Skip to Content

Southern Sweet Tea, Y’all

Southern Sweet Tea, Y’all! It’s worth making.

Sweet tea is a Southerner’s dream come true when made right (not green tea…there’s a big difference).

As with anything else in the South (or anywhere else, for that matter) there are lots of variations of standard classics.

Tea in a glass on a table

How to spell yall:

Let’s get this out of the way, shall we?

How does one spell it correctly?

Anyone notice the error in the above headline?

The proper spelling is: “Y’all” – as in the contraction you + all.

Hey y’all!

Alrighty, then. Let’s get back to tea talk.

Y all sweet tea is incredible!

The German did not make sweet tea.  She wasn’t Southern, after all.

Yet, it was one of my favorite drinks as a kid.  It followed right after grape Kool-Aid and the occasional ice cold Coke.

I grew up in a diverse neighborhood.

I was fed, and loved, Menudo and homemade tortillas from my neighbor from Mexico.

I ate potato pancakes with applesauce and schnitzel at home.

I drank gallons of sweet tea from the Southern crew.

How to make tea.

When I got to the age of interest, I asked several moms how they made their sweet tea and each had a different answer.

Today, I have two go-to methods, dependent on how much time and effort I want to expend.

upclose of tea in a glass on a table

Easy Method for 1 gallon of Sweet Tea

(seems like a large amount, but trust me, once your family starts drinking it, a gallon doesn’t go far)

Oh! I get this question:

How to make sweet tea with Lipton tea bags?

The answer is simple: Like this! Or, you can use any tea brand you love. It all works the same.

  1. ~ Boil 4 cups of water.
  2. ~ Take off heat.
  3. ~ Place 4 large tea bags in water and let steep 5-7 minutes…go 10 if you’re feeling crazy.
  4. ~ In gallon pitcher, place 1 cup of sugar, or more/less to taste (if I’m making sweet tea for company, I ALWAYS use 1 cup of sugar, or more…mmmmm).
  5. ~ Discard tea bags and pour hot concentrated tea into pitcher and stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
  6.  ~ IMPORTANT STEP: fill the remainder with cold water from fridge.  Tap water isn’t cold enough.  This step helps prevent the tea from clouding.
  7.  ~ Pour over ice, garnish with lemon or orange slices and drank.

Pinkies up!

Best Tasting Method (or at least I think so) for 1 gallon of Sweet Tea (with pics!)

If you’d prefer a printable recipe, scroll to the bottom of page!

~ Using large sauce pan, pour in 4 cups of water.

~ Turn heat to high.

Southern Sweet Tea

~ Gently sprinkle 3 heaping tablespoons of loose tea on top of water.

~ DO NOT mix or stir. 

~ Let the loose tea rest on the surface.

Southern Sweet Tea

~ Watch the water carefully: you DO NOT want to let it come to a boil, because it will turn the tea bitter.

~ Once bubbles start appearing along the outer circle of the pan, remove from heat and let steep 5-7 minutes. (see the tiny bubbles?)

Southern Sweet Tea

~ In gallon pitcher, place 1 cup of sugar, or more/less to taste.

~ Place a strainer over the top of pitcher and pour in hot tea concentrate, letting strainer catch the loose leaves.

Southern Sweet Tea

Southern Sweet Tea

~ Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.

Southern Sweet Tea

~ IMPORTANT STEP: fill the remainder with cold water from fridge.  Tap water isn’t cold enough.  This step helps prevent the tea from clouding.

~ Pour over ice, garnish with lemon or orange slices and drank.

How much sugar in one gallon of sweet tea?

I go by taste.

Traditional Southern sweet tea is very sugared! But, you can resist putting in a full cup if you’d prefer a less sugary tea.

If you ever order sweet tea in the South, prepare your taste buds. We likey the sugar!

How much caffeine in sweet tea?

The sweetness in tea doesn’t effect the caffeine levels.

If you are using black tea for your sweet tea, there is approximately 42mg of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup.

There are 16 cups in a gallon. 16 cups of pure sweet tea joy!

Pinkies up!

Southern Sweet Tea is not just for summer.

Nope.

We Southerners drink sweet tea year round.

It’s a staple on every holiday table, as well.

There’s a reason for this phenomenon: Southern sweet Tea is delicious, y’all!

Can you taste it? 

This is the taste of summer time/fall time/winter time/spring time.

Southern Sweet Tea

Tea in a glass on a table

Southern Sweet Tea, Y'all!

Yield: 1 gallon
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of water
  • 3 heaping tbsp loose tea
  • 1 cup white sugar

Instructions

  1. Using large sauce pan, pour in 4 cups of water.
  2. Turn heat to high.
  3. Gently sprinkle 3 heaping tablespoons of loose tea on top of water.
  4. DO NOT mix or stir. 
  5. Let the loose tea rest on the surface.
  6. Watch the water carefully: you DO NOT want to let it come to a boil, because it will turn the tea bitter.
  7. Once bubbles start appearing along the outer circle of the pan, remove from heat and let steep 5-7 minutes.
  8. In gallon pitcher, place 1 cup of sugar, or more/less to taste.
  9. Place a strainer over the top of pitcher and pour in hot tea concentrate, letting strainer catch the loose leaves.
  10. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
  11. IMPORTANT STEP: fill the remainder with cold water from fridge.  Tap water isn't cold enough.  This step helps prevent the tea from clouding.
  12. Pour over ice, garnish with lemon or orange slices and drank.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 48Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 12gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate

Original post: June 25, 2014 Updated Post: November 3, 2021

That’s it!

Now go and impress your Southern friends with your knowledge of a classic tradition.

If you bring your six-shooters to show off too, well, we may have to make you an honorary Belle.

Southern Sweet Tea, Y’all – it’s what we love!

Enjoy, y’all!

Share It!

tree stump fire pit graphics
Previous
DIY Tree Stump Fire Pit Tutorial
slice of slutty brownie with graphic text
Next
Hands Down The Best Slutty Brownies You'll Ever Eat

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Joan

Tuesday 29th of June 2021

What flavor tea do you use? There are so many out there.

The Power of Turmeric

Monday 8th of October 2018

[…] How about turmeric tea? […]

Do You Know The Facts About Drowning?

Friday 2nd of June 2017

[…] serves to educate or refresh all of us on what drowning actually looks like, as we enter into the summer season of […]

Lifehack: Decaffeinate Tea Naturally

Monday 26th of December 2016

[…] am an ice-cold sweet tea […]

The Power of Turmeric

Monday 11th of April 2016

[…] Have you heard of turmeric? Sure you have, it’s so trendy and hip these days. How about turmeric tea? […]

Skip to Recipe