Start your morning with a sweet, cold glass of iced coffee from the comfort of your home! Learn how to make your own cold brew with this simple and easily adaptable tutorial and recipe. Perfect for warm summer mornings or a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up!

A glass with iced coffee and a straw poking out the top center.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

There are plenty of reasons to make your own iced coffee at home. We love this simple recipe because:

  • It’s cheaper than the coffee shop plus you have no commute to get there.
  • You can customize it anyway you want meaning no two iced coffees made at home have to be the same.
  • Making it yourself means you control how strong it is and how much sugar you add into the iced coffee.
  • Steeping cold brew coffee in this fashion creates a less acidic and less bitter coffee.
  • There are unlimited refills (at least until you run out of coffee).

Now that you know why you should make this iced coffee recipe at home, let’s break down the process into two main steps.

A glass of iced coffee on a coaster with milk in the back left.

The Main Ingredients

A great cup of coffee comes from selecting the best ingredients for the base. Let’s discuss the two main ingredients for making coffee- the grounds and the water- and how they impact your morning sip.

Ground Coffee

To make the best glass of iced coffee start with freshly ground coffee. I would suggest selecting a roast to match your strength preference. If you like your coffee:

  • Strong: Select a dark roast coffee.
  • Mild: Use a medium roast coffee.
  • Weak: Go for a light roast coffee.
  • Flavored: You can also pick a flavored coffee from the start. These tend to be more medium to light roast in their flavor profile.

Not sure where to start? I would suggest going with a medium or light roast coffee until you determine where your tastes lie.

Water

If you are following my preferred steeping method listed in the directions, you will want to use cold water. In the alternative methods below I will list other ways to brew coffee and the best type of water for those methods.

Step-By-Step Directions

Once you have selected your coffee grounds, you are ready to begin! My method for making iced coffee breaks down into two main parts. Steeping the coffee grounds with cold water and mixing up the iced coffee the next day.

  • Mix coffee and water: Place the coffee grounds in a large food-safe container and add the cold water. Mix with a large spoon.
  • Leave overnight: Cover and allow the mixture to sit overnight at room temperature.
Three side by side photos of the process of brewing the coffee for iced coffee.
  • 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 and chill: Discard the coffee grounds and chill the coffee until you are ready to use it.
  • Make the iced coffee: Fill a glass with ice. Pour the chilled coffee concentrate in to fill it two-thirds full.
  • Sweeten as desired (see suggestions below) and enjoy!
Two side by side photos showing how to strain the coffee after resting.

Alternative Methods for Brewing Coffee

Two other easy ways to prepare the coffee for this iced coffee recipe are to use a traditional coffee maker or try a cold brew coffee maker.

Brew and Chill Method

This method involves using a traditional coffee maker and chilling it until you are ready to fix the iced coffee.

  • Brew a pot of coffee with your drip coffee maker.
  • Allow the coffee to come to room temperature.
  • Transfer to a food-safe container.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Note: If you use this method, you will not garner the benefits of the cold brew steep, which makes less acidic and less bitter coffee.

Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Similar to my method, the cold brew coffee maker allows the coffee grounds to sit in the water for an extended period of time until it’s ready to strain, pour, and fix up into an iced coffee.

To use the cold brew coffee maker:

  • Place coffee grounds inside the mesh sieve of the cold brew coffee maker.
  • Fill with water.
  • Refrigerate based on the maker’s directions. Typically 24 hours.

Adjusting the Strength of Your Coffee

Aside from selecting a different roast of coffee to impact the strength, you can also adjust the coffee strength by changing the coffee to water ratio. For this recipe, I used a ratio of 1:16. For every 1 ounce of coffee, I used 16 ounces of water.

To make a stronger cup you can increase the amount of coffee you use. For a weaker cup of coffee, decrease the amount of coffee grounds.

  • Stronger Coffee: Increase the coffee grounds to 9 ounces and keep the water the same. This will give you a ratio closer to 1:14.
  • Weaker Coffee: Decrease the coffee to 7 ounces and keep the water the same. This will result in a ratio closer to 1:18. Still too bold? Dilute with additional water after brewing.

Flavoring Iced Coffee

One of the beautiful things about making iced coffee at home is your ability to make a variety of flavors. Here are some different ways to flavor, sweeten, and top your iced coffee.

Serving Suggestions

If you want to make your morning cup of iced coffee feel a little more like going to the coffee shop, you can add a few fun touches to elevate your morning brew:

Storing and Shelf-Life

  • Storage: The best way to store your iced coffee is separately in parts. Keep the coffee stored in a food-safe container in the refrigerator. Simply add ice and any additional mix-ins when you are ready to enjoy!
  • Shelf-Life: Stored separately you can keep the cold-brewed coffee for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
  • If you’ve mixed your coffee with ice and other flavors it will keep up to 8-12 hours in the refrigerator, less if it’s at room temperature.

If You Love the Flavor of Coffee, Try These Next:

A glass of iced coffee with a plastic straw to the right side of the glass.

Ditch your coffee shop habit for a homemade version that is cold, crisp, and easily adaptable. Make this easy, homemade iced coffee for all your summer caffeine needs.

If you make this recipe and love it, remember to stop back and give it a 5-star rating – it helps others find the recipe! ❤️️

A glass of iced coffee with milk before stirring on a coaster.

Iced Coffee

Learn how to make a simple iced coffee at home with this easy and adaptable recipe.
4.67 (3 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (226.8 g) ground coffee
  • 4 quarts (3.79 l) cold water
  • Sweeteners as desired, sweetened condensed milk, half-and-half, syrups, etc.

Instructions 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)

Notes

  • Equipment: Large food-safe container / Fine-mesh sieve / Cheesecloth
  • Coffee Strength: See the post above for details on how to adjust measurements for stronger or weaker coffee.
  • Flavoring Options: Simple syrups, dairy and non-dairy milk, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, homemade salted caramel sauce, whipped cream.
  • Storage: The best way to store your iced coffee is separately in parts. Keep the coffee stored in a food-safe container in the refrigerator. Simply add ice and any additional mix-ins when you are ready to enjoy!
  • Shelf-Life: Stored separately you can keep the cold-brewed coffee for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. If you’ve mixed your coffee with ice and other flavors it will keep up to 8-12 hours in the refrigerator, less if it’s at room temperature.
Nutritional values are based on one serving without diary or sweetener
Calories: 5kcal, Sodium: 15mg, Calcium: 9mg

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

Photography by Lauren Grant.