It isn't officially fall until I've made a batch of this super comforting, easy and delicious spiced Homemade Apple Cider. While I love the changing leaves and the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, nothing says autumn quite like my favorite warm and cozy beverage.
Why you will love this recipe
Made with just a few simple ingredients - apples, oranges warming spices and water - this homemade apple cider recipe is easy as can be. And as the proverbial cherry on top, I'll show you how to make this classic beverage in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker.
You can also make this in stock pot on stove top.
Once you see how easy and delicious it is to make your own Apple Cider, you'll be hard pressed (pun intended!) to go back to drinking the store bought kind.
If you have been looking for a sweet, warm and comforting drink to welcome in sweater season, look no further than this homemade cider recipe.
It is sweet, festive, and something the whole family can enjoy all the way through the cold and dark winter.
Made from scratch using apples, oranges and warming spices, this homemade mulled apple cider recipe is naturally gluten free, vegan and non-alcoholic.
As an added bonus, it makes your entire house smell like a dream. What's not to love about this soothing drink?
One of the best parts about this yummy fall beverage is how minimal of an effort it takes. You basically just dump everything in a pot and wait for the heat to do its magic!
This effortless beverage is about to make your Thanksgiving or Christmas season just a little more magical.
Ingredients you'll need
This simple apple cider recipe uses just a handful of ingredients and turns them into an extraordinary cup that is so much more than the sum of individual parts.
Sweet, tart, and perfectly spiced, my homemade cider recipe is nothing short of intoxicating.
Apples and Oranges : If you happen to have gone apple picking this season and went a little overboard, this recipe is perfect for you! It's a great way to use up extra fruit.
You can even used bruised or slightly wilted fruits to give them a new life.
Spices : Aside from apples and oranges, you're going to want to raid your spice cabinet for this cider recipe. I use cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, all spice and nutmeg, as well as beautiful star anise.
If you are someone who only has these spices in ground form, this is the time to invest in whole spices.
Not only are they ever so beautiful floating in your cozy masterpiece, they also retain more of the oils needed to perfume this traditional fall beverage.
Sweetener : Warm cider is a beverage that is typically served a little on the sweet side.
I personally love the caramel-y flavor that brown sugar imparts. But you can opt for granulated sugar, turbinado sugar, coconut sugar, agave, honey or even maple syrup to sweeten yours.
How to make apple cider
Crock Pot or Slow Cooker instructions
Wash the apples and cut into quarters or slices. Peel the orange (optional, to reduce bitterness) and slice it.
TIP: Apples are generally considered part of the Dirty Dozen, so be sure to thoroughly wash them prior to making this cider.
Add the apples and orange, cinnamon, start anise, nutmeg, cloves and all spice to the crock pot.
Then, add enough water to cover the fruits completely.
Cover the pot with glass lid and cook on "Low" for 5-6 hours or on "High " for 3 hours. Brewing it longer gives a stronger, more pronounced apple flavor.
Open the pot, stir and mash the apples and oranges lightly using the back of the ladle. You can also use a wooden spoon or potato masher to mash the fruits.
Using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, strain all the chunky liquid into a large bowl or pitcher. Press the chunks and spices well to extract all the cider, then discard the solids.
Stir in sugar or maple syrup to your liking, pour in glasses and serve warm.
Instant Pot instructions
Add the apples, orange and whole spices in the steel insert of the Instant Pot. Cover the fruits with water.
Switch on the IP cover and close the lid with the vent in sealing position.
Pressure cook on 'High' for 15 minutes.
Once the cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure to naturally release.
Open the lid, stir and mash the apples and oranges.
Strain as mentioned above, stir in sweetener of choice and serve warm.
Frequently asked questions
There are SO MANY varieties of apples out there that it's hard to narrow down the scope. I personally like to use a mix of sweet and tart varieties to get the full flavor spectrum apples have to offer.
I highly suggest that you experiment with varieties that are local to you to support your local farmers and to get the terroir of your region.
That said, if you want to make homemade apple cider just the way we do here at Cubes n Juliennes, use a mix of Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Fuji and Gala apples.
This apple cider is filled with fruity goodness and is chock full of polyphenols and other antioxidants.
That said, it is best to drink apple cider in moderation as it is also relatively high in sugar and eliminates all of the fiber that you would get from eating the fruit.
It is indeed best to consult with your doctor on such matters. But, as an educated guess, I'd say that drinking up to 8oz of homemade apple cider per day is probably a pretty healthful practice so long as you don't use too much added sugar.
Yes! Using 5 cups of unsweetened apple juice and your spices, bring the mix to a simmer for 15 minutes, and you're done! Simmer longer for stronger cider.
Absolutely! I'm a huge fan of freezing my homemade cider into ice cubes to make my fancy mocktails or to use with ginger ale. As the cubes melt, the beverage tastes more and more like fall.
You can also freeze it in box to store it. Be sure to choose an appropriate sized vessel for your needs and leave enough space for the cider to expand as it freezes.
Absolutely! I love using apple cider in my baking - donuts, pound cake, and caramels are some of my favorites.
Further, you can simmer the apple cider down into a concentrate / syrup by evaporating off most of the moisture. Use it to top your waffles, pancakes or ice cream!
You can also use it to make delicious vinaigrettes for salads, as well as to braise your chicken or beef stews.
If you're feeling extra scientific, you can also use it as a base for brewing your own homemade kombucha, a tea beverage that is touted for its high probiotic content.
Serving ideas & Variations
While I personally love a mug of this warm apple cider beverage served as is, I know there are those among you who love to play the Mad Scientist!
Feel free to make a whole slew of mocktails by mixing this delightful beverage with any number of delicious ingredients.
If you prefer your cider a bit on the spicy side, add a knob of fresh ginger, a few peppercorns or even a dried chili to the mix when you cook it.
Want a cool, refreshing beverage? Mix some chilled cider with ginger ale or sparkling water for a healthier alternative to sodas.
Want a little pep in your step? Steam some homemade cider and use it to steep your favorite black tea. I love to do a hybrid chai-apple cider, but any black tea will do beautifully.
Do you prefer a sweet and tart breakfast drink? Then, try mixing chilled apple cider with grape, cranberry, blood orange or grapefruit juice. There's nothing like it to start your morning off on the right foot.
If you want your apple cider on theme for the winter holidays or New Year Eve, toss in some cranberries into the serving bowl. They look absolutely ravishing bobbing on the top.
You can also garnish it to look extra fancy - orange slices, fresh cranberries, sprigs of rosemary, whole star anise and cinnamon sticks are all great choices.
Finally, if you have a super sweet tooth like I sometimes do, turn it into dessert! Top a steaming hot mug of cider with whipped cream and drizzle it with salted caramel. I tell you, it's pure heaven in a cup!
If it's still a bit warm where you are but you want to get in the spirit, you can also make an apple cider float. Use chilled cider, add vanilla or cinnamon ice cream and drizzle with caramel. YUM!
If properly refrigerated, homemade apple cider should last for about two weeks in the refrigerator.
Once the cider begins to taste a little effervescent, that means that fermentation has begun to take place.
You can also simmer your cider down into a concentrated syrup to keep it in the fridge for longer. It tastes great served over ice cream, pancakes, waffles or oatmeal.
You can also reconstitute it with hot water to make a mug of apple cider whenever the spirit catches you.
Some more delicious fall recipes for you
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Homemade Apple Cider Recipe
- 6 Apples (mix of Granny smith and Honeycrisp, Fuji or Gala)
- 1 Orange
- 1-2 Cinnamon Sticks
- 2 Star Anise
- 1 Nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Cloves
- ½ teaspoon All Spice Berries
- Enough Water to cover the fruit
- Brown Sugar or Maple Syrup bas per your preference
Slow Cooker Recipe
- Wash the apples and cut into quarters or slices. Peel the orange and slice it.
- Add the apples and orange, cinnamon, start anise, nutmeg, cloves and all spice.
- Add enough water to cover the fruits completely.
- Cover the pot with glass lid and cook on "Low" for 5-6 hours or on "High " for 3 hours. Brewing it longer gives the better apple flavor.
- Open the pot, stir and mash the apples and oranges lightly using the back of the ladle. You can also use wooden spoon or potato masher to mash the fruits.
- Using, fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth strain all the chunky liquid into a large bowl or pitcher. Press the chunks and spices well to extract all the cider, discard the solids.
- Stir the sugar as per your liking, pour in glasses and serve warm.
Instant Pot Recipe
- Add the apples, orange and whole spices in the steel insert of the Instant Pot. Cover the fruits with water.
- Switch on the IP cover and close the lid with the vent in sealing position.
- Pressure cook on 'High' for 15 minutes.
- Once the cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure to naturally.
- Open the lid, stir and mash the apples and oranges.
- Strain as mentioned above, stir the sugar and serve warm.