Apple Cider

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This homemade Apple Cider is the perfect made-from-scratch treat for fall! It’s made with fresh apples and citrus simmered with warming spices. Serve it hot on a cool, crisp day or use it in your favorite baked holiday desserts! 

Glass mug filled with cider and a cinnamon stick.

Easy Homemade Apple Cider

Is it just me or do apples play a significant role in your overall enjoyment of Fall? This delicious, homemade apple cider is a great way to ring in apple season!

I mean, what’s better than a warm, cozy glass of cider on a cool Fall day? This cider is made with whole apples, citrus, and all the best warming spices to add depth of flavor.

It has just the right amount of apple flavor, the perfect level of sweetness, and requires just a few simple ingredients. Plus, it can be made in the slow cooker or on the stove! 

Not only is this drink amazing, but it is the most natural way to enjoy apple cider. No added preservatives! Just good-for-you, delicious ingredients!

So, if you’re worried about that tasty mug of cider disrupting your healthy lifestyle, then this is great news for you. Learn how to make your own apple cider and enjoy the perfect drink for fall anytime you want.

How to Make Apple Cider

This homemade cider is totally made from scratch and is surprisingly easy to make! Next time you’re craving a glass, you know where to go!

Scroll to the recipe card below for the ingredient amounts and full instructions.

  1. Place the cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, whole cloves, and ginger into a piece of cheesecloth. Tie it off with a kitchen twine, then set aside. 
  2. In a large slow cooker, combine the apples and oranges. Add in the cheesecloth with spices, then pour the water on top. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  3. Use a potato masher or a large wooden spoon to carefully mash the fruit, then cook for another 30-60 minutes. 
  4. Once cooked, pour the cider through a fine mesh strainer into a heat-safe container. Discard the solid pieces and spices, then serve warm. 
Top down view of apples, oranges, and spices in a slow cooker.
Top down view of mashed apples in a slow cooker.

Alternative Method: Stovetop

No slow cooker? No problem! You can easily make this recipe on the stove as well. And bonus, it’s a little bit faster. 

Simply combine everything the same way, but in a large stock pot on the stove. Heat the water to a low simmer and cook for 2-3 hours. Be sure to avoid high heat, so all the liquid doesn’t evaporate out of the pan. 

Tips and Notes

Here are my top tips for the making the best fresh apple cider ever! 

  • Plan for 7-8 quarts. Whether you’re making. this on the stove or in a crockpot, make sure you have a large enough cooking vessel to hold around 7-8 quarts of liquid and fruit. This ensures that everything cooks evenly and doesn’t boil over. 
  • Wash the apples thoroughly. Since we’re adding the apples directly into the crockpot or stockpot, it’s essential that they’re nice and clean first! 
  • Don’t skip the orange. While it isn’t 100% necessary to add orange, the citrus flavor helps cut through the sweet taste of the apples, making the cider more balanced and overall more enjoyable. 
  • Use whole spices. Whole spices add flavor without causing a buildup on the bottom or creating any cloudy sediment in the drink. In a pinch, dried will work, but be sure to give the cider a good stir before serving it.
  • Use fresh water. Fresh, filtered water yields the best results. 
  • Strain twice, if needed. If your cider has a lot of fruit pulp, you may need to strain it twice. Just do what works best for you.
  • Brown sugar is optional, but does add a delicious warm sweetness to the drink. If you don’t have brown sugar on hand, try adding a drizzle of maple syrup instead. 
  • Make it spicy. Want to kick the heat up a notch? Try adding some cayenne pepper with the other spices. 

How to Use Homemade Apple Cider

The obvious way to enjoy this delicious apple cider is in a hot mug garnished with cinnamon sticks—which is totally satisfactory and delicious! 

BUT, did you know there are plenty of other ways you can use apple cider? Here are some other delicious ways you can enjoy this cozy homemade drink.

Apple cider in a glass mugh.

How Long Does Homemade Apple Cider Last?

Refrigerator: Leftover apple cider can be stored in sealable glass jars or glass bottles in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 

Freezer: Leftover cider can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag that has at least 2 inches of room for the apple cider to expand while freezing. It will last for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to serve again, thaw in the fridge overnight, then reheat. I find the best way to warm the apple cider is to heat it on low on the stove.

What is the Difference Between Apple Juice and Apple Cider?

Apple juice is simply made of pressed fresh apples. You might also find apple juice made from apple concentrate at the store. It is traditionally served cold.

Apple cider, on the other hand, is usually mulled with sweet spices, then served warm! 

What Are the Best Apples for Cider?

That’s totally up to your personal preference. There are a variety of apples that will work for this fresh apple cider recipe, but I like to use a mix of sweet and tart apples for the perfect flavor balance. 

Sweeter apples include Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, and Honeycrisp. Tart apples include Pink Lady, Braeburn, Granny Smith and Mcintosh. 

Two mugs of cider with cinnamon sticks.

Is Apple Cider Alcoholic or Not?

Nope! Classic apple cider is a totally non-alcoholic drink. If you do want to spike your cider, try mixing it with the best red wine you can find or adding a shot of bourbon or dark rum. 

More Apple Recipes You’ll Love

Looking for more tasty Fall recipes to make with apples? Here are a few favorites:

Like this recipe?

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Two cups of fresh apple cider.

Apple Cider

5 from 2 votes
Print Pin
Author: Kim
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 16 Servings


  • 3 to 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon whole clove
  • ½ inch fresh ginger, optional
  • 10 to 12 apples, cored and quartered (choose an assortment)
  • 2 navel oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 gallon water
  • Brown sugar, to taste (optional)


  • Place the cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, whole cloves, and ginger in a piece of cheesecloth, and tie off with a kitchen twine. Set aside.
    3 to 4 cinnamon sticks
    1 whole nutmeg
    1 tablespoon whole clove
    ½ inch fresh ginger
  • Place the apples and oranges into a 7-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Add the cheesecloth with spices, and pour in the water. 
    10 to 12 apples
    2 navel oranges
    1 gallon water
  • Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Use a potato masher to carefully mash the fruits, then cook for an additional 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Pour the cider through a mesh strainer into a heat-safe container. Double strain if desired. Discard the solid pieces and spices.
  • Serve warm.
  • Scroll up and see the post for tips, FAQs, and storage information. See the section labeled "Alternate Method: Stovetop" for stovetop cooking directions.


*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 cup of cider. Actual calories will vary.
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 71kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 1gFat: 0.3gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02gTrans Fat: 0.001gSodium: 14mgPotassium: 157mgFiber: 4gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 107IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 0.2mg
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5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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