There is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than a glass of iced tea. This sweet Mint Iced Tea recipe has been in my family for decades!
This tea. I don’t even know where to begin with this tea. It is wrapped up in decades worth of summer memories. It’s been enjoyed on patios and porches, in my parent’s house, my sibling’s house, and my own home. It’s present at nearly every cookout, family reunion, and summer holiday. It has even appeared at the Thanksgiving table when we’re lucky enough to still have fresh mint in November.
A pitcher of spearmint iced tea feels like home to me. Sweet and refreshing, it’s an invitation to sit back, kick your shoes off, and relax. I feel a bit guilty for taking 5 years to share this recipe. I suppose it was always a given to me, but if you weren’t lucky enough to grow up with this drink, prepare yourselves. You’re about to discover your new favorite beverage.
There are two basic ways to make mint tea, either on the stove top with boiling water or in an iced tea maker. I have very few single-use contraptions in my kitchen, but an iced tea maker is one of them. We make it so often in the summer that it’s worth it to keep around. You can get a pitcher prepped in about 5 minutes and have iced tea in 20 minutes. But if you don’t have an iced tea maker, making the tea on the stove top is almost as easy, and delivers just as good of results.
For the stove top: I use about a cup of fresh mint leaves placed in coffee filters and secured with a rubber band. Bring a gallon of water to a boil, then add the mint, cover, and allow the mixture to steep for at least 15 minutes. I like to squeeze or press the mint leaves in the filter to get them to release the most flavor. You can leave the mint leaves in as long as you like. It’ll continue to get a stronger flavor the longer you go. Side note: this will make your house smell amazing. Just enjoy the scent of fresh, herby, vaguely sweet spearmint filling your home. It is heavenly.
You’ll want to add your sweetener while the mixture is still hot. I usually stir in around a cup for every gallon. This will produce a sweet, but not quite southern sweet tea. The joy of making the tea yourself is, of course, being able to make it as sweet and as strong as you want, so experiment until you find what’s best for you.
To make the tea in a tea maker, simply fill the water chamber to the top and add ice to the ice line on the pitcher. We have found 3/4 cups of sugar is just the right amount for us, so I add that straight to the pitcher over the ice. Then, I place a bunch of mint leaves (you can include the stalks if you want) in the filter, sometimes adding a tea bag, sometimes not. Turn the tea maker on, and you’re good to go. You’ll need to give the tea a good stir when it’s done, but your iced mint tea will be ready to drink in about 20 minutes!
I honestly can’t think of any summer drink that hits the spot quite like the icy cold, refreshing blast of a cup of sweet mint tea. I hope this mint tea recipe will become as much a part of your own family traditions as it is ours. Enjoy!
- 1 gallon tap water
- 1 cup packed torn fresh spearmint leaves
- ¾-1 cup granulated sugar, or to taste
- 1 black tea bag (optional)
- Bring the water to a boil in a large pot.
- Meanwhile, divide the mint leaves up among several large coffee filters. Bring the edges together and secure with a rubber band. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat off and add the mint leaves to the pot. Cover the pot and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes, depending on the strength you want. If desired, add a tea bag for the last 5 minutes for a stronger flavor. Stir in the sugar to taste.
- Allow the tea to cool completely then store in the refrigerator. Serve over ice.
- 1 bunch spearmint leaves
- ¾ cup sugar, or to taste
- 1 black tea bag (optional)
- Fill the water compartment up to the top with water. Add ice to the ice line on the pitcher then pour the sugar over top of the ice.
- Tear the mint leaves off the stems or fold them so they will fit into a coffee filter. Place the coffee filter in the compartment at the top of the tea maker. Add a tea bag, if you'd like it a little stronger. Align the pitcher, cover the filter compartment, and hit brew. When the tea is finished brewing, give it a good stir and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.