How to Make Sun Tea

DrinkFavorite SummerTea

A great way to make some tea without heating up your kitchen is to use the power of the sun to make sun tea.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

As the mercury breaks 100°F on these hot summer days (or 38°C for those of you on a metric system) a great way to make some tea without heating up your kitchen is to use the power of the sun to make sun tea.

How to Make Sun Tea Recipe

  • Prep time: 3 hours


  • 4-8 tea bags


Put 4 to 8 tea bags into a clean 2 quart or gallon glass container (4 teabags for a 2 quart container, 8 tea bags for a gallon container). Fill with water and cap. Place outside where the sunlight can strike the container for about 3 to 5 hours. Move the container if necessary to keep it in the sun. When the tea has reached its desired strength, remove from sun and put it in the refrigerator. You may or may not want to remove the tea bags at this point. I usually don't.

The tea will probably taste more mellow than what you are used to from using boiling water. The slow steeping has a way of bringing out a slightly different flavor from the tea. Also, because you didn't use boiling water, you should refrigerate the tea and drink it up pretty quickly - a day or two. It will not keep as well as iced tea made from boiling water.

I usually make sun tea with various forms of herbal tea. Sometimes you can put in a few sprigs of fresh mint as well.

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Sun Tea

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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113 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Jerrilynn

    First– place water in the jar. –Then—add the tea bags. This way the rush of water poured into the jar will not cause tea leaves to break out of their bag.

    Also it is not necessary to use cold water to start the brewing. This just takes more time to heat up the water from the sun. Begin by adding warm water to the jar first then add the tea bags.

  2. Rachele

    I use 12 tea bags per gallon. I put it out when I leave for work and bring it in after. When I bring it in, I squeeze excess tea from bags as I remove them. I put 1.5 cups sugar in a 2 cup glass measuring cup and add enough boiling water to melt the sugar before adding it to the tea. I refrigerate it and serve well chilled with ice!


  3. Adam

    This is my first time, 12 tea bags in a gallon. It’s been in the hot sun for 5.5 hrs, time to bring it in. I’m going to add sugar and refrigerate. Trial and error. Thanks guys.


  4. Alexandra Filkins

    Does it need to be hot or cold water??

    Show Replies (2)
  5. Sandra Jones

    How long do you keep the tea in the fridge

    Show Replies (1)
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How to Make Sun Tea