. For more information on the ideal coffee to water ratio, head over to our story What's the Ideal Coffee-to-Water Ratio?.

2. Cool the Coffee

Let the brewed coffee sit out until it's cooled to room temperature. Or, to speed up the chilling process, stash the coffee in the fridge. A third smart make-ahead option? Pour the coffee into ice cube trays and freeze it. When you want to enjoy it, simply let the iced coffee cubes melt in a glass.

3. Serve Cooled Coffee Over Ice

To serve the ice coffee, fill up a glass with ice and pour the cooled ice coffee over it.

4. Customize

The beauty of homemade ice coffee is that you can completely customize it. Add your favorite milk, sugars or syrups. Pst, you might just want to check out Food Network Kitchen's Toasted Marshmallow Syrup recipe, which will transform your iced coffee into a barista-worthy creation.

Perfect Iced Coffee

This iced coffee recipe is as simple as stir, strain, chill. That's it.

Can You Just Add Ice to Coffee to Make Iced Coffee?

You might be wondering: can I simply turn hot coffee into iced coffee by adding ice? Skip that whole step where you wait for the coffee to cool to room temperature? And the answer is yes, but you need to follow the steps below, otherwise you might end up with watery iced coffee.

1. Brew Extra Strong Coffee

Brew your coffee with half the amount of water as you normally do, to make a strong concentrate.

2. Cool to Room Temperature with Ice

Pour the hot coffee into a pitcher or glass that's filled to the top with ice. As soon as the iced coffee reaches room temperature (test it by sticking a clean finger into it; the ice will look mostly melted at this point), transfer the coffee to a new cup of ice.

How to Make Iced Coffee with Instant Coffee

If you're looking for a shortcut, you can easily use instant coffee to make iced coffee. This method is also a fast way to make a single serving of iced coffee. Here's what to do.

1. Brew the Instant Coffee According to Package Instructions

The container will tell you the correct ratio of instant coffee to boiling water. 2 teaspoons instant coffee to 1 cup of boiling water is a safe ratio. Dissolve the instant coffee in the boiling water.

2. Cool the Instant Coffee

Allow the instant coffee to cool to room temperature by letting it sit on the counter, or speed up the process by stashing it in the fridge.

3. Serve Over Ice

Serve the cooled instant coffee over ice with your favorite mix-ins.

How to Make Keurig Iced Coffee

Making iced coffee in a Keurig is as easy as making a cup of hot coffee with K-cup. There are some K-cups sold that are intended for iced coffee, but they aren’t necessary to make a great glass of iced coffee. There are also some Keurig coffee makers that have a setting for iced coffee, but any machine will work. Follow these steps for making iced coffee with a standard K-cup and machine.

  1. Fill a glass with ice.
  2. Brew dark coffee into the glass - this will give you the most flavorful result
  3. Add milk, half-and-half or any other flavorings.

Recipes for Iced Coffee

You can use coffee for this iced coffee, but for a real Italian experience, use espresso.

Not your average iced mocha—the spicy chiles add another dimension to the flavor.

Using simple syrup is always the easiest way to sweeten iced coffee because you don’t need it to dissolve. Sparkling water makes it coffee soda.

Molly Yeh's "Fresh Mint Coffee

Molly Yeh's "Fresh Mint Coffee

Muddling the mint brings out the most intense flavor. You bruise it a bit in the bottom of a glass with the handle end of a wooden spoon. Then add everything else. Trust us, this unique combination will have you hooked.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee is displayed, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen, Season 12.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee is displayed, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen, Season 12.

Photo by: Jason DeCrow

Jason DeCrow

Sweetened condensed milk is the key to iced Vietnamese coffee; its creamy sweetness is perfect with the strong coffee.

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