Citrus Sun Tea Recipe

Citrus sun tea is a refreshing and flavorful drink that is perfect for warm weather. Despite its catchy name, sun tea is not a new brand of iced tea; instead, it's a tea that is made by steeping tea bags in water that is left out in the sun for several hours, allowing the flavors to infuse slowly. According to food Blogger Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table, what sets this citrus sun tea recipe apart from regular sun tea is the addition of citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges. This makes for a refreshing and fun drink that both looks and feels like summer.

However, one should exercise some caution when drinking sun tea. Since leaving tea outside can lead to the development of bacteria, one should never leave their tea in the sun for more than 4 hours before moving it to the fridge. Some will even suggest you should avoid the sun when making sun tea. However you make it, citrus sun tea is easy to make and can be customized to your preferred level of sweetness, thus making it quite possibly the one of the easiest drinks you can make.

Gather the ingredients for homemade citrus sun tea

To make 1 gallon of sun tea, you will need some tea bags (we recommend simple orange pekoe tea for the cleanest flavor), 1 gallon of water, an orange, and a lemon. We also love using mint leaves as a garnish for this refreshing drink, if desired.

The steeping vessel you use matters, though. We recommend steeping the tea in a glass jar that has been washed with soap to lower the chance of bacteria developing.

Steep the tea bags in cold water

Making citrus sun tea is a simple process that involves just a few easy steps. It's important to use a large 1-gallon jar to ensure that the tea has enough room to steep properly. Once your ingredients are ready, place the tea bags into the jar and fill it with water. It's best to use filtered water to avoid any unwanted impurities.

Place the jar in a sunny spot for about 4 hours. The sun's warmth will help steep the tea slowly, thus avoiding the shock of blanching the tea in boiling water. Once the tea has steeped for 4 hours, carefully remove the jar from the sunny spot, and transfer it to the fridge.

Add the citrus

Letting the tea chill in the fridge is an important step in the process of making citrus sun tea. This allows the flavors to meld together, and the tea to fully cool down. It's recommended to let the tea chill for at least 1 hour before serving, but you can let it chill for longer. Once the tea has fully chilled, fill a glass with a few ice cubes, and then add 1 orange slice and 1 lemon slice.

Serving the citrus sun tea for a crowd

If you're serving this tea for a crowd, you can transfer the tea to a large pitcher filled with ice and the citrus slices. You can also add mint leaves if desired, for a refreshing and aromatic touch. Just don't let the tea infuse with the citrus slices for too long, for it will become bitter over time.

Enjoy the citrus sun tea

If you're serving the tea to a crowd of all ages, particularly children, you may also choose to accompany your tea with simple syrup so that people can sweeten the tea to their liking. Overall, making citrus sun tea is a simple and fun process that yields a delicious and refreshing drink that is perfect for any occasion. Give it a try the next time you're looking for a tasty and hydrating beverage to enjoy on a sunny day.

Citrus Sun Tea Recipe
5 from 31 ratings
This classic sun tea recipe incorporates fresh citrus for an easy and refreshing summer beverage.
Prep Time
Cook Time
two glasses of iced tea
Total time: 5 hours, 5 minutes
  • 4 tea bags
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
Optional Ingredients
  • Mint sprigs
  1. Place the tea bags in a large 1-gallon jar, and fill the jar with cold water. Place it outside in a sunny spot for 4 hours, then transfer it to the fridge.
  2. Once the tea has cooled, fill glasses with 1 orange slice and 1 lemon slice. Top with ice as needed. Pour the tea into the glasses, garnish with 1 sprig of mint, if desired, and serve.
  3. Alternatively, you can transfer the tea to a large pitcher filled with ice, the lemon and orange slices, and mint leaves. Serve immediately.
Calories per Serving 5
Total Fat 0.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 1.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.3 g
Total Sugars 0.9 g
Sodium 9.6 mg
Protein 0.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe