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Healthy Sweet Tea Recipe {Honey Iced Tea}

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 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:

  • Need to make more or less of the recipe? Click and slide the “servings” number on the recipe card and the ingredients will adjust as needed. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
  • 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.

a mason jar of healthy sweet tea topped with lemons and mint
Print Recipe
4.78 from 9 votes

Healthy Sweet Tea Recipe {Honey Iced Tea}

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
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.
  • Add tea bag(s) and baking soda, and cover the pan. Remove from heat, and let steep for 15 minutes.
  • Remove tea bags, pour into a pitcher, add the honey and stir.
  • Add 4 cups of cold water and place in the fridge.

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.
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Sweet Tea Recipe {Honey Iced Tea}
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 34
% Daily Value*
Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 16mg1%
Potassium 5mg0%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 0g0%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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32 comments on “Healthy Sweet Tea Recipe {Honey Iced Tea}”

  1. I worked at Arby’s a bit over a decade ago in South Carolina and they use 10oz of sugar per gallon (1x 32 oz cup filled up to the top for a 3gal container was normal, then a 21oz cup and a 32oz cup filled for a 5gal container).

    I’ve done honey before and while good, I could definitely tell the difference (almost every Mexican restaurant in the south has super sweet tea and I use that as a comparison when I make tea). I just switched to raw blue agave in my coffee 12 months ago and will try that in my tea next time I brew.

    Thanks for the baking soda idea! Have not heard or thought of that!

  2. I was in the drive-thru line at Wendy’s and happened to see them mixing up the sweet tea there (in WV) and they were pouring a five pound bag of sugar into a five gallon bucket of tea. No wonder it tastes like syrup to me!

  3. I read elsewhere about the baking soda too 🙂 I love sweet tea, especially in the summer! Thanks for posting and reminding how easy it is to make!! I know my kids should love to help with this!

  4. I squeeze a small amount of organic agave syrup in ours. We prefer our tea just a little sweet. I will try the baking powder for sure. I’m guilty of adding a tiny sprinkle of salt to coffee or the grounds to “reduce” the bitter taste.

  5. Why not just steep the tea for a shorter amount of time and avoid the bitterness altogether? 15 minutes is a very long time and I have never steeped it longer than 5. Just curious, I’ve been making sweet tea all my life and came across your blog looking for a less sugary method. Kudos and thanks in advance.

  6. I thought the point of raw honey was not to heat it. Are we killing the benefits? Hope not, cause it sounds delish!

  7. I thought the point of raw honey was not to heat it. Are we killing the benefits? Hope not, cause it sounds delish!

    • It kills the health benefits if you hate it too rapidly. My advice would be to make the tea without the honey and then once it’s done boiling, let it steep. Once it’s cooled down to a semi drinkable temperature maybe just a little hotter than drinkable, add your honey and then mix with cold water. That way you’re not killing the benefits of the honey, and you’re still getting the same great taste and sweetness etc.

  8. Thank you so much for posting this that! Being that I am from the south and a true southern gal I LOVE sweet tea and probably drink a pitcher every other day by myself. I just found your blog this weekend and look forward to trying this and many other of your recipes.

  9. Im just curious do you have any home made hippy lemonade recipes! this Bitch loves Palmers style

  10. Baking soda…I never would have thought of that. I just happen to have an over baked batch of sun tea going…it DOES work to cut the bitter. Cool!