This homemade Thai tea ice cream recipe has become one of my favorite ice cream flavors to date! From its vibrant orange color to its slightly bitter tea flavor, it is definitely one I will continue to go back to. Use my simple method combined with a few simple ingredients to make your own at home!

Thai tea ice cream with chocolate chips in a loaf pan. The Thai tea ice cream has 2 scoops laying on top of the rest of the ice cream.

Thai tea continues to be one of my favorite dessert flavors. It yields so much flavor to desserts, and it’s honestly so easy to add Thai tea flavor to dessert recipes. In the past, I’ve made yummy desserts like my Thai tea creme brulee or my Thai tea mochi donuts by flavoring the cream or milk in the dessert. So I thought why not use that method and make a Thai tea ice cream. This is honestly one of my favorite ice cream recipes. The Thai tea provides a subtle bitterness that balances out the sweetness from the sugar and condensed milk very well.

Scoops of Thai tea ice cream in a loaf pan.

Where does Thai tea come from?

I didn’t know that much about Thai tea, so I thought I would do a little research on its origins. I always assumed that Thai tea was an American invention like fortune cookies were. The truth is, the Thai tea we know and love is actually a mixture of a Thai street food favorite and American tastes. Tea came to Thailand via the Chinese in the 1980s. The tea that was brought over was eventually combined with condensed milk and ice to create Thai tea or Cha Yen in Thai. This drink quickly became a popular Thai street food staple.

It eventually made its way over to the US. As Thai food gained popularity here, Thai chefs added orange food coloring and more sugar to adapt this drink to American tastes. The food coloring used is actually very similar to the food coloring used in Kraft Mac & Cheese. And nowadays, it is a hugely popular drink in not only Thai restaurants, but all Asian restaurants across the US.

Thai tea mix steeping in a mixture of heavy cream and whole milk.

Ingredients, Substitutions & Adjustments

  • Thai tea mix – I use a special Thai tea mix I got from Amazon to get the flavor.
  • Condensed milk – Condensed milk is sometimes added to Thai tea, so I thought it would be perfect to add sweetness to the ice cream base. Use any kind of condensed milk you can find!
  • Whole milk & Heavy Cream – Adds creaminess and richness to the ice cream.
  • Vanilla extract – Adds flavor to the ice cream. You can substitute with 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste or 1 vanilla bean.
  • Egg yolks – Egg yolks add richness and creaminess to the ice cream.
  • Sugar – White sugar adds sweetness to this recipe.
  • Dark chocolate – This is an optional ingredient, and adding the chocolate chips is an optional step, but I think it takes amazing in this recipe! I use 56% cacao Bakers chocolate bars.
  • Coconut oil – Coconut oil gives the chocolate a nice sheen, and helps it melt better.
Orange ice cream base

Making my Thai tea ice cream recipe

Combine heavy cream and whole milk in a bowl or large cup. Heat in microwave for 1-2 minutes until hot. Add the Thai tea mix and whisk until the liquid turns orange. Let it steep for 15 minutes. Once done, strain the Thai tea mixture into a sauce pan and heat the cream until hot. Turn off the heat. Whisk together egg yolks, condensed milk, and granulated sugar. Add 1/4 cup of the hot cream into the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Mix the eggs and hot cream, and then pour that mixture into the sauce pan.

Add vanilla extract and salt. Turn the heat back on and mix the ice cream base until well combined. Continue heating the ice cream base until the cream reaches 170 degrees F. Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the cream. Pour the cream through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. This will get rid of any egg or milk solids in the cream. Put ice cream base in the fridge for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Pour the cream into an ice cream maker and churn for 10-15 minutes. While the ice cream is churning, combine the chocolate and coconut oil. Microwave in 20 second intervals until the chocolate is melted. Mix together. After the ice cream has churned for 5 minutes, drizzle the melted chocolate into the churning ice cream. The cold ice cream will harden the chocolate. The resulting ice cream after 10-15 minutes should be slightly harder than soft serve. Spoon the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze overnight.

Thai tea ice cream in a loaf pan.

Tips on how to make the perfect Thai tea ice cream

Tempering your eggs is the key to success

Just like in creme brûlées, it is important to temper your eggs for the cream. Add 1/4 cup of hot cream to your egg and sugar mixture. Whisk until everything is well combined and no white streaks remain. Now, it is safe to add your egg mixture to the hot cream.

Make sure your Thai tea ice cream is cold before churning

You will get better results if your cream is cold. Put your finished cream into the refrigerator for 6-8 hours to cool it down before adding it to the ice cream machine. This might seem like a lot, but the colder your ice cream base is, the creamier your ice cream will be.

Be careful not to over churn your ice cream

The maximum amount of time you should churn your Thai tea ice cream is 20 minutes. The more you churn your ice cream, the harder it becomes. A done ice cream will have the consistency of something slightly harder than soft serve.

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Thai tea ice cream with chocolate chips in a loaf pan. The Thai tea ice cream has 2 scoops laying on top of the rest of the ice cream.

Get the Recipe:
Thai Tea Ice Cream

This simple recipe for smooth and creamy Thai tea ice cream includes a Thai tea ice cream base with ribbons of chocolate throughout.
5 from 8 ratings

Ingredients
 
 

Instructions
 

  • Combine heavy cream and whole milk in a bowl or large cup. Heat in microwave for 1-2 minutes until hot. Add the Thai tea mix and whisk until the liquid turns orange. Let it steep for 15 minutes.
  • Once done, strain the Thai tea mixture into a sauce pan and heat the cream until hot. Turn off the heat.
  • Whisk together egg yolks, condensed milk, and granulated sugar. Add 1/4 cup of the hot cream into the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Mix the eggs and hot cream, and then pour that mixture into the sauce pan.
  • Add vanilla extract and salt. Turn the heat back on and mix the ice cream base until well combined.
  • Continue heating the ice cream base until the cream reaches 170 degrees F. Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the cream.
  • Pour the cream through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. This will get rid of any egg or milk solids in the cream.
  • Put ice cream base in the fridge for 6-8 hours or overnight.
  • Pour the cream into an ice cream maker and churn for 10-15 minutes.
  • While the ice cream is churning, combine the chocolate and coconut oil. Microwave in 20 second intervals until the chocolate is melted. Mix together.
  • After the ice cream has churned for 5 minutes, drizzle the melted chocolate into the churning ice cream. The cold ice cream will harden the chocolate.
  • The resulting ice cream after 10-15 minutes should be slightly harder than soft serve.
  • Spoon the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze overnight.

Notes

  1. Tempering your eggs is the key to success – Just like in creme brûlées, it is important to temper your eggs for the cream. Add 1/4 cup of hot cream to your egg and sugar mixture. Whisk until everything is well combined and no white streaks remain. Now, it is safe to add your egg mixture to the hot cream.
  2. Make sure your Thai tea ice cream is cold before churning – You will get better results if your cream is cold. Put your finished cream into the refrigerator for 6-8 hours to cool it down before adding it to the ice cream machine. This might seem like a lot, but the colder your ice cream base is, the creamier your ice cream will be.
  3. Be careful not to over churn your ice cream – The maximum amount of time you should churn your ice cream is 20 minutes. The more you churn your ice cream, the harder it becomes. A done ice cream will have the consistency of something slightly harder than soft serve.
Calories: 372kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 273mg, Sodium: 161mg, Potassium: 216mg, Sugar: 20g, Vitamin A: 1267IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 174mg, Iron: 1mg
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