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homemade southern sweet tea in clear glass pitcher looking down into it with lots of cold ice and fresh lemon slices.

Southern Sweet Tea

Sara Vaughn
Nothing says southern hospitality like an ice cold glass of sweet tea!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Cool 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American, southern
Servings 10
Calories 127 kcal


  • 1 Gallon Water
  • 6-10 Bags Tea depending on the size
  • 2 - 2/12 C Sugar or sugar-free alternative
  • Lemon optional


  •  Bring the water and the tea bags to a boil in a large stockpot and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. You want the water to be a medium to dark brown.
  • Once the tea has simmered, remove the tea bags, and stir in the sugar or sugar substitute while the liquid is still hot. This will help the liquid take in the sweetener better, leaving a smoother taste and texture.
  • Add fresh squeezed lemon if desired.
  • Allow the tea to cool for at least 30 minutes at room temperature before transferring it to the fridge to finish cooling.
  • Serve over ice and add more fresh lemon if desired.


There are a lot of recipes that talk about boiling a smaller amount of liquid and then adding more liquid. This will cause the tea to be diluted, and you DON'T want that.
Keyword fresh brewed sweet tea, southern sweet tea, steak, sweet tea