Traditional Southern Sweet Tea

Traditional Southern Sweet Tea is the house wine of the south. The perfect ice-cold refreshing drink for your hot summer days and this recipe comes out perfect every single time thanks to a simple tip.

Pitcher of Sweet Tea

Who doesn’t love a glass of Traditional Southern Sweet Tea?

Every gal in the south has her own way of making sweet tea and I am pretty proud about it too actually. Around my house we like our tea strong and sweet. So, if you ever have trouble getting your tea just right each-and-every time, give this a try.

Oh, my goodness y’all, it is getting hot and toasty outside.  It is so hot that it’s got me craving traditional southern sweet tea.  My craving, or thirst if you will, made me realize that I have never shared my tea recipe with y’all.  This is my all-time favorite drink!

I have sweet tea in my fridge all the time; literally year-round!  It doesn’t matter if it is spring, summer or winter, sweet tea is my drink of choice! Hot or cold, I am drinking it; I love it!  It is so easy to make that even Miss Emma can make it! All our guests look forward to the standard glass offering.


Have you ever made tea and then the next day it tastes a bit tart or not as fresh? Or maybe you made tea and let the tea bags soak a little too long? Baking soda helps that tea taste better longer by taking out the bitterness.

Baking soda is great for other uses as well. If you are soaking beans overnight and are putting them in a pot to make the next day, add a small dash of baking soda to your pot before cooking. It keeps beans tasting their best.

You can substitute Splenda or Swerve for the sugar, if you prefer. We like our tea pretty sweet so you can certainly cut down on the sugar if you find it too sweet.


family size tea bags (I prefer Luzianne or Lipton, but use what you got)



baking soda


Step 1

Brew Tea

Step 2

Allow it to steep.

Step 3

Combine tea and water into a gallon pitcher

Step 4

Drink up

If you make this recipe, let us know. Please, leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #theycallmemamad on Instagram so we can see. I LOVE seeing what you come up with. Cheers, friends!


Pitcher of Sweet Tea
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Traditional Southern Sweet Tea

Traditional Southern Sweet Tea is the house wine of the south. The perfect ice-cold refreshing drink for your hot summer days and this recipe comes out perfect every single time thanks to a simple tip.
Course Beverage
Cuisine American
Keyword iced, southern, sweet, tea
Prep Time 4 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 4 minutes
Servings 8 16oz servings
Calories 194 kcal


  • 3 family size tea bags
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Boil only ½ gallon of the water on stove.
  2. Once water comes to a rolling boil, pour into one gallon pitcher.
  3. Add 3 tea bags and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda (you don’t need to stir).
  4. Set your kitchen timer (I use my microwave) for 15 minutes.
  5. After 15 minutes, take out tea bags.
  6. Do not squish tea bags before taking them out, just let them drip for a minute.
  7. If you do that, you’re likely to get some tea leaves in your drink.
  8. Add sugar and stir.
  9. Add the other ½ gallon of cold water to the pitcher and stir again.
  10. Cool in fridge for several hours.
  11. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  12. For individual glasses, add a slice of fresh lemon and pour over with iced tea. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

If you don't want to wait for the 2 hours just wait about 20 minutes or until it's not boiling hot any longer. Add tea to a large pitcher with extra ice to help cool it down quicker but make sure that the total ice and water doesn’t exceed 1 gallon or it will have a watered down taste.

Nutrition Facts
Traditional Southern Sweet Tea
Amount Per Serving
Calories 194
% Daily Value*
Sodium 58mg3%
Carbohydrates 50g17%
Sugar 50g56%
Calcium 14mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 1500 calorie diet.

Note on Nutritional Information

Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.

© Unauthorized use of this material without written permission from Carrie Ditton is strictly prohibited unless for personal offline purposes. Single photos may be used, provided that full credit is given to along with a link back to the original content.

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