Iced Coffee Recipe

I mentioned this a few times and thought I would take the time to do a step by step post.

I usually brew a cup of coffee first thing in the morning and then we are off to school, to run errands, to activities… whatever that day brings.  I do tend to drink a few cups of coffee  a day and I have found that making my own at home not only tastes better but saves us time and also saves a ton of money.  I used to wind up at Starbucks a few times and week and well… that can really add up fast.

So here is what I do step by step to make my own iced coffee at home.

I start by brewing the coffee.  I only do this once a month or so since we have fridge space to hold 2 large pitchers of coffee.  If you are tight on space you probably want to scale this recipe back.

I like a rich coffee, so I prefer Cafe Bustelo.  It is a Cuban coffee I found several years ago in Miami and it is sold at CVS, Target or you can buy it on Amazon. 

You need a really big bowl, container- whatever you have available.  You could even use a huge pot.  I have these big containers that I use from Amazon.

Start by adding 16oz of coffee to 8 quarts of cold water in your container.  Give it a good stir so all those grounds are nice and moist.

Now cover up your container and leave it alone for several hours.  Typically I will make this up the night before and let it sit overnight and sometime the next day I get back to it.  I have left it for a few days and that tends to make a super sludgey mess so I would recommend no more than a day.

Step 2 is to get rid of the sludgey part and get that concentrated goodness out.  So you just want to use a fine mesh strainer here and either cheesecloth or paper towels.  Now this is a very important step so don’t skip this part or you will have a mouthful of coffee grounds.   Put the cheesecloth or a paper towel over your strainer and it will get rid of all those fine grounds as you pour the coffee through.  If you just use the strainer, there will be tons of yucky grounds in your coffee so make sure to use the cheesecloth or paper towels.

This recipe makes 2 pitchers of coffee- so I just put one pitcher in the sink and use a measuring cup to start pouring the coffee into the strainer.  This can take a little bit of time so I do this while I am making dinner, or packing lunches or folding laundry or I hide in the kitchen with a book.

Use a spoon to push the liquid through the grounds every so often.

You are almost done now- once all that straining is done you should have a nice big pitcher of delicious coffee.  This is my backup pitcher (it was $2 at Walmart) and it works perfectly.  This recipe will make two of these pitchers and it lasts me about 4-5 weeks total.

And I like things very simple around here so I just eyeball the coffee when I am making a drink.  I do about 1/4 or 1/2 of the way full.

Fill the rest of the way up with milk and I add a squeeze of chocolate syrup.  This little lock and lock bottle works perfectly to take these guys to go.  I actually make these up the night before when I am making lunches for the kids and then it is all set for me in the morning to grab on the way out the door.

In the winter, I usually don’t bother with ice cubes but as as the weather gets warmer you might consider taking a bit of that coffee and pouring it in ice cube trays.  The cubes can go in a ziploc once frozen and that will prevent that gross watered down coffee flavor.

I find this not as sweet as an iced mocha but with a little more kick than an iced latte and I actually prefer these to a Starbucks drink.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Iced Coffee Recipe
Recipe type: Beverages
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
An easy DIY recipe for iced coffee.
  • Ground Coffee 16oz
  • Cold Water 2 gallons (8 qt)
  • Milk
  • Chocolate Syrup (optional)
  1. Start by mixing 8 quarts of cold water with 16 oz of ground coffee. Stir it all together so all the grounds are moist.
  2. Let this mixture sit for 8-24 hours.
  3. Place a paper towel or cheesecloth over a fine mesh strainer and place on top of a large pitcher.
  4. Begin pouring the coffee through the strainer. (I use a measuring cup to pour a few cups at a time.)
  5. You will have thick grounds of coffee left so use a spoon to push the liquid through.
  6. Once all the coffee has been strained, you should be left with two large pitchers of coffee.
  7. I fill a large cup about ¼-1/2 of the way up with coffee and fill the rest with milk. I add a squeeze of chocolate syrup and mix or shake well.

This recipe was adapted from Pioneer Woman and if you want something a little richer in the morning, Ree’s recipe involves condensed milk and half and half.



  1. Carrie says

    I actually purchased this coffee and made it last time you posted it. It is delicious! Thanks for sharing =)

  2. Stacy says

    I will try this recipe this week! I love your blog. Thank you for your hard work :)

  3. Charlene says


    Thanks for letting me know and I am so glad you liked it! I have never found any coffee I like as much as this stuff but I get nervous recommending things to people. I’d hate for people to get stuck with something they hate that I told them was wonderful :P.


  4. karen says

    could you also just bew a cup of coffee in the coffee pot and then tuck it away in the fridge for the day? or is that different?

  5. Nicole says

    @Karen The cold brewing makes for a better iced coffee. I find it not to be as bitter. But coffee is a very personal thing, so you just gotta keep trying until you find what you like! Charlene, thanks for reminding me to make mine. I bought the brand you recommended last week and haven’t mixed it up yet!

  6. Charlene says


    Nicole is right. By cold brewing you get a more concentrated coffee and better flavor. You can also do these huge batches which I like getting it all done at once.

    But you could certainly do the other way too.


  7. Helen says

    I would’ve never thought coffee would last a month without going bad. It really doesn’t get slimy or moldy?

    I have still yet to try a cold brew. Hubby and I either make double strength and pour over if or just put regular brewed coffee in the fridge to chill.

  8. Charlene says


    I have not found any changes at all in the flavor and this is about the 3rd month I have been doing this :). Certainly no slime or mold :P.


  9. Pam says

    You may hate me for saying this..but…I was just thinking today that I absolutely love your posts when you mention your meal plans. Your recipes are awesome. I was thinking you should make one more page on your website….Recipes :)

  10. Julie Schmidt says

    This sounds like something I need to do. I often need a little pick me up during the day, but cannot bring myself to pay $4 for coffee. I’m going to try it. Thanks Charlene!

  11. sandra says

    I have shared this method with so many friends. Here in New England we are addicted to Dunkin Iced coffee, but this is definitely the best way to make iced coffee at home. Thank you for sharing it, it seemed so silly to spend 3$ on bags full of items then go through the drive-through to spend the same on 1 cup of coffee!

  12. Charlene says

    Totally Sandra,

    Plus the time involved and then the calories on top of that. I am sure the version I make has to be way less fat and calories than what I used to buy.


  13. Charlene says


    That is very nice of you. I might start doing a few more recipes here and there but I am really not that great of a cook so I don’t really consider myself a food blogger ;). It is such a struggle to find healthy and yummy recipes each week that my kids won’t throw back at me. 😛 I am planning to do a little more lifestyle-y stuff on the blog since deals tend to slow a bit during spring and summer.


  14. lyra says

    Wow…I never knew about cold brewing. Thanks for the recipe, I’ll give it a try. And I’d be interested in your lifestyle posts if you decide to post those. Alot of busy moms, and you have so many great tips for us. I really appreciate all your work. Thanks!

  15. Endcapps says

    Hi Charlene, Cafe Bustelo deal coming to CVS 4/15. It’ll be $2.99, Get $1ECB, Final Price= $1.99 I remembered you like Cafe Bustelo.

  16. lyra says

    I made your recipe last night with the cafe bustelo coffee and I’m drinking it this morning. I love it! Thanks again for sharing. I love saving on coffee drinks and making my own at home instead of purchasing at a coffee house. I’ll be using this recipe regularly.

  17. Charlene says


    Just skip the dash of chocolate syrup and that might be close to what you are looking for.

  18. Jodi says

    I bought one package of the Cafe Bustelo thinking it would be enough for the recipe…but it’s only 10oz. Do you use one package or 16oz? Thanks for clarifying!

  19. Charlene says


    I use about a package and a half when I get the 10oz size. You could just cut the recipe in half and use 8oz of coffee.

  20. Melissa says

    Just made this over the weekend, did 2 smaller batches. Made with soy milk, Stevia… DELICIOUS! Made espresso with the remaining 2 oz. from each bag. Thanks for sharing!

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