Southern Sweet Tea Recipe - The Domestic Diva (2024)

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The secret to southern sweet tea is simple. This southern sweet tea recipe will teach you how to make that perfect glass of sweet tea, every single time.

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Every home cook in the south has a southern sweet tea recipe. Sweet tea is just a way of life around here. Always served ice cold, sweet tea is like a good cup of coffee.

In every true southern fridge sits a pitcher of sweet tea ready to be served. Today I’m sharing my southern sweet tea recipe for that perfect glass of sweet tea, every single time.

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While sweet tea is not the only tea that I drink, growing up in the South sweet tea is a beverage that can be found as a beverage option at most restaurants. Sitting on the front porch, sipping a tall cold glass of sweet tea is just what we do around here to relax after a long day.

With every meal and served at every restaurant, sweet tea is more than just a southern staple its a part of our life down here.

Secret Southern Sweet Tea Recipe

Some may think that Sweet Tea has some sort of “secret ingredient”. But this simply isn’t true.

There is only one rule to really good sweet tea and that is the sweeter the better.

The brand of tea bags doesn’t matter that much, although many in the south will swear by Luzianne. So long as it is black tea, the brand doesn’t matter all that much. I typically will just pick a store brand to save a few pennies.

But please note that instant tea is no good here. I prefer to use single tea bags versus family size, but really any size will do.

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What do you serve Sweet Tea in?

I picked up this gallon glass dispenser, I thought it was absolutely perfect for holding my tea in the fridge and oh so easy to refill my glass when I’m running low.

Mason Jars have been my jam for a while. We switched from drinking out of normal glasses to only using wide mouth mason jars as our beverage vessel. Sweet Tea and Mason Jars are a perfect Southern pair.

Taking your Sweet Tea To-Go?

If you are taking your tea on the go, you can’t go wrong with an RTIC tumbler. I’m obsessed with mine. It keeps your sweet tea perfectly cold. It amazes me that I can take this tumbler with me when I run errands and my beverage is still be cold when I return to my car on a hot summer afternoon.

Next to a mason jar, my RTIC Tumbler is my second favorite way to enjoy a gold glass of sweet tea.

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Lemon or No lemon

That is the question. Many people like the taste of fresh squeezed lemon in their sweet tea, many people do not. It is all a matter of personal preference.

For me, personally I do not like lemon in my tea. I like my sweet tea plain and simple just like the recipe.

But if you like the flavor of lemon, I encourage you to add a slice or squeeze of lemon into a glass of freshly poured southern sweet tea.

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Southern Sweet Tea Recipe

The secret to southern sweet tea is simple. This southern sweet tea recipe will teach you how to make that perfect glass of sweet tea, every single time.

5 from 4 votes

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Total Time 1 hour hr

Course Drinks

Cuisine American

Servings 1 gallon


  • 1 gallon hot water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 10 single black tea bags


  • In a gallon pitcher, add two cups of granulated sugar.

  • Fill the jug with hot water (I just use hot tap water because it’s quick and convenient).

  • Place 10 single black tea bags in the jug and allow to steep for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

  • Remove tea bags and squeeze out excess tea from the bag before discarding.

  • With a slotted spoon, stir the tea until the sugar on the bottom is completely dissolved.

  • Refrigerate overnight because sweet tea always tastes its best on the second day. Serve in a mason jar filled with ice.


Sweet Tea is at it’s best for about 2-3 days after making. If you notice that the tea has become cloudy, it is no longer good and it’s time to make a fresh batch.

If you plan to serve this sweet tea recipe cold from the fridge WITHOUT ice, then reduce the sugar to 1 1/2 cups. As the tea sits in the fridge it becomes sweeter. The recipe as it is written is to be served in a glass filled with ice.

Check out my favorite kitchen gadgets for stay-at-home chefs on Amazon.

Keyword Tea

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Southern Sweet Tea Recipe - The Domestic Diva (2024)
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