Recipe: How to Make Sweet Tea

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Dear Home-Ec 101,

My inlaws from down South are coming to town, I need help! All they do is complain about how awful the food is here and how there is no ‘sweet tea’ to be found. I’d like to make a good impression.


I Like it Bitter in Minneapolis

How to make sweet tea

pitcher and glasses of sweet tea sitting on table outside

Dear, I Like it Bitter:

Sweet tea is a cinch to make. The secret is adding sugar before you add cold water. Bring one quart of water to a boil, add six regular* tea bags (Heather prefers Lipton or American Classic, Lisa likes Luzianne decaf and uses four family size bags), and immediately remove from the burner. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes.

Now, the tricky part is determining just how sweet your inlaws prefer their tea. In Heather’s house, she uses 1 cup per gallon, but they’re of the lightly sweetened variety. Your husband should be able to tell you if they like sweet tea or SWEET tea. One leaves a hint of sweetness on the tongue, the other makes your eyes cross and a chill run down your spine with the first sip. If it’s the latter, double the sugar.

Pour the steeped tea into a 2qt pitcher, add 1/2 cup sugar, stir until dissolved, and add 1qt cold water. Serve over ice and store in the fridge. This recipe easily doubles, but do you really want to encourage them to linger?

*regular vs. family size

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5 thoughts on “Recipe: How to Make Sweet Tea”

  1. Not to say Heather’s way is not THE way to make sweet tea, but from a good ole’ Mississippian, take it from me, use Lipton brand tea. And to clarify, use 3 family size tea bags -OR- 6 regular sized. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT use 6 family sized unless you plan on makeing 2 gallons and that is probablly something you will not want to do if you are trying to get rid of your southern inlaws in a hurry!

  2. LOL @ letting it turn into syrup.

    Can you even imagine someone so deprived that they don’t know how to make sweet tea? Bless her heart, that gal needs a lot of help and an infusion of Southern blood with a capital S!

    Visiting from the Southern Fried Carnival.

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