DIY: Iced Coffee

DIY: Homemade Iced Coffee

I have been a habitual drinker of diet pop (or soda, for everyone not from Pittsburgh) for a long, long time; probably since high school. I’m that person who will go through a drive-thru just to get a Diet Coke. I have never been a coffee drinker, so my Diet Coke fixes have long been my only source of caffeine, and some afternoons I just need it to power through. However, I recently began reading a lot of articles relating to the effects of aspartame and a little over a month ago decided that I wanted to curb how much diet pop I have been drinking. Making that resolution meant I needed a way to get a little caffeine into my system when I need it. I went back to an iced coffee recipe that I saw a couple of years ago and thought I might just like it… given the sweetened condensed milk and half-and-half. Turns out, with sweet, creamy additions, even the coffee-averse can create an iced coffee drink that they love!

DIY: Homemade Iced Coffee

This recipe is incredibly easy to make and takes virtually no time at all to prepare. Coffee grounds are steeped in water overnight, then strained through cheesecloth (or a coffee filter!) into a clean container. The coffee concentrate is chilled, then when you’re ready for a glass of iced coffee, simply fill your glass with ice, fill it up to three-quarters full of the chilled coffee and add in your sweeteners. I couldn’t resist the couple tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk and a big splash of half-and-half. For someone who has never been a big fan of the taste of coffee, this was the perfect combination. It gave the coffee a sweet, creamy flavor that I loved.

I’m thrilled to have a cold drink with a little jolt of caffeine that I can enjoy in place of my Diet Coke habit; this is perfect for my transition to less pop, as well as the upcoming warm weather.

(Don’t forget to leave some room at the top of the glass for whipped cream!)

DIY: Homemade Iced Coffee

One year ago: Chicken Fried Steak with Sawmill Gravy
Two years ago: Top 10 List: Favorite Ice Cream Recipes
Three years ago: Baking FAQ: Answers to Common Baking Questions
Six years ago: Chicken Salad

Iced Coffee

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 12 hours

A simple recipe for making iced coffee at home.


8 ounces ground coffee
4 quarts cold water
Sweeteners as desired (sweetened condensed milk, half-and-half, syrups, etc.)


1. Place the coffee grounds in a large food-safe container and add the cold water. Mix with a large spoon, then cover and allow to sit overnight at room temperature.

2. Strain the mixture into a clean container through a fine-mesh sieve that has been lined with two layers of cheesecloth or coffee filters. Discard the coffee grounds. Chill mixture until ready to use.

3. To make the iced coffee, fill a glass with ice and fill it two-thirds full of the chilled coffee concentrate. Sweeten as desired. (I made mine with 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk and an additional splash of half-and-half.)

(Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman, who adapted it from Imbibe Magazine)


50 Responses to “DIY: Iced Coffee”

  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks on May 15, 2013 at 1:08 am

    Love iced coffee! I always save my leftover coffee, put it in a glass jar, refrigerate and the next day(s), pour over ice with cream, vanilla stevia, etc. I have always wanted to try the Pioneer Woman’s method to see how it compares to my repurposing leftovers method. Great pics – now I’m thirsty!


    • Roz on June 6th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      I have some old plastic ice cube trays and make “coffee cubes” so it won’t delete the coffee, and as it melts gives you more coffee.


  2. boocat on May 15, 2013 at 3:55 am

    The first day of my organic chemistry class, our professor came out and said she wanted to get this out of the way first. She then proceeded to write out and explain exactly how aspartame was actually metabolized into a simple sugar. This scary rumor has been put about for years. I used to believe it myself, until I saw the truth writ large across that blackboard.
    I can’t put your mind at ease, but aspartame isn’t going to make you ill. It makes my husband nervous, so he uses the yellow packet sweetener, which is simply sugar with an extra carbon molecule stuck onto it so it can’t be absorbed. The key will go in, but it won’t fit the lock, if you will. Just use that sucralose stuff in the yellow packets, it’s indisputably safe.
    I like the blue packet or the yellow packet stuff, and I use both alcohol sugar (manitol, xylitol, etc.) and “regular” sugar, too — but no one in my family has diabetes or a problem with being overweight!

    Thanks for the clever and scrumptious iced coffee recipe.


    • Michaela on May 15th, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      Xylitol is a natural sugar alternative.
      Aspartame was a by product of a farming pesticides & insecticides which was found to be sweet. It was banned in lot of places before the company bought people out of their contracts on the condition that they saw it fit for food consumption first.
      It was also found to be created using genetically modified (GM) bacteria.
      Avoid Aspartame it is a poison, for the manufacturer it is a cheap cheap substitute for sugar
      Congratulations for starting a transition away from it. You will notice a difference in the way you feel – please let us know x


      • Mariam on May 17th, 2013 at 4:40 am

        Trying to reduce my own sugar consumption, i’ve found stevia (granulated) a great option. I’ve also been experimenting with liquid sweeteners such as brown rice syrup aka rice malt syrup, good in hot drinks but not as sweet as sugar x


  3. Helene D'souza on May 15, 2013 at 4:38 am

    That’s such a gorgeous idea to serve iced coffee in a jar. So very pretty with the cream on top. =)


  4. Tres Amie on May 15, 2013 at 5:17 am

    You can save the used coffee grounds and put them in the compost or just put them around your hydrangea bushes for lovely blue flowers.


  5. Penny Wolf on May 15, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Throw that in your ice cream maker for a coffee sherbet! Really nice on a
    summer day too. 🙂


  6. Modern Jane on May 15, 2013 at 7:07 am

    This looks great! I love the picture of it in the jar!


  7. Marie @ Little Kitchie on May 15, 2013 at 7:21 am

    No better drink in hot weather than iced coffee, in my opinion! I love mine with vanilla almond milk!


  8. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on May 15, 2013 at 8:02 am

    I have a pitcher full of ice coffee! I just love it! It’s perfect for the summer! Love the recipe!!


  9. Brenda on May 15, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Great looking recipe and congratulations on cutting down on the diet pop. Wanted to mention that you may want to also try iced tea for the summer. If you brew it yourself you can control the strength and sweeten to taste. It’s good for a little caffeine kick and some antioxidants. We drink it without sweetener at my house for less calories. Cheers!


  10. Amanda on May 15, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Thanks for the yummy looking iced coffee recipe. Another way to get a good boost of caffeine is Crystal Light Energy. They have strawberry, grape, and orange flavor in individual serving packets. Just mix it in a bottle or glass of water and you’re good to go. Definitely healthier than a bottle of pop!


  11. Tieghan on May 15, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Looks perfect!


  12. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on May 15, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Iced coffee is the best! I think I’ll be getting a lot of use of out this recipe…perfect for summer!


  13. Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen on May 15, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I keep meaning to try sweetened condensed milk in coffee! It sounds so lovely. Anyone have any tips how to best store the leftover sweetened condensed milk? And how long it’ll hold up? It might take me a few weeks to make it through a whole can.


    • Michelle on May 15th, 2013 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Annie, You can store leftover sweetened condensed milk in a Tupperware container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or so.


    • Mary Ann on May 17th, 2013 at 2:18 am

      Hi Annie. I like to make my own sweetened condensed milk by blending 4 cups sugar, 2 cups of powdered milk, 1 cup boiling water and 1 cube melted butter until smooth. This makes almost as much as two of the cans you buy at the grocery store and costs just pennies. I store mine in lidded glass containers. We go through about a container a week by adding it to our hot tea, but with all that sugar I’d imagine it would last longer than that.


  14. Marcie @ Flavor The Moments on May 15, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I’m a coffee addict, and I’ll drink it in any form. Iced coffee is a great alternative when the weather is warm!


  15. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet on May 15, 2013 at 10:26 am

    I love making homemade iced coffee. Once when I worked in a restaurant I used to have them everyday because they always had the ingredients and I never had to buy them! 🙂


  16. Fran on May 15, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I have not tried this yet but I keep meaning to! I love my coffee but in the summer it isn’t as good to me. I make a “coffee syrup” that you add to milk but this sounds like a great one too 🙂


  17. Laura (Tutti Dolci) on May 15, 2013 at 11:15 am

    I love iced coffee in the summer, this looks like the perfect way to get a caffeine fix!


  18. Ashley on May 15, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I’ve been making this same recipe for a while now – it’s my favorite! To the point where all my co-workers make fun of me for bringing it every day – whatever! haha I’ve never thought to top it with whipped cream – that is going to have to happen soon.


  19. Arthur in the Garden! on May 15, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    I love an iced double mocha latte. I have at least one a day!


  20. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking on May 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Such an awesome recipe! I’m not a huge coffee drinker, but I love it in the summer sometimes… just like this!


  21. Matt W on May 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    FYI, we definitely call it “pop” in MI too. In fact a large chunk of the country does, according to the map at:


  22. Melissa @ Treats With a Twist on May 15, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Love this! I make my iced coffee like this too, but let it steep overnight in my French Press so I can just plunge it in the morning and either put it right in the fridge or pour it into a pretty container and put it in the fridge. My close friend works in a coffee shop and this is how they do it there (the result is called “Toddy”).
    Making it the Vietnamese way with some sweetened condensed milk is certainly tasty! Yum!


  23. Meredith on May 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I’ve been making Pioneer Woman’s Iced Coffee for several years now and will attest it is delish! I usually use the same coffee brand that she had pictured on her blog – Cafe Bustelo. It’s quite different than the taste of regular coffee. I sweeten mine with Torani Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup and add a splash or a bit more of cream. Every so often a squirt of chocolate syrup goes in, too. Especially good idling away a hot summer afternoon on the porch swing.


  24. Linda on May 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Looks and sound good. I do like coffee. I am still drinking hot tea with stevia even though were are going to be over 100 degrees the next few days. I am not normal.


  25. Susan on May 15, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I just brew coffee, pour it into jars, then refrigerate and use it once cold.


  26. Emily on May 15, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    I’m an iced tea girl but your iced coffee looks amazing!


  27. Awesome Amy on May 15, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    I started making cold brewed coffee last summer, and I LOVE IT! I adapted my recipe from the NY Times and mix it with some water, milk and Fat Free Italinan Sweet Cream Coffee mate. LOVE IT! Super easy. I am planning on bringing in a big batch to share with my ‘Breakfast Club’ at work when my time comes up again!


  28. Janet on May 15, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    here is where you can get a coffee toddy…or cold brew coffee system.
    I use it exclusively at home. best coffee ever, hot cold or otherwise. i love the coconut french vanilla creamer for my iced coffee.


  29. Courtney@BakeMeBetter on May 15, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    I love coffee flavor and smell, but not coffee! Weird? This looks really good though especially with the sweetened condensed milk.


  30. Laura Dembowski on May 15, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    I always call it pop too 🙂 I think it’s awesome you’re cutting down on diet pop. I never consume artificial sweeteners and I haven’t had a pop in almost ten years! I had no idea this was how to make iced coffee. It’s a really cool technique.


  31. Lindsay on May 16, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Why not just brew coffee and put it in the fridge for tomorrow? Takes up less space in the fridge.


  32. Kristi on May 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    I think you meant, I don’t like coffee but really wanted to blog about it anyway so people will pin it. Yeah, that seems more like it.


    • Kelley Kay on May 21st, 2013 at 4:13 pm



  33. nessa on May 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    This looks pretty amazing!


  34. Jacquie Connor on May 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    I’ve been experimenting with Javita Coffee to make iced coffee. The energy coffee gets me moving and the weight loss coffee controls my appetite, I’ve lost inches and NO sweet tooth!


  35. Cafe Cup on May 23, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Good read. Iced coffee seems like a far better beverage than sodas. Thanks for the post.


  36. Angela on June 17, 2013 at 12:35 am

    My coffee is “brewing” right now! I absolutely love this recipe! It tastes just as good as Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks coffee and it makes enough to last me for a week! I just add a touch of sweetened condensed milk and it’s perfect.


  37. cravingthis on July 6, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    How long can you keep the iced coffee concentrate in the fridge?


  38. MidniteAngel on July 9, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Made this for the first time today and it was amazing. Used french vanilla creamer and sugar and i have to say i will never buy pre-made iced coffee again. Thank you for sharing this recipe. 🙂


  39. Luxury Jets on July 10, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    This is a great recipe, thanks for sharing. The weather’s really hot in the UK at the moment, so I think a glass or two of this tomorrow may well be the order of the day!


  40. Dori on July 25, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Yummy. I just tried your Iced coffee. Wow. Great taste.

    I love it when people come up with exciting ways to do something better that has potential positive health beneifits. That is how I lost 52 pounds. By making the choices in what I eat and what I don’t eat.

    Recently I discovered an organic coffee that has the equivalent level of antioxidants as a pint of blueberries in every cup. 6 times more than other coffee.

    Coffee is a great source of antioxidants and coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet. What is not known is that until recently coffee roasted using traditional methods only contained 1/6 of the antioxidants of the raw coffee bean. That is due to the high heat in the roasting process which destroys the antioxidants. There is a new Patented Roasting method that preserves the antioxidants right to the finished cup of coffee. In fact it does not alter the flavor or the taste. You can learn more about this breakthrough roasting method at There you will find scientific research about this break through roasting process. Super antioxidant coffee is made with organic coffee beans.

    The only other thing I did to add to my nutrition levels is that I buy virgin coconut oil from Costco and I add that to my morning cup of Joe.

    I am happy to report that I have not kept the weight off for two years. I did add green coffee extract to my supplementation routine. That I get at other than that I have not increased the amount I exercise. I just look for great blogs like yours. Find interesting ways to enjoy food with suggestions like your ice coffee. As a result my health improved I lost weight and I feel great.


  41. Heather M. on August 12, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    When you say 8 ounces of ground coffee…do you simply fill a 1-cup measuring cup with coffee grounds (since 1 cup equals 8 oz)? Just wondering how to measure it accurately. Thanks so much!


    • Michelle on August 19th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Hi Heather, No, you’ll want to weight them, or just based on the size of the package you purchased. 8 ounces = 1 cup is typically only true for liquid measurements. Non-liquid ingredients have varying volumes, so 1 cup could have much different weights depending on what you’re measuring.


  42. Arlene on May 26, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    If you don’t want/have sweetened condensed milk, make a simple syrup to sweeten. I’m a fan of throwing a vanilla bean to give it a super vanilla kick.


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