Juanita’s Southern Sweet Tea Recipe


Juanita's Southern Sweet TeaJuanita’s Southern Sweet Tea Recipe is so easy and is wonderful.

Southerners swear by their traditional sweet ice tea and drink it by the gallons.  In the Southern states, ice tea is not just a summertime drink, it is served year round with most meals.  When people order tea in a Southern restaurant, chances are they will get sweet ice tea.

Learn about the History of Ice Tea and Sweet Tea.

Also check out Southern Sweet Tea and more great Beverage Recipes.



Juanita's Southern Sweet Tea Recipe:
Prep Time
15 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: Juanita's Southern Sweet Tea Recipe
Servings: 1 /2 gallon
  • 3 cups boiling water 
  • 1 family-size tea bag or 3 regular-size tea bags 
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar or to taste
  • 5 cups cold water
  • Ice cubes
  1. Pour boiling water over the tea bags.  Set aside and let steep 5 minutes.  Remove tea bags.

  2. In a large pitcher, add sugar and pour warm tea over sugar; stirring until sugar is melted.  

  3. Add 5 cups cold water and stir until well mixed.  Cool and serve in tall glasses over ice.

  4. Yields 1/2 gallon.

Secrets To Making Clear Tea:
  1. When tea steeps, tannins (the natural compounds that color tea leaves) are released into the boiling water.  The heat helps dissolve them, and the brew is clear enough to see through.  Refrigeration can cause tannins to separate out again, turning the tea murky.  Generally, higher-quality tea contains more tannins (because it is richer in solids) and is more likely to become cloudy.  

  2. Hard water can also make your iced tea cloudy.  Also the minerals in your water could be causing the cloudiness.  Try using bottled or filtered water and let the tea stand at room temperature for an hour after steeping.

  3. Do not use cold water (use room temperature water).

  4. Do not add ice to hot tea, only add the ice cubes to your drinking glass and then pour the tea over the ice cubes.

  5. Do not put it straight into the refrigerator after it's made.  Let it cool at room temperature first.  THEN put it in the fridge.  Cooling too fast makes the tannin settle out, causing cloudy tea.

  6. If the tea turns murky in the refrigerator, add a cup of boiling water to one quart of tea - it should clear up the cloudiness.  Remember, it will also dilute the tea, so add less ice.


Sources:  This Sweet Tea Recipe is courtesy of Juanita Daniels of Helena, Al.  Photo by H. Scott Hoffmann/News & Record


South Central    Southeast    Summer    Tea Drinks   

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