Enjoy a tall glass of this cold Strawberry Sweet Tea all summer long by the pool with friends and family. It’s a really easy drink to make, and so refreshing and delicious!
We took our classic Southern-Style Sweet Tea recipe and gave it a strawberry twist! If you love iced tea and also anything with strawberries, then you will definitely love this Strawberry Sweet Tea. I make a regular batch all summer long for my family and larger quantities if we’re entertaining. It’s so refreshing on a hot day.
Strawberry Sweet Tea Recipe
For this sweet tea recipe, you’ll need ingredients for the tea and flavored simple syrup. (Scroll below to the printable recipe card with all the details and measurements.)
- Filtered water: The cleaner the water, the better your tea will taste. Bottled or filtered is preferred, whereas hard water can make your tea cloudy.
- Tea bags: This recipe calls for (Lipton) original black tea bags. We’ll be adding a strawberry simple syrup to give it that sweet strawberry flavor.
- Sugar: Sweet tea needs sugar – that’s what makes it sweet! Any grain of sugar can be used, but refined is best – it’s smaller and will dissolve in the hot tea faster.
- Baking soda: Weird ingredient, right? But a little bit of baking soda actually neutralizes the bitterness of the tea and gives it a much smoother taste!
- Strawberries: Fresh strawberries are needed to make the simple syrup and what turns this from regular sweet tea to strawberry sweet tea, of course.
- Lemons (optional): We add a little fresh lemon juice to balance out the sweetness.
How Sweet is this Sweet Tea?
It’s pretty sweet! We like our tea the southern way, which is very sweet, so there’s a good amount of sugar in this recipe. If you don’t like your tea very sweet, try adding a little sugar at a time and adjust to suit your taste. Another option is to make unsweetened tea and sweeten each individual glass with the simple syrup.
- Control the strength of your tea: For stronger tea, you can add an extra tea bag or two and steep for an additional five minutes. Alternatively, if you prefer your tea to be light in color and flavor, use less tea bags and add in extra water.
- Use a different berry: Try blackberries or raspberries instead of strawberries for a different fruit flavor.
- Make it boozy: If you want grown up tea, add in some rum, vodka, gin, or bourbon (about 2 ounces per glass is the general rule.)
- Alter the sugar: Refined granulated sugar is what we highly recommend for this recipe and what will give you optimal results. However you do have other options. Brown sugar can be used, but keep in mind it will give the tea a completely different flavor. Honey is another option. TIP: if you do decide to use honey, mix it with some warm water before adding it to the tea, which makes it dissolve easily when you stir, and not end up in clumps.
- Make a smaller batch: This recipe makes a big batch of tea, so you’ll need a very large pitcher or two medium-sized ones. If you just want to make a small batch for yourself and family, simply cut all the ingredients in half.
Strawberry Sweet Tea Recipe Tips
- Choose the right pitcher: the pitcher you use should have a leakproof lid and be safe to use with boiling hot and icy cold temperatures.
- Use a non-reactive teapot or saucepan: The more reactive the metal (copper, silver, iron) the more metallic taste, so it’s best to prepare the tea in a non-reactive teapot or saucepan and then transfer to the pitcher, once cooled.
- Start with cold water: Weird fact! Tannins are released when you boil warm or room temperature water and can make your tea cloudy, so start with cold water.
- Don’t skip the steeping: the steep time extracts the best flavor from the tea bags. But don’t steep too long, or you’ll end up with bitter iced tea.
- Never squeeze the tea bags: Giving them a squeeze can result in flecks of tea leaves in your liquid and also make the overall taste bitter.
- Add ice to each glass, not the pitcher: Adding ice to the pitcher can water down the tea before you serve it, so put the ice in each individual glass instead.
Make Ahead and Storing Sweet Tea
This tea needs to be stored in the refrigerator. It’s best to drink it within one day after making it, but will stay good for up to three days (max). After that, the flavor actually gets sort of funky.
How to Make Sweet Tea
To make this sweet tea recipe, follow the steps below included in the printable recipe card. Make sure to refer back to the article for all the helpful tips!
Other Summer Drinks We Love
- Sex on the Beach
- Blue Hawaiian
- Sea Breeze Cocktail
- Frozen Mudslide
- Cherry Limeade
- Shirley Temple Drink
- Orange Julius
Strawberry Sweet Tea
For the Strawberry Simple Syrup
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 cups strawberries , washed and stems removed, then sliced (should measure 3 cups after they are sliced)
For the Sweet Tea
- 10 cups cold filtered water , divided
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 family-sized tea bags (or 9 regular)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- juice of 2 fresh lemons , optional
- Sliced fresh strawberries
- Sliced lemons
Make the Simple Syrup
- In a medium saucepan add the water, sugar, and the sliced strawberries. Cook over a medium-high heat until the mixture boils. Reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer and let bubble for about 30 minutes, or until the strawberries are soft and the liquid is a deep red color. (Stir every once in a while and watch it carefully to prevent scorching.)
- Using a mesh strainer, strain the strawberry syrup into a large heat-proof pitcher/jug. Gently press down on the strawberries to extract the juice (but not too hard – you don't want strawberry chunks in your sweet tea.) Set aside.
Make the Sweet Tea
- Bring 2 cups of the water to a boil in a non-reactive teapot or saucepan; remove from the heat.
- Add in the baking soda.
- Drop in the tea bags; let steep for 5-7 minutes (depending how strong you want the flavor.)
- Carefully remove tea bags and discard (do not squeeze or press on them.)
- Add the granulated sugar and stir until completely dissolved.
- Pour into the pitcher/jug along with the strawberry syrup.
- Add in the remaining 8 cups of cold water and lemon juice. Stir well.
- Refrigerate until it's ice cold (a few hours.)
- Add a few thin slices of lemon and strawberry slices to the pitcher.
- Fill a glass with ice and pour in the tea. Garnish with additional strawberry and lemon slices, if desired, and enjoy!