There are so many delicious things in this world that I wish I could enjoy if it wasn’t for my dairy sensitivity. One of those things is Thai Iced Tea.
Say hello to the holy grail of iced teas.
Have you ever tried it? It’s traditionally a vanilla-scented black tea that’s been brewed strong, sweetened with sugar, and topped with condensed milk. Holy yum.
Origins of Thai Iced Tea
It’s believed that Thai iced tea (or cha yen) was invented by a former Thai prime minister named Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsonkhram. Information on its origin story is limited, but it was likely invented some time after the 1980s after tea began being imported from China.
The following is our inspired (not traditional) version made with plant-based ingredients and natural sweeteners. You can find a more traditional recipe here from Hot Thai Kitchen.
Homemade Thai Iced Tea
Want to know a secret? You can make it yourself with basic black tea, keep it naturally sweetened with things like maple syrup or coconut sugar, and get that essential creaminess with light coconut milk.
OK, now we’re talking.
This recipe is simple, requiring just 5 ingredients (plus water), and is remarkably close to what you’d find in a Thai restaurant.
While you can find authentic Thai Iced Tea mixes at the store and online, I’ve found they typically contain dyes and I wanted to keep mine natural, simple and accessible to everyone.
All you really need is black tea (loose leaf or bagged), vanilla extract, a natural sweetener of choice (I used a mix of muscovado sugar and maple syrup), and coconut milk!
Can we just talk about the creaminess going on here? I mean, can we talk about it?
This tea is amazing! It’s:
Make this drink to go alongside your favorite Thai dishes like Pad Thai Spring Rolls, Healthy Thai Carrot Soup, or this Thai Kale Salad. It’s also delicious on its own! Or (serious hack), add a bit of dark rum and enjoy it as a cocktail. Trust me, you need this drink in your life.
If you make this drink, let us know what you think! Leave a comment and rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see. Cheers, friends!
Vegan Thai Iced Tea
- 4 cups filtered water
- 2 heaping Tbsp loose leaf black tea*
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
- 1/4 cup packed light muscovado sugar, organic brown sugar, or coconut sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 14-ounce can light coconut milk (or sub vanilla almond milk, rice milk, or other milk of choice)
- 1-2 Tbsp dark rum per serving (optional // for a cocktail option)
- In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil.
- Once boiling, remove from heat and allow bubbles to subside, then add tea and stir. Let steep for 5 minutes.
- Pour tea over a strainer into a pitcher or bowl to remove the tea leaves. At this time add maple syrup, muscovado sugar and vanilla. Whisk to thoroughly combine and dissolve sugar crystals, then sample and adjust sweetness as needed. Set in the refrigerator to chill (2-3 hours).
- Once tea is chilled, prepare serving glasses with generous portions of ice (see photo). Fill with tea until 3/4 full, then top with coconut milk. Stir gently and enjoy.
- Recipe (as originally written) yields enough for 4 generous servings. Add dark rum to taste to make it a creamy cocktail!
*Method adapted from White on Rice Couple.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.