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May 3, 2010 12:31 PM

Iced Tea Recipe with lemons and sugar

I am looking for the basic old-fashioned iced tea recipe using the small teabags, sugar and real lemons.
Can anyone give me the exact amounts of water, small tea bags, lemon and sugar - and directions.
Thanks for your help.

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  1. Here's what I do:

    Grab your prettiest glass pitcher. Steep 4 bags of tea in 2L of boiling water. After 7 minutes, remove the tea bags and add 1 3/4 cups of sugar. Stir well: chopsticks are great for this. Add about 1/4 cup strained, freshly-squeezed lemon juice. Chill and enjoy with sliced lemon and mint as a garnish. This is perfect for me, but you can play with the sweet/tart balance.

    1. Because I like my tea rather strong, and serve it over ice, which dilutes it, I use 4 small tea bags to a quart of water, one per cup. Brew for 7-10 minutes. You can squeeze the bags for stronger tea. Add 1/4 cup sugar while the tea is hot and stir to dissolve. Add the juice of 2 lemons, about 4 tablespoons, per quart. Sweet and lemony.

      10 Replies
      1. re: bushwickgirl

        I tend to follow bushwickgirl's method...I believe in making it stronger since you will be pouring it over ice...and everyone has a different sweetness preference, so I let them add their own 1. sugar 2. splenda 3. whatever else they like to sweeten the tea. I also just put out a dish of lemon wedges for folks to add as much as they like...or none.

        1. re: Val

          sugar? can anyone actually sweeten cold iced tea w/ sugar? it won't dissolve.

          1. re: danna

   just have to STIR it for a few minutes...but it does dissolve eventually. Haven't you ever done this at a restaurant, by the way?

            1. re: Val

              I have put sugar in a glass of iced tea, stirred it until the cows came home, and still it sits on the bottom of the glass. I have attempted this hundreds of times in my life, and never w/ any success.

              In fact, some of my early restaurant memories involve my Mom saying, as I stirred franticly, "stop making that noise or i'll never take you to a nice restaurant again" ;-)

            2. re: danna

              Use 'Baker's' sugar (C& H brand), the crystals are smaller and dissolve quickly, it's what I use when filling the 5 hummingbird feeders I keep going.

          2. re: bushwickgirl

            That's how we make it around here in the South, except they like it way sweeter here. We use one bag per cup but the way we do it is steep 8 bags in 1 1/2 quarts of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove bags, whisk in 1 1/2 cups sugar until dissolved then add 2 cups cold water and about 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Chill tea, pour over ice & pass extra lemon slices.

            1. re: Cherylptw

              I know you guys like it very sweet down there, lol. I like it sweet too, but you know how we Northerners are, afraid of sugar and all that. The tea's gotta be strong to start with, though.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                Actually, I like 1/2 & 1/2 (unsweetened & sweet) because it's always too sweet for me and if I go some place that don't serve unsweetened tea (many places don't down here, I guess they consider it heresy) I won't get any since I can't mix the two..guess it's cause I'm still a native NY'er (lol)

                1. re: Cherylptw

                  I had some very sweet tea in New Orleans, I found it's nice with extra lemon, mint, and a shot of rum in it.;-))

                  1. re: Cherylptw

                    I preferred it half sweet half not until my last pregnancy. Now I have finally embraced my Dad's preference of unsweetened tea. Some of us down in the south like things less sweet.

            2. No one has mentioned the obvious yet. The BASIC old-fashioned iced tea is NOT made with boiled water! It is SUN brewed. Get ya a gallon sized glass container, fill it with water, hand squeeze a few lemons through a strainer to catch the seeds, hang a dozen small tea bags spaced out around the perimiter of the container using a rubber band to hold them in place. Cover with some clear plastic wrap and another rubber band and place in direct sunlight for an hour or until a nice dark color is present. Not everyone lives in a sunny location. Once brewed, sweet'n to taste and pour over ice into glasses. Not everyone likes it pre-sweet'n or can consume real sugar (diabetics). True old fashioned iced tea was not sweet'n with sugar anyways, it was sweet'n with honey and done so by the individual drinking it. Honey disolved just fine in iced tea and added a better flavor. Garnish with lemon wedges and fresh picked mint leaves. Enjoy!

              2 Replies
              1. re: vintagechef

                please clarify
                STEEP RISK: sun tea can harbor dangerous bacteria

                1. re: divya

                  A tea monger on The Splendid Table echoed this warning about sun tea. Instead he advocated refrigerator tea - just put the tea bags in a pitcher, and steep overnight (or longer) in the fridge.

                  Tetrahedral PG Tips bags work very well for this - 1 bag per cup of water.


              2. simple syrup. cup of sugar, cup of water, heat in saucepan until sugar dissolves, put in jar in fridge and use to sweeten cold tea. keeps long time.

                1 Reply
                1. re: hyde

                  I second the idea for making a simple syrup to sweeten the tea. This summer I've been having fun infusing the syrup with different flavors--my favorites have been ginger and lemon balm.

                2. Thanks for all the suggestions.

                  I tried several versions and found this to be the best:

                  Boil 1 quart water.
                  Steep 8 tea bags for about 5 minutes.
                  Remove tea bags.
                  Add 1 cup sugar.
                  Let cool.
                  Add one quart of cold water.
                  Stir in juice of one lemon.
                  If anyone tries this recipe, let me know how you like it.