Russian Tea

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Comforting, warm, Russian Tea made in the slow cooker. This from scratch drink recipe is perfect for an evening drink after it simmers all day in the slow cooker. 

Table of Contents
  1. Russian Tea From Scratch
  2. Ingredients Needed
  3. Does Russian Tea have caffeine?
  4. How do you make Russian Tea?
  5. How do you serve Russian Tea?
  6. Russian Tea Recipe
  7. Other Tea Recipes

Cool nights are coming and it’s getting dark earlier than ever! It’s evenings like this where I love to sip a warm drink before bedtime. Sometimes it is tea…other times it is coffee.

But when we’re feeling fancy, I make up this Russian Tea recipe (originally found in many of my old church cookbooks) and let it simmer all day. Not only will you love the taste of this comforting drink, but the house will smell amazing from all the spices, too.

slow cooker russian tea with orange slices

Russian Tea From Scratch

Many Russian Tea recipes are made with Tang orange drink mix and lemonade mix which allows the recipe to be a dry mix “Instant” tea. Although we love that Instant tea for gift giving and busy mornings when we are short on time, this is a “from scratch” recipe that uses juice and strongly steeped tea.

The flavors simmer in the slow cooker (or Dutch oven) for as long as you’d like. You’ll need to plan ahead just a few hours for this, but it is so worth it.

Ingredients Needed

Our Russian Tea mix is made from strongly steeped tea (think 5 tea bags to  2 cups of hot water!), sugar, pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. No powder mixes.

We use cinnamon sticks and whole cloves to add flavor like no other. It’s easy to keep these ingredients on hand so you’re ready to serve up warm tea any day you’d like.

Does Russian Tea have caffeine?

We normally make our Russian Tea with black tea which does contain caffeine. If you’d like you can use caffeine free tea bags for a treat that won’t keep you up all night.

how to make russian tea

How do you make Russian Tea?

We like to use our slow cooker to make Russian tea. You can also make it in a dutch oven on the stovetop.

  • Simply add the sugar and juices to the pot and mix well.
  • Steep the tea bags in hot water along with the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Then drain off the tea into the juice mixture. Discard any cloves or cinnamon sticks.
  • Lastly, add 2 fresh cinnamon sticks to the tea mix. Cover and simmer.

That’s it! It will take a few hours to heat through depending on which method you use, but as soon as the beverage is heated through it’s ready to drink.

from scratch russian tea in a glass

How do you serve Russian Tea?

If you are having a dinner party that is more buffet style, it may be best to leave the tea in the slow cooker and allow people to serve themselves. If you choose this you can add cinnamon sticks and orange slices to the top of the tea for a pretty look.

If you are serving individual glasses of tea, slice oranges and cut them in quarters. Spear a whole clove into the orange slice and serve on top of each individual glass as shown below. It looks so pretty and adds just a hint more flavor.

how to make russian tea
how to make russian tea

Russian Tea

4.66 from 32 votes
Comforting, warm, Russian Tea made in the slow cooker. This from scratch drink recipe is perfect for an evening drink after it simmers all day in the slow cooker. 
Servings 12
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes

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  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 5 black tea bags
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks (divided)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2-3 quarts hot water (to taste)

Optional Serving Ingredients:

  • 1 orange (sliced and quartered)
  • 12 whole cloves


  • In a slow cooker, combine the sugar, pineapple juice, orange juice and lemon juice.
  • In a large measuring cup, place the tea bags, cloves and cinnamon sticks.
  • Pour the hot water over the tea bags and let it steep for 5 minutes.
  • Strain the tea into the sugar and juice mix. Discard the cinnamon sticks and cloves that you strained out.
  • Add 2-3 quarts of hot water, to taste. Add 2 quarts in immediately, then add more water until you get the taste you’d like.
  • Add the 2 remaining cinnamon sticks to the tea and cover the slow cooker. Cook on low until heated through. 
  • To garnish, slice an orange into thin slices, then halve or quarter them if you’d like. Push a whole clove into the orange slice and place it in the cup on top of the tea.
  • You can also serve the tea from the slow cooker. You can decorate the top with orange slices and cinnamon sticks if you’d like.



The calories shown are based on the recipe serving 12 people, with 1 serving being 1 cup of hot tea. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**


Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 20.5mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Course Drink
Cuisine American
Calories 161
Keyword hot drink, hot fruit drink, hot tea recipe, slow cooker tea

Other Tea Recipes

About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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4.66 from 32 votes (28 ratings without comment)
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1 year ago

5 stars
Thank you so much for this. I had this recipe years ago and lost it. Until this one, all I could find was recipes made with powders, but they can’t compare to this. Looking forward to making it again for Christmas!

2 years ago

5 stars
I tried this recipe tonight. It was very delicious! Thank you for sharing it.

2 years ago

5 stars
It is like my mother’s recipe when I was in college on cold Michigan winter nights. Then when I was in the Air Force (1972-1974) a civilian nurse made the instant mix to keep us awake on the night shift. Thanks for putting it out there now. I was an officer and a R.N.

Sharon Brotz
4 years ago

Can this tea be frozen and defrosted as needed?

Wanda Bailey
4 years ago

I remember my mother making this every year around Christmas when I was a young girl. I loved the way it smelled as it was cooking on the stove. Several years ago she gave me a recipe but she was trusting her not-so-good memory. She passed away on Easter Sunday 2019 but think of her every time I make it. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I think it comes closer to hers than any of the recipes I’ve tried!❤️❤️❤️

4 years ago

5 stars
I made this for our annual Christmas Eve party. It was fantastic! Several requested the recipe! I will be making it again for sure!

4 years ago

Tried your recipe after not finding my Uncle Don’s who passed some years ago. It was so very close to his and I am about to make another batch for my school’s luncheon Friday. When you say 5 tea bags, I’m assuming you are referring to family size bags?