McDonald’s Sweet Tea Recipe


What is better than an icy cold, refreshing drink on a scorching hot summers’ day? And Mcdonalds Sweet Tea is by far my favorite of them all.

copycat mcdonald's sweet tea

But an everlasting problem with fast-food chain restaurants is the lack of quality control and consistency. Their sweet tea seems to miss the mark more often than not and despite theirs’ reigning above others, the occasional disappointment still isn’t worth it.

It is either too bitter, or sickeningly sweet, or not cold enough, or too diluted – never just perfect like it used to be.

Luckily, after many, many attempts to try and replicate their classic Sweet Tea, I have finally come to a point where I can confidently say that I have done it!

This recipe is perfect for any occasion, be it a birthday party, a picnic, a beach day, or simply a quick and easy refreshing beverage at home – everyone will beg you for the recipe and it will certainly be the talk of the town.

And the best part, it is extremely versatile! No funny ingredients that will restrict you if you want to change it up or make it more exciting. You can easily adjust the amount of sugar (and even the type), change the flavor of the tea you want to use, and you can add additional ingredients to create a themed drink!

Don’t look any further for the perfect refreshing beverage; you’ve finally found it!

How To Make McDonald’s Sweet Tea

Place half of the water into a pot and add the tea bags and sugar. Bring the liquid to a low simmer over medium heat and allow to simmer for about 1 minute.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow the tea bags to steep for about 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and allow the sweet tea to cool down for about 10 minutes.

Place ice cubes in a large pitcher and slowly pour the cooled down tea over them. Top with the remaining water until the pitcher is full.

Stir to evenly incorporate all of the components and place them in the refrigerator to chill.

McDonald’s Sweet Tea Recipe

4 from 48 votes
Recipe by Laura Ritterman Course: DrinksCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time




Resting Time



This McDonald’s Sweet Tea recipe is delicious, refreshing and so easy to make! You’ll be delighted to know this drink takes 5 minutes from start to finish.


  • 8 cups 8 (2 quarts) water, divided use

  • 12 bags of tea or 3 large bags

  • 2 cups 2 granulated white sugar

  • Optional: Lemon


  • Place 4 cups (1 quart) of water into a large pot and slowly heat the water over medium heat. Once the water starts becoming warmer, add the tea bags and sugar.
  • Bring the tea mixture to a low simmer while continuously stirring to dissolve all of the sugar. This is an important step as any sugar granules will leave a strange and unpleasant texture in the cooled off drink.
  • Once it has simmered for a minute, remove the pot from the heat and set it aside to allow the tea to steep, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove all of the tea bags and allow the tea to cool down considerably.
  • Fill a large pitcher with ice cubes and slowly pour the semi-cooled tea over the ice. The ice will start to melt whilst cooling the tea. Add the rest of the water to fill the pitcher and stir to incorporate evenly.
  • Place the pitcher in the refrigerator to chill until needed. Serve this delicious cold beverage at a picnic, party or a simple anytime-beverage.


  • You can freeze some cooled tea in ice trays and use them to fill the pitcher. This will prevent the flavor from being diluted with melted ice (water) and provide a refreshing, strong tea flavor.

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Choosing a Type of Tea

Even though this McDonalds’ Sweet Tea recipe is perfect and doesn’t require any adjusting, you can still make changes, the biggest is using a non-traditional tea.

This recipe is so simple and flexible, you can easily make major changes and still get great tasting results.

With teas specifically, they have evolved over the decades and can now be found virtually anywhere and in thousands of flavors.

When choosing a tea flavor for ice tea, try avoiding any bitter or tart teas. Bitter flavors taste even more intense on your palette when cold, thus if you are a supertaster (someone who can taste different flavors, especially tart flavors, way more intensely than others) like me, avoid them completely.

Rather opt for fruity, herbal or sweet teas. Some of my favorites include Strawberry & Elderflower, Raspberry & Honey and Camomile & Orange.

Not only are these great tasting teas, but they will result in great tasting refreshing summer sweet teas.

See the tips and tricks section for more ideas to adjust the flavor.

Tips & Tricks

  • You can use other forms of sugar such as castor sugar, brown sugar, xylitol, honey and many more. Each might require different quantities and each will result in different tasting teas.

You can easily adjust the flavor by experimenting a bit. You can also reduce the amount of sugar to make it healthier.

  • Add different herbs (and even spices) to the sweet tea and allow them to infuse and create more complex flavors. You can never go wrong with mint!

You can go as far as adding fresh fruit (once the tea has been completely cooled down) and allowing it to infuse for a few hours. This will affect both the flavor and presentation.

  • As we have already mentioned, you can easily use different types of teas to adjust the flavor (see the section above). These teas can also be experimented with and you can try different sugars and other flavoring ingredients to enhance the flavor.


As you can see, this recipe is everything you could have ever dreamed of; it is quick to make as well as very easy (you can even get your kids to help you make it) and it is extremely versatile.

Because of this reason, it is very easy to experiment with different flavors until you get the perfect one that the whole family will love – or maybe even have two different flavors at the same time!

If you thought the perfect summers’ drink didn’t exist, prepare to be blown away.


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