Perfect Southern Sweet Tea Recipe (2024)

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Perfect Southern Sweet Tea Recipe (3)

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What You Need

  • 6 regular tea bags
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda –
  • Question about Baking SodaBaking soda takes any of the bitterness out of your tea. It really makes the taste smoother in my opinion 🙂
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar ( you can use splenda )
  • 6 cups cold water

What To Do

Place tea bags, baking soda, and boiling water together in a sauce pan.

Let it sit for 15 minutes.

Take teabags out, then add sugar. Mix till dissolved.

Add cold water.

Chill and serve with ice 😉


Perfect Southern Sweet Tea Recipe


: 2 Quarts


  • 6 regular tea bags
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 6 cups cold water


  1. Place tea bags, baking soda, and hot water together in a sauce pan.
  2. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Take teabags out, then add sugar. Mix till dissolved.
  4. Add cold water.
  5. Chill and serve with ice 😉
  6. Enjoy!

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Add a Comment


  • Christina Broyles

    Can you explain the baking soda? Never heard of adding it to sweet tea.

    • Budget Savvy Diva

      Question about Baking Soda

      Baking soda takes any of the bitterness out of your tea. It really makes the taste smoother in my opinion 🙂

  • Trixie

    This is how I make my tea except I sweeten with that horrible death-inducing product, Splenda. Haha. It turns out perfect every time.

    For anyone curious about the baking soda – it’s purpose is to cut the acid from the tea. You can’t taste the baking soda and your tea is wonderfully smooth every time. (This works with coffee too – allowing you to buy the less costly ground coffee and still enjoy it without the bitter aftertaste).

  • Faith

    Have you tried the baking soda with un-sweet tea?

  • angie

    Ummmm…I’m from NC and we don’t use baking soda. I use 3 family sized bags for a gallon. It’s never bitter.

    • Kelly Bowden

      I hear ya girl.. Im from Ga and baking soda gets no where near my tea either.. LOL

  • Tracy

    You can eliminate the bitterness by not squeezing the tea bags. When you do it releases bitterness into the tea. Mine comes out perfect every time.

  • Kelly Bowden

    Born and raised in the south and we don’t put baking soda in our tea.. LOL

  • OcalaMom

    Southern girl here; we make sun tea and don’t use baking soda. Just 3 family size tea bags per gallon and an afternoon of sunshine. And yep – don’t squeeze the tea bags afterwards.

  • Jennifer

    I’m from Tennessee and I have never heard about baking soda in tea. We make it with the same ingredients but without the baking soda. I microwave the tea bags in my tea bowl of water until it’s boiling. Then I pour the sugar using a funnel into an old milk jug. We then pour the tea after cooling some into the jug and shake to make the sugar dissolve thoroughly. I like to put the jug in the freezer for a few hours and get icy. The frozen tea is like having ice cubes in your drink but the ice is made of tea so it doesn’t really get watered down. My grandmother uses a hint of lime or lemon juice that she mixes in the tea after boiling it. I like it both ways.

  • Andrea (quest for delish)

    I’ve been making Ice Tea for quite some time but I am dying to try this recipe. I found it on pinterest and looking forward to giving it a try.

  • Gayle

    My mother-in-law taught me to make sweet over 30 years ago. Her secret was baking soda. Whenever I make tea for others, it gets raves. Just a pinch or two per gallon. The baking soda also draws more tea out of the tea bags. I use 4 regular tea bag and 1 cup of sugar per gallon. My mother-in-law is from rural Alabama.

  • LindaR

    Interesting. Baking soda ? In tea ? I’ve never heard of this but I’m willing to give it a try. My mother used to add a pinch of baking soda to her spaghetti sauce.

  • Irene

    o.m.g.!!!! thank you for this recipe! I tried it yesterday, and i have to tell you that it tastes just like McD’s sweet tea!!! No more Crystal Lite for me!

    • Budget Savvy Diva


  • Kris

    I’m not from the south but I love sweet tea. I make mine in my Mr Coffee iced tea maker,except in the summer when I can use my sun jug. My tea tastes like what I get in the south,so I can’t imagine if I could make it better!
    I wonder how I could do the baking soda in my tea maker? How much I’d need and where to add it. I may have to play around with it!

    • Bri

      I have the same tea makes.

      Sprinkle the baking soda over the tea bags in the filter tray, that way when the hot water drips through, it’ll desolve it or “cook” it and then make sure to stir really well when the tea is in the pitcher over the ice.

  • Klarissa

    I grew up in southeastern North Carolina and my grandma and great-grandma always used baking soda in their tea! You really don’t taste it at all. I guess it’s all a matter of opinion 🙂

  • Sandy

    I’m from the South and worked in a restaurant in my teens. I had the tea making job and we always used baking soda. The owner told me it keeps the tea from souring, we always made 6 gallons every night before we shut down. That’s what I always thought it was for. 🙂

  • Mariva Gonzalez

    I use Lipton Cold Brew tea bags….4 bags w 2 cups sugar for a pitcher of Sweet Tea…i get lots of compliments

  • Kellie

    Born and raised in Georgia. Always used baking soda in our tea, never squeezed the bags. Makes the tea nice and smooth, keep it from souring. The way my momma made it and the way my granny made it. Our secret is Luzianne tea bags though 😉 It might not be the way some of you ladies make it from down here, but my husband and my boys love it and that’s all that matters!

  • Pam

    Baking soda helps prevent tea from getting cloudy. Great recipe..Thats how I make mine.

  • Christine

    I have got to say I was very skeptical about putting baking soda in my sweet tea. I even asked all my southern FB friends if they had ever heard of it or tried it. Some had and some thought I was nuts. But, after tonight…I’ll never doubt you again. I used the cheapest nastiest store brand tea bags tonight and tried your baking soda tip, the tea is so smooth and yummy! I’ll never make sweet tea without it again. Thanks again!

  • Kathie S.

    Wow, I never would have thought of baking soda. As soon as I finish this jug I have now, I will be trying the baking soda trick. Thank you.

  • AJ

    Great ideal. My mother-in-law did this and I do also Thanks fot sharing.

  • Bri

    I believe Baking Soda in tea might have been a Texas or Louisiana thing?

    Either way, many restaurants and chains do baking soda. It’s a southern thing for sure (as that’s where I learned of this), but long forgotten by many I think.

  • Angela O

    I have never used baking soda in my tea. I use Lipton and love it. I wouldn’t recommend steeping the tea bags in the sauce pan because it will stain it. I steep right in my pitcher so I only have one item stained, but it is my dedicated tea pitcher. Here in the south you need one if you gave to make a gallon of tea every few days.

  • Cyndy

    Going to try this, my husband and I love sweet tea.

  • Sharan

    Too much sugar for me! More like 1/2 cup. I do think I’ll be giving this receipt a try.

  • Broompilot

    My goodness! Its a PINCH of baking soda! Y’all ladies actin’ like it asks for a dang cup!?! LOL The tea turns out perfect just like it always has… Bet Y’all HAVE had it with the baking soda and just didn’t know! lolol! Oh Lawdy Bless your hearts!

  • Loretta Hartman

    Why the Baking Soda?

Perfect Southern Sweet Tea Recipe (2024)


How many Lipton Southern sweet tea bags for a gallon of tea? ›

There's more than one size of tea bag, and the “family size” bags sold in the US are supposed to make a quart per bag so if you have that size you would only need four to make a gallon.

Why do Southerners put baking soda in sweet tea? ›

Adding a little baking soda to your tea will clear away any cloudiness left from the mixing process, and it's also thought to cut down on any lingering bitter tastes from the steeping tea bags, leaving your tea clarified and smooth and providing your get-together with one fantastic pitcher of tea.

What makes Southern sweet tea different? ›

Southern-style sweet tea relies on granulated cane sugar, which can be adjusted to taste. Granulated sugar, white or unbleached, works better than water-based simple syrups, which dilute the brew. Don't use just any old water for sweet tea; filtered or spring water eliminates any odd flavors in treated tap water.

Why is Southern sweet tea so much better? ›

Still, there's a balance to the flavor—the tea is brewed long and strong, so it gets an astringency that can only be countered by lots of the sweet stuff. Southerners, of course, have a taste for sugar that is demonstrably stronger than what you find up North.

How many tea bags do you use for a gallon of sweet tea? ›

For 1 gallon, boil 1 quart water (32 ounces or 4 cups). Remove from heat and pour over 1 Luzianne Gallon Size Iced Tea bag (or 4 Family Size or 16 Individual Cup Iced Tea bags). Brew 3-5 minutes and sweeten to taste.

What kind of sweetener is in Lipton Southern Sweet tea? ›

Contains low calorie sweeteners: Stevia Extract.

How much sugar should I put in a gallon of tea? ›

Mix the sugar into the hot tea so it dissolves completely.

I like the relatively mild sweetness of a cup of sugar in a gallon of tea, but you could certainly add more (or less) to suit your own personal taste.

Why put baking soda in toilet tank? ›

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a natural substance that neutralizes acids and bases. When used in your toilet tank, it eliminates odors by balancing the pH level. In addition, its mild abrasive nature helps scrub away stains without damaging the tank's surface.

Why don't northerners drink sweet tea? ›

It always ended up on the bottom of the glass. Why is it that almost nowhere North of Kentucky serves real sweet tea? One of two reasons: They have no idea how refreshing it is during really hot weather, or they know that sweet tea is invariably cloyingly too sweet.

Why does my sweet tea taste bitter? ›

Over-steeping causes tea to turn bitter

Over-steeping tea means that you let it soak in the water for too long. The result of over-steeping is a darker than usual tea liquid as well as a sharp, bitter flavor.

Why you should never throw away tea bags? ›

Plant feed: Used tea bags double as a handy fertilizer because of their tannic acid, which in turn foster increased nitrogen levels. Many plants, including roses and potted plants, will benefit from the elevated levels, so mix or spread those steeped tea leaves right onto the soil.

What state makes the best sweet tea? ›

Which States Have Sweet Tea? It's believed that the states in which sweet tea is most popular and most widely consumed are Alabama, Arkansas, Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.

What state does not have sweet tea? ›

According to the study, the “Sweet Tea Belt” takes in all or parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. (Note the omission of Texas, and Oklahoma too.)

How many tea bags for 1 gallon of sweet tea? ›

For 1 gallon, boil 1 quart water (32 ounces or 4 cups). Remove from heat and pour over 1 Luzianne Gallon Size Iced Tea bag (or 4 Family Size or 16 Individual Cup Iced Tea bags). Brew 3-5 minutes and sweeten to taste.

Is Southern sweet tea the same as iced tea? ›

Sweet tea is much more than iced tea with a spoonful of sugar stirred in. Southern style sweet tea is, generally, made in big batches by boiling water and stirring in sugar until it's dissolved…. sort of like a less sweet form of simple syrup.

How many tea bags for 1 gallon of tea? ›

Make the tea: Put 4 to 8 tea bags into a clean 2 quart or gallon glass container (4 teabags for a 2-quart container, 8 tea bags for a gallon container). Fill with water and cap.

Is Southern sweet tea healthy? ›

While Southern sweet tea can be a tasty beverage, it's important to be mindful of its high sugar content. Excessive consumption of sugary drinks may contribute to health issues such as weight gain and dental problems.

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