5 Ingredients or Fewer

Sweet Tea

July 30, 2013
3 Ratings
  • Makes 16 cups
Author Notes

This is a recipe for the Southern classic variety. No fancy herbal infusions or expensive teas here. Just water, sugar, and plain black tea. The only thing that improves this classic is a wedge of lemon, a mason jar to drink it out of, and a front porch to drink it on. —Beth Kirby | {local milk}

What You'll Need
  • 16 cups water
  • 16 tea bags, Lipton or Luzianne
  • 16 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 lemon for serving, optional
  1. Boil the water in a large pot.
  2. Remove pot from heat and add in the tea bags. Swirl them around a bit to make sure they're all submerged, and then steep it until it's nice and strong, 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove tea bags with a slotted spoon, and stir in sugar until it's all dissolved.
  4. Cover and let cool off a bit before transferring to a pitcher or large mason jars and chilling it in the fridge until it's cold, a few hours.
  5. Pour tea over some ice (preferably in and old jam jar to set the mood...), put a wedge of lemon on the side, and sip it on a front porch somewhere...and if you haven't access to a front porch for your sipping, no worries, it's easily imagined while sipping this tea!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Pamela Schmidt
    Pamela Schmidt
  • laurelei235
  • JohnL
  • Barb
A Southern writer with a cast iron skillet & a camera. Freelance food writer & photographer. Blogs at Localmilkblog.com

4 Reviews

Pamela S. June 16, 2014
I bring water to a boil in a 3 Qt pot . Add 12 Luzianne's tea bags and let steep for 30 min I take the tea bags out and squeeze them. Then I add the brewed tea to a 1gal container, add 1& 1/2 cup sugar or according to your own taste for sweetness. Add additional cold water to make a gallon . Then put in fridge to chill . I pour it in a glass No Ice for me :)
laurelei235 May 29, 2014
My recipe is a hybrid of my grandmother's and Cook's Illustrated.

Find a 1/2 gallon canning jar, set it on a folded towel or your wooden cutting board (to avoid thermal shock). Drop in 6 tea bags, preferably black, fill halfway with boiling water. Wait. At least 15 minutes, though I've come back occasionally after an hour. Fish out the tea bags, do not squeeze them, it clouds the tea. Add 2-8 TBsp sugar, your preference. Stir, fill the jar with cold water. Slap on a lid, and store in the fridge. Serve over ice, a lemon wedge is nice.
JohnL January 2, 2014
You rarely see the instruction to brew tea this long, but I think it's really the secret to great iced tea. I learned to make it this way in one of the Lee Bros. southern cookbooks. I think they call for 10 minutes, and it is perfect for me and my Lipton tea! Nice full flavored American style iced tea is one of my favorite beverages. How does Luzianne's flavor compare to Lipton's ?
Barb February 8, 2014
Lipton has a much fuller flavor than Luzianne. Because I am not a coffee drinker, but rather a sweet tea drinker, I make my tea in a 10 coffee maker. Add 10 Cups of water and 6 tea bags coffee maker and let brew. Remove from heat and let cool. When cool pour into a pitcher and add 2/3 cup sugar (don't add sugar until tea is cool/cold, otherwise it will caramelize and add a different flavor to the tea.) Pour over ice and enjoy!