Low Calorie Russian Tea

My first memory of Russian Tea was my grandmother bringing it to our house along with tin after tin of cookies when she came to visit at Christmas. 

Granny packaged her Russian Tea in a Sanka bottle and we enjoyed an occasional cup the rest of the winter.

Low calorie Russian Tea in a mug decorated with candy canes and Christmas ornaments

Low-Calorie Russian Tea

I love to drink Russian Tea but I hate to drink my calories. 

I’d rather spend my calorie budget on food to eat!  My dilemma was solved after concocting a Russian Tea recipe that is not only tasty but is also low calorie.

Low Calorie Russian Tea - Tea spiked with orange, lemon, and cinnamon is the perfect winter treat that won't harm your waistline.

Traditional Ingredients

If you aren’t familiar with Russian Tea, it traditionally is a combination of instant tea, Tang, lemonade mix, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. 

To make this tea, a tablespoon (or a little more) is added to a mug of hot water. The size of your mug will determine how much of the mixture you’ll need.

I typically heat my water using my Keurig which makes it super easy to enjoy this beverage. Of course, heating water in a tea kettle works just as well or even in the microwave.

If you are curious about the name of this beverage, this article from Southern Living gives some history on its name and when the recipe became popular.

How I Made it Low-Calorie

My low-calorie version uses unsweetened instant tea, Crystal Light lemonade and orange drink mixes, cinnamon, and cloves.

This drink is so tasty and it makes your home smell wonderful.  You won’t break the calorie bank with this fragrant and flavorful hot drink.

Low Calorie-Russian Tea

I have been enjoying a cup of this drink almost daily since before Thanksgiving.  

Being decaf makes it a warm beverage that I can enjoy in the evening without risking not being able to sleep.

Low Calorie Russian Tea

Low Calorie Russian Tea

Enjoy Russian tea without the calories.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes


  • 1 (3 1/3 ounce) jar sugar-free instant iced tea (I used decaf)
  • 4 packets Crystal Light orange drink mix (I used Walmart brand)
  • 2 packets Crystal Light lemonade drink mix (I used Walmart brand)
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Package in individual jars for a gift or store in the instant tea jar if keeping for yourself.
  3. Mix to taste: I use a heaping sugar spoon and another half a sugar spoon for a large coffee mug.

If you like this low-calorie beverage, you might also like these


  1. Oh yes! I remember this!
    Hadn’t had it in years!
    I need some… Now that I’m officially diabetic… :/. I’ll try your low cal / low carb version.
    I can’t wait!

  2. Want to try the recipe but I’m not sure of what size packets you’re using of the Crystal Lite. Are they the single servings to flavor a 16 oz bottle of water or the larger packets to make 2 quarts of the flavored drink? Thanks!

  3. Hi Paula,
    I would love to sit and have tea with you, your Russian Tea looks wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome recipe with us at Full Plate Thursday! Hope you are having a wonderful week and hope to see you soon!
    Miz Helen

    1. I hope you enjoy it. I need to make some more and I’m worried that Walmart no longer carries orange Crystal Light. Were you able to find it?


  4. For your Sugar Free Russian Tea Recipe, no tea was mentioned. If added, what type do you suggest & how much?

    1. I am so glad that you left this comment because it alerted me that the printable recipe was no longer working. I just updated the recipe. You will need 1 (3 1/3 ounce) jar sugar-free instant iced tea.

  5. Does the sugar free instant tea need an artificial sweetener like Splenda, or are the sweeteners in the orange drink & lemonade enough?

  6. I am THRILLED to have a low-calorie version for this-am also one who does not like to drink their calories. Thank you for putting this together.

  7. Paula,
    I didn’t know what this was called but my mom always made it. I can’t wait to share it with my daughters!

  8. Oh, I love the low calorie version. This was so much a part of Christmas with all of the sugar when I was a newlywed. Brought back lots of memories with this one! Happy New Year!

  9. Thanks, Paula! I will try the low calorie version of this tea. I am not just a tea drinker; I am a connoisseur. HAHA
    So glad to hear about your mama and that your appetite is just a bit better. I will continue to pray for you all.

  10. Russian Tea is totally new to me but it sounds amazing. And I’ll bet it makes the house smell good in addition to being delicious. When you mentioned Tang and Sanka I had to smile … brings on the nostalgia. Love this recipe. Thanks! xo

  11. I would also much rather spend my calories on food! Great idea to take a classic from your childhood and make it low-cal. Sounds delicious!

  12. I just read this on another blog last week. I never heard of this and now twice in 2 weeks. I’m with you I don’t use my calories on beverages. With the exception of hot chocolate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.