The Biggest Mistake To Avoid When Making Copycat McDonald's Sweet Tea

With McDonald's sweet tea, you get exactly what the name implies: a large cup of iced tea with a fair amount of sugar. It's been a staple of the chain's beverage menu since 2008, which was back when there was an actual dollar menu with beverages (and other items) priced at just a buck. While the drink may cost more these days, you can always make it yourself as a much cheaper alternative.

Mashed developer Susan Olayinka has come up with a copycat recipe for McDonald's sweet tea that she feels is "amazing," telling us, "I was pleasantly shocked" by the flavor. It's also very easy to make, since essentially all you'll need to do is brew a few cups of tea, add a lot of sugar, and then let the sweetened tea chill in the refrigerator. The biggest mistake you should be sure to avoid is letting your tea brew for too long, because this might make it bitter.

One thing to note, though, is that Olayinka, who admits that she's "not really a tea drinker," prefers her tea very weak. While she only steeps her tea for 10 seconds, many other McDonald's sweet tea copycats call for steeping the teabags for up to five minutes, which is more in line with the three to five minutes recommended by tea experts.

Feel free to make your tea only as sweet as you please

While you can change up the steeping time of the tea to suit your personal preference, as long as you don't go too much over the five-minute mark, then you can also alter the amount of sweetness to suit your personal preference. Olayinka's recipe actually appears to be quite a bit sweeter than McDonald's sweet tea, since hers has five tablespoons and a teaspoon of sugar per 16 ounces of tea. A 16-ounce serving of McDonald's sweet tea, on the other hand, has 24 grams of sugar, which equates to about two tablespoons. If you like your tea really, really sweet, feel free to use the larger amount, but if you want an exact duplicate of McDonald's tea, the 3 cups of liquid in this recipe would only require three tablespoons of sugar instead of half a cup.

Of course, you can also dial back on the amount of sugar, too, if you want your beverage to be a bit less sweet than the Mickey D's product. That's the joy of DIY, after all, since instead of settling for what a restaurant serves, you really can "have it your way" if you make it yourself. (Apologies, BK, but McDonald's has no similar slogan we could appropriate to make our point.) As you'll be adding the sugar after the tea has steeped, you can stir it in a teaspoon at a time until your tea tastes just right.