Perfected Southern Sweet Tea

Here is yet another recipe I have tried…and tried….and well, you know made a lot. Over the weekend I finally said “Ahhhh….yesss! This is IT!” Here it is, the BEST Southern Tea recipe you’ll ever sip! This recipe is great because it is super easy and doesn’t require the sun or the stove (nothing wrong with those two methods-this is just so easy!) There is a *secret* ingredient that may take you aback -but, hopefully you trust me by now and know I would not lead you astray…..

Β Fill a pyrex measuring cup with 2 cups of water and microwave for 2 mins. Add 8 tea bags and 1/8 tsp of baking soda and let steep for 30 min.

Pour concentrated tea into a container that allows room for additional water. Add 1 cup of sugar to tea.

Stir well until sugar dissolves. (You *may use sweetener in place of sugar, but the amount will be different-read your sweetener box for the equivalent of 1 cup of sugar)

Add 6 -8 cups of cold water (depending on how weak/strong you like it). Serve in ice- filled glasses….sip and enjoy!

Perfected Southern Sweet Tea

8 tea bags

1/8 tsp baking soda

2 cups HOT water

1 cup sugar

6-8 cups COLD water

  1. Microwave 2 cups of water in a pyrex cup for 2 mins
  2. Add baking soda and 8 tea bags. Let steep for 30 mins
  3. Pour concentrated tea in a large container
  4. Add sugar and stir well until dissolved
  5. Add 6-8 cups of cold water
  6. Serve in ice-filled glasses and enjoy!



  1. Making this right now! Thx for the recipe. Stay cool today!!

  2. Virginia says:

    I’m trying this today! Love your blog & recipes, thanks again for another great one πŸ™‚ God Bless You!

  3. I love sweet tea..(well now I do half sweet and half unsweet) but little tip… if you will add your sugar to your water as you are heating it up, either in your recipe ~ microwave ~ or if you are making tea on the stove, the sugar will disolve better and leave you with a simple syrup and better sugary taste.. just a little tip I wanted to pass along.. Cant wait to try your recipe.. I know you would not lead us I will surely give it a shot…
    thanks for sharing your great recipes.. God Bless

  4. Ohhh I’m so needing a tall glass of that right now!!!! Sweet tea is my favorite!!!!! πŸ™‚

  5. {esther} says:

    Janelle, I’ve seen 2 very similar recipes of this sweet tea recipe at {SP and TOH.} Though, I’ve yet to try it! Thanks for tickling my taste buds, I’m FINALLY going to give it a try! ;0) My family has always made the thick syrup for our sweet tea. Now that this is the 3rd time I’ve seen this recipe…I MUST TRY IT! haha. Thanks so much for sharing. Loving the new design of your blog! Just beautiful. :0)

    Much Love & Blessings,

  6. Hmmm, even not ice cool it’s delicious!
    Not as bitter as i expected, is that’s what the baking soda is for or what effect does it have?
    Thanks for the great ideas! πŸ™‚

  7. I was just wondering what the baking soda was for?

  8. As a G.R.I.T.S. I love ice tea. I’ve made mine using the microwave for years and always think it’s funny that someone would buy a machine to make ice tea! There’s nothing better than good southern tea!

  9. YUM! And REALLY? LOL! Okay… gonna try this one!!

  10. wow! baking soda! that’s very interesting! how did you figure that one out? I LOVE iced tea. LOVE. I am going to have to make this!!!! i made one with an orange pekoe and rose tea and added in sliced oranged and lemons. WOWwwww was it ever good! (and sugar of course!)

    • Mmm!!! That sounds great!!! A friend told me that baking soda was the “trick” to good southern tea- it takes the bitterness out…she said just to add a touch- so 1/8 tsp it is!

  11. Oooh, I will be trying this! Can never get my sweet tea to taste like the bottled kind, so perhaps your secret ingredient will do the trick. Thanks Janelle! “;o)

  12. True story – I’ve never made Iced Tea before…gasp! Cause I don’t like it – but I really want to make it for guests sometime (and the hubby likes it but I just buy the store bought kind) – so thanks for the recipe πŸ™‚

  13. Courtney- it is super easy and cheaper to make! Keith will love you for it, lol.

  14. I make a picture of sweet tea every week and never even considered adding baking soda! I’ll certainly be trying that secret ingredient. Who would have thought it? Thanks for sharing.

  15. I grew up in Savannah, GA and we always added baking soda to our tea…I was waiting for the surprise and didn’t see one! Guess I thought everyone made tea like that πŸ™‚ You know they say that sweet tea is the house wine of the South!

    • LOL! Well, Janet- the surprise for you is that there is no surprise…Surprise! hahaha…too funny!!! Us Yankees don’t know these things!

    • deltadawn758 says:

      Both sides of my family are from the South and we never used baking soda….never heard of doing so, but always hated when sometimes the tea was bitter (strong enough to warp a spoon we always would say) and sometimes not. So, not all Southerners make their sweet tea this way no matter how deeply your Southern roots go =) I will definitely spread the word about the baking soda throughout the family grapevine!

  16. So funny you posted this…lately…almost daily I think about how southern sweet tea tastes. I listen to country music almost all day and many songs mention it. I’m going to make this today!!!

  17. Hi! sounds like good ole southern house wine!!!! what size t-bag?
    Thanks and have a great day!

  18. We use a similar recipe that tastes amazing!!!!

    2 cups water in the microwave for 3 1/2 mins.
    Add 4 tea bags (Lipton, Less waste) let sit for 5 mins.
    Add 3/4 cup of sugar.
    Fill to 1 gallon mark! Yummy! Have 2 gallons in the fridge now πŸ™‚

  19. Jennifer says:

    How many family size tea bags would this call for? I’m excited!

  20. Can’t wait to try this ~ except will have to do on stove, because we don’t have a microwave now. πŸ™‚ As a southern farm girl, I have had TONS of sweet tea and never heard of baking soda. Neat.

    It is always frustrating when you go too far north and can’t get sweet tea. πŸ™‚ So I carry my liquid stevia now and try to drink unsweetened tea with stevia, but nothing tastes as good as southern sweet tea.

    Love all your recipes!!

  21. I just made this, and I could not be happier. This is delicious, and tastes just the way my grandma in Florida makes it! πŸ™‚

  22. Wow! I wish I could’ve seen this when I was pregnant! I COULD NOT make it right at home no matter what I did (even though I always like my own tea before that). Had to go to the drive thru for good tea. I will try it with my next pitcher! πŸ™‚


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