Like all kids, mine love nothing better than a cool snack on a hot day.
A common summertime treat around our house is popsicles. Since popsicles are so easy to make, we stick with homemade ones, rather than buying them.
Sometimes we make them out of a smoothie-type blend of frozen fruits, with things like coconut milk or yogurt blended in for creaminess. Ice cream or frozen yogurt recipes also taste amazing poured into popsicle molds instead of an ice cream maker. I’ve also been known to make lemonade or limeade pops, which are so light and refreshing.
This year, though, I wanted to try adding iced tea pops to our repertoire.
I was inspired by my most recent visit to David’s Tea (this is not an affiliate link, just a local place that our family enjoys buying tea from). They had several summer flavors specifically intended for turning into iced tea pops and I thought, “How clever! That’s what I’ll try next!”
And so I did.
How to make your own Iced Tea Popsicles
It’s pretty straightforward to brew tea, pour it into popsicle molds and enjoy frozen.
BUT, the main thing you need to keep in mind is that while a tea may taste fantastic hot, it loses a lot of the flavor once you freeze it. So the key to making great tasting iced tea pops is using extra-strength tea and adding some sweetener.
When it comes to brewing your tea, there are two main ways to get the strong flavor you’re looking for:
1. Brew for twice as long
2. Use twice as much tea and brew for normal length of time.
Personally, because I’m rather cheap, I opt to brew my tea for twice as long. That said, I feel that using twice the amount of tea can give a slightly fuller, better taste, but generally, I think you get similar results going either route.
Which tea to use for your popsicles?
Well, it all depends on what you like! My kids usually enjoy tea most when it’s made up of mostly fruity flavors (although they’ll also sip on things like chamomile or peppermint, and they love honey and lemon in their tea).
For these particular iced tea pops, I used:
- a loose tea blend with honeybush (an herbal tea with a pleasant, somewhat-sweet flavor) and dried coconut
- a fruity blend that included dried apples, sour cherries, cranberries, kiwi, and dried coconut (this was our favorite – such a nice, balanced fruit flavor)
- a stronger strawberry-flavored blend that was mostly dried strawberries, apples, rosehips, hibiscus, and I can’t remember what else because I ran out and threw out the bag. Oops!
But really, you could use anything.
- a basic herbal tea with honey and lemon (for more of a true lemon iced tea flavor)
- something like a Wild Berry Zinger, with a strong berry flavor (or this Black Berry Cherry sounds nice)
- peppermint (loose or in bags)
- this trio of loose teas has some nice sounding flavors (like Harvest Apple Spice!)
- herbal cranberry orange
- spiced rooibos chai (mmm… I would personally sweeten this a little extra and blend it with some coconut milk before freezing!)
- ginger snap tea (if your kids enjoy warm, gingery spices, why not as a cool popsicle?)
- Herban C-Tea mix (get some extra vitamins in them while they snack)
- Lemon Drop Tea
- Very Berry Tea
You very likely already have something that would work in your cupboard, so go ahead and give it a try!
- 1 heaping teaspoon loose tea (this is about the same as one tea bag)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tsp. honey per cup of tea
- Measure your tea into something like a French Press (perfect for loose tea) or a jug or bowl (fine for tea bags) and pour correct ratio of hot water over it.
- Allow it to steep for about 4-7 minutes (if using double the amount of tea) OR 10-14 minutes (if using the single amount and wanting to brew it stronger).
- While still hot, strain out the tea or remove bags, and then add sweetener to taste (particularly if you're adding honey, you want it to be able to fully melt before the tea cools).
- Pour sweetened tea into popsicle molds (if they're plastic, you'll want to let it cool down first).
- Stick it in the freezer and wait patiently. :)
You can double, triple, or quadruple this basic recipe depending on how much tea you want to make.
Be aware that it’s really easy to make too much, though. In this particular batch, I made two cups of two kinds of tea, and three cups of a third kind, and ended up with WAY too much tea for my 14 popsicle molds (I had one tray that holds 6 and another that holds 8), so we just ended up drinking the extra tea on its own. Which was still fine and yummy, just unnecessary.
A note on sweetening:
Some tea flavors, especially those that use dried fruits or flowers that are quite naturally sweet, don’t need quite as much sweetener.
For example, I find dried apples and coconut fairly sweet, peppermint is a strong herb, and hibiscus is a strong-tasting flower. Others that are more tart (like dried berries, for example) add nice flavor but are more tart, so they may require more sweetener.
I personally like the flavor of raw honey for sweetening tea. I feel like it accentuates the fruit flavors especially well, since honey has a bit of a fruity taste itself.
Stevia is also a great option and since you’re brewing the tea anyways, this is a perfect way to use the dried leaves rather than the processed stevia drops or powder, since you can just toss the leaves right in with the tea to add natural sweetness while brewing.
Looking for more summer treat ideas?
- Raspberry Coconut Popsicles
- How to Make Healthy Ice Pops and Frozen Treats
- Chocolate Avocado Popsicles
- Strawberry Coconut Cream Popsicles
- Blueberry Maple Coconut Dairy Free Ice Cream
- Homemade Raspberry Frozen Yogurt
- Homemade Custard Ice Cream (without a machine!)