Cooking with Tea

Francine Segan, Betty Food+Home editor, shares recipes that can be made with tea. They include a tea marinade and stash tea iced pops with fruit.

Creative Cuisine

Cooking with Tea

Not just for sipping

Francine Segan, Betty food+home editor

making a cup of teaTea can be used as a seasoning in all sorts of recipes. Tea adds no calories, fat or sodium and is less expensive than most spices and seasonings. Cooking with tea gives all the health benefits of drinking tea, while adding another layer of flavor to food.

Tea has been used for centuries by the Chinese to steam or smoke fish, meat and vegetables and also in marinades. Tea marinades are scrumptious with tofu, fish, beef or chicken and have the added benefit of tenderizing meats. But don’t limit yourself to just one recipe! Experiment with different brewed teas – roasted green teas, Rooibos and fragrant Jasmine tea are all great choices. Pair the tea with a variety of spices to create your own unique marinades.

The leaves, too, can be used in cooking and make an ideal dry-rub ingredient. Just grind tea leaves in a spice grinder or mini food processor along with your favorite herbs and spices like Sichuan peppercorns, lemongrass or ground ginger. Tea is a wonderful, all-natural way to enhance the flavor of any dish. I especially like using roasted green tea in rubs as it adds a hearty rich smoky tang to all sorts of foods.

Tea Marinade

Great for tofu, chicken, beef or fish. Just marinate the food for a few hours in the frig, drain and cook any way you like.


5 tea bags, any flavor
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon anise seed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 2-inch cinnamon stick


1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Put the tea in a bowl large enough to hold all the eggs. Pour the hot water over the tea, steep for 5 minutes, then remove the tea bags.

2. Stir the soy sauce, sugar, anise seed, pepper, cloves, fennel, and cinnamon into the bowl of tea. Allow to cool, then use as a marinade for tofu, chicken, fish or beef.

3. Place the food you’d like to marinate in the tea mixture and marinate for 3 hours, or overnight, if you like.

4. Drain and discard the marinade and cook the food in any recipe you like.

Stash Tea Iced Pops with Fruit

Recipe and photo courtesy of

Makes 8 pops

And of course, tea is great for drinking too. For a twist on iced tea try this refreshing. Great tea-fruit combinations are raspberry herbal tea with raspberries, blackcurrant or blueberry tea with blackberries or blueberries and Peach black tea with peaches.

Stash Tea Iced PopsIngredients:

3/4 cup fruit, either fresh fruit or canned with liquid drained
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brewed tea (brewed double strength)


1. Puree the fruit and sugar for 30 seconds in a blender or food processor. If it foams, allow foam to settle. Blend in the tea.

2. Pour the fruit-tea mixture into pop mold leaving a little room at the top. Place filled molds in the freezer for at least 2 hours or until solid.

3. Save every drop of your left over tea, and freeze it in ice cube trays or plastic bags. Ice cubes made from herbal teas, such as Jasmine, Roobois, Peppermint, Hibiscus, add a floral or spicy taste to cocktails or non-alcoholic drinks. Herbal teas add a subtle flavor to fruit salad or rice dishes too.

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0 thoughts on “Cooking with Tea

  1. What great dishes. There are so many things that you can do with tea, who knew! Not to mention it’s good for your health and now it’s good in a meal! Amazing.

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