An iconic taste of fall, homemade apple cider is the coziest gift of this brief season. Warm, perfectly spiced, fragrant and utterly delicious, making a batch of this apple cider recipe will be the best way to celebrate all things autumn!

‘Tis the season for apple everything! If you’re looking for the ultimate serving of comfort in a mug, this homemade apple cider recipe is just the ticket.

a white kitchen with homemade apple cider in a gray Dutch oven
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Apple Cider is an unfiltered drink made from mashed apples, often mulled with spices and served warm or cold. Depending on the time period and region, it is also referred to as sweet cider, simply cider and soft cider.

Homemade Apple Cider is deceivingly easy to make. You’ll simply combine water, apples and mulling spices and allow to simmer, filling your home with an amazing aroma!

While my mulled wine and non-alcoholic mulled wine are super cozy choices for your fall and winter gatherings, hot apple cider is always a hit with the kids as much as the adults!

It tastes like a warm and fragrant slice of apple pie – incorporating all of your favorite apple pie spices. It’s full of warmth and flavor that will make even the chilliest evening feel cozy.

A clear glass mug full of homemade apple cider, with apples in the background.

Homemade Apple Cider Recipe

What’s the secret in this homemade cider? A little hint of citrus adds bright flavor and takes this cider over the top!

Why You’ll Love It

  • CustomizableYou can adjust the flavors, sweetness and spices to your preference.
  • SimpleCombine, simmer and sieve.
  • Smells Like Potpourri – Your home will smell amazing for days!
  • Feels Special – enough for a party but simple enough for a family weekend.
A clear glass mug full of homemade apple cider, with apples in the background.

There’s no wrong way to enjoy apple cider – you can drink it warm or chilled, depending on your location and weather. In fact, I’m dreaming of enjoying a steaming mug around our fire pit this weekend. Who’s in?

a white kitchen with homemade apple cider in a gray Dutch oven

Ingredients and Substitutions

See printable recipe card for complete ingredients and instructions.

  • Apples – this is especially perfect for any of the “imperfect” apples you picked from the apple orchard.
  • Oranges – we use peeled oranges, but if you want your cider more tart, feel free to leave the orange peels on.
  • Brown Sugar – I love the rich flavor brown sugar adds to cider. You can use white granulated sugar, honey, syrup, or agave if you prefer.
  • Cinnamon – Ground or cinnamon sticks.
  • Whole Cloves – so fragrant!
  • Allspice – whole or ground. Ground adds a beautifully spiced effect to the look of your cider.
  • Vanilla Bean Pod – Completely optional but I love how the soft vanilla notes pair with apple cider and give it even more flavor.
  • Water

Variations

  • Caramel Apple Cider – Add Fleur De Sel Caramel Sauce for a fun fall twist.
  • Spiked Apple Cider with Bourbon – Simply add a shot of bourbon for a cozy cocktail!
  • Apple Cider Bourbon Slush – Freeze with bourbon for a memorable slushee.
  • Hot Buttered Cider – Add butter and rum for a delicious, creamy cocktail!
  • Rum Punch – Add 2 cups dark rum and sliced ginger.
  • Apple Cider Sangria – Add white wine or sparkling wine to make a fall infused sangria!
  • Pear Cider – Replace apples with pears.
  • Substitute Mulling Spices – Replace oranges and spices with mulling spices.
ingredients for a homemade apple cider recipe on a marble countertop

How to Make

On the Stovetop

  1. Place apple halves and orange slices in large stockpot and add water over medium high heat. Add sugar and spices. a cast iron Dutch oven filled with homemade apple cider. a cast iron Dutch oven filled with homemade apple cider.
  2. Bring to a boil uncovered for 1 hour. a cast iron Dutch oven filled with homemade apple cider.
  3. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 2 hours. a cast iron Dutch oven filled with homemade apple cider.
  4. Mash using a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon to release the juices and flavors.
  5. Strain mixture using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, discarding any solids.
a cast iron Dutch oven filled with homemade apple cider.

In a Slow Cooker

  1. Place apple halves and orange slices in crockpot and add water. Add sugar and spices.
  2. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 6-7 hours or high for 3 hours.
  3. Mash using a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon to release the juices and flavors.
  4. Strain mixture using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth discarding any solids.
A clear glass mug full of homemade apple cider, with apples in the background.

How to Sieve Apple Cider

There are a couple methods that will work!

  1. Line your sieve or colander with several layers of cheesecloth and let the juice drip through on its own. This method is slower but very effective. A cast iron pot filled with homemade apple cider ingredients.
  2. Or, simply press the ingredients with the back of a wooden spoon against the sieve. This pushes the juices back into your pot – faster results!

Tips

  • Leave orange peels on for more of a tart flavor to your apple cider.
  • Because apples are already quite sweet, you can easily use less sugar in this recipe.
  • Press the ingredients against your sieve or strainer to release all the extra juices.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best apples for cider?

Do you prefer sweeter apples, or more tart? We like Gala apples, as well as Green Delicious and Golden Delicious for our apple cider. For a slightly more tart flavor profile, try Jonathan or Pink Lady apples.

What is the difference between apple juice and apple cider?

Apple cider is mulled with spices and made from mashing the apples (much like applesauce) resulting in a richer apple flavor whereas apple juice is filtered.

A clear glass mug full of homemade apple cider, with apples in the background.

Serving Suggestions

  • Warm – Homemade Apple Cider is traditionally served warm on chilly fall days. Cozy mugs of fragrant cider for the win!
  • Chilled – It can also be served chilled or over ice. In areas where fall weather can also be quite warm, this is incredibly refreshing!
  • Frozen – Freezing your apple cider results in the perfect cider slush.
  • In Cocktails – Make a Cinnamon Toast cocktail by adding Cinnamon Schnapps, or Spiked Apple Cider. You can also make Hot Buttered Cider with Rum and a half cup of butter!
  • In GlazeApple Glaze is a delicious way to top all of your fall treats including cookies, pound cakes and more!
  • Dinner – Use this homemade apple cider in my Pork Medallions with Apple Cider Glaze.
A clear glass mug full of homemade apple cider, with apples in the background.

How to Store

  • At Room Temperature – It’s best served the day that you make it fresh, and then refrigerated any remaining cider.
  • Refrigerate – Homemade apple cider will stay fresh for about 7-10 days if it’s refrigerated.
  • Freeze – Store your apple cider in an airtight container, leaving at least 1/2 inch of space at the top, as fresh apple cider will expand as it freezes. Best used within 6 months.
a cast iron Dutch oven filled with homemade apple cider.

How to Reheat

  • In a slow cooker or sauce pan – Warm on low and bring to a simmer.
  • In a microwave – in 60 second increments, stir cider at each pause to ensure it’s warmed through.

Serving Suggestions

  • Warm – Homemade Apple Cider is traditionally served warm on chilly fall days. Cozy mugs of fragrant cider for the win!
  • Chilled – It can also be served chilled or over ice. In areas where fall weather can also be quite warm, this is incredibly refreshing!
  • Frozen – Freezing your apple cider results in the perfect apple cider slush.
  • In Cocktails – Make a Cinnamon Toast cocktail by adding Cinnamon Schnapps, or Spiked Apple Cider. You can also make Hot Buttered Cider with Rum and a half cup of butter!
  • In GlazeApple Glaze is a delicious way to top all of your fall treats including cookies, pound cakes and more!
  • Dinner – Use this homemade apple cider in my Pork Medallions with Apple Cider Glaze.
A clear glass mug full of homemade apple cider, with apples in the background.

Dietary Considerations

  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free
  • Vegan

More Apple Inspiration

A clear glass mug full of homemade apple cider, with apples in the background.
5 from 1 vote

Apple Cider

An iconic taste of fall, homemade apple cider is the coziest gift of this brief season. Warm, perfectly spiced, fragrant and utterly delicious, making a batch of this apple cider recipe will be the best way to celebrate all things autumn!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 12
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Ingredients  

  • 12 apples halved
  • 1 orange sliced
  • ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon or 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 vanilla bean pod sliced

Instructions 

  • Place apple halves and orange slices in large stockpot and add water over medium high heat. Add sugar and spices.
  • Bring to a boil uncovered for 1 hour.
  • Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 2 hours.
  • Mash using a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon to release the juices and flavors.
  • Strain mixture using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth discarding any solids.

Tips

In a Slow Cooker

  1. Place apple halves and orange slices in crockpot and add water. Add sugar and spices.
  2. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 6-7 hours or high for 3 hours.
  3. Mash using a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon to release the juices and flavors.
  4. Strain mixture using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth discarding any solids.

Tips and Variations

  • Leave orange peels on for more of a tart flavor to your apple cider.
  • Because apples are already quite sweet, you can easily use less sugar in this recipe.
  • Press the ingredients against your sieve or strainer to release all the extra juices.

To Store

  • At Room Temperature – It’s best served the day that you make it fresh, and then refrigerated any remaining cider.
  • Refrigerate – Homemade apple cider will stay fresh for about 7-10 days if it’s refrigerated.
  • Freeze – Store your apple cider in an airtight container, leaving at least 1/2 inch of space at the top, as fresh apple cider will expand as it freezes. Best used within 6 months.
Calories: 137kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 17mg | Potassium: 227mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 123IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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4 Comments

    1. Hi Ingrid,
      You’ll get approximately 12 one cup servings from this homemade apple cider recipe! You can easily double it by using the movable “yield” tab in the printable recipe card.
      Enjoy,
      Julie