13 ways to add tea to your favorite recipes

If you're reading this, you probably drink tea every day. And we love that about you! If we didn't, we'd be a cold, unfeeling tea company, wouldn't we? And that's not cool.

But let's think outside of the mug for a moment, so to speak. Just as tea is a versatile drink, it can also be just as versatile in the kitchen as an ingredient. Over the years we've posted a fair share of recipes here on the blog for dinners, desserts and cocktails you can make using tea. Sometimes we like to feel inspired to try things on our own, so we thought you could use a bit of guidance when it comes to cooking with tea leaves — from black to green and white, and even herbal blends that are full of all sort of tasty ingredients.

We've got a bunch of suggestions that we'll list here, but our top tip is this: Don't try to add tea to a recipe if you wouldn't want to drink that tea with the meal. Whether tea imparts a subtle or strong flavor to the meal depends on how you use it, but if you want to enjoy the end result, first make sure you enjoy the tea!

Tips for cooking with tea

  1. Grind tea leaves in a spice or coffee grinder or a pepper mill; add to spices and herbs and use as a rub for meats, tofu, or tempeh.
  2. Add a favorite tea bag to melted butter, warmed oil, or melted clarified butter (ghee).
  3. Cover and steep for several minutes before removing the tea. Delicious with grain dishes, soups, stews, fish, and vegetables.
  4. Add tea leaves to cookies, muffins, scones, quick breads, and cakes. Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies, anyone?
  5. Use brewed tea in place of water when cooking grains like Jasmine Rice.
  6. Add brewed tea in place of water when making soups and stews, baking breads and quick breads, or poaching fish.
  7. Save that leftover brewed tea! Use it as a marinade for meats or as an addition to sauces or gravies.
  8. If you’re a fan of spinach or chard, green tea is similar in flavor. Enjoy adding the leaves to vegetables while cooking or, once brewed, chopped and added to salads or stirred into eggs before scrambling or making an omelet.
  9. Add a sprinkling of green tea leaves to chicken, beef, shrimp, or tofu stir-fries.
  10. Steep white tea in chicken stock for up to 10 minutes before using in a recipe.
  11. Add minced or finely chopped tea leaves to flour or bread crumbs and use as a coating for meats and vegetables.
  12. Substitute tea leaves for wood chips when using a smoker.
  13. Poach dried fruits, apples, peaches, and pears in tea for breakfast, snack, or dessert, like in these Ginger and Jasmine Tea Poached Pears.

Enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, tea lovers, and please let us know in the comments about your experiences cooking with tea!

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