Southern Sweet Tea

This post may contain Affiliate Links. Please see my Disclaimer for more details.

My Southern Sweet Tea recipe is smooth, sweet, and refreshing. It will transfer you to a porch in the South.

Southern Sweet Tea

If you grew up below the Mason-Dixon line, you know that sweet tea is the classic southern beverage. There are only a few things more refreshing on hot summer days than sweet tea: lemonade and cold water.

Sweet tea has a significant place in the heart of the south because the tea is local, the sugar cane regional, and the family memories are personal. That’s why we take our sweet tea personally. It has to be the right combination of smooth iced tea, the perfect amount of sweetness with a hint of lemon if you fancy.

I love sweet tea, and I’m going to show you the best and fastest way to make a pitcher of sweet tea for any occasion.

Southern Sweet Tea in mason jar

What is Southern Sweet Tea?

Southern-style sweet tea is a classic southern drink that’s popular in the United States. It’s made with black tea bags, sugar, and water and served iced cold. Some iced tea bags are made with orange pekoe tea. Sweet tea is a common drink served during family dinners, cookouts, and family gatherings and is often used as a mixer for cocktails.

Southern Sweet Tea in mason jar overhead

Key Ingredients

Here are the simple ingredients you’ll need to make sweet tea.

Ice Tea Bags

I was raised on Lipton Ice Tea, and I’m not deviating away from it.

Sugar

All we need is good old-fashioned granulated sugar.

Lemon

I like to serve my iced tea with lemon wedges or slices.

Mint

Mint makes for a lovely presentation.

Southern Sweet Tea in mason jar

How to Make southern sweet tea recipe?

I want my southern sweet tea recipe to be a hit whenever you serve it. Let me show you how to whip this southern classic up.

Turn the heat on medium in a medium pot, add 4 iced tea bags, 8 cups of water, and granulated sugar, bring to a simmer and turn off once the sugar has completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Allow the tea bags to steep for 5 minutes.

In a gallon pitcher, add the remaining water and ice, stir once or twice, then slowly pour in warm sweet tea, and stir to combine. Serve over ice cubes in tall glasses or a mason jar, and garnish with lemon slices or mint.

Southern Sweet Tea in mason jar

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks

This southern sweet tea recipe is outstanding, and here are a few notes I had while making it.

  • The key to making iced tea is using hot water. This will melt the sugar and jump-start the steeping process.
  • Use a tea made explicitly for iced tea. Lipton is the best, and then Luzianne.
  • You can let it steep for 15 minutes too. I usually leave my tea bags in the iced tea until I’m ready to store any leftovers.
  • You can use powdered iced tea mix instead of iced tea bags. Follow the package instructions to make the correct amount.
  • I’ve never used a sweet tea concentrate before, but I think it’s similar to a powdered mix.
  • If you use powdered or, sweet tea brewed tea concentrate, reduce the sugar by half since most of them have added sugar.
  • I would stay away from tea bags labeled southern sweet tea. Most contain an artificial sweetener.
  • Keep it southern and serve your sweet tea in a mason jar.
Savory Seasoning Wide Ad
Southern Sweet Tea in mason jar overhead

FAQs

Here are the top questions readers have about making southern sweet tea.

What is sweet tea in the south?

In the south sweet tea is one of those southern recipes that always brings the family together.
Southern sweet tea is a refreshing beverage made by steeping tea bags in hot water and adding sugar and cold water or ice. Some people also add lemon or mint.

Why does southern sweet tea taste different?

Southern-style sweet tea tastes different because of the blend of teas. The most common tea is black tea, but some use a combination of orange pekoe tea and pekoe cut black tea. Giving it a more robust tea flavor.

What is the difference between southern sweet tea and regular tea?

Regular tea is made with or without sugar and served warm or hot. You can drink various teas, like green tea with regular tea, but you would never make green iced tea.

Southern-style sweet tea is made with sugar and served ice cold. It is commonly made with only black tea.

How much sugar goes in southern sweet tea?

This depends on how sweet you like your tea, but I find the best ratio for a cup of sugar to water is 2:8. For every two cups of sugar, use eight cups of water.

What does southern sweet tea taste like?

Southern-style sweet tea has a deeper tea flavor than common teas. The flavors are subtle, sweet, and refreshing. Sweet tea can have some lemon or peach notes to it, depending on how it’s made.

Why do southerners love sweet tea?

Southerners love sweet tea because it’s the perfect drink to refresh us on hot summer days! Plus, we can blend it with alcohol for adults, like my Southern Mojito recipe, which combines sweet tea and mojitos.

Why do you add baking soda to sweet tea?

I have never heard of adding baking soda to sweet tea ever. The science behind it is that adding a pinch of baking soda will reduce the cloudiness of your sweet tea. However, I’ve never heard of sweet tea being cloudy. Everybody’s family makes it a little different, which is why sweet tea is so special in the south.

How many cups make a gallon?

There are 16 cups of water for every gallon. That’s 4 quarts of water.

How to store leftover Sweet Tea?

Remove tea bags before storing leftover sweet tea. Keep covered in the fridge for 5 days or until someone drinks it all.

Southern Sweet Tea-4

More Drink Recipes

If you’re looking for some great drinks to serve to your guest, I think this list will please them. It’s a blend of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.

  • Blueberry Vodka Lemonade
  • Hibiscus Sweet Tea
  • Meyer Lemon Sweet Tea
  • Strawberry Ginger Lemonade
  • Watermelon Mojito

Latest Recipe Video:

Southern Creole Banner Ad-1

Before You Begin

Here are my steps for getting organized before I start anything.

Step 1: Get all ingredients for the sweet tea on the counter.

Step 2: Measure everything out.

Step 3: Follow the recipe below and get ready for the best sweet tea you’ve ever enjoyed.

Making southern sweet tea is a breeze with just a few ingredients and the perfect balance of sweet flavor. Leave me a comment below telling me how your iced tea turned out, then give it a star rating to help others know if it’s worth trying.

Click here to subscribe to MY NEWSLETTER for easy and free recipes right into your inbox! 

To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the Pin button on the recipe card, the sharing buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. 

Tag me @kennethtemple_ on Instagram to share your remakes with me, and don’t forget to leave a star rating and comment below. 

Southern Sweet Tea

Kenneth Temple
My Southern Sweet Tea recipe is smooth, sweet, and refreshing. It will transfer you to a porch in the South.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine Southern
Servings 1 gallon
Calories 3091 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 bags ice tea
  • 1 gallon water 16 cups
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 trays of ice cubes
  • 1 medium lemon sliced thin
  • 6 sprigs mint

Instructions
 

  • Turn the heat on medium in a medium pot, add 4 iced tea bags, 8 cups of water, and granulated sugar, bring to a simmer and turn off once the sugar has completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Allow the tea bags to steep for 5 minutes.
  • In a gallon pitcher, add remaining water and ice, stir once or twice, then slowly pour in warm sweet tea, stir to combine. Serve over ice cubes in tall glasses or a mason jar, and garnish with lemon slices or mint.

Notes

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks
This southern sweet tea recipe is outstanding, and here are a few notes I had while making it.
  • The key to making iced tea is using hot water. This will melt the sugar and jump-start the steeping process.
  • Use a tea made explicitly for iced tea. Lipton is the best, and then Luzianne.
  • You can let it steep for 15 minutes. I usually leave my tea bags in the iced tea until I’m ready to store any leftovers.
  • You can use powdered iced tea mix instead of iced tea bags. Follow the package instructions to make the correct amount.
  • I’ve never used a sweet tea concentrate before, but I think it’s similar to a powdered mix.
  • If you use powdered or, sweet tea brewed tea concentrate, reduce the sugar by half since most of them have added sugar.
  • I would stay away from tea bags labeled southern sweet tea. Most contain an artificial sweetener.
  • Keep it southern and serve your sweet tea in a mason jar.
Storage:
Remove tea bags before storing leftover sweet tea. Keep covered in the fridge for 5 days or until someone drinks it all.

Nutrition

Calories: 3091kcalCarbohydrates: 800gProtein: 0.3gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0.02gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.04gSodium: 200mgPotassium: 81mgFiber: 1gSugar: 799gVitamin A: 257IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 138mgIron: 1mg
Keyword best southern sweet tea, homemade sweet tea, iced tea recipe, iced tea sweet, recipe sweet tea, southern iced tea, southern sweet tea, southern sweet tea recipe, sweet tea recipe, sweet tea,
Cooked this recipe?Let me know how it was!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating