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out and about

Recipe: thai tea ice cream

Howdy from beautiful Crested Butte, Colorado! I am chasing wildflowers, hiking the high country, befriending local fauna, and getting zero sleep. Okay, that’s not true. We’re not befriending the local fauna, we’re just encountering a lot of local fauna, including a black bear early Thursday morning!

talk about local color

marmots are everywhere

While I’m wrapping up this shoot, I thought I’d leave you with something for the weekend. When we had our food-blogging friends over for dinner before the workshop, one of the ice cream flavors I served for dessert was Thai tea ice cream. If you’ve ever had Thai iced tea, then you know it’s a natural translation into ice cream.

thai tea

and the bag it came in for those who wanted to know what it looks like

The inspiration came about because I was making several Thai meals one week as the weather was warming up. I thought Thai iced tea would be a perfect accompaniment to the meals. Actually, I crave Thai iced tea and was delighted to discover that my local Asian grocer carries it in large bags.

mix the thai tea into the warmed milk

steeping the tea will turn the milk a bright orange color

The reason it comes in large bags is because you use a lot of it to make a single serving of Thai tea. This ice cream recipe calls for a half cup of the loose tea.

strain the tea leaves out

mix in the heavy cream

If you’ve never had Thai iced tea before, it’s a sweet tea mixed with cream or sweetened condensed milk and served on ice. That’s why it is so perfect to make into an ice cream, because it’s practically ice cream anyway!

temper the yolks

heat until the custard thickens

I followed a general recipe for the Thai tea ice cream ingredients, but I used the basic custard method from David Lebovitz’ book The Perfect Scoop to make it. I like to go with the tried and true.

strain the custard into the remaining cream

churn the custard in your ice cream machine

Oh boy. This ice cream is so fantastic (if you are a fan of Thai iced tea, which I totally am) that I’m *glad* all of my friends came over and consumed most of it – or else I would have eaten it all. If you can find yourself some Thai tea, this might be a great way to keep cool. Have a great weekend!

perhaps she would have eaten it all if given the chance

Thai Tea Ice Cream
[print recipe]
modified from

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup Thai tea (the tea leaves)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 egg yolks

Heat the milk in a pan over medium flame. As the milk just begins to simmer, remove from heat. Stir in the Thai tea and let steep covered for 30 minutes. Strain the milk through a sieve. Discard the tea leaves. Heat the milk, sugar, and 1/2 cup of heavy cream over medium heat until just steaming. Pour remaining 1 cup of cream into a large bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Temper the yolks by pouring a little of the warmed mixture into the bowl while whisking. Continue adding warmed mixture until completely incorporated. Pour the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan. Stir the custard with a spatula over medium heat until nappe consistency (coats back of spoon). Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan to prevent curdling. Remove from heat and pour the custard into the bowl with the cream. Stir and let cool completely (either on ice bath or in refrigerator). Churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Makes about a quart.

50 nibbles at “out and about”

  1. Phoo-D says:

    The best ice cream we’ve made at home has come from a tea base. It imparts such a lovely nuanced flavor to the custard. I’m a huge fan of Thai iced tea and this sounds like the perfect reincarnation for summer!

  2. Marisa says:

    Love the colour of the ice-cream. And poor Kaweah, she’s trying very hard to think of something else in that last photo!

  3. Kristin says:

    It’s practically ice cream anyway…no wonder my kids love it! I’ll probably have to make this for them even though Thai tea is usually too smoky for my taste. Looking forward to seeing more photos after seeing the first few posted here.

  4. Wei-Wei says:

    The colour is amazing; I never would have thought tea would turn that colour. Could you stir in a few flecks of crushed tea leaves for colour/texture? I’m thinking of black tea cookies and what they look like :D


  5. Nisrine@Dinners and Dreams says:

    The ice cream looks delicious and flavor is interesting.

  6. TheKitchenWitch says:

    This looks fantastic, Jen. I just love the look of longing on Kaweah’s face!

  7. Paula says:

    it`s really impressive!

    have a nice day,

  8. Esther says:

    I wasn’t really paying attention to the words but was scrolling through the pictures, for a second I thought you had transformed marmots into tea. :D

    If I had an ice cream machine, this would be the first recipe I make!

  9. Lindsay says:

    Thai Tea Ice Cream was one of the first ice creams I ever made (and posted about) and it is still one of my favorites to this day. It was nice to hear about how you put it together and your version looks delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Eesh says:

    Jen! I’m back from fieldwork in India and what a great recipe to return to! I love Thai ice tea, and its really hot and humid. Can’t wait to make this. Thank you!

  11. My Kitchen in the Rockies says:

    Oh, how yummy. I will definitely make this one. Thanks for sharing and have fun in Crested Butte. It’s so beautiful there.

  12. Bing Chou says:

    Looks delicious…looks like I’ll have to borrow my friends’ ice cream machine this weekend. The marmot looks an aweful lot like the star of Caddyshack…it just needs a little music to dance to. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

  13. JelliDonut says:

    Any chance you can name the brand? This sounds like some seriously good ice cream. We love the chai at Royal India in Denver–best inexpensive buffet in town, IMHO.

  14. Janet says:

    Crested Butte is one of my most favorite places in the world!!! I am jealous that you are there in peak wildflower season. It is a bit of paradise up there, for sure.
    I am a tea lover, and usually take my morning cup with milk and sugar, just a short hop and jump away from Thai tea. I’ll have to try this ice cream, sounds sublime.

  15. Eileen says:

    Holy glorious milk-cow this is brilliant!! Hope to find some thai tea…

  16. Sarah Hope says:

    Hey Jen I’m a not-so-secret follower, and I’ve got a quick question!

    I’ve never had thai tea (living in Texas means I have to drag my friends to branch out into the asian side of things), could you describe what makes it unique? Is it some particular spices, or just the way they cure the tea leaves?


  17. Rachel says:

    ahhh! that dog is completely gorgeous!

  18. Sarah says:

    This looks good. I tried a Thai tea ice cream recently, but skipped the custard base and used a little sweetened condensed milk. Too much sweetened condensed milk – I’ll have to give this recipe a try next time.

  19. Rosa says:

    A gorgeous ice cream! I’ve never had Thai tea.



  20. Kathryn says:

    That looks amazing! You should submit the recipe to Recipe4Living! Each day this month, we’re giving away a t-shirt to our favorite new recipe!

  21. Susan says:

    That looks fantastic! I will try it as soon as I get home…we’re at Ocracoke Island now and eating all the seafood we can find!! Since I traded my coffee habit for tea….I wondered what would take the place of my beloved coffee ice cream….now I have an answer. Love your site & the pictures are remarkable!!

  22. Ruth says:

    Well, much as I love ice cream I gotta tell you, for me the winner in this post is the photo of Kaweah’s face! She is the female Lab of Labs (I have the male version)! Such a pretty, hungry girl! I’d love to know how you came to name her Kaweah — does it mean anything in particular?

    Love, love, love this blog!

  23. Ruth Ann says:

    I like how you really showed how to make the ice cream step-by-step. It looks yummy!
    I always enjoy Kaweah too; she is such a beauty.

  24. Jill says:

    How exciting! Really???? A bear! I’ve always wanted to see a bear in the woods, at a distance, safely….without he or she perceiving threat. Happy for you……hope you got a pic you are saving.

    Wildflowers are gorgeous and the ice cream looks yummy. Did Kaweah get even a lick?

  25. Randi says:

    OMG! I’m so exicited you posted this. I LOVE LOVE LOVE thai ice tea and never before thought about making ice cream out of it! and you’re right – its so obviously the next step for thai tea! OK!!!! I’LL STOP USING CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS NOW! :)

  26. Rikki says:

    This is my new favorite thing in the world. I’ve been following you for years and never commented but I just had to say I absolutely love you.

  27. Lori says:

    I have never ahd Thai tea. I have to try it now.

  28. LimeCake says:

    Hi Jen, can you tell me what brand of Thai tea you use? I’ve tried a few but they never taste quite right.

  29. Hollywog says:

    Just made this using your recipe and it turned out wonderfully. I really appreciate a well-written recipe and this certainly was. Thanks very much!

  30. Cate says:

    I am so excited to try this! I think I want to attempt Thai Iced Coffee ice cream too

  31. Whitney says:

    Can you share your brand of thai tea? I’ve only had it at thai places but haven’t ever seen it at the stores.

    This looks so very delicious.

  32. Sharlene says:

    I love thai tea! Thai tea in ice cream form? Sounds amazing.

  33. Ingrid says:

    My friend loves thai tea! This will make her smile for sure!!

  34. Joy says:

    That looks wonderful. I love thai tea.

  35. Dina says:

    oh this is a great idea!

  36. peabody says:

    Your dog is so well behaved, mine would have jumped on my hand way before a photo could have been taken. :)

  37. Uncle Salsa says:

    mmmm thaice cream

  38. anna says:

    Yum! I just made Thai tea cupcakes today, I’m absolutely in love with the stuff! So pretty and tasty. I’ll have to do ice cream next.

  39. jenyu says:

    Wei-Wei – I’m sure you could, although I for one really like the smooth creamy consistency of the ice cream.

    Bing – marmots and groundhogs are related :)

    JelliDonut – I’ve posted the brand of the bag now so you can reference it next time you’re looking for the tea.

    Sarah Hope – I think the Thai tea has anise, and as someone above commented, a little smoky flavor to it. It’s really fragrant with loads of spices. That’s the best I can do. You should totally try it sometime (very common in most Thai restaurants)

    Sarah – yeah, it’s pretty sweet (I might reduce sugar next time)

    Ruth – we named her after the Kaweah Ridge Range in the Sierra Nevada of California. We should have named her Bonkers instead…

    Jill – ha ha! No, Kaweah got a doggy treat, but we try to limit her consumption of people food :)

    Rikki – thanks, you’re very sweet :)

    LimeCake – I’ve posted a photo of the bag of tea above now.

    Whitney – yup, it’s up there now!

  40. Mrs Ergül says:

    Of all the gorgeous yummy ice cream you had made, this is what is pushing me to get an ice cream machine!! I love Thai Iced Tea and I just got back from Bangkok, Thailand! I had the most amazing, full bodied flavoured Thai Iced Tea in the weekend market made by a young chap. Oh I want to be transported back to Bangkok and the weekend market!

  41. Thai Iced Tea Ice Cream « My Studio/Kitchen says:

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  42. jc says:

    I’m new and am partial to looking at all of the dog pictures in the recipes first … so sweet! Then I’ll go back and read the recipes.

  43. Sarah says:

    WOW! i can’t believe you did this! you’re the only one! i’ve been scouring the net (mostly honestly) for Thai Tea recipes!! i’m absolutely obsessed with the stuff! i can’t wait to make this!! i need to find some more tea though i heard that Teavana stopped carrying it :(

  44. Sean says:

    For anyone who’s never had Thai Iced Tea, the ONLY summertime nonalcoholic drink that can compete with it in terms of pure, delicious refreshment is old-fashioned, fresh-squeezed Lemonade. Yes, it’s really that good.

  45. Spongebob says:

    I am currently drinking some Thai tea I brought back from Thailand. But, instead of using sweetened condensed cream I am using Edys vanilla ice cream, and oh boy is it good. I definitely want to try your ice cream, and I am sure your dog does too!

  46. Eileen says:

    Oh, I LOVE Thai iced tea – how good is that to make it into ice cream. Genius.

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  48. Whitney says:

    My roommate and I made this recipe today, and it was amazing!!! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe, and the pictures. We were able to find the exact same Thai tea, and followed your measurements and instructions exactly. The flavor is right on and not too sweet, as the Thai tea drinks can be sometimes. It was the best batch of ice cream we’ve made so far and the color is spectacular and unique. In sum, it’s great! Thanks!

  49. Monica says:

    Thank you for sharing this ice cream recipe!!!! I I followed your instructions almost exactly (I added 2 extra eggs) and it was AMAZING and out-of-this-world. Your website is lovely and very helpful with the follow along pictures. I will be sure to try some of your other recipes :)

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