Perfect Southern Sweet Tea Recipe

July 18, 2012

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What You Need

  • 6 regular tea bags
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda –
  •         Question about Baking SodaBaking soda takes any of the bitterness out of your tea. It really makes the taste smoother in my opinion :)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar ( you can use splenda )
  • 6 cups cold water

What To Do

Place tea bags, baking soda, and boiling water together in a sauce pan.

Let it sit for 15 minutes.

Take teabags out, then add sugar. Mix till dissolved.

Add cold water.

Chill and serve with ice 😉


Perfect Southern Sweet Tea Recipe
: 2 Quarts
  • 6 regular tea bags
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 6 cups cold water
  1. Place tea bags, baking soda, and hot water together in a sauce pan.
  2. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Take teabags out, then add sugar. Mix till dissolved.
  4. Add cold water.
  5. Chill and serve with ice ;)
  6. Enjoy!

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Christina Broyles July 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Can you explain the baking soda? Never heard of adding it to sweet tea.


Budget Savvy Diva July 18, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Question about Baking Soda

Baking soda takes any of the bitterness out of your tea. It really makes the taste smoother in my opinion :)


Trixie July 18, 2012 at 8:34 pm

This is how I make my tea except I sweeten with that horrible death-inducing product, Splenda. Haha. It turns out perfect every time.

For anyone curious about the baking soda – it’s purpose is to cut the acid from the tea. You can’t taste the baking soda and your tea is wonderfully smooth every time. (This works with coffee too – allowing you to buy the less costly ground coffee and still enjoy it without the bitter aftertaste).


Faith July 18, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Have you tried the baking soda with un-sweet tea?


angie July 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Ummmm…I’m from NC and we don’t use baking soda. I use 3 family sized bags for a gallon. It’s never bitter.


Kelly Bowden July 18, 2012 at 11:46 pm

I hear ya girl.. Im from Ga and baking soda gets no where near my tea either.. LOL


Tracy July 18, 2012 at 10:19 pm

You can eliminate the bitterness by not squeezing the tea bags. When you do it releases bitterness into the tea. Mine comes out perfect every time.


Carol July 18, 2012 at 11:43 pm

I agree with Tracy and never squeeze the teabags to avoid the bitterness. I also only steep it for 5-7minutes to avoid bitterness.


Kelly Bowden July 18, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Born and raised in the south and we don’t put baking soda in our tea.. LOL


OcalaMom July 19, 2012 at 1:14 am

Southern girl here; we make sun tea and don’t use baking soda. Just 3 family size tea bags per gallon and an afternoon of sunshine. And yep – don’t squeeze the tea bags afterwards.


Jennifer July 19, 2012 at 1:42 am

I’m from Tennessee and I have never heard about baking soda in tea. We make it with the same ingredients but without the baking soda. I microwave the tea bags in my tea bowl of water until it’s boiling. Then I pour the sugar using a funnel into an old milk jug. We then pour the tea after cooling some into the jug and shake to make the sugar dissolve thoroughly. I like to put the jug in the freezer for a few hours and get icy. The frozen tea is like having ice cubes in your drink but the ice is made of tea so it doesn’t really get watered down. My grandmother uses a hint of lime or lemon juice that she mixes in the tea after boiling it. I like it both ways.


Andrea (quest for delish) July 19, 2012 at 2:08 am

I’ve been making Ice Tea for quite some time but I am dying to try this recipe. I found it on pinterest and looking forward to giving it a try.


Gayle July 19, 2012 at 2:49 am

My mother-in-law taught me to make sweet over 30 years ago. Her secret was baking soda. Whenever I make tea for others, it gets raves. Just a pinch or two per gallon. The baking soda also draws more tea out of the tea bags. I use 4 regular tea bag and 1 cup of sugar per gallon. My mother-in-law is from rural Alabama.


LindaR July 19, 2012 at 3:03 am

Interesting. Baking soda ? In tea ? I’ve never heard of this but I’m willing to give it a try. My mother used to add a pinch of baking soda to her spaghetti sauce.


Irene July 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm

o.m.g.!!!! thank you for this recipe! I tried it yesterday, and i have to tell you that it tastes just like McD’s sweet tea!!! No more Crystal Lite for me!


Budget Savvy Diva July 23, 2012 at 8:09 pm



Kris September 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I’m not from the south but I love sweet tea. I make mine in my Mr Coffee iced tea maker,except in the summer when I can use my sun jug. My tea tastes like what I get in the south,so I can’t imagine if I could make it better!
I wonder how I could do the baking soda in my tea maker? How much I’d need and where to add it. I may have to play around with it!


Bri September 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm

I have the same tea makes.

Sprinkle the baking soda over the tea bags in the filter tray, that way when the hot water drips through, it’ll desolve it or “cook” it and then make sure to stir really well when the tea is in the pitcher over the ice.


Klarissa September 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm

I grew up in southeastern North Carolina and my grandma and great-grandma always used baking soda in their tea! You really don’t taste it at all. I guess it’s all a matter of opinion :)


Sandy September 7, 2012 at 2:25 am

I’m from the South and worked in a restaurant in my teens. I had the tea making job and we always used baking soda. The owner told me it keeps the tea from souring, we always made 6 gallons every night before we shut down. That’s what I always thought it was for. :)


Andrea (Quest for Delish) October 29, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Thanks for posting such a great recipe. I have made it several times and love this tea. I love it so much I just blogged about it. Come by and check it out.


Mariva Gonzalez March 26, 2013 at 1:45 pm

I use Lipton Cold Brew tea bags….4 bags w 2 cups sugar for a pitcher of Sweet Tea…i get lots of compliments


Kellie April 8, 2013 at 1:36 am

Born and raised in Georgia. Always used baking soda in our tea, never squeezed the bags. Makes the tea nice and smooth, keep it from souring. The way my momma made it and the way my granny made it. Our secret is Luzianne tea bags though 😉 It might not be the way some of you ladies make it from down here, but my husband and my boys love it and that’s all that matters!


Pam May 29, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Baking soda helps prevent tea from getting cloudy. Great recipe..Thats how I make mine.


Christine June 1, 2013 at 1:59 am

I have got to say I was very skeptical about putting baking soda in my sweet tea. I even asked all my southern FB friends if they had ever heard of it or tried it. Some had and some thought I was nuts. But, after tonight…I’ll never doubt you again. I used the cheapest nastiest store brand tea bags tonight and tried your baking soda tip, the tea is so smooth and yummy! I’ll never make sweet tea without it again. Thanks again!


Kathie S. June 8, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Wow, I never would have thought of baking soda. As soon as I finish this jug I have now, I will be trying the baking soda trick. Thank you.


AJ August 28, 2013 at 2:43 am

Great ideal. My mother-in-law did this and I do also Thanks fot sharing.


Bri September 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I believe Baking Soda in tea might have been a Texas or Louisiana thing?

Either way, many restaurants and chains do baking soda. It’s a southern thing for sure (as that’s where I learned of this), but long forgotten by many I think.


Angela O September 13, 2013 at 12:13 am

I have never used baking soda in my tea. I use Lipton and love it. I wouldn’t recommend steeping the tea bags in the sauce pan because it will stain it. I steep right in my pitcher so I only have one item stained, but it is my dedicated tea pitcher. Here in the south you need one if you gave to make a gallon of tea every few days.


Cyndy April 18, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Going to try this, my husband and I love sweet tea.


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