How to Make Sun Tea

This is a fun twist on a classic recipe for sweet tea. Learn how to make sun tea with a just a few steps. It will son become one of your favorite summer activities.

How to Make Sun Tea

Growing up in the South, there are a few things I can always remember my Mom making on repeat. During the Summer especially, she always had a glass jar filled to the neck with freshly brewed Sun Tea. This recipe for sweet tea is a bit different than the classic. However, it is so fun to make and will become a summer staple.

large glass mason jar

A Family Recipe

Now, she grew up in Michigan so she never made hers sweet. But she’d fill the jar with water, unwrap about 5 or 6 bags of classic Lipton tea and pop them each in, one by one, careful to keep the strings + tags dangling on the outside of the jar. She’d set the jar right outside on the back patio in the fullness of Florida sunshine, scattered among the pots of aloe, impatients and lantana she had growing, until it was steeped to perfection.

While I had to learn the “sweet” part on my own, I can still remember the smell and taste of the tea growing up when I’d snag the very last sip at dinner which was mostly melted ice by that point. I love that you can make this so effortlessly, and if you use one of these half gallon Ball jars then it’s easy to just screw the top on and go straight to the fridge for storage + use until you finish it off.

vintage pitcher pouring sugar and water

how to make sun tea

lipton packets

So here is my best sun tea recipe for you, tried and true over the years. The amount of sugar is up to you, depending on how sweet you like it. Or how many calories you’re trying to cut out. I prefer to add the sugar with boiling hot water straight from my tea kettle. Let it fully and steep before setting it outside in the sun.

sweet tea recipe

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How to Make Sun Tea


Make this summer staple with your family a tradition for warm sunny days.


  • 1/2 to 1 cup of granulated sugar (to taste)
  • 64 oz boiling hot water
  • 56 bags of tea
  • 11/2 gallon glass canning jar


  1. In a 1/2 gallon glass canning jar, add 1/2 to 1 full cup of granulated sugar, to taste.
  2. Heat tea kettle with water until boiling and fill your jar nearly full to the neck (approximately 64 oz). Using a wooden spoon or spurtle, mix the sugar water until the sugar fully dissolves.
  3. Unwrap and add 5 to 6 bags of tea (I prefer the basic Lipton tea), making sure to hang the strings + tags over the edge of the jar so they don’t fall in completely.
  4. Give it another swirl with the spoon and allow to steep for at least 2 hours in full sunlight. Bring inside and discard the tea bags, mixing again with wooden spoon until fully combined. You’ll notice the color of your tea is now much darker.
  5. Pour over a glass of ice and enjoy! Screw the lid on your jar and refrigerate the remaining tea to store.


recipe for sun tea

Looking for a vintage mason jar for your sun tea? Check out our vintage goods shop here.

recipe for sweet tea

sweet sun tea in vintage glass

sun tea recipe

I’d just love to know your own recipe or tips for sun tea, and I’m so interested to know how much sugar you use for the perfect mix! #HEIRLOOMED

You can download our FREE Southern Recipes Cookbook here.

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heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of “keeping heirlooms around for another generation.” Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of “goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy” with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com

I’m an old soul based in Atlanta, GA and mom of 3 with a deep love of all things from the past with a story to tell, on a mission to keep heirlooms around for another generation - whether it be a tradition, splattered family recipe, or historic home.

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