If you'd like to try your hand at making the BEST Southern Sweet Tea recipe look no further. This deliciously easy sweet tea is certain to become your go-to recipe to make.
Easy Southern Sweet Tea Recipe
Sweet tea is always available in the South. It's served everywhere from restaurants to holiday parties, picnics and family gatherings. It's not complicated at all to make but I wanted to pass-along the technique that ensures your sweet tea making success. It's important to note that sweet tea is never chilled down by ice during the initial preparation and shortly after brewing while it's still warm. It's imperative that it be made and thoroughly chilled and before being poured over ice for serving. Yes, there is a difference. If you chill hot tea with ice, it will most certainly water down the tea.
How to Make the Best Southern Sweet Tea Recipe
What is the best tea to use when making cool and refreshing sweet tea? That would certainly be up to the cook. Most people will use either Lipton or Luzianne for sweet tea making.
- Ingredients you'll need to make this homemade Southern Sweet Tea recipe: 4 quarts of water, 4 family size tea bags, 1-2 cups of granulated sugar, and baking soda. Lemon slices or lemon wedges plus fresh mint for serving.
- Kitchen gadgets you'll need: One 3 quart saucepan, one gallon size pitcher or jug and a large wooden spoon or similar for stirring the brewed tea, sugar and water together.
- It's very important to add the sugar to the steamy hot tea, then stir until each tiny granule is dissolved. It's the only way to sweeten tea properly.
- If you need to replace granulated sugar with a sugar substitute that you enjoy, you certainly can. The same rule applies, stir until it's completely dissolved and sweeten to your taste.
- Baking soda prevents the tea from becoming cloudy. If you're making sweet tea and plan to serve it the same day, you may not need to add it. If you're making sweet tea in advance, add the baking soda. It doesn't affect the flavor at all but keeps the tea clear.
- I recommend making the tea a bit on the strong side. The reason is, while sipping ice tea over ice, it naturally waters it down just a little.
- Mint and lemon slices or lemon wedges are optional but they tend to be offered for special occasions. In particular those moments you'd like to dress up the glass of tea little.
- If you'd like to add lemon juice to this iced tea recipe you can. Replace 1 cup of water with 1 cup of fresh lemon juice.
- Store Southern Sweet Tea chilled in the refrigerator at all times and it will last for several days.
More Southern Style Drinks and Recipes to Serve with Sweet Tea
Sweet tea became more popular during Prohibition in the South. While it was on the menu prior to these times, it moved to the forefront and has held its own one hundred years later. Typically iced tea is ordered simply as tea in a restaurant. If you want unsweetened tea, you often have to specifically ask for it. Some establishments, for ease of pleasing all customers taste, will serve unsweetened tea and provide sugar and alternate sweeteners at the table for each person to sweeten to their own taste. Still, there's nothing like brewing your own sweet tea at home. More refreshing drink recipes you may also like to try:
- Another popular summer cool down to make is sweet Homemade Lemonade.
- During peach season, whip-up a batch of Peach Ice Tea using frozen peach slices in place of ice cubes for serving.
- Sparkling Berry Lemonade is filled with fresh berries for added flavor and they add a pretty color to boot.
- Pine-Apple Lemonade Spritzers are inspired by an apple orchard we love to visit.
- You may also like to try this recipe for Green Tea with Mint and Honey from A Chunky Chef.
- Serve sweet tea with Southern Fried Chicken, Grilled Chili Rubbed Skirt Steak, Barbecue Chicken and Potato Foil Packs, Saucy Baby Back Ribs and beyond. It's the perfect way to wash down any of your favorites!
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Southern Sweet Tea
- 4 quarts water
- 4 family size tea bags (or 6-8 classic standard size tea bags)
- 1-2 cups granulated sugar adjust amount to taste
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- lemon slices or wedges and fresh mint for serving
- In a 4 quart saucepan bring 1 quart of water to a rolling boil.
- Remove from heat, add tea bags. Let stand and steep for 5-8 minutes.
- Remove tea bags and discard. Add sugar and baking soda to hot tea, stir until sugar has completely dissolved.
- Pour tea into pitcher adding remaining 3 quarts of water, stir well.
- Chill for at least 4 hours, then enjoy poured over ice cubes with lemon wedges.