Learn how to make the BEST Iced Coffee at home … this easy recipe is the perfect way to start your day!
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I have a confession to make: I wasn’t always a coffee drinker. After drinking a little tooo much in college, I gave it up. Sure, I treated myself to a latte here and there, but that was about it.
That all changed when I moved to New York. My first job was pure misery. From devious co-workers to vague job expectations to screaming bosses, I started dreading my days there about a month after I started.
Throw in a sweltering commute during a steamy NYC summer, and the only thing that got me through most mornings was my new obsession, Iced Coffee.
Although I left that job, but my love for cold coffee continued. These days, I treat myself to a cup every morning (no matter the weather) … sometimes I’m already thinking about it as I drift off to sleep the night before!
Since I love my daily treat so much, I’ve learned how to make the best Iced Coffee at home. And you know what? It couldn’t be easier … keep reading for all the details!
Homemade Iced Coffee requires no special ingredients, which means you can make a cup whenever a craving strikes! Here’s what you’ll need:
To make a coffee-shop quality cup, you’ll need good coffee. I don’t like anything bitter, so I prefer to use a medium roast. Feel free to use your favorite coffee though (almost anything works).
If you are feeling especially ambitious (and want to make the tastiest cup), start with whole beans and grind it yourself. I have one of these budget-friendly mini coffee grinders, and it’s super easy and quick to use.
Sugar and milk are optional, but I never skip them. I use regular old granulated sugar, although plain or flavored sugar syrup is another option.
And any kind of milk works … I like almond or coconut milk. If you’re using regular milk, I’d recommend 2%, whole milk, or even half and half. Skim milk can make the finished drink seem a little watery.
How to Make Iced Coffee (without Watering It Down)
Are you ready to learn how I make the perfect fresh-brewed cup of cold coffee? It’s easy!
Here’s my trick for the perfect iced coffee … the first thing I do every morning is brew a regular cup of coffee. Then, before I jump in the shower, I stick my mug of coffee in the freezer.
While I’m showering, putting on makeup, and doing my hair, my coffee is cooling to the ideal temp. I use a cute mason jar mug, but any kind works. By the time I’m ready, my coffee is the perfect chilled temperature, and I can add sugar, milk, and ice without watering it down.
You could also add the sugar to the hot coffee before chilling it, if you don’t want any crystals in your coffee. I actually like the crunch of a few crystals. Using simple syrup instead of granulated sugar is another option.
Tip: want to save time in the morning? Brew your cup of coffee the night before, then pop it in the refrigerator so it’s ready to drink when you wake up. You could also do this with a full pot of coffee, of course.
Can you put hot coffee on ice?
Technically, you can simply pour hot coffee over ice. But I wouldn’t recommend it!
The ice will water down your coffee, and it won’t get as cool either … and perfect Iced Coffee needs to be quite cold.
If you’d prefer to make your drink with hot coffee, then I’d recommend using coffee ice cubes instead of regular ones … that way your coffee won’t be diluted and watery tasting. To make coffee ice cubes, simply fill an ice cube tray with leftover coffee, then freeze overnight.
In the morning, stir a few coffee ice cubes into your freshly-brewed coffee. The cubes will cool off your coffee without watering down the flavor like regular ice would. Once your coffee has cooled, stir in sugar and milk to taste, then top off with regular ice or more coffee ice cubes.
Ninja Coffee Bar Method
This post has been updated a few times, and after I first wrote it a few years ago, I got a Ninja Coffee Bar. And it’s pretty much my favorite thing ever!
This system has a special function that lets you brew a single cup of coffee directly over ice … without watering it down. It works perfectly every time, takes minutes to make, and I absolutely love it.
I’ve also used my Ninja to make specialty espresso-style drinks like affogato and lattes. The best thing about it though, is that you can make everything from full pots of coffee to single cups … all without wasteful pods!
Cold Coffee Variations
I usually drink my coffee with milk and sugar only, but there are so many fun ways to flavor it! Here are some ideas:
- Add coffee syrup. For a coffee shop-inspired treat, stir a little flavored coffee syrup into your drink. You can even make your own syrups … this Cinnamon Brown Sugar Coffee Syrup is a favorite of mine!
- Stir in a drop of extract. A touch of pure vanilla or almond extract turns plain coffee into something special.
- Make it extra sweet. Replace the sugar with sweetened condensed milk for a Vietnamese-style treat.
- Flavor the coffee with spices. Before you brew your coffee, sprinkle a little cinnamon, nutmeg, and/ or ginger over the grounds.
- Make an iced latte. Turn your drink into an iced latte by adding frothed milk instead of plain milk. Shake cold milk in a mason jar to froth it or use a handheld milk frother, like I do.
- Add a slice of citrus. A thin slice of lemon, lime, or orange can add an intriguing twist to your fave morning drink.
- Infuse it with herbs. Throw a few leaves of mint into the hot coffee before chilling it for a refreshing herbal flavor.
- Kick things up a notch. For a boozy treat, try adding a shot of rum, whiskey, brandy, Sambuca, or Frangelico. Cheers!
If you enjoyed this easy recipe, try one of my other Iced Coffee recipes next!
How to Make Iced Coffee
- 1 1/2 cups hot coffee
- 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
- 1/2 cup milk (2% or whole milk is best), or to taste
- Brew coffee, then pour 1 1/2 cups into a tall glass. Put coffee in freezer for 30 to 45 minutes (or chill in refrigerator overnight).
- When coffee has cooled, add sugar and milk to taste.
- Fill glass with ice and stir well.
- Serve immediately. Enjoy!