This is How to Make Iced Coffee at Home

This is your no-fuss guide to help you make refreshing, high quality iced coffee in your own kitchen!

Making cold iced coffee is not as simple as brewing coffee in the pot and adding ice. But, it is simple nonetheless!

Iced coffee is a cool, caffeine-filled treat. It’s an especially nice way to get your java jolt when the weather is hot. But don’t be fooled! You can enjoy iced coffee all year long. While this chilly beverage is delicious, buying it from a coffee shop can be problematic.

“Cold brew” and other iced options have become more and more trendy. As a result, most coffee shops have boosted their prices.

Cold drinks are more popular than ever, but coffee beans’ prices have gone up due to supply, demand, and drought.

The cold brew fad means that it could cost you upward of $4 for a simple iced coffee and even more for the cold brew method. This gets expensive, real quick.

It is more convenient and cost-effective to make your own iced coffee at home. Making iced coffee at home can actually save you time and money. Specifically, you could save anywhere between $45 and $1,200.

This is a huge range and depends on your coffee drinking and buying habits, but it is significant nonetheless. You will also feel the genuine pride of making something yourself.

Is There a Difference Between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee

French press coffee poured over coffee ice

While the cold brew craze has made iced drinks more popular in general, cold brew and iced coffee are not the same. People are often surprised by this.

While iced coffee is super straightforward and easy to make, cold brew is more time-consuming.

Cold brew coffee has all the same ingredients. But cold brew is made at a cooler temperature. To make cold brew, cool water is slowly dripped, or soaked through the coffee grounds. This can take anywhere between 12 and 24 hours from start to finish.

While it is more time-consuming, the result is a different flavor that isn’t as bitter as hot brewed coffee. If you’re looking for a great cold brew coffee maker, check out OXO Good Grips 32 Ounce Cold Brew Coffee Maker. They recommend letting the coffee steep in cool water for 12 to 24 hours for the best taste. You can see if this cold brew coffee maker is still available here.

A cold brew coffee maker for home use
OXO Good Grips 32 Ounce Cold Brew Coffee Maker.

In contrast, iced coffee is regular drip coffee. It is brewed at hot temperatures around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, it is chilled and enjoyed over ice.

Some people claim that cold brew is better. But the New York Times even argues that this is mostly due to how it has been promoted and marketed to millennials.

While cold brew is a coffee style you may explore, I’m a believer in the classic, tried, and true iced coffee. Iced coffee is especially ideal for everyday sipping.

When done right, iced coffee is easy to make and enjoy at home. You can have a great iced coffee without the high price tag, complicated brew process, or long wait time.

The Best Ways to Brew Iced Coffee at Home

Cold coffee ice in a bowl next to beans

Although iced coffee is easy to make, it’s still important to do it right. Some shops create their iced coffee by pouring hot coffee over ice. I can’t stress enough that this is NOT recommended.

All you will end up with is an overpriced cup of cold, diluted drip coffee.

Making your own iced coffee at home is the best option to guarantee flavor! These easy techniques will save you a small fortune on buying your iced coffee directly from a shop.

You’ll be so glad to know that you can make a high quality iced coffee quickly and deliciously!

Make Iced Coffee Out of Regular Coffee

The way you prepare coffee is key. Naively, I once requested an iced coffee at a standard diner for breakfast. I wanted something cool and light, but also really needed to wake up! I understood that diner coffee wouldn’t likely be anything amazing. But I at least thought it could be decent.

Oh, how wrong I was! The coffee-lover in me instinctively cringed as I watched the waiter dump boiling-hot coffee from the carafe over a cup full of ice cubes.

What I was presented with was a glass of semi-cool, translucent, coffee-flavored water. GROSS!

While I definitely don’t suggest that diner’s method, you can use regular coffee that you’ve brewed.

First, I recommend letting it cool a bit before preparing your drink. 

You can let it cool off on its own by leaving it at room temperature for a while. If you want to speed up the process, you might put the brewed coffee in the fridge to hurry the chill process. Be sure the coffee is in a temperature safe container.

Glass can shatter if you move it from a hot temperature to a very cold environment too fast. You’ll be left with a mess instead of an iced coffee.

Once the coffee cools, you could choose to pour it over ice. This is okay, especially if you plan to drink it right away. Even better, though, is to pour it over pre-made coffee iced cubes!

ice cubes premade with coffee
Make Your Ice Cubes the Night Before So Your Coffee Doesn’t Taste Diluted.

If you need some silicon ice trays for coffee, you can find them here.

You can make coffee ice cubes ahead of time to add to your coffee drink quickly. Coffee cubes will keep the beverage nice and cool without diluting your coffee.

I highly recommend this if you plan on taking your iced coffee to go. It is also helpful if you are enjoying your drink during the hottest summer months.

Creating coffee iced cubes is simple.

You might even choose to make them out of old or stale coffee you have leftover in your cabinet! Instead of throwing it away, you can brew it up specifically to make these handy coffee ice cubes.

Once the coffee cools off, you can pour it into your ice cube tray and store it in the freezer. This method is practical, sustainable, and thrifty.

How to Make Stronger Iced Coffee

Another way to prevent watered-down or weak iced coffee is to double brew! Double brewing is especially helpful if you weren’t able to plan ahead and make coffee ice cubes. With a double brew technique, you’ll make the coffee stronger during the brewing process.

To do this, you should add twice as much coffee to the same amount of water. When it’s cooled and ready to pour into a chilled glass, the result is a perfect flavor.

How to Make Iced Coffee Out of Instant Coffee

Did you know you can also make great iced coffee with instant coffee? Now, I’m not usually one to advocate for instant coffee. I would rather have the real deal unless I’m in a pinch!

But surprisingly, iced coffee made from instant coffee granules is quite delicious. It’s also simple and super quick to make!

Instant coffee brands like Folgers and Maxwell House know that iced coffee is a great way to use their instant coffee products. They encourage it and often have awesome recipes posted on their sites.

They aim to help you enjoy a delicious cold java from the comfort of your home! Folgers encourages customers to blend their iced coffee concoctions. Maxwell House promotes a simple stir method.

One of the best things about using instant coffee is you can make it anywhere! It is easy to keep instant coffee packets in your bag when traveling.

You can find instant coffee at convenience stores, grocery stores, and even at gas stations! Usually, you’ll be able to find the staple brands no matter where you go, so you can depend on a familiar and consistent flavor!

To make iced coffee with instant coffee, you will first want to dissolve the coffee crystals.

We Suggest dissolving instant coffee into either water or milk. 

The choice of liquid depends on your preference, so you can play around with both.

While most instant coffee instructions say to boil the water first, you don’t need to (unless you want to drink it hot)! Even without boiling water, you can make great instant iced coffee. Combine cold water and instant coffee.

Then pour over ice. If you like to add milk, cream, or sweetener, you can stir the ingredients together. In seconds you’ll be sipping a creamy, sweet treat!

Carmel Bay Coffee Tip: Shake it up! If you happen to have a shaker handy, you may even give the drink a few shakes to make sure everything has dissolved and combined evenly!

The Best Ways to Enhance Your Homemade Iced Coffee

Wiped cream with iced coffee

Now that you have some great home iced coffee tricks up your sleeve, you might look for other ways to bring the coffeehouse experience into your home. I highly suggest buying a few syrups to add some flavor to your iced coffee concoctions! You can choose from a variety of sweetened or unsweetened flavors.

Some options include vanilla and hazelnut. In the summer, you might add a hint of coconut. In the fall, you might include a touch of pumpkin spice. In the winter, you can choose from peppermint and gingerbread!

As a finishing touch, you can add a dollop of Cool Whip (suggestion from on top. This turns your iced coffee into a drinkable dessert!

Wrapping Up

Do you have a perfect iced coffee recipe? If you do let us know down in the comments and we’ll feature it in the article!

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