Why spend half your paycheck on pricey infused waters when you can make them at home? Not only is it easy and less expensive than bottled infused water, you can custom create any concoction you can imagine. Simply toss whatever herbs, citrus, or spices you fancy into some water. Exactly what you need when you’re hopelessly bored by sipping plain water all day.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Vary Up Your Infused Water

Prepare to be wowed. Look below and you’ll find an array of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and edible flowers that are perfect candidates for infused water. (Kindly note, the suggested amounts of infusing ingredients listed are for only one ingredient at a time. If you want to infuse water with more than a single ingredient at a time, that’s fine, just cut back a touch on the amount of each ingredient.) As you buy your ingredients, it’s best to steer clear of anything that’s been sprayed with pesticide or herbicides since the chemicals, too, will infuse your water. That means buy organic or ask your local farmer if he uses such chemicals.

Herbal Infusions Anise hyssop, apple mint, basil, calendula, chamomile, chives, dill, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, sage (pineapple sage makes a wonderful herbal infusion), spearmint, and thyme (especially lemon thyme).

Floral Infusions Bee balm, borage, carnations, dianthus, fennel fronds, hibiscus, hollyhock, honeysuckle flowers (avoid the poisonous berries), jasmine flowers, Johnny-jump-ups, lavender buds, lilac, nasturtiums, pansies, roses, scented geraniums, sunflowers, and violets.

Spice Infusions Allspice berries, cardamom pods, whole cloves, crystallized ginger pieces, fennel seeds, juniper berries, star anise, and vanilla bean.

Fruit and Vegetable Infusions Citrus peel (lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, tangelos, etc.), cranberries, cucumber slices, fresh berries, fresh ginger slices, and melon cubes.

Four bottles of infused water prepared using the instructions on how to infuse water.

How to Infuse Water

5 / 3 votes
If you’ve ever wondered how to infused water with herbs, wonder no longer. It’s an easy, inexpensive way to make water a little more enticing. Use herbs, citrus, cucumber, spices, flower petals…anything your heart and taste buds desire.
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories5 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time8 hours
Total Time8 hours 5 minutes


  • 2 cups fresh herbs or flowers for an herbal or floral infusion (see list above)


  • 1/4 cup spices for a spice infusion (see list above)


  • 1 cup fruits or vegetables for a fruit or vegetable infusion (see list above)
  • 8 cups water


  • Place your choice of infusing ingredients in a large container with a lid. Top off with the water, secure the lid, and give the contents a good shake.
  • For intensely flavored infused water, place the container of water in full sun for 5 to 8 hours, depending on how robust a flavor you wish to achieve. The longer you let the ingredients steep, the more intense the flavor. (A glass container is ideal for doing a sun infusion, as the sun’s rays can best penetrate and warm such a vessel. Be warned that the water may take on some of the color of the infusing ingredient.) For mildly flavored infused water, place the container of water in the refrigerator for 5 to 8 hours, depending on how robust a flavor you wish to achieve. The longer you let the ingredients steep, the more intense the flavor.
  • Straining isn't necessary, although if desired, you can strain the water and toss the solids in the compost or the trash. Place the infused water in the refrigerator and use within a couple days.
Quench Cookbook

Adapted From


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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 5 kcalCarbohydrates: 1 gProtein: 0.4 gFat: 0.1 gSaturated Fat: 0.02 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.04 gSodium: 20 mgFiber: 0.5 gSugar: 0.1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 Ashley English. Photo © 2014 Jen Altman. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This was the first time that I ever tried to infuse my own water, and I absolutely loved the results! Prior to trying this recipe, I’d had the flavored sparkling water like LaCroix, but this infused water recipe beats the manufactured brands hands down.

I tried the sun-infused method and used spearmint as my herb of choice. Because I’d never used fresh mint before, I was a bit surprised when I came home to find that I had made “sun tea.” My water had a brownish tint but one taste was enough for my new addiction to infused water. The water was so refreshing and delicious that I drank a cup fresh from the sun. I refrigerated the remainder overnight and the next day I took it to work where I enjoyed the entire bottle. I raved about it to my health-conscious co-workers and resolved to try new mixtures in the future.

Why didn’t I do this before? It looks like I will start drinking more water because this infused water recipe is very refreshing for our hot Texas summers. It’s simple to make and very refreshing. I placed mine in the sun to infuse but will try just placing in the refrigerator to see the difference. I guess that would be cold brew.

I now have several flavors in my refrigerator. My favorite, so far, is vanilla. The herbs I tried were: lemon balm, basil, and pineapple mint (all fresh picked from our garden). I also did orange peel, cranberries (frozen and thawed) and fresh blackberries. I’m looking forward to combining some of the herbs with fruit. I think lemon or orange and basil will make a great flavor combination.

I highly recommend making just 1 batch to start off with and see if you like the flavor. Then feel free to double the batch and enjoy!

I tasted the water at 5 hours but decided to let it go for the full 8 hours. Be forewarned that basil left to infuse for 8 hours was very strong.

Do you know what this is? It’s sangria without the wine. I’ve always infused water in some degree. I’ve thrown in slices of lemon or cucumber, but this recipe has opened the floodgates. Never did I think to throw in a handful of herbs or a bunch of berries. And what happened when the two hung out in the fridge together? I had basil-strawberry water for an afternoon treat.

My first infused water was basil water. I have a prolific plant growing near the window in my kitchen and I must have used 3/4 of the leaves for a half a batch of infused water. I let it rest in the fridge for a few hours and was totally surprised that the water tasted like the basil smelled. It wasn’t overpowering but quite lovely and light.

Next, strawberries. I must tell you that the water turns a lovely shade of pink the longer it sits. Strawberry water is a bit stronger than basil water–maybe because I sliced the berries before they went in? This is the water that needs to be fizzy. It would make the loveliest cocktail, which I suppose defeats the purpose. I didn’t bother to strain the herbs or berries out of the water. I was also rather sad once the water drained from the pitcher, but I knew the herbs and berries gave what they could. I now look at the produce section a bit differently.

Infused water seems to be everywhere these days, though mostly in the form of either cucumber or lemon water that has been deemed “Spa Water” and priced $6.99 per 12 ounces at Whole Foods. What I really loved here was that it took infused water a couple of steps beyond just another fruity water—I mean, floral and herb waters? Yes, please! Especially when there are so, so many unique combinations of floral and herbal flavors that meld beautifully with various fruits in cooked dishes—so why not try them in water? For example, strawberry and thyme or cherry and black pepper are wonderful when eaten whole but are definitely worth a shot when used to lightly flavor a pitcher of ice cold water.

I’m the worst hydrator ever, so adding a healthy flavoring to plain water helps me do a much better job of hydrating. Taking another view, adding a flavoring to plain water also gussies it up for company and you can add flavors to enhance the food being served or use this for folks who may not want to imbibe.

Being a list-maker, I love the comprehensive infusion options, and tried one from the Fruit and Vegetable Infusions list. I had just purchased a lovely muskmelon and cut nice little cubes for my infusion. Because I started this at night, there was no sunshine to take advantage of, and I therefore infused in the fridge. Also because I infused in the fridge, I went longer than the suggested duration—a full 18 hours. When I took the lid off my glass jar, it was fragrant and, when tasted, had a pleasant melon flavor that was gentle and appealing. It would be easy to drink a lot of this delicious infusion.

Next up for me will be one from the Spice Infusions list—the crystallized ginger pieces. Or maybe another one from the Fruit and Vegetable Infusions list—the fresh ginger slices. Or perhaps I’ll be happily surprised by an herb at the farmers market and try it as an Herbal Infusion. Also appealing to me would be some combinations—mixed melons perhaps, since I was so happy with the muskmelon infusion.

I’m trying to cut back a bit on my alcohol intake. Drinking infused waters instead is a great way to do it. This recipe is limited only by your imagination. I enjoyed thinking up various combos for my water. My favorite was 2 lemons, sliced, and 2 palm-sized pieces of peeled and sliced ginger root. As the water warmed up a bit, the flavors were more pronounced.

I also made an infusion of 2 oranges and 2 crushed star anise tied up in cheesecloth. It wasn’t quite as refreshing as the lemon and ginger combo but it was still quite good. Next I’m trying berries with basil and cucumber with mint. My water infused in the refrigerator overnight for about 8 hours.

Lately I’ve been experimenting with aromatherapy in a vain attempt to sharpen my thinking skills. So when I saw this recipe I thought it might increase my chances if I drank it instead of sniffed it. The only downside to this recipe was hoping for sunshine to help the process along. In the sun, 4 hours produced a perfect light infusion. I got the same results with rosemary in the refrigerator in 7 hours.

I recommend straining the water when the desired strength is reached. Did it help my thinking? Well, it was while I was sipping peppermint water it occurred to me that by doubling the leaves, or halving the water I could make an infusion suitable for turning into ice cubes. Now I can vary the flavors and carry it to my nearby work in the form of ice sticks.

We prepared this simple infusion with chocolate mint from the garden and set the jar in the sun for 5 hours. The result is pleasant and refreshing and delightful.

Two hints: Clean your herbs well as you don’t want the flavor of dirt, and you might as well make a double batch from the beginning because you will drink this right up.

Wow, what a refreshing beverage! Water is my go-to beverage and I have done previous variations of this recipe in the past. For this recipe I decided to include 1 sliced lemon, 1 sliced cucumber, 4 stems of parsley, and 5 gallons of water. I noticed that the cucumber taste really stood out to me. Previously, I have put in other fruits such as strawberries, kiwis, oranges, and pineapple. This is one of my favorite ways to give a little twist to water.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. Will keeping the infused water in full sun for up to 5-8 hours not turn the ingredients a bit rancid? I have sometimes made the mistake of leaving it on the countertop overnight to find the whole jug smelling off.

    1. Thanks for mentioning this, fariya. We haven’t found it to be an issue, but if you are in a very warm climate, or any of the ingredients you use for the infusion are past their prime, this could become a problem. In this case, it’s best to use the fridge method.

  2. 5 stars
    Can we talk? I have a medical condition called IBS and that requires drinking a lot of water. I hate water so I’ve been using pricey MIO water flavoring which I just found out is very bad for you and produces the opposite results for my condition. I’m extremely happy I found your website so I can get some ideas from the experts out there. Through studying on Google I find that raspberries, kiwi, and oranges are good solutions to my problem. I like the ideas you spoke about in your post about combining fruits with spices however I have no Garden and no clue as to what to grab from my pantry which is filled with dried spices or whether I need to buy the expensive little packages in the grocers produce department. ….. And what about pepper. Can one use black peppercorns tied in cheesecloth? A little confused but hopeful.

    1. Vicki, I’m sorry to hear you’re experiencing that condition but happy to hear you taking care of yourself. We can’t offer medical advice, of course, on what will help or not for you, but we can advise you to stick with what you know you like and that you can tolerate. Or perhaps consult with a naturopath or Ayurvedic practitioner. As with so much of cooking, this recipe is open to tweaking and experimenting. Fresh herbs, as opposed to dried, are going to offer the most potency in terms of flavor as well as healing properties. If you’re using orange or other citrus, consider using organic and be certain to use unpeeled citrus as the benefits are mostly in the peel. As for spices, it depends on what you use, but you want to make certain they have some potency left, so try what you have but if the flavor isn’t pronounced enough then consider buying a new stash. Some grocery stores offer spices in bulk bins so you can purchase as much or as little as you need. Wishing you all the best…

  3. 5 stars
    I love drinking infused water since they are really refreshing. I had a great time reading this article, thanks a lot for sharing! 🙂