Seville Orangeade


Totally delicious orangeade drink, made with sour Seville oranges.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Remember Tang, the orange drink of astronauts?

This Seville Orangeade sort of reminds me of Tang, or what Tang would taste like if it were made from fresh, whole ingredients. Or for those of us who outgrew Tang, think, Orangina but without the carbonation.

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What are Seville oranges?

Seville oranges are bitter-tasting oranges that are traditionally used to make orange marmalade. They are very sour, not sweet, and have a wonderful flavor. You can use them as a substitute for lemons in many recipes. They are also a defining flavor in many Mexican recipes.

Inspired by my colleague Marc’s recipe for whole lemon lemonade and I decided to try out the method with a bunch of leftover bitter Seville oranges I had from making marmalade.

bitter or sour seville oranges

Where to get Seville bitter oranges

Bitter or sour oranges are needed to make this orangeade recipe; it doesn’t really work with regular juice oranges. Where can you find bitter oranges?

  • You can order them online. Melissa’s Produce carries them in season (late winter and early spring).
  • Farmer’s Markets. In areas where citrus is grown, sometimes you can find farmers offering Seville oranges at local farmers markets, in season.
  • Local markets with good produce sections. In some areas some local grocery stores may sell Seville oranges when they are in season. Look out for them and ask your local grocer!
  • You can forage them. Seville orange trees have been used as ornamental trees in landscaping. Sometimes you can find the trees growing in old city street boulevards (in warm areas where citrus can be grown.) Here in California navel oranges are often grafted onto bitter orange root stock which is hardy. Sometimes the root stock takes over the orange tree and one year you find yourself with bitter seedy Seville oranges growing on your tree instead of sweet, seedless navel oranges.

Most people don’t have the patience for marmalade making, for which these oranges are ideally suited.

This Seville orangeade is an easy way to use up those otherwise ignored oranges and make a delicious, refreshing drink at the same time. They would work great for an orange sorbet as well!

Seville Orangeade Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 1 1/2 quarts


  • 10-12 seville oranges, washed and scrubbed clean
  • 1 cup sugar
  • The juice from one large lemon
  • 5 cups cold, filtered water


1 Prep the oranges: Cut the oranges in half lengthwise and then slice them into thin 1/8-inch slices.

2 Mash the slices with sugar: Put them in a large flat-bottomed non-reactive bowl. Stir in the sugar. Use a potato masher to mash the orange slices until most of the segments are juiced.

3 Add water and lemon juice: Pour water into the bowl of orange slices. Stir to mix gently, making sure that any undissolved sugar gets completely dissolved. Stir in the lemon juice.

4 Strain: Set a large fine mesh strainer over another large bowl and strain the orange mixture through it, pressing if necessary to get out as much of the juice as possible. Pour into a serving pitcher.

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Seville Orangeade

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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10 Comments / Reviews

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  1. Joshua Eason

    I just did something similar today and it was great :D We’ve had the bitter orange trees at my grandma’s for years, but they’ve always considered them ornamental not edible.

    At the beginning of this year, I had found a recipe for orange salmon that used Seville oranges, so I looked it up to find out what they were and sure enough, they are the bitter ones we grow.

    Today, I’ve finally brought a huge bag of oranges from my grandma’s and the first thing I did was make a beverage with it: Lemonade, substituting the lemon juice for the orange.

    I think I’ll try it with some of the lemon like you do though. Thank you for always sharing such lovely recipes.

  2. clare

    I live in Alberta and am desperate to find bitter marmalade oranges to make some marmalade – any suggestions as to where I can find some would really be appreciated….

    June in the northern hemisphere is not the season for seville oranges. Better luck in January or February. ~Elise

  3. lewis

    I can’t find a seville orange tree to plant in our back yard.Our neighbour had a huge one with fruit overhanging our wall and each year I would make at least a dozen pints of delicious marmalade.Alas,a new neighbour moved in and had it chopped down.Brings tears to your eyes.

  4. Marc

    I often see Seville oranges in Berkeley Bowl in the conventional citrus section. They might also sell organic, but I don’t recall seeing them. Anything is possible at “the Bowl.”

    In north Berkeley, I wouldn’t be surprised if Monterey Market sold them.

  5. jose

    Elise, here in Northern California(SF), I’ve been looking for a source for these Seville oranges. It sounds like you grow these yourself. Know of anywhere else I could find them?

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