Southern Sweet Tea Recipe

59 Comments

4.92 from 12 votes
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

This Southern Sweet Tea recipe is smooth, sweet, and delicious! It includes tried-and-true tips for how to make sweet tea that everyone loves! Includes Sweet Tea Concentrate!

There are so many drinks that are perfect for enjoying, from lemonade, to strawberry lemonade, to our favorite limeade recipe. But there is just nothing like a glass of great Southern sweet tea.

This Southern Sweet Tea recipe is smooth, sweet, and delicious! It includes tried-and-true tips for how to make sweet tea that everyone loves! // addapinch.com

If you have ever been fortunate enough to enjoy an ice-cold glass of Southern sweet tea, then friends, you will know what I’m talking about when I say that there is good tea and then there is a great tea. My Grandmother Verdie made the absolute best sweet tea that I have ever tasted. After years of watching and asking her a million questions, she taught me her secrets for how to make the best sweet tea. I haven’t looked back since.

Southern Sweet Tea Recipe

This Southern Sweet Tea recipe is smooth, sweet, and delicious! It includes tried-and-true tips for how to make sweet tea that everyone loves! // addapinch.com

There are a few tips and tricks that you’ll need to know to make this tea.

  • Use tea specially blended for iced tea. Southern sweet tea is an iced tea, meaning that it is tea made to be served over ice. Some brands that are preferred for iced tea are Red Diamond, Luzianne, Lipton, and Tetley. Look for markings on the package to say that it is specially made for iced tea.
  • Don’t burn your tea. Here’s what that means. You should bring your water to a boil, remove it from the heat and then add your tea bags. This prevents the tea from burning and becoming bitter.
  • Steeping matters. Allow your tea to steep for 15 minutes.
  • Add a little baking soda. This can be controversial. But hear me out. The baking soda prevents the tea from becoming cloudy and bitter. If you know that you will be drinking a gallon of tea in one day, you can skip the baking soda. If you think you’ll have some leftover to refrigerate, then definitely try it with the baking soda. It makes all the difference.
This Southern Sweet Tea recipe is smooth, sweet, and delicious! It includes tried-and-true tips for how to make sweet tea that everyone loves! // addapinch.com

How to Make Southern Sweet Tea

Sweet Tea Ingredients

Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.

  • tea bags
  • sugar
  • baking soda (optional)
  • water

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Boil. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium saucepan or a tea kettle over medium heat.
  2. Steep. Remove from the heat and drop the tea bags into the water. Allow the tea bags to steep for 15 minutes.
  3. Sweeten. As your tea is steeping, add your sugar to your pitcher. Remove the tea bags from the saucepan or kettle and press them against the side of the saucepan or kettle to press out as much of the tea as possible before discarding them. Pour half of the tea into the pitcher over the sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar and then pour in the remaining tea.
  4. Stir in the baking soda and then fill the pitcher the rest of the way with fresh, cold water. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator.

How to Make Sweet Tea Concentrate

Similar to my lemonade concentrate, I love to make sweet tea concentrate! The concentrate requires less room in my refrigerator, is easier to transport when traveling, and is great to make ahead and keep on hand! My Grandmother Verdie would have LOVED this for her taking to reunions, church suppers, and family dinners!

Boil. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and drop in tea bags.

Steep. Let steep for 15 minutes.

Sweeten. Add your sugar to a 1-quart, large-mouth Mason jar or similar container. Remove the tea bags, carefully pressing the bags against the side of the saucepan before discarding them. Pour a little of the tea into the Mason jar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour in the remaining tea.

Stir. Add in the baking soda and stir well to combine.

Store. Tighten the lid onto the Mason jar and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

How to Serve from Concentrate

One recipe makes 16 individual servings or is enough for a gallon of tea!

Single serving. Add 1/4 cup of concentrate to a glass. Top with ice and 3/4 cup of cold water. Stir to combine.

Gallon. Pour all of the concentrate into a gallon pitcher and fill it with cold water. Stir to combine.

This Southern Sweet Tea recipe includes all the tried-and-true tips for smooth, delicious, and perfect sweet tea every time! // addapinch.com

Here’s my Southern Sweet Tea recipe. I hope you love it as much as my family always has.

Southern Sweet Tea Recipe

4.92 from 12 votes
This Southern Sweet Tea recipe is smooth, sweet, and delicious! It includes tried-and-true tips for how to make sweet tea that everyone loves!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Steeping Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 1 gallon

Ingredients 

  • 4-5 family-size tea bags
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups sugar
  • 1 pinch baking soda, (optional)
  • water

Instructions 

  • Boil. Bring 1 quart of water to boil in a medium saucepan or tea kettle set over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the tea bags. Allow to steep for about 15 minutes. Do not allow the tea to become cold.
  • Sweeten. In a gallon pitcher, add the sugar and pour in about 1/2 of the warm tea. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour in the remainder of the brewed tea, being careful not to drop in tea bags.
  • Stir. Add baking soda and stir to combine. If serving immediately baking soda may not be needed.
  • Serve. Fill the pitcher with cold water and serve over ice. Great with a wedge of lemon, lime, orange or a sprig of mint.

Sweet Tea Concentrate

  • Boil. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and drop in tea bags.
  • Sweeten. Add sugar to a 1-quart, wide-mouthed Mason jar or similar container. Remove the tea bags, carefully pressing the bags against the side of the saucepan before discarding them. Pour a little of the tea over the sugar, stirring until completely dissolved. Pour in the remaining tea.
  • Stir. Stir in the baking soda and stir to combine.
  • Store. Tighten the lid of the container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • Serve. To serve a single serving, add 1/4 cup concentrate to a glass and top with ice and 3/4 cup water. Stir to combine. To serve a gallon, add all of the concentrate to a gallon pitcher and top with water. Stir to combine.

Nutrition

Serving: 8ounces | Calories: 73.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 19.5g | Potassium: 49.7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

Welcome to Add A Pinch

About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Review




59 Comments

  1. Chase Baillie says:

    is the picture in the recipe of the pitcher, 2 glasses, lemon, and mint that are filled with tea, what this recipe looks like when the concentrate is used to make a gallon? I’m trying to multiply this concentrate to make 5 gallons of finished product, and I’m thinking i can increase the water to concentrate ratio to make the tea a little lighter in color and strength….

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Chase, you would just multiply the recipe by 5 to get the amount of concentrate for 5 gallons. If you like a weaker tea once you add the water, you can just add more water until it is the strength tea you want. Hope you enjoy!

  2. Laura Hale says:

    I’m so glad I found your site 🥰

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Laura, thank you. I hope you find many recipes here that you love.

  3. Daphne says:

    The word “water” is missing from your concentrate recipe’s first sentence.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Thanks, Daphne. I have corrected the recipe.

  4. Patricia v. Green says:

    I find squeezing the tea bag makes it bitter.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Patricia, I don’t squeeze the tea bags. I gently press the bag against the side of the sauce pan. My tea never tastes bitter.

    2. Daphne says:

      I have read (wish I recalled where) that we should not press on the bags because it could make the tea bitter. Plenty of people do it, but there could be something to that advice.

  5. Susan says:

    I can’t have caffeine but the decaf bags are less concentrated. Do you have a recipe for that?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Susan, I use the same recipe for decaf bags as I do for the regular ones. If that is not strong enough for you, you can add another bag.

  6. Betty Burgin says:

    I have been making this recipe for years and it never fails. I use 1/8 teaspoon soda. Perfect recipe.

  7. Stony says:

    5 stars
    Robyn, What is the baking soda for? Never use any for making Sweet Tea or any T ,, just wondering ? Never just read your response about using it. Keeps it from turning bitter> Thx

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Stony, the baking soda prevents the tea from becoming cloudy and bitter. If you know that you will be drinking a gallon of tea in one day, you can skip the baking soda. If you think you’ll have some leftover to refrigerate, then definitely try it with the baking soda. It makes all the difference. Hope this helps

  8. Barbara E Foust says:

    what is the baking soda for?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Barbara, as I state in my post with this recipe “The baking soda prevents the tea from becoming cloudy and bitter. If you know that you will be drinking a gallon of tea in one day, you can skip the baking soda. If you think you’ll have some leftover to refrigerate, then definitely try it with the baking soda. It makes all the difference.”

  9. Nina Mannino says:

    5 stars
    Exactly the way I make it! Walmart has 1 gallon size tea bags. I never use artificial sweetener I hate the after taste and I have tried them all ! Good old sugar or cane sugar 🤣👍🏻

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Thanks, Nina.