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.

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 perfected this.

mcdonald's sweet tea

What Makes This Recipe So Great

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 Copycat McDonald’s Sweet Tea

  • Water: Forms the base of the tea, used in two stages – for steeping the tea bags and later for diluting the tea to the desired strength.
  • Tea Bags: Provide the essential tea flavor. The quantity used ensures a robust and rich tea characteristic of McDonald’s Sweet Tea.
  • Granulated White Sugar: Sweetens the tea, creating the signature sweetness of the McDonald’s version. The amount can be adjusted to suit personal taste preferences.

Optional: Lemon: Can be added to introduce a citrusy note, enhancing the overall flavor of the 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 51 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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Tips & Tricks

  • Sugar Varieties: Experiment with different sugars like castor, brown, or xylitol. Each type brings a unique flavor and sweetness level.
  • Healthier Options: For a less sweet version, reduce the sugar amount or use honey as a natural sweetener.
  • Herbs and Spices: Enhance the tea with herbs like mint or spices for added depth. Mint is a refreshing choice.
  • Fruit Infusions: Add fresh fruits like berries or citrus to the cooled tea for a fruity twist and visual appeal.
  • Tea Variations: Try different tea types to alter the flavor profile. Pair them with complementary sugars or fruits.

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.

How to Serve McDonald’s Sweet Tea

To serve McDonald’s Sweet Tea in true style, start by ensuring the tea is well-chilled, as this brings out its refreshing qualities. Use tall glasses for an authentic presentation and fill them generously with ice cubes, which not only keep the tea cold but also dilute it to the perfect strength as they melt. Carefully pour the chilled sweet tea over the ice, filling each glass to the brim. For a citrusy twist, garnish with a lemon slice, either perched on the rim or floating within the tea. Serve the tea immediately for maximum freshness and enjoyment. This method of serving ensures a delightful and authentic experience, reminiscent of the popular McDonald’s beverage.

McDonald’s Copycat Drinks

  1. McDonald’s Mocha Frappe: A delightful blend of chocolate and coffee, served with ice and optionally topped with cream for a luxurious treat.
  2. McDonald’s Shamrock Shake Copycat: Perfect for mint and chocolate lovers, this shake is a refreshing and creamy delight, especially popular around St. Patrick’s Day.
  3. McDonald’s Iced Coffee: Learn how to recreate McDonald’s rich and tasty iced coffee at home, perfect for a quick caffeine fix.
  4. McDonald’s Strawberry Shake: A classic thick milkshake made with ice cream, strawberry syrup, fresh strawberries, and milk, offering a sweet and refreshing experience.

These recipes provide a variety of flavors and are ideal for those who enjoy recreating their favorite McDonald’s beverages in the comfort of their own kitchen. Enjoy making and savoring these delightful drinks!


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.

copycat mcdonald's sweet tea


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