Skip to Content


Cool, refreshing and simple. There is NOTHING that is more comforting than a big tall glass of my mama’s southern sweet tea. It tastes EXACTLY like home. The Secret to Perfect Southern Sweet Tea is RIGHT HERE!

EASY and READY in less than 30 MINUTES! Simple to follow directions right here! 

blue mason jar with tea and ice cubes, spoon in foreground for The Secret to Perfect Southern Sweet Tea

Sweet tea, ready for summer!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy
  • Southern Sweet Tea is the perfect drink for any occasion
  • Affordable
  • Ingredients you probably already have

Here’s How It Is Done

Step 1. 

Heat  the water

A saucepan on a cooktop with steam rising and bubbles from bottom

Heat on High until water is near a boil

Step 2. 

Turn off the burner and add the sugar.

1 cup of sugar being added to hot water in sauce pan

Add the sugar to the sweet tea

Step 3. 

Add the tea bags

a large family size tea bag floating in sauce pan

Add the tea bag to the sauce pan

Step 4. 

Put the lid on. When the tea is cooled (at least 15 minutes) , add it to your pitcher and then add the cool water. Drink up! Add a lemon wedge to your drink for fun! 

sauce pan with lid on, tea bag visible through glass lid for The Secret to Perfect Southern Sweet Tea

Put the lid on and let the tea steep

How To Make Sweet Tea

  1. Heat 2 Quarts water in saucepan. When simmering, turn the heat off.
  2. Add 1 Cup of Sugar (for sweet tea) to the warm water and stir until dissolved. Place 4 tea bags or 1 Gallon size tea bag in hot water.
  3. Allow tea to come to room temp. Squeeze tea bags. 
  4. Add 2 Quarts of Water to the sweet tea and stir.


Anyway, in all seriousness, sweet tea is so quintessentially “home” that I thought we could all use a good dose of it today.

In fact, someone wrote to me wanting to know how to make The Secret to Perfect Southern Sweet Tea and that is why you are seeing this recipe today.


  • At our house, Mr. Loaves and Dishes is the tea maker.
  • Therefore, it stands to reason, YOU can make sweet tea!


  • You’ll be able to make sweet tea without depending on the dark “tea line” on the saucepan.
  • No more guessing at the amount of sugar.
  • There will be no more questions about how many tea bags to use.
  • No more trying to understand when to add the sugar.
  • I’m sharing ALL of the secrets right here with exact measurements HENCE, YOU’LL HAVE NO more guessing!
mason jar filled with tea and ice, pitcher of tea in background, green napkin

Sweet tea and pitcher!



  • This is so straightforward, there really aren’t many tricks.
  • The first tip is USE GOOD WATER. If your water is overpoweringly loaded with chemicals so that it smells like a swimming pool, then use bottled water instead. I remember my dad would always bring some of my grandma’s well water home from our visits there to make tea with at home. That is how important good water is!


  • Do NOT USE cheap/discount/ no name tea. It is worth a dollar or so more to get good name brand tea. Trust me on that. (At our house, we prefer Luzianne or Lipton – there are other good brands too – just look around)
  • Whatever you do, please Do NOT USE instant tea. Just no.


  • Once you are making the tea, Don’t boil the water because that bounces the tea bags around too much.
  • When you put the tea bags in the water, make sure they sink down, but not so far that you lose the little paper tags.
  • Don’t forget to stir the water with the sugar in it BEFORE you put the tea bag in because that is what finishes dissolving the sugar.
  • Here is a primary rule about squeezing the tea bags, DO NOT get to fresh with those tea bags when you are squeezing them out because they break easily and hence,  if they do you are going to have tea dirt all in your tea. Tea dirt is just used tea leaves and it won’t hurt you however, it is gritty and no one likes gritty tea.


  • Use a pitcher that is going to be your “Tea Pitcher” and then keep it meticulously clean! Tea spoils quickly and as my grandmother used to say, tea goes “on the blink” or it gets “blinky”and I still say that. Sweet hubby had never heard that term and didn’t know what I was talking about. In fact, he can’t taste blinky tea until it is VERY blinky.
  • We like to use glass tea pitchers at home (I feel like I can get them cleaner). In fact, I’ll put a link below if you want to see the exact ones we use because we love them. They pour great and you can make just half a gallon at the time if you want or one pitcher of sweet and one of unsweet (we have a diabetic in our family). I Have two of these (one for sweet and one for unsweet). The large opening is nice, you can get your hand in there to clean them. The lid closes tightly. The handle doesn’t stick out so far as to be a problem in the fridge.
  • That’s it – you are are free to make your tea!
  • The pitcher in the photo here is an Amazon Affiliate link, when you purchase through this link, I earn a commission from the sale. Just click the photo to go through to compare prices.


  • One more thing, If you are having friends over who may enjoy MORE or LESS sugar in their tea, you can always make a simple syrup and allow everyone to sweeten their own tea. It is the perfect way to suit a crowd. Simple syrup instructions can be found HERE.
  • You might also enjoy Russian Nurse Tea if you like hot tea!
blue mason jar of tea and ice, pitcher in background and spoon in foreground

Sweetening the tea with simple syrup

Would You Love to Cook the PERFECT Southern Dinner?


Southern Sweet Tea

Served with (choose one)

Chicken Fried Steak or

Chicken Pie or

Marinated Pork Chops


Pinto Beans

Southern Cooked Cabbage

Collard Greens

Add A little Yum Yum Sauce

Deviled Eggs made with this Easy Peel Hard Boiled Egg

And finish it all off with…

Banana Pudding!



Please leave me a 5 star comment below in the comment section, all right? I would LOVE to know if you made this recipe or even if you are planning to! Of course, head on over to Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram and tag me with some photos of your creation!

I can’t wait!

Ya’ll know I love your comments!! ❤

How to make simple syrup

The Secret to Perfect Southern Sweet Tea

Sweet, cold, light and perfectly flavored, this recipe for southern sweet tea gives you ever hint and trick you could ever need to make perfect southern sweet tea!
5 from 15 votes
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: drink
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make sweet tea, southern sweet tea
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 1kcal


  • 2 Quarts fresh cold water
  • 1 heaping Cup of Granulated white sugar
  • 4 regular size tea bags or one gallon size tea bag we prefer Luzianne or Lipton
  • 2 Quarts fresh cold water


  • In a medium sized stock pot heat 2 quarts of fresh water over medium high heat.
  • When the water is near a simmer, turn the heat off.  Add the 1 Cup of sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. 
  • Place the tea bags into the water, place the lid on the saucepan.  Allow to come to room temperature.
  • Remove the tea bags and gently squeeze to remove any remaining tea. Use care not to tear the tea bags. Discard tea bags.
  • Pour the tea concentrate into a gallon size tea pitcher and add the remaining 2 quarts of cool water.
  • Serve over a full glass of ice cubes.


  • You will want to use the best quality tea that you can afford for this recipe.  We prefer Luzianne or Lipton.
  • Use the BEST water you can for your tea as well.  If you are going to use tap water, I suggest pouring it from the tap the day before you make tea and let it sit.  This allows some of the chlorine to expel from the water. 
  • Never boil the water with the tea bag in it.  You want the hot water to steep the tea from the leaves.  Boiling is far to rough! 
  • Look for the gallon size tea bags (sometimes called family size).  This allows you to use one single tea bag instead of 4 little tea bags. 
PRO TIP: Sugar is a highly variable taste for most people.  If you have people in your family who prefer more or less sugar, I suggest leaving the sugar out altogether and making some simple syrup instead.  Then your family can add the amount of simple syrup they prefer to their own drink.  You can find that recipe here. Simple Syrup. 


Nutrition Facts
The Secret to Perfect Southern Sweet Tea
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1
% Daily Value*
Sodium 23mg1%
Calcium 14mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @loavesanddishes or tag #loavesanddishes!

***This post originally appeared on the pages of Loaves and Dishes May 28, 2019 and has been updated with video, new information, new nutrition info, new photos and how to photos.***


During the floods, the “Texas Navy” and the “Cajun Navy” were hard at work rescuing people. What in the world would we do without brave people who just “KNOW” how to get things done?

We would be sunk, wouldn’t we?

I think the difference is that while they might have taken the charge and bravely headed off to lands unknown, they still did so with a prayerful heart.

In Paul’s letter to his son, Timothy, he explains this pretty well.

2 Timothy 1: 7

Paul writes: For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.


Wendi is the writer, CEO and dishwasher at Loaves and Dishes! When not in the kitchen or behind the computer, you can find Wendi serving on International Food Conference Boards, Speaking at various conferences, Leading and Cooking for the local Arts Council's "Taste of Stokes" events or donating home cooked goodies to various local non profits such as the Danbury Songwriters and Stokes Partnership for Children. Wendi is also a Registered Nurse with a Master's Degree and serves on her town's board of councilmen.

Recipe Rating


Saturday 13th of April 2024

Made this sweet tea and it is delicious! It is so easy to make and just the right amount of sugar. This will be my go-to drink for the summer. Thank you for sharing.

Wendi Spraker

Monday 29th of April 2024

I'm so glad to hear this! I love it too!


Monday 1st of June 2020

I wish that I would have had this recipe years ago. It makes my tea PERFECT every time!!! To make it even tastier I have been using pure cane sugar.

Wendi Spraker

Monday 1st of June 2020

Hi Jennifer! Thanks for coming back and leaving a comment. Being able to make really good tea feels wonderful! I bet the cane sugar did make it good!


Monday 2nd of March 2020

Excellent, thank you. Just what i needed, all the information in one swoop ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Wendi Spraker

Thursday 5th of March 2020

Wonderful! I'm glad you were able to swoop in and get what you needed! :)


Saturday 15th of February 2020


I literally just found your website today and Iโ€™ve already tried 2 recipes ( pinto beans and sweet tea ). I absolutely love them. Will definitely be making more recipes. I have your page bookmarked as one of my favorites..

Wendi Spraker

Sunday 16th of February 2020

Ruth, That's FANTASTIC! Thanks so much! If you have something specifically that you are looking for, please feel free to email me at wendi(at sign) I love to hear from readers. Also, feel free to sign up for the newsletter, I send out recipes and a HOT cooking tip of the week on Fridays. Take care! Enjoy the tea!


Thursday 17th of October 2019

Fantastic !!! Nothing like good ole southern ice tea

Wendi Spraker

Thursday 17th of October 2019

Hi Jackie! Thanks so much! I appreciate it very much! I'm tickled that you came back and left a comment!


Want My 9 Secrets to Immediate Kitchen Confidence?