Our Favorite Ways to Cook with Tea
Cooking with tea is an inspired way to spring new life into food. If you've ever made infused oil with rosemary or garlic or steeped vanilla beans in warm milk for ice cream, you already have the skills needed for culinary tea infusion. Recipes that use tea as a flavor component will typically call for it one of three ways-brewed tea, whole tea leaves, or ground tea leaves. Cooking something in brewed tea, like soup or poached chicken, imparts a more subtle tea flavor than if you were to mix tea leaves directly into cookie batter or on Herb-Rubbed Grilled Fish.
Start with our flavorful recipes that use a variety of tea blends, then you can get creative on your own: Maybe add chai tea bags to heated milk for a boost of spicy aromatics in Pumpkin Ice Cream or substitute a few tablespoons of chamomile tea in place of lemon juice in the glaze for these Glazed Lemon-Ginger Scones. Or add a couple tablespoons of ginger tea to the broth for this warming Turmeric-Ginger Chicken Soup. You could also cook grains like rice or quinoa in brewed tea to infuse earthy flavor. Here, some of our favorite ways to cook and bake using your favorite type of tea.
Black tea comes in many varieties. It can be a simple blend of dark, smoky Keemun or something spicier like chai tea. The opportunities to use both tea leaves and brewed tea are endless. Crush black tea leaves and rub it on turkey or steak with other herbs like thyme, rosemary, and black pepper for a warm, spicy crust. Or let a variety of dried fruits steep in hot brewed tea overnight so they plump up and get rich, juicy flavors, like in this fruitcake recipe.
Earl Grey is a black tea infused with bergamot, a fragrant citrus that falls somewhere in between a lemon and bitter orange. The bergamot makes Earl Grey taste lighter and brighter than other black teas such as English Breakfast. In this recipe for Earl Grey Ice Cream, tea bags are steeped in a mixture of hot milk and cream for 10 minutes to create a rich black tea base that, once churned, will immediately remind you of a frozen London Fog?
Chamomile tea has long been touted as both a sleep and digestive aid. It's light and floral herbal tea that pairs well with summery produce like peaches and nectarines. Rather than overpowering other flavors in a dish, it enhances the natural sweet, earthy notes of ripe fruits and fragrant fresh herbs.
The cool, grassy essence of green tea can be powerful in savory and sweet recipes. If using ground tea leaves or matcha powder, you can also achieve a pastel green color that looks as intriguing as it tastes. While there's no green tea recipe quite as epic as Martha's Green Tea Crepe Cake, Green Tea Cupcakes are charming and the slight vegetal flavor is balanced by vanilla sweetness. Green tea is also an unusual backdrop in savory recipes-one that we know you'll keep going back for.