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This delicious Healthy Sweet Tea Recipe uses honey instead of buckets of sugar. Learn how simple it is to make sweet tea without refined sugar. This healthy iced tea recipe will be your new favorite sip!

a mason jar of healthy sweet tea topped with lemons and mint

The wait is over – a Healthy Sweet Tea recipe is here my friends! Sweet tea is a staple for many families, but it is packed with refined sugar. A friend told me her granny used to say “add sugar until your lips stick to your teeth”. I think we can do better than that!

Need a faster way to make a bunch of tea? Check out this post on Easy Instant Pot Iced Tea.

How Can I Sweeten Tea Without Sugar?

Traditional sweet tea recipes call for sugar. Lots and lots of sugar. Instead, we prefer to use delicious raw honey.

The key is to add it while the water is warm enough to allow the honey to incorporate but not so hot that it kills the awesome beneficial properties.

If you prefer to allow others to sweeten their portions to taste, you can also keep a bottle of homemade Honey Simple Syrup or Honey Ginger Syrup in the fridge.

And if you love healthy and refreshing drinks, check out this Cucumber and Mint Water Recipe. Cucumber infused water is so good keeps for a few days in the fridge!

Why Do You Add Baking Soda to Iced Tea?

If you let the tea steep for a long time because you prefer a strong flavor it can cause the tea to become bitter. The baking soda neutralizes that and just gives you the perfect tea flavor without a funky aftertaste.

Baking soda is my secret ingredient for cutting the acidity or bitterness out of lots of foods and drinks. Many people add sugar to balance out bitterness, but baking soda gets the job done like a baller (shot caller).

Don’t believe me? See it in action in Whole30 Tomato Soup, Homemade Sugar-Free Pizza Sauce, and Instant Pot Orange Chicken.

How Long Will Sweet Tea With Honey Last in the Fridge?

This honey-sweetened tea is best consumed within 7-10 days if stored in the fridge.

Here’s How to Make It

I’ll walk you through it here with photos, but you’ll also find a printable and detailed recipe card at the bottom of the post.

You’ll want to start by bringing 4 cups of water to a near boil. Pop the pan off the heat, add the tea bags and baking soda. Cover the pan and let it steep for a solid 15 minutes.

When the time is up, remove the tea bags, pour everything into a pitcher, add the honey and stir to dissolve.

Process shots for making healthy sweet tea

Add 4 cups of cold water and place the pitcher in the fridge. Pro tip: if you would like to serve immediately, add 2 cups of cold water and 2 cups of ice.

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes:

  • Don’t have family-style bags? You can use 7 normal tea bags instead.
  • Adding honey to cold iced tea just does not work. Make sure you add it after the 15-minute steeping process before it goes into the fridge.

Variations on this Healthy Sweet Tea Recipe:

  • Our preferred way of enjoying this healthy sweet tea is 3/4 tea, and 1/4 lemonade – ‘Palmer style!
    • Pro tip: use lemon-flavored sparkling water to make it a sparkling Arnold Palmer with less sugar.
  • Try experimenting with flavored teas like fruity or tropical teas.
  • Add lemon or lime wedges or add fresh fruit.

Do you love healthier drinks that taste amazing? Check out my Mojito Mocktail and Mocktails For Kids and Grown-Ups!

I won’t even compare this Healthy Sweet Tea Recipe to “real” sweet tea in terms of sugar consumption. But, let’s just say this version won’t give you the crazy energy rush that would allow you to tie a rope around your waist and tow your car home.

More Healthy Drink Recipes Like This


One serving of Healthy Sweet Tea has 2 WW Freestyle SmartPoints.

4.85 from 13 ratings

Healthy Sweet Tea Recipe {Honey Iced Tea}

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
a mason jar of healthy sweet tea topped with lemons and mint
This delicious Healthy Sweet Tea Recipe uses honey instead of buckets of sugar.


  • 1 family style black or green tea bag
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 4 cups water {boiling}
  • 4 cups water {cold}
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda {optional}


Stovetop Instructions

  • Bring 4 cups of water to a near boil.
    4 cups water
  • Add tea bag(s) and (optional) baking soda, and cover the pan. Remove from heat, and let steep for 15 minutes.
    1 family style black or green tea bag, 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • Remove tea bags, pour into a pitcher, add the honey and stir.
    1/3 cup raw honey
  • Add 4 cups of cold water and place in the fridge.
    4 cups water

Sun Tea Instructions

  • Place tea, honey, 8 cups of room temperature water, and baking soda in a sun tea jar. Place in a sunny place.
  • Stir occasionally if possible to distribute the honey. The length of time to steep will depend on how hot it is outside.
  • Serve over ice if you’d like to serve immediately. Transfer to the refrigerator and cool.


Don’t have family-style bags? Use 7 small tea bags instead.
Makes 1/2 gallon or 2 quarts.
if you would like to serve immediately, add 2 cups of cold water and 2 cups of ice.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 34kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 0gFat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 16mgPotassium: 5mgSugar: 9gIron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!


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About Sarah

Helping you serve up budget-friendly sustainable recipes with a side of balanced living.
Come for the food. Stay for the snark.

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    1. It all depends on the tea you use. You’re welcome to use caffeinated, decaf, or even some of each for “half-caff”.

      Most tea boxes will list the caffeine level on the front or back by the ingredients.

    1. It is a great way to mellow the taste of things that might be acidic without using sugar. I use it in tomato products a lot (like tomato soup, spaghetti sauce, etc.). It’s optional but definitely try it at least once. You’ll love it!