Homemade Apple Cider Recipe

29 Comments

5 from 9 votes
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

This Homemade Apple Cider recipe made with fresh apples, oranges, and spices is cozy and delicious for fall! Easy to make on the stovetop or slow cooker, or make ahead for entertaining!

Warm beverages like hot cocoa and this easy apple cider are such a comfort on the cooler fall days! Make some ahead for fall activities like tailgating, fall parties, and evenings around a campfire!

Homemade Apple Cider in glass mug surrounded by fresh apples and spices on a granite countertop.

Homemade Apple Cider is such a favorite drink to sip during the fall. It’s full of the goodness of fresh apples, oranges, and cozy spices. Warm, cinnamon, and apple recipes like our favorite apple crisp, apple pie, and even cinnamon rolls, along with this amazing warm apple beverage, are delicious throughout cooler months. And while it’s considered by many to be more of a cool-weather beverage, this recipe is absolutely perfect for serving cold, too!

Whether you serve it over ice in the summertime or in a steamy hot mug to warm your hands throughout the fall and winter, it’s such a crowd-pleaser! It’s delicious!

You can make it on the stovetop or the slow cooker with step-by-step instructions for both methods!

How to Make Homemade Apple Cider

Photograph of fresh red and green apple slices, orange slices, spices, and cinnamon sticks in a slow cooker insert.

Ingredients

Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.

  • Apples – My recipe uses a variety of sweet and tart apples such as Honeycrisp, Gala, Pink Lady, and Granny Smith. The combination gives the best apple flavor!
  • Oranges – Use fresh, ripe oranges that you peel before adding to your stockpot or slow cooker. The oils from the peeling and the pith are bitter, so you do not want to include them.
  • Cinnamon and Cloves  – You can use either whole or ground spices. Ground spices will blend in with the fruit in the cider as it cooks, and whole spices can be removed.
  • Fresh Water
  • Dark Brown SugarOptional -You can decide if you wish to sweeten your apple cider, but if you do, the dark brown sugar adds another layer of rich flavor to it.
  • GarnishOptional – Use apple slices, orange slices, or cinnamon sticks for festive and appetizing garnishes if you desire.

Step-by-Step Instructions

This easy apple cider is very simple to make in a slow cooker or on your stovetop. I share detailed instructions for both methods in the recipe card.

Prepare the spices. I give you the option of using whole cinnamon sticks and whole cloves or using ground spices instead. If you use whole cinnamon and whole cloves, tie those whole spices into a piece of cheesecloth. Then, place the cheesecloth bundle into the stockpot or slow cooker. This makes it much easier to remove the spices when ready to mash your fruit.

If you use ground spices, they blend in with the fruit, so there is no reason to remove them. If I am in a hurry, I will use ground spices.

Slow Cooker Option:

  • Add ingredients to the slow cooker. Wash the apples and oranges and prepare them according to the recipe instructions. Add the apple and orange slices to the slow cooker insert along with the spices. Add water to cover as instructed.
  • Cook. Set the slow cooker to Low heat setting and cook for 7 hours OR High heat setting and cook for 3 hours.
  • Mash the fruit. Once the fruit has cooked, remove the cheesecloth bundle if using and mash the fruit as instructed. Remove the fruit, then reserve or discard it. (Tip: Use a fine mesh strainer to strain away the pulp of the fruit from your apple cider.)
  • Sweeten and serve. Taste the cider and sweeten it according to your tastes (if you wish). Serve warm or store.
Tall glass pitcher holds fresh homemade apple cider sitting on a stone countertop.

Stovetop Option:

  • Add ingredients to the stockpot. Wash the apples and oranges and prepare them according to the recipe instructions. Add the apple and orange slices to the stockpot along with the spices. Add water to cover as instructed.
  • Cook. Cook the fruit and spices on high heat for 30 minutes, stirring often. Then, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. Add water as needed to keep the fruit covered.
  • Mash the fruit. Once the fruit has cooked, remove the cheesecloth bundle if using and mash the fruit as instructed. Remove the fruit, then reserve it or discard it. (Tip: Use a fine mesh strainer to strain away the pulp of the fruit from your apple cider.)
  • Sweeten and serve. Taste the cider and sweeten it according to your tastes (if you wish). Serve warm or store.
Cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, along with red and green apples surround a glass mug of cider, garnished with a cinnamon stick.

Storage Tips

Make-Ahead: Place cider in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 7 days. Shake or stir well before serving. This is a perfect make-ahead recipe for the holidays or anytime you have apples that you need to use!

To Freeze. Place in an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator to serve. Warm on the stovetop or in the microwave if you wish to serve warm. You can also serve cold.

How To Use The Cooked Fruit

After making the cider, reserve the cooked fruit to make homemade applesauce! So delicious!

Cider in glass mug is surrounded by cinnamon sticks, cloves and apples.

Frequently Asked Questions

What apples should I use for homemade apple cider?

I use both sweet and tart apples because the blend gives the cider a deeper apple taste. Sweet apples, such as Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Gala, or Rome apples, and tart apples, like Granny Smith, are delicious in this apple cider.

Do you need to add any other fruit besides apples?

While apples are definitely the star ingredient, adding ripe oranges to the recipe helps to round out the flavor and gives it a great taste.

More Favorite Apple Recipes

Apple Cider Donut Muffins

Apple Cider Waffles

Apple Fritters

Here’s my homemade Apple Cider Recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do!

Homemade Apple Cider Recipe

5 from 9 votes
This Homemade Apple Cider recipe made with fresh apples, oranges, and spices is cozy and delicious for fall! Easy to make on the stovetop or slow cooker, or make ahead for entertaining!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients 

  • 10 -12 medium apples, assorted such as Honeycrisp, Gala, Rome, and Granny Smith
  • 2 medium navel orange, peeled and sectioned
  • 4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves or 2 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
  • about 1 gallon fresh water
  • dark brown sugar, to taste, optional
  • optional garnish: apple slices, orange slices, cinnamon stick

Instructions 

Slow Cooker Homemade Apple Cider Recipe:

  • Wash the apples, core and cut into wedges. Add the apple and orange slices to the slow cooker. Place the cinnamon sticks and whole cloves into a small piece of cheesecloth and place into the slow cooker or add the ground spices to the top of the fruit. Add the water, enough to cover the fruit plus about 1 inch, and cook on low heat for 7 hours or on high heat for 3 hours.
  • Remove the cheesecloth of spices, if using, from the slow cooker and mash the fruit with the back of a wooden spoon or with a potato masher as much as possible. Reserve the cooked fruit for another purpose, like apple sauce, or discard.
  • Taste your cider for sweetness and add the brown sugar until you reach the desired sweetness.
  • Serve your homemade apple cider warm or transfer to a heat safe container and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Stovetop Homemade Apple Cider Recipe:

  • Wash the apples, core and cut into wedges. Add the apple and orange slices to a stockpot. Place the cinnamon sticks and whole cloves into a small piece of cheesecloth and place into the stockpot or add the ground spices to the top of the fruit. Add the water, enough to cover the fruit plus about 1 inch, and cook on high heat for 30 minutes, stirring often, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. Add water as needed to keep the fruit covered.
  • Remove the cheesecloth of spices, if using, from the stockpot and mash the fruit with the back of a wooden spoon or with a potato masher as much as possible. Reserve the cooked fruit for another purpose, like apple sauce, or discard.
  • Taste your cider for sweetness and add the brown sugar until you reach the desired sweetness.
  • Serve your homemade apple cider warm or transfer to a heat safe container and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

Storage Tips

Make-Ahead: Place cider in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 7 days. Shake or stir well before serving. This is a perfect make-ahead recipe for the holidays, or anytime you have apples that you need to use!
To Freeze. Place in an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator to serve. Warm on the stovetop or in the microwave if you wish to serve warm. You can also serve cold.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 16kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Potassium: 32mg | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 1.5mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.1mg

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

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

Welcome to Add A Pinch

About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

Leave a comment

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

Recipe Review




29 Comments

  1. Ann Mebs says:

    Do you peel the apples first for “Apple Cider” especially if you want to use the cooked fruit for applesauce?
    Blessings,
    Ann

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Ann, I don’t peel the apples for the apple cider but you can if you want to make applesauce later.

  2. Miska Knezevic says:

    5 stars
    love it1 I,ll make this one !Thanks!

  3. Erika says:

    Hello. This looks so wonderful. Looking forward to making it. I’m searching for glass mugs like the one you have in the picture. Can you let me know where you purchased them. Thank you

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Erika, I bought these years ago I think from Target. Maybe you can still find them.

  4. Andrea says:

    Hi-my fruit floats so i can’t gage how much water to use. Any suggestions why this might be happening?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      I would use the gallon of water suggested in the recipe, Andrea. When the fruit is less dense than water, it will float.

  5. Audrey says:

    I don’t know what I did wrong, it’s bitter. I made half the recipe and I peeled the orange first. Is there a way to fix it? I don’t want to throw it out.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      I’m not sure what happened, Audrey. This should not be bitter. Did any of the orange rind cook in the mixture? Did you cut the amount of spices in half, too? I’m not sure if adding more brown sugar will help.

  6. Maria says:

    5 stars
    One of the best things I ever taste!