Sweet Tea Recipe – ice cold freshly made sweet tea that is perfectly smooth and delicious. The secret ingredient cuts the acidity and makes the perfect southern-style sweet tea!
Our family loves sweet tea, especially at a party or BBQ. One of my favorite things to do is sit in the backyard and watch the kids play while I sip on an icy glass of sweet tea. I thought it was about time I shared my Perfect Sweet Tea Recipe.
The Secret Ingredient
This sweet tea is the perfect balance of flavors, and a pinch of baking soda gives it an ultra smooth finish. Baking soda is the secret ingredient that makes this sweet tea recipe so good! It cuts the natural acidity of the tea which means you don’t have to add as much sugar.
What is Sweet Tea?
Sweet tea is not just tea with sugar added. Sweet tea is a strongly brewed tea with sugar added while the tea is still hot so it is smooth and sweet. Adding the sugar to the tea while it is hot allows it to dissolve completely. Then it is chilled and kept ready to serve in a large pitcher.
How to Make Sweet Tea
- Start by making a tea concentrate with 10 regular sized tea bags and 4 cups of boiling water.
- Let tea steep, then add sugar to hot water so it can dissolve.
- Once the sugar dissolves, add baking soda.
- Then add 12 cups of ice water, a mixture of ice and water that equals a volume of 12 cups.
- Serve chilled.
Note: This recipe was originally published in March 2013. The recipe is the same. Photos and text have been updated.
- 10 regular sized Lipton tea bags
- Fresh filtered water
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, remove from heat and add tea bags.
Let tea steep for about 10 minutes.
Remove tea bags and add sugar to hot water.
Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
Add baking soda and stir again.
Pour tea and sugar mixture into large pitcher.
Add 12 cups of ice water and stir until cooled.
Serve over ice.
Makes one gallon of sweet tea. Serve with fresh lemon slices and mint, if desired.
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What does the baking soda do??
It cuts the acidity of the tea and makes it taste very smooth!
Takes the bitter taste out….I tried it for the first time and oh my word it was great!!
i believe the article makes it so you don’t have to have alot of sugar. it neutralizes the tea
This looks so refreshing! Great for a warm day like today! Pinned!
Bonnie and Trish @ Uncommon
Ah..the perfect summertime drink Melissa! Thanks for sharing!
I’ve never tried sweet tea but I will have to give this a whirl! 😉
Oh my goodness, nothing screams “I’m not from the South” like saying that you’ve never tried sweet tea!!! haha. Hope you fall in love with it and you’ll soon be saying “ya’ll” to everyone.
If you want perfect ice tea don’t ever use Lipton. It’s bitter and has a bad after taste. Always use Luzianne.
Oh and with Lizianne you don’t need baking soda. It’s already smooth.
You took the words right out of my mouth Mary Ann! Luzianne makes a great tasting tea. I
What about the family sized tea bags, how many would I use?
I would start with 5 and adjust from there.
Does it matter what kind of Lipton tea I use?
As soon as I saw “secret ingredient” I had to check out the recipe. My family has been putting a pinch of baking soda in tea forever. It really does help make the tea smooth. We always simmered the tea in stead of letting it just sit but I’m gonna give your way a try just to see if there is a difference. Thanks for the recipe!!
That’s interesting! Thank you for sharing! :0)
You can skip the baking soda by using Luzianne brand tea, It stays clear.
This is the PERFECT sweet tea recipe. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Have to agree… Luzianne is the way to go! It is definitely the best! 🙂
Well all i have is Great Value brand ice tea brew bags.Guess i leat you’ll know.
How many tea bags for the gallon sized bags?
I love tea can’t wait to try this, I’ve only known one person who could make the best tea I’ve ever drank. I’m from Texas City Tx it’s good to read you lived here also.
Just wondering why the baking soda? any benefits from that?
Okay, sounds good, but do I have to use filtered water?
This is sooo refreshing and delicious!! Thanks for sharing!
This is my warm-weather staple. So refreshing and super easy to make too!
Made this for the family and it was a hit!