BEST Southern Sweet Iced Tea Ever! - Sarah Mae
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BEST Southern Sweet Iced Tea Ever!

I love sweet tea. I lived in the South for awhile and ADORE southern food (shout out to fried okra!) and the sweet tea they are known for.

Are you ready for some real southern sweet tea?! Oh yea, it’s sweet alright…this recipe is straight from a southern granny’s recipe!

Here is what you’ll need:

6 regular tea bags

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups boiling water

1 1/2 cups sugar (or 2 cups if you’re really southern)

6 cups cold water

Notice the Luzianne tea – it MUST be Luzianne people!

Here’s what to do:

1. In a large glass measuring cup, place the tea bags and add the baking soda.

2. Pour the boiling water…
…over the tea bags
3. cover and steep for 15 minutes
4. Take out the tea bags (do not squeeze them)
5. Pour the tea mixture into a 2 quart pitcher; add the sugar and stir.
Oh sweet sugar, how I love thee!
6. Add in the cold water and serve over ice.
Sooooooooooooooo……….. refreshing!
Brings out the southern gal in me every time!

This is a repost from my old blog, but I made the tea tonight and thought I should share the delish here. 🙂

Print this!

  • Mary Beth

    Random: as I dumped our sweet tea all in the floor tonight (on accident!), I was thinking about writing a post about how to make true Southern sweet tea! Then I sit down after dinner and here is this post! Crazy!!

  • TereasaM

    Baking Soda? I am really surprised! I’m from New Mexico living in Canada with my Canadian husband. He loves sweet tea and I haven’t got a clue. He picked a girl from the wrong state, I guess. I’ll have to try this recipe for him! Thanks for sharing!

  • Karle06

    just wondering why do you need baking soda?

    • Sarah Mae

      I think it takes out any bitterness.

      • Kris Tutte

        Funny, I would think all that sugar would take the bitterness out. I’m a Nebraska gal and hubby and I always drink Luzianne tea, no sugar. But I do love fried okra and yellow squash.
        Think I’ll skip the baking soda too, I like a touch of bitterness. 🙂

  • Susan @ A Happy Heart at Home

    I love sweet tea! Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

  • Brianna Preston

    Baking soda helps to cut any bitterness from the tea. I love me some sweet tea. I’m a Canadian transplant who married into a truly Southern family and have a Southern man and we live in one of the Southernest places on earth. But I still say, “Holy smoke! One and a half to two cups of sugar for two quarts!” That would be really sweet! I like two cups for a whole gallon and that is really, really sweet to me.

  • Jessica

    What’s the baking soda for?  I’ve never heard that in all my years in Georgia.  My husband is a 1 1/2 cups of sugar kind of guy as well, except we only use 2 tea bags, not 6. 

    And don’t tell anybody but . . . I’ve never liked sweet tea.  I know, I know – it’s down right sacrilegious when you’re from south Georgia.  So far I’ve gotten away with nary a tarrin’ or a featherin’. Thank the good Lord. 😉

  • Alisha @ Flourish

    As a Georgia girl, I love me some sweet tea! And when I’m on the road, I get it at Chick-fil-a or Zaxbys. They know how to make it in true Southern style!

  • Jen Snow

    I had to smile when I read this because we just had some fried okra for lunch today.  Yum!  My family is from the north and although we lived in the south many years, I never grew up on sweet tea or brown beans and cornbread.  Then, I married true southerner and learned how good sweet tea and fried okra could be! still don’t have a thing for the brown beans and cornbread though! LOL ;D

  • CJ

    Mmmmmmm   🙂

  • Misty

    Hilarious!!!!! I have NEVER heard of baking soda in sweet tea(or a recipe for sweet tea for that matter), and I am from the south, born and raised (and still here)! 😉 I just boil water, and then steep the tea for while (maybe 30 minutes). I add sugar and water (warm to make sure it dissolves). Pour into my glass either warm or over ice. MMMMMM!!! That just cracks me up!

    • Misty

       I add water to make a whole gallon of goodness 😉 .

    • Leah

      The baking soda is to take away the bitterness of the tea.

  • Amy Tilson

    Holla – fried okra!!  I make 3 qts of tea every other day.  I use the family size lipton tea bags.  Not a fan of Luzianne – it tastes flat and weak to me.  I also use my Mr. Coffee Iced tea maker, but just use water in the pitcher and set it on the strongest brew setting.  Perfect every time.  My hubby is an “unsweet” guy so I keep it that way.  I drizzle a little agave nectar over my ice and treat myself with a little bendy straw (Ikea has totally fun striped ones NOT made in China).  Total southern gal and I’ve never heard of using baking soda either.  Oh, and fried yellow squash, puh-lease!

    • Patti

      Thanks for the info on Ikea straws! I didn’t know.

  • Kim Saint

    As a born and bred Bama girl, I just had to say, “bless your heart for spreading the love of sweet tea and fried okra”. Too many non-Southern people, have had a gross misrepresentation of this lowly weed; which is to say,  okra slices cut too thick,  heavily breaded with flour, and under cooked.  Okra is best fresh from the garden, sliced thin, breaded with cornmeal mixed with a little flour, and then deep fried in batches in a Fry Daddy. Yummy, cruchy goodness!  The okra plant is actually a member of the Hibicus family, and it’s flowers are edible too!

  • Amy Bayliss

    I use Luzianne tea too. It is a local company so we use lots of it. There should be no bitterness in the tea. We only steep for five to seven minutes. The longer it steeps the more bitter it gets. If you want a really deep tasting tea you put it in the window for a few hours. It actually enhances the flavor. We call it sun brewed.  And we use simple syrup instead of sugar.

    Because we don’t steep it long enough for the bitterness to come out we use less sugar and have more flavor. Try it! 🙂

    • Sierra

      That’s what the banking soda is for. Steep the tea for 15 mins. It makes for stronger tea instead of weak tea and the banking soda cuts the bitterness of it. I’ve used this recipe for awhile and everyone who has tasted it loves it!

  • amber hutchins

    i grew up on this very recipe {minus the baking powder, but makes sense}. after moving to canada i could never figure out why my tea just didn’t taste the same – i asked my mom one day and she said, “it’s gotta be Luzianne tea bags!!” they don’t sell them here, but when i go home, i stock up!! 🙂

  • Karl Kirchner

    I use the quart bags. I make a gallon at a time. 4 Tea bags placed in boiling water for 5 minutes steep (turn heat off add bags and start the clock) then into the pitcher with 1/3 cup of white sugar per quart so 1 gallon gets 1 and 1/3 cups of sugar. Best to let lemon and mint be added by the individual as their tastes vary.

  • king kootsa

    The baking soda helps (or should I say haulps) the ice tea from getting cloudy after sitting in the fridge for as many days as it takes to finish it. Some say it lessens any bitterness but I’m no expert.

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