This sun tea is so easy because all you need is the sun, tea, and water and you have a delicious, refreshing beverage.

During those hot summer days, my family’s first question is always, “Have you made sun tea yet?” If you have ever had sun tea, you know how refreshing and great it tastes.

I honestly cannot remember a summer where there was not some kind of sun tea steeping in the hot sun. Sometimes there were even multiple kinds of tea steeping. It does take a little longer than boiling the water, but it is definitely worth it.

What is sun tea?

Sun tea is made by brewing or steeping outdoors in the sun. Regular tea is brewed on the stove with boiling water at 150 degrees to make iced tea. I honestly believe sun tea has better flavour because it slowly steps in the sun and heats at a lower temperature. It also comes together quite quickly, simply by adding water and tea bags to a glass jar and letting them steep, and is ready to drink within hours.

A side view of a quart mason jar making sun tea
A side view of a quart mason jar making sun tea

Is sun tea a southern thing?

While it is not exclusively a southern thing, you do see it a lot in the southern United States. Sun tea started out being made when you worked on the farm. The tea would be made in the morning, and in the late afternoon, when you were taking a break from the heat, the sun tea would be ready and a great refreshing break.

Before we move forward with the recipe, let’s cover some important food safety when it comes to making sweet tea in the sun and answer the question, is sweet tea dangerous? and learn how to make it safely.

Is sun tea safe to drink?

The issue with sun tea is that it never reaches a hot enough temperature to kill bacteria, and bacteria like to breed in warm conditions at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees. When making your sun tea, make sure you don’t add anything other than your tea and water. If you are concerned about the bacteria once it has steeped in the sun, you can put it into a pot and bring it to a boil and that will kill any bacteria.

Should I refrigerate my sun tea?

Once your sun tea has finished steeping in the sun, remove the tea leaves and then place them in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Ingredients

  • Water
  • Black Tea
  • Honey (optional)
  • Lemon (optional)
Raw Organic Fresh Lemon Juice Ready to Use
Raw Organic Fresh Lemon Juice Ready to Use
Black tea in a cup and dried leaves
Black tea in a cup and dried leaves

How to make sun tea

  • Fill a large glass canister with water
  • Add 8 tea bags to the water
  • Cover and let sit in the sun and steep in the sun for 4-6 hours depending on how hot it is.
  • Then stir in sugar or honey and lemon
  • Refrigerate for up to 6 hours.

How do you sweeten sweet tea?

You can really sweeten your tea anyway you like. I generally add my sugar and mix it until it has dissolved, but you can use a simple syrup as well. You can sweeten with honey, sugar, stevia, or any alternative sweetener.

The Best Sun Tea Recipe

This beverage is so easy because all you need is the sun, tea, and water and you have a delicious, refreshing beverage.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 min
Sun brewing 5 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs 1 min
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings
Calories 95.2 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 glass canister

Ingredients
  

  • 8 black tea bags
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup sugar or preferred sweetener
  • lemon slices or lemon juice

Instructions
 

  • Pour water into one gallon container with lid.. Lay tea bags across the rim of container so tea bags are floating in the water. Cover with lid, using lid to secure tea bags at the top.
  • Set container outside in direct sun for 5 – 6 hours, until tea has brewed to your tastes.
  • Bring inside and add sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Serve over ice.
Keyword sun tea, sweet tea