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McDonald's Sweet Tea Recipe
McDonald's Sweet Tea
By Todd Wilbur

Recipe Type: Drink
Calories: 20
Cook Time: 1 hour 36 minutes
Recipe Rating: 4.5 (41 reviews)

I know, it's just tea. Tea and sugar, plain and simple -- probably the easiest recipe on earth! But I have been getting so many requests to clone the sweet tea that McDonald's is heavily pitching these days for a buck a cup that I just can't ignore this product. Of course there are many ways to brew ice tea, but all you'll need to clone tea like Mickey D's are a few standard-size Lipton tea bags and a way to boil 2 quarts of water. There's a whole cup of sugar in there, so this tea is pretty sweet if you drink it straight. McDonald's serves the real stuff from a room-temperature jug into a cup filled with ice. This dilutes the tea so it's not so crazy-sweet when you take a big swig to wash down the nuggets.

2 quarts water
3 Lipton tea bags (standard size)
1 cup granulated sugar

1. Bring the water to a boil over high heat.

2. When the water hits a rolling boil, take it off the heat, add the tea bags, and cover the saucepan. Allow the tea to steep tea for 1 hour, and then remove the tea bags.

3. Add 1 cup of sugar to a 2-quart pitcher, then add the tea. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour the tea into a glass filled with ice to serve.

Makes 2 quarts.

Great Recipe
Submitted on: 02/02/14
The best ice tea you must it let it set to the next Day .Awesome
Submitted on: 02/01/14 must it set and drink it the next day Awesome drink ;)
Better than McDonalds
Rodger Welch  
Submitted on: 01/08/14
Best recipe ever, after several attempts I would only add be sure and put the sugar in the pot after you turn off the heat make sure it dissolves it seems to taste so much better. Also the tea really taste better if you let it set and drink the next day. AWESOME
Elizabeth Evans  
Submitted on: 01/04/14
Love this and so simple!
mickey D's sweet tea
Amanda Brozene  
Submitted on: 12/12/13
Brad and Jesse are douches man one star really?!?!?! Todd you are awesome and there will always ppl who suck!!!
Submitted on: 11/17/13
This tea is great and very much like McDonald's. I am from Alabama and had 45 year's worth of Memaw's sweet tea and you need a bit more sugar. Yes, it is sweet and we southerners are aware. But if you learned to drink it sweet like this, you would love it, too. We never, ever make weak tea either. Always boil the water and steep the tea bags. The sugar has to be dissolved in the water while hot. My family always, always used Lipton.
The Best!
Submitted on: 07/23/13
I love it! This is by far the closest to McDonald's sweet tea that I have ever tried- and I've tried a lot!! Thank you so much
Super sweet tea--better than McDonalds!
Submitted on: 07/17/13
Since I am 8 months pregnant, I am trying to avoid caffeine-- but I love sweet tea! I made this recipe with decaffeinated tea bags and it is perfect!! I am hooked! Thank you for sharing!
Todd you are my new BFF
Submitted on: 06/15/13
Oh WOW! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I've been trying to duplicate this ever since I had my first cup a couple of years ago This is absolutely the closest thing to the original I've seen.
Cant wait to try this
Candy in Georgia  
Submitted on: 05/20/13
As I sat in the drive-thru line at Mickey D's like I do EVERY day I figured there must be a way for me to make this at home! Having made sweet tea all my life, I never thought to let it steep for an hour. Maybe that 's the trick!
Right on the money
Nathan Bedford  
Submitted on: 05/13/13
I was a little skeptical of using only 1 standard tea bags (I used one family-size), but the hour-long steep did the trick. Very similar in flavor to the Mc Donalds recipe...thanks!
Submitted on: 04/24/13
I love this recipe! It's perfect!!!! Everyone in my family loves it! It's now a dinner usual!
Submitted on: 03/04/13
Wow, before i even comment on the awesomeness of this recipe, I'll like to add that the world is just full of buffoons! I am specifically talking to the two idiots that gave this recipe a star because of minute objections like "who wouldn't know how to make sweet tea" and "why would this be listed as a top secret recipe" etc Common!!! are you that dense? Thanks Todd! This recipe was helpful as i have been looking to replicate the McDonald's sweet tea i so heavily inve
Right Ingredients, Wrong order
Mandy C.  
Submitted on: 07/24/12
This will make sweetened tea, not sweet tea. For true sweet tea, add the sugar to the boiling water first, then the tea bags. It's a fine distinction, but important as that it what keeps it from being bitter.
Needs Adjustments
Submitted on: 07/05/12
With this recipe I ended up using 2 cups of sugar instead of one. With 1 cup it was watered down. I used deer parks filtered water for the tea. After the adjustments it seemed just like a McDonald's sweet tea.
Judy in Saint Petersburg, Florida  
Submitted on: 07/29/09
Always use this recipe with 3/4 cup of sugar. I have never been able to make good tea until now. Great southern tea with no bitter taste
Glen M. Kowalski  
Submitted on: 06/09/09
This is a very consistent recipe, and it tastes like southern sweet tea.
Submitted on: 03/23/09
Cutting down the amount of sugar makes the trick, or adding a little water. I served it to 4 people. Out of those 4, only one person liked it, the others thought there was way too much sugar. I would go for 3 1/2 stars, but 4 would do.
Submitted on: 01/03/09
I used to spend about $4 dollars a day on teas at McDonalds cause they are so awesome. Now it's so much cheaper, I couldnt ever figure out how they made it taste so good. Thanks a bunch it tastes great.
Mary Close  
Submitted on: 12/05/08
I used less sugar just for my own preference, and it was great. My daughter says it tastes exactly the same as McDonalds. Also, it's very easy.
Submitted on: 10/26/08
Love this easy to make tea. Save money and don't forget the real lemons.
Thick Stick (Seattle)  
Submitted on: 10/03/08
You know, I stop by the McD's in Lakewood, here in Washington, and they have a 32oz sweet tea for $1.00 Its great... I get it all the time.. cheap and tastes good. I will be making my own now... Thanks Todd.
Submitted on: 09/21/08
love how simple the recipe is as I love the Mickey D. tea
Submitted on: 09/16/08
I am from the south but have lived in the North for many years. This is how I always make my tea and everyone loves it. Now that I am watching my weight I use splenda just like sugar and it is just as good try it! Keep up the good work.
Submitted on: 09/16/08
I LOVE this tea !!!!!! I just made some and it's great !!!
Submitted on: 09/09/08
This tea is great! I used less sugar than called for and it was still a little too sweet for me, but the flavor is perfect. I always keep tea around the house, so from now on this is the ONLY way I'll be making my tea. Great job, Todd!!
Submitted on: 09/08/08
Well, this is the way I have been making tea for over 50 years, except I put the sugar over the tea bag and then add the water. This is the way almost the "sweet tea" is made in southern Oklahoma.
Submitted on: 09/08/08
Living in the Seattle area it is very hard to find true Southern Sweet Tea. I have found one McDonalds in my area that serves it but, it is way too far to drive on a daily basis. This recipe tastes just like it! I am thrilled! Thank you.
Carolyn Beale  
Submitted on: 09/06/08
LOOOOVVVVVVVVEEE, this Recipe!! the tea is out of this world!!, I buy this tea all the time on my way home from work,it wakes me up after a hard day!!,Now i have the recipe I can have it ready for me when i arrive home,the kids love the tea as much as i do!!now they have it ready for them as well!!!!. Thank-you so very much for having this on your site.
Submitted on: 09/05/08
The McDonald's sweet tea is TOO sweet! Our house much prefers the sweet tea from Sonic, Arby's, and White Castle. I made this recipe with a little more than half a cup of sugar. PERFECT!!
Submitted on: 09/04/08
Being from the south, I have always loved sweet tea. So glad to find the recipe that makes it taste the way I remember it. Thanks, TSR
Submitted on: 09/04/08
The big tip here is to "boil" the water, on the stove top. The steeping definitely develops the "bouquet" and strength. For some reason, the microwave, or Tea Makers, just don't create the same "gusto" of tea. Thanks for this one.
Submitted on: 09/04/08
Oh yeah...nothing like sweet tea on a hot day! You can make this less sweet if you like, or just put it over lots of ice to cut the sweetness. Perfect!
Submitted on: 09/04/08
It is too sweet for me, but the tea flavor is good. Reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup or less.
Submitted on: 09/04/08
Having family in the south that are died in the wool sweet tea drinkers I can tell you this is right on the mark! The only thing they do different is put the sugar in while the tea is still hot for better disolving. This is a winner Todd!!
June Slay  
Submitted on: 09/03/08
I know it taste good, but just how sweet can you go? I typically will use 3/4 cup - 1 cup sugar to a gallon of tea and have rave complients on nothing like my sweet tea.
Submitted on: 09/03/08
I have an easier recipe that gives the same if not better sweet tea. Put 3 Family size teabags in your coffee maker(like a Mr. Coffee), add 12 cups of water and brew. Meanwhile put 2 cups sugar in a one gallon pitcher. When the coffee is done pour over the sugar and add 12 cups more water to the same teabags and brew. Pour this into to gallon container. Stir and let sit until room temperature and refrigerate. Much easier than steeping for 2 hours.
Submitted on: 09/03/08
I'm a little disappointed that this would be listed as a "Top Secret" Recipe.
Submitted on: 09/03/08
Wow. A recipe for sweet tea. Who the he!! would ask for this recipe. If you cannot make tea, you shouldn't be in the kitchen. Next week, we'll get a recipe for milk.
Submitted on: 09/03/08
It is the same as McDonald's sweet tea, but as a girl raised on TRUE, SOUTHERN, SWEET TEA, McDonald's is NOT sweet enough. Now, all y'all KNOW what I am talkin' about that was raised on sweet tea! ONE CUP of sugar?! COME ON! Sweet Tea WAS my Koolaid! Everyone LOVES my sweet tea, but you would truly die if you knew how much sugar I put in it to make it sweet like my grandma's! And, she should know, she was born and raised in Tennessee! No fault to you, Todd, you made a perfect clone once again! I live in Indiana, so it is very hard to find a true Southern tea up here! I still give it a 5 rating because, honestly it tastes just like McDonald's! Just add some more sugar, if you like it sweeter like me, and you are good to go!
Submitted on: 09/01/08
I think that the best way to make great Southern tea is to boil the water with the sugar to fully dissolve the sugar and then pour it over the tea bags. It makes it that much better!