My Mother-in-law’s Iced Tea

May 13, 2008



How did mother-in-laws get such a bad rap? Perhaps my mother-in-law isn’t like most mother-in-laws, but I love my mother-in-law. She’s been present and helpful in raising our two boys; sometimes takes my side in discussions instead of her son’s; and she taught me how to make real iced tea.


Before I met my mother-in-law I would drink iced tea in restaurants or I would buy the instant stuff and mix up a glass at a time. I still drink iced tea in restaurants but am usually dissatisfied with the taste. My children wonder why I even bother ordering the stuff any more because I so rarely like it. The powdery stuff I can no longer drink. My mother-in-law has spoiled me.


I was very happy when my mother-in-law taught me how to make real iced tea. The same tea her mother always made. They lived in Southern Indiana so the tea I learned to make is sweet tea. Although not nearly as sweet as the sweet tea I had in North Carolina last summer. And I have to admit that I use less sugar than my mother-in-law. But I did learn a few tricks: Adding the sugar into the boiling water before the tea bags are added, stirring until the water is completely clear, then adding the tea bags and letting it sit for hours, until it cools to room temperature. The only other tricks are using good filtered water, without that chlorine taste and lots of ice. Yum!


I really look forward to a good glass of iced tea on a hot summer day and most days of the summer you will now see a pitcher of iced tea cooling on my counter. And every time I make a pitcher of iced tea, I think of my mother-in-law and how lucky I am to have gotten one so wonderful.



Iced Tea Recipe:


7 cups near boiling filtered water

1/3 cup granulated sugar (more or less to taste)

8 black tea bags- such as Lipton


Bring water to almost boiling in a teapot or saucepan. Temper your pitcher by filling it with hot tap water until ready to use. When water is near boiling, add to pitcher along with the sugar and stir until water is completely clear. Twist teabags together and place in pitcher dunking a few times to get teabags wet. Let seep for several hours or until room temperature. Add to glasses of ice and enjoy.


14 Responses to “My Mother-in-law’s Iced Tea”

  1. Mary Says:

    Hi. I tried out the ice tea. I didn’t use filtered water though. It came out very good. I did 1/3 cup yesterday and today I’m trying just a tad more than a 1/3 cup of sugar. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Mary Says:

    I was wondering if I wanted to make say 2 batches all at once would I do 7X2 = 14 cups of water and 16 teabads and 2/3 cup of sugar?

  3. cfwhitney Says:

    Yes. I’ve doubled or halved this recipe many times. It always works out. Glad you like it.

  4. Samantha Says:

    Can you use other kinds of tea with this recipe? Like orange peco?

  5. cfwhitney Says:

    I haven’t tried it but I would think it would work. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

  6. Samantha Says:

    Ok I will let you know how it works out.

  7. Christopher Says:

    Have tried this recipe many times and really like it. If I need to, I’ll mix a tall glass with half of this recipe and half water if its too strong for someone. I also like me tea unsweetened so I’ll sometimes leave the sugar step out.

  8. sandrar Says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  9. Amy Says:

    Hi Just desided to reply that orange pekoe is black tea

  10. Ruth Says:

    Do I leave the tea bags to steep for several hours or just dunk them till I like the color and then pull them? The later method would mean the bags are there only a minute or two at most.


    • In Minneapolis Says:

      I just leave the tea bags in; usually until it’s close to room temperature. It’s really personal preference though. You can taste it periodically and see if it’s where you like it.

  11. manda Says:

    Just wanted to share that this is the exact way my family has made this since I was a little girl. We have always used lipton and leave our tea bags in the pitcher, even in the fridge. We like strong tea apparently! 2 gallon pitcher, 10 tea bags, 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar. prepared the same way you do.

    it’s even delicious with splenda.

    Glad to hear other people enjoy the exact tea we do. Growing up, my friends always passed up soda to drink my dad’s special tea! 🙂

  12. Joe M. Says:

    Miss Aletha’s Iced Tea
    (Thanks, Mom, I miss you!)

    2 cups water
    4 family size tea bags
    1-1/2 cups sugar or 3/4 cup Splenda blend

    Put water in appropriate size pot and put in tea bags
    Heat until just boiling
    Remove from heat and remove tea bags, squeeze out gently with tongs
    Add sugar to hot tea and stir until dissolved
    Put concentrated tea in 1-gallon pitcher and add cold water until full and stir to mix
    Enjoy over ice and refrigerate until cold

  13. […] But if you’re a tea bag person, you can try CFWhitney’s mother-in-law’s tried and true tea bag method. […]

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