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Southern sweet tea recipe

Southern sweet tea recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Drink

In the American South, everyone enjoys what they call 'sweet tea'. If you've been and tried it, you can recreate it right in your own home - perfect for hot summer days!

1232 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 1 pinch bicarbonate of soda
  • 475ml boiling water
  • 6 black tea bags
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 1.25L cool water

MethodPrep:5min ›Extra time:15min soaking › Ready in:20min

  1. Sprinkle a pinch of bicarb into a 2 litre heat-proof glass jug. Pour in boiling water and add tea bags. Cover and allow to steep for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove tea bags and discard. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Pour in cool water then chill until cold.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1362)

Reviews in English (1033)

by docswife

I would give this recipe 100 stars if I could!!! I am in love with McDonalds sweet tea. I would go every morning after I dropped the kids off at school and buy 2 large teas with no ice. I would grab a drink here and there!! I would crave it if I didn't have any left!! Well sorry Mcdonalds!! You have met your match!! I double this recipe and make a gallon of sweet joy!! I love the baking soda trick. It really does keep the tea clear and not bitter. Thank you so much for this recipe!!!-25 Mar 2008

by Cookies

The baking soda is the key ingredient in this recipe to make a smooth tea. It helps to cut the bitter taste that you can get from tea. It's really refreshing and for me it has the right amount of sweetness. Thx.-04 Apr 2008

by DivineHealth7

As if this recipe needed ANOTHER 5 star rating, but I couldn't help myself. I agree with another reviewer that the baking soda DOES take the bitterness out of the recipe. I had stopped making iced tea for that very reason, and then I found this recipe. It's absolutely delicious. For those of you who see the baking soda in this recipe and frown in curiosity, turn that frown upside down. The baking soda makes it delicious (and is necessary in my opinion)! Now, I will say that I did not use quite as much cool water as the recipe calls for. I think I stopped at about 4 cups. But the strength of your tea is such a personal taste thing, so I would recommend that as you're adding the water, give it a good stir after the first few cups and taste it and see whatcha think. As for the sugar, I used exactly what the recipe called for (keep in mind I used less water) and it tasted perfect. Not too sweet, because I don't like sweet, sweet tea. This recipe can be tweaked to suit any taste. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful recipe. It's absolutely delicious! Try it...once you do, you won't have it any other way!-30 Aug 2007

More collections

Southern Sweet Ice Tea

By Divas Can Cook
Recipe type: sweet iced tea


  • 2 cups sugar
  • ⅓ teaspoon baking soda (keeps the tea from clouding)
  • 3 Family Size tea bags
  • Cold Water


  1. Pour 3 cups of cold water into a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Add baking soda. (Don't worry you won't be able to taste this in your tea. It just keeps the tea nice, smooth and clear and keeps it from having that weird after-taste that tea can sometimes have.)
  3. Now give it a stir just to dissolve the baking soda.
  4. Place the bowl into the microwave and heat for about 15 minutes or until it starts to boil.
  5. Remove the bowl from the microwave. It's gonna be HOT! Be sure to use a pot holder.
  6. Place tea bags into the hot water and let them seep for 15 minutes. Resist the urge to dip them in and out of the water.
  7. After they are done seeping, lift them out and throw the bags away.
  8. Pour 1 cup of sugar into the bowl
  9. Stir gently until sugar is dissolved.
  10. Pour tea mixture into a 1-gallon pitcher.
  11. Pour in remaining sugar and stir.
  12. Now fill the pitcher all the way to the top with really cold water, stir as it fills.
  13. Place pitcher in the fridge to chill or if you have to have some now, fill a cup with ice cubes, pour and enjoy! I like to place it in the freezer so that it gets a lil slushy, but not frozen. Love it!

Tips* There are TONS of different flavors of tea out there. I like Peach and Raspberry. Also, try adding some lemon slices to add some zing to it! If you can’t handle the sweetest, just pour a little out and add more water.

Ahhhh…the sweet taste of the south!!

Southern Sweet Tea

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Feeding people makes me happy. It’s just about as plain and simple as that. There are few things in this world that I delight more in than my family and friends gathered around my table enjoying a meal. Pull up a chair and join us! Read more&hellip

I&rsquoll walk you through it here with photos, but you&rsquoll also find a printable and detailed recipe card at the bottom of the post.

You&rsquoll want to start by bringing 4 cups of water to a near boil. Pop the pan off the heat, add the tea bags and baking soda. Cover the pan and let it steep for a solid 15 minutes.

When the time is up, remove the tea bags, pour everything into a pitcher, add the honey and stir to dissolve.

Add 4 cups of cold water and place the pitcher in the fridge. Pro tip: if you would like to serve immediately, add 2 cups of cold water and 2 cups of ice.

How to Make Sweet Tea

For the simple syrup:
Mix sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to boil for about 5&ndash7 minutes. You&rsquoll notice the mixture will reduce. Remove from heat and pour into a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool.

For the tea:
In the same saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Remove the pot from the range and place on a trivet. Add tea bags and baking soda. Steep for 5&ndash6 minutes.

Remove tea bags without squeezing. Add simple syrup and stir.

Pour into a pitcher and add remaining 7 cups water. Serve over ice with lemon slices.

I&rsquoll never forget the time my family and I went to Boston to visit my sister. She was in college at the time and it was her birthday, so we all went out to eat. My stepdad asked the server for sweetened iced tea, and she gave him a very confused look. I had to say, &ldquoUm, dad, they don&rsquot have sweet tea outside of the South.&rdquo

Of course, these days, sweet tea is a little more known everywhere. My stepdad lived in Arkansas before moving to Florida, and he loves sweet tea. A lot. So much, in fact, that when he orders it, he adds even more sugar. That always makes me laugh!

Here&rsquos a little tip for you. There are 2 ways to order sweet tea in the South:

&ldquoI would like a sweet tea, please.&rdquo

&ldquoI would like an iced tea, please.&rdquo

If you just say &ldquoiced tea,&rdquo the server will asked you, &ldquoSweet or un?&rdquo As you&rsquove probably guessed, &ldquosweet&rdquo means sweetened, and &ldquoun&rdquo means unsweetened.

Restaurants sometimes make it too sweet for my taste, so I usually ask for a combination of sweet and unsweetened. If you&rsquore like me, now you can just make it at home and control the sweetness yourself!

First, you&rsquoll need a pitcher that holds at least 12 cups.

Start with making simple syrup. It&rsquos so easy to make. That&rsquos why they call it simple!

Just mix equal amounts of granulated sugar and water together and boil in a small saucepan for 5 to 7 minutes.

Pour into a heat-safe bowl and set aside to cool. (Be very careful when pouring, it will be very hot!)

You can just reuse that pot to boil the water for the tea bags.

Remove the pot from heat and place the tea bags in. Add a pinch of baking soda. (Say what? Yes, baking soda! It neutralizes the tannins in the tea, and makes it taste smoother. It&rsquos the secret to Southern-style sweet tea!) Steep for 5 to 6 minutes.

I love to buy flavored tea bags so I can have flavored sweetened iced tea, such as peach or raspberry!

Don&rsquot squeeze the tea bags when you remove them.

Pour in the simple syrup and mix it together.

Pour into a pitcher and add 7 cups of water. Serve with ice and with lemon slices if you&rsquod like.

Sweet tea is the best! The weather is warm now, and you need to make this soon to enjoy with family and friends.

Southern Sweet Tea With a Secret Ingredient


For the Tea
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 cups hot water
4 family-sized black tea bags or 2 gallon-sized tea bags (Lipton and Luzianne are common brands formulated for iced tea brewing)

For the Syrup
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar


Let’s talk tea for a moment. I love loose leaf tea and buy mine by the pound from a Chinese tea shop (thanks to my dad, who is the tea connoisseur).

But for brewing a big pitcher of iced tea (and bringing me back to that summer in the South), Lipton tea bags (or Luzianne, if you really want to keep it real) are cheap and convenient. That said, feel free to use any kind of tea you like here, though black tea is always a classic.

These are not the cold brew bags, but iced tea bags that still require hot water.

Typically, family-sized tea bags are equivalent to four single-serve tea bags, and gallon-sized tea bags are approximately equal to two family-sized bags.

They’re labeled as “iced tea bags” because they don’t turn cloudy when refrigerated. This is a moot point with our secret ingredient though, as baking soda helps get rid of that cloudiness anyway.

Add the baking soda and just-boiled hot water to a heat-proof pitcher.

Steep your tea bags for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the simple syrup by combining the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and remove from heat.

Remove the tea bags from your pitcher, squeezing out as much liquid as possible with tongs.

Pour in the simple syrup, stir, and let cool at room temperature. Refrigerate the tea and serve with ice.

Drink Sweet Tea To Experience The Sweet Side of Life - Have You Had Your Glass Of Southern Tea Today?

Homemade Sweet Tea

It's a known fact that nobody makes sweet tea better than southerners. This drink recipe is highly regarded and loved by most people in Southern states. We like to believe when having your meal, that nothing beats a cool and refreshing glass of sweetened tea on a hot summer's day. This tea recipe will definitely quench your thirst.

Down south you will find tea being served with lunch and dinner. Tea whether sweet or unsweet is the drink of choice for soul food and southern eating. So, the next time you have the urge to cook up a delicious soul food meal remember to include your favorite tea drink.

There is no secret recipe to making this tea. The only requirement is that it must not be too sweet. If the recipe turns out to sweet for your taste, just add more water, and be sure to use less sugar next time.

Here is a little quick and easy sweetened tea recipe that you can whip up in no time.

A classic Southern movie, Gone with the Wind follows Southern belle Scarlet O’Hara against the backdrop of the Civil War.

Eat like Scarlett O’Hara by serving this recipe for Southern buttermilk fried chicken from The Art of Food and Wine for your dinner and a movie night.

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  • 3 Cups water in pot
  • 6 Tea Bags
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 7 Cups of water in a pitcher
  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • 1/2 Lime juiced
  • 1 basket of fresh Strawberries
  1. Bring the 3 Cups of water to a boil
  2. Add the 6 tea bags
  3. On low, allow to simmer for 10 minutes
  4. Remove tea bags
  5. While tea is still hot, add the 1 C of sugar. mix well
  6. Hull and chop strawberries
  7. Place the strawberries into a food processor or blender
  8. Puree the strawberries for 45 seconds
  9. Grab your pitcher with the 7 Cups of water, pour your tea and sugar mixture and blend well
  10. Pour the strawberry puree into your tea
  11. Add the juice from the lemon and lime
  12. Stir well
  13. Taste for desired sweetness-If necessary add more sugar
  14. Stir until thoroughly mixed
  15. Serve over ice.
  16. ENJOY!


Fresh strawberries make for a wonderful addition to this Southern Strawberry Sweet Iced Tea recipe. You will find it super easy to make and perfect for hot summer days.

Fresh strawberries make for a wonderful addition to this Southern Strawberry Sweet Iced Tea recipe. You will find it super easy to make and perfect for hot summer days.

I am going to try this,looks so good.

Simmer the teabags for 10 minutes? Why so long? I was taught to bring water to boil, take it off the heat , add the bags to steep so it wouldn’t get bitter.

This is really delicious, however, I personally don’t like all of those seeds in my drink so I ran the puree through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds and then put that in the tea. Fantastic.

Oh Mary this sounds so refreshing. I know your sweet teas is awesome and the addition of strawberries, well that just makes you tea berryliciuos!

what is a basket of strawberries how much is that? im dumb I guess

Oh Mary this sounds so refreshing. I know your sweet teas is awesome and the addition of strawberries, well that just makes you tea berryliciuos!

This is just the recipe I was looking for! I wanted something that didn t cook the strawberries down in sugar. It really allows the strawberries to keep their delicious flavor. Thank you for the recipe! I look forward to following you and trying your recipes.

What type of tea do you use? I live in Germany and have never made sweet tea before but would like to try.

Sounds very refeshing.. Something I look for going to try right now..

I made this today!
I have to say I loved the taste over some ice…
Good job!

I made this today….
I loved the taste of the strawberries but I had to add 3 more cups of tea to also bring out the tea as well….
Love the recipe…

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