Make refreshing and ice cold Southern-style sweet tea at home, a quart at a time, using family-size tea bags. See how to make it perfectly sweet!
- Sweet tea is tea that has been sweetened with sugar — that’s it!
- It’s a popular style of iced tea in the South.
- Sweet, refreshing and easy to make.
- The tricky part is figuring how much sugar to add to get it perfectly sweet.
- Recipe makes 4 cups with 1 family size iced tea bag.
- No special tools are needed to make this iced tea at home.
Sweet tea ingredients
My Ice Tea Pick:
How to Make Sweet Tea
- Make hot tea concentrate
- Add sugar
- Dilute with cold water and chill
1. Make hot tea concentrate
Heat 2 cups water on the stovetop (bring to simmer then turn off heat) or in an electric kettle with a temperature setting (set to 180°F).
Tea Sommelier’s Tip: I’m using simmering water instead of boiling hot so that the tea cools down tea quicker. The tea inside tea bags are made up of tiny bits of tea leaves which means it brews it quicker.
Use filtered water if possible for the best tasting iced tea.
Pour hot water into a pitcher and add 1 family size iced tea bag and steep for 5 minutes. Discard tea bag.
2. Add sugar
Add 1/4 cup sugar and stir until it dissolves.
This recipe uses 1/4 cup of sugar for every 4 cups of tea. I tried it with less and with more sugar, and 1/4 cup was the sweet (haha) spot.
3. Dilute with cold water and chill
Pour 2 cups of cold water into the pitcher to cool down the concentrate.
Chill tea in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Leave in refrigerator for 1-2 hours to completely chill.
Serve sweet tea in cups with ice. Optional: Line cup with thinly sliced lemon.
|TO MAKE||WATER||TEA BAGS||SUGAR|
|4 servings||4 cups |
|1 family size or 4 regular tea bags||1/4 cup|
|8 servings||8 cups |
|2 family size or 8 regular tea bags||1/2 cup|
|16 servings||16 cups |
|4 family size or 16 regular tea bags||1 cup|
Sweet Tea Tips
- To prevent tea from getting bitter, don’t use boiling hot water and don’t brew it for more than 5 minutes.
- Add sugar while the tea is still hot to make it easier to dissolve.
- To cool down the tea faster, you can add ice to the pitcher but that may result in a cloudy tea.
- Squeeze half a lemon into the sweet tea to give it more of a citrus kick.
Questions You May Have
Yes, sweet tea is made of black tea so there is caffeine in the drink.
A regular tea bag makes 1 serving but a family size tea bag is bigger and makes 1-2 quarts or even 1 gallon of iced tea.
Nope, a lot of sweet tea recipes add baking soda to make it taste smooth, but if prepared properly, tea can taste just as smooth without it.
Replace 1 Luzianne family size tea bag with 4 regular sized tea bags.
I’ve tried both the cold brew and iced tea bags, and the plain family size iced tea bags tasted a lot better so that’s the one I recommend.
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Easy Sweet Tea
- Boil 2 cups of water.Heat water on the stovetop or in an electric kettle with a temperature setting. Set the water temperature to 180°F if using the electric kettle. On the stovetop, boil water then wait 2-3 minutes for the water to cool to bring down the water temperature. Filtered water will make a better tasting iced tea.
- Combine hot water and tea bag into a pitcher.1 Luzianne family size iced tea bag makes 4 cups of iced tea.
- Steep tea bag for 5 minutes then discard tea bag.
- Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Add 2 cups of cold water into the pitcher.
- Chill tea in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.Leave in refrigerator for 1-2 hours to completely chill.
- Pour tea into cups with ice.Optional: Add lemon slices in each cup.
Iced Tea Cheat Sheet
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