thai milk tea recipe

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thai milk tea, also called thai iced tea or "cha yen”, isn’t just popular on the streets and restaurants of thailand – it’s globally famous. ask anyone who has worked in a thai restaurant anywhere in the world, and they’ll confirm that one of the most popular items on the entire menu is thai iced tea.

now you can enjoy this tea at home with our simple thai milk tea recipe. this recipe uses easily accessible ingredients and straightforward steps, along with helpful details to guide you through the process of making thai tea at home.

what is thai milk tea?

thai tea is a delicious drink that’s sweeter, creamier and spicier than your usual cup of tea. it starts with strong black tea (or a local variety called bai miang) that’s steeped with spices like star anise, cardamom and cinnamon to create a tea base.

the tea base is then poured over ice and mixed with sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk to get a sweet and creamy treat that’s orange in colour. the authenticity of the taste depends on the spices used, as they balance out the extra sweetness perfectly. 

that might seem like a lot to handle, but our guide will show you how easy it is to make at home.

Thai Milk Tea

how to make thai milk tea

our thai milk tea recipe is really simple and shares all the details you need to make this at home. it shows how contrasting flavours come together to create a delicious drink.

in addition to its simplicity, this thai iced tea recipe calls for readily available ingredients. we’ve used teapigs darjeeling earl grey tea instead of a premade mix for its convenience and accessibility. when it comes to milk, you've got loads of choices – whether it’s sweetened condensed milk or non-dairy options. even the spices used are commonly found in most kitchens.

getting the classic orange colour

to achieve that signature orange colour, chefs add red/yellow food colouring to the tea. even premade mixes started including the colour along with other ingredients.

but when you're making it from scratch, add a few drops of orange food colouring to half a cup of sweetened condensed milk and stir it well to ensure uniformity of colour. then, add about 2 tablespoons of this orange-coloured milk to each glass.

while it’s alright to use food colouring, we've chosen a more natural approach by adding fresh turmeric to give our tea that classic orange colour. this spice not only brings a beautiful colour but also adds its unique flavour to the brew. so, we added it alongside other spices, letting its vibrant orange shade infuse the water.


Total Servings:



Preparation Time:

5 minutes


Cooking Times:

10 minutes


Nutritional Value:

192 calories, 6g fat, 30g carbs, 6g protein


Recipe Category:






  • boiling pot
  • strainer
  • mortar
  • pestle


  • 4 teapigs darjeeling earl grey tea bags
  • ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • 2-3 cardamom pods
  • 2 inch fresh turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups water
  • ice cubes


  1. gather the ingredients: make sure you have all the ingredients required for this thai milk recipe before starting. keep your spices ready – slice the fresh turmeric and gently crush the cardamom pods and the cinnamon stick using a mortar and pestle to release their aromatic flavours. if your batch size is different from what is mentioned in the recipe, adjust the quantities accordingly.
  2. boil water: get 4 cups of water in a pot and let it boil.
  3. infuse with tea and spices: begin by adding the tea bags to the water. add the crushed spices, sugar, turmeric and vanilla extract to the tea and let it simmer for 7-10 minutes. this step allows the flavours of the tea and spices to infuse into the water, making a strong base for the tea. to intensify the flavour, extend the steeping time. a stronger base will enhance the taste of thai tea even more.
  4. sweeten and set aside to cool down: take the tea off the heat and discard the tea bags. then, strain the tea base into a separate container to remove the spices. now, set it aside to cool down to room temperature. you can prepare this base in advance and keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.
  5. begin assembling the tea: when you’re ready to serve, get the tea out of the refrigerator. if it’s too cold, you can warm it up slightly in the microwave. if you didn’t refrigerate and it’s already at room temperature, you’re good to go. now, grab four glasses and fill them with ice cubes. carefully pour the tea over the ice, filling each glass slightly more than halfway.
  6. add condensed and evaporated milk: then add about 2 tablespoons of the condensed milk to each glass. finally, add some evaporated milk over the top of each glass and finish it off by placing straws in each glass.
  7. serve and enjoy: enjoy the delicious outcome of your efforts with this homemade thai milk tea recipe.

Thai Milk Tea

For some Aussie goodness, here are some fun ideas to add fun to your recipe!

  • Spice things up with a "kick of Australian bush spices" in your thai iced tea. Blends like wattleseed, lemon myrtle, and pepper berry can add a unique and aromatic twist to the traditional thai milk tea
  • Give your thai iced tea a refreshing twist by adding a "dash of fresh mint" leaves to the tea. This will bring a cool and invigorating element to the warm and spiced tea.
  • For a tropical Aussie twist, add a splash of "fresh pineapple juice" to your thai iced tea. This will give the tea a tangy and fruity flavour that is perfect for sipping on a hot summer day.
  • For a richer and creamier texture, add a scoop of "vanilla bean ice cream" to the top of your thai iced tea. This will create a decadent and indulgent treat that is perfect for a special occasion.
  • Add a "pinch of ground macadamia nuts" to your thai iced tea for a nutty and buttery flavour. Macadamias are a quintessentially Aussie ingredient that can add a unique twist to the traditional version.

There you have it, pretty easy ain’t it?

Remember, Teapigs Darjeeling Earl Grey tea is the perfect complement to your handmade thai milk tea recipe. The tea imparts its own distinctive aroma and flavour, and the combination of condensed and evaporated milk makes for a rich and velvety drink.

While this milk tea is delicious on its own, it can also be a great base for other tea drinks, such as bubble milk tea with tapioca pearls!

You can enjoy this refreshing thai iced tea recipe on a hot summer day or cool down from a spicy thai meal with it! 

So go ahead mate, give it a try, and enjoy your delicious homemade thai iced tea!

what kind of milk should be used to make thai milk tea?

To create its trademark creaminess and sweetness, thai iced tea usually relies on the use of both condensed milk and evaporated milk. There are vegan alternatives to whole milk that can be used in place of it in some recipes, such as coconut or almond milk. 

Of course, some folks swear by the full-fat goodness of whole or evaporated milk, claiming it brings out the best in the tea's flavour. But let's be real, at the end of the day it's all about what tickles your tastebuds and what's most convenient for you.

So go on and experiment with different milk options until you find the perfect match for your thai iced tea cravings!

which sweetener and spices should be used while making thai milk tea?

the contrasting flavours of sweetener and spices combine to get you the authentic flavour of the tea. that’s why, getting them right is crucial! no worries, it’s not complicated once you have the basics down.

thai tea is usually made sweeter than your normal tea, but it mellows down when poured over ice. while sugar is the usual sweetener, syrup or honey are also good options. additionally, the sweetened condensed milk mixed at the end of the thai milk tea recipe enhances the sweetness and creaminess.

the sweetness is balanced by the spices! usually, cardamom, star anise and cinnamon are used to infuse the brew with that warmth and flavour. however, you can tweak the spice levels in your thai tea by adding a bigger portion or more variety of spices – like cloves, nutmeg and black peppercorns.

brewing the perfect thai tea

brewing the perfect thai tea requires attention to detail and a few key tips to achieve that authentic flavour.

  • gather the ingredients first. choose high-quality black tea bags (or loose leaves) and all the spices mentioned.
  • focus on the steeping time. for a stronger brew, steep the tea for a longer duration. this allows the flavours to fully develop, resulting in a richer taste. in the case of thai tea, a longer steeping time works well, if you like robust flavour.
  • cool down the tea before assembling. make sure to let your tea cool down a bit before adding it to the ice. this helps keep your thai tea nice and cold without melting the ice too quickly.

what does thai tea taste like?

In Australia, there’s no doubt that Thai restaurants and cafes serve some of the country's best thai iced tea. Maybe it's something you've tried before already, or perhaps not.

Either way, if you're looking for something sweet and creamy with a distinctive taste, you can't go wrong with thai iced tea fellas.

Black tea, star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon are brewed together and flavoured with sugar and condensed or evaporated milk to create this tasty thai iced tea drink. The spices lend an earthy, exotic flavour that is both refreshing and fulfilling, while the sugar and milk smooth out the tea's natural bitterness.

thai milk tea vs. thai iced tea

thai milk tea and thai iced tea are commonly used interchangeably and could be confusing at times. usually, when you ask for either of them at a thai restaurant, you'll be served the iced version by default. however, thai milk tea takes on a different form when requested hot, offering a variation for those who prefer their tea warm.

additionally, thai milk tea may differ from thai iced tea in its ingredients, with the absence of condensed or evaporated milk commonly used in the iced tea recipe.

that’s not all, though! another difference lies in how thai milk tea is sometimes used as a broader category for a bunch of different tea varieties, like bubble milk tea and other milk tea variations.

despite these exceptions, most people agree they're essentially the same delicious drink. thai tea offers an exceptional experience, blending the boldness of tea with the richness of milk and a variety of spices and flavourings.


now that you've explored the guide on making thai tea at home, some aspects may seem overwhelming. but once you start working on the recipe, you’ll realise how simple it is.

to keep it simple, gather all the ingredients! while you’ll likely find most of them in your kitchen, you may need to pick up some spices like fresh turmeric. once you have them, you’ll breeze through the steps of the recipe.

when you’re done, consider trying our other milk tea recipes like matcha latte and chai latte.

faqs on thai tea recipe

Q. what is thai milk tea made of?

A. Thai Milk Tea is a blend of strong black tea infused with aromatic spices like cinnamon and cardamom. It's mixed with condensed milk, giving it a creamy texture and rich flavour. This Thai beverage is a harmonious fusion of bold tea, fragrant spices and luscious sweetness.

Q. is it possible to make thai milk tea without condensed milk?

A. if you're looking to make thai milk tea without condensed milk, try using sweetened regular milk or consider non-dairy options like coconut or almond milk. however, be mindful that some alternatives may not blend as smoothly, so experiment with smaller portions until you get the desired outcome.

Q. what is the difference between thai tea and thai milk tea?

A. Traditional thai iced tea is a brew of black tea and spices, whereas thai iced tea is the same tea but with the addition of condensed or evaporated milk, giving it a creamy and sweet texture. Some people prefer thai iced tea because of its distinct and aromatic flavour.

Q. how can i adjust the sweetness of thai milk tea to my liking?

A. to adjust the sweetness of your thai milk tea, focus on adjusting the ratios of sugar and sweetened condensed milk. by tinkering with these ingredients, you can finely tune the tea's sweetness. start with smaller amounts and increase gradually to get the desired output.


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