Homemade Apple Cider

October 18, 2010 by Ali

There is something so wonderfully nostalgic about cider mulling on the stove, infused with beautiful orange slices, cinnamon sticks and cloves, filling up the house with that most heavenly of heavenly spicy aromas. Mmmmm….

But for years, the “homemade” cider I’ve made has always come from the big glass jar I’ve purchased in my annual fall cider pilgrimage to the store. It was only until recently that I ever really thought about investigating how to make a batch completely from scratch. So during a beautiful fall day today, with the windows open and a cool breeze blowing through the house, I decided to give it a try.

Now, I have no idea why I waited so long. :)

The entire process was such a delight. It turns out that the initial prep work for the cider could not be easier. (I think it took me all of five minutes.) Basically, you let the apples and spices do their work for a few hours, while your home fills with the most wonderful, spicy aroma. And then after a little straining, you have a pot full of warm, delicious cider ready to be ladeled into your favorite mug and savored. Amazingly simple.

My favorite thing about the process, though, was just watching it all come together from scratch. I know that probably sounds obvious, but this was my first time making a homemade apple juice. Sure, I’ve juiced oranges and lemons and limes plenty of times before. But the anticipation of waiting for the crisp apples, cinnamon sticks and whole spices to mull together and create this completely new cider just felt different. Felt like I was connecting with a bit of tradition. A bit of history. I love it. :)

Will definitely be making this my new fall tradition!

Homemade Apple Cider

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Yield: 9-12 servings cider


  • 12 or so small-to-medium-sized apples, assorted types (I used mostly Gala, Granny Smith & Red Delicious)
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2-1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. whole cloves
  • 1 tsp. whole allspice (optional)
  • water to cover


Wash apples and the orange, and then roughly cut into quarters. (Don't worry about removing peels, seeds, or stems.) Place in a large stock pot.

Add sugar (I start with 1/2 cup, you can always add more later), cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Then cover with water, filling the pot until it is nearly full. (I left about 2 inches of space at the top of my pot.) Bring to a boil and boil uncovered for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. Then cover and reduce to a simmer, and allow juice to simmer for at least another two hours.

Periodically during the three hours, use a potato masher (or I used tongs, or you could just use the side of a spoon) to begin mash the apple and orange slices once they are soft. Feel free to also add more sugar or spices to taste.

When cider is ready allow to cool then strain apple pieces and whole spices into a clean pitcher or pot. If you feel like it you can strain everything through a cheesecloth and twist and squeeze to get every last drop.

Serve hot, and garnish with a cinnamon stick, fresh orange slice, or dried apples if you'd like. Store in the fridge and reheat as desired.

Ali’s Tip:

I have yet to try this in a slow cooker, but imagine it would make a fabulous batch of cider as well!

About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

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48 thoughts on “Homemade Apple Cider

  1. Hi Ali

    Just want to let you know, I am trying your homemade apple cider today in my slow cooker it has been 4 hours and my home is just starting to smell WONDERFUL. Also I have pinned your recipes since I found you and have tried many of them, and love them all. Last week at costco us ladies started talking at the book isle and I told them to go to your website the recipes plan WORK. Thanks

    - Patti Hibbard

  2. This might be a silly question but the recipe calls for a whole nutmeg….not sure what that means?

    - tiffany

  3. Its is yummmie!!!!!

    - Jennie Vega

  4. I live in the UK and they do not have American Apple Cider here :(

    I have been looking for it for years, now I have found your recipe and I am so happy!!!

    I was wondering have you tried this in a slower cooker yet? How much cider does this recipe yield?



    - SARAH

  5. I made this today, and it came out great! I have a huge stockpot, so I basically doubled the recipe… actually I used about 30 apples. Not sure what kind of apples, they’re from the tree in my backyard :)
    It made just under a gallon and a half, and I also used about a cup of it for the applesauce I cooked in the crockpot afterwards. Thanks for a great recipe!!!

    - Stacey

  6. I made this today. turned out great. we really liked it.

    - Tanusree

  7. making this right now! — i love fall and had all the ingredients (i used 2 tbs of cinnamon —- didn’t have sticks) my house smells awesome!! look forward to tasting. thanks for the recipe

    - MrsPena

  8. How many liters does this make?

    - Samantha L.

  9. Made this last night after pinning it ages ago. Soooo delicious, the flavors are just perfect!

    I have a few tips after making it:
    1) It tasted a bit watery at the end of 3 hours, so I continued to boil it for 30 minutes or so with the top OFF to reduce it a bit to concentrate the flavors. Worked well.
    2) Even after sending it through a fine mesh strainer, the consistency is a bit thick. Next time I might try cheesecloth.
    3) I think I used at least a cup of sugar, adding it at various stages. But be careful, because I think once you strain it, the resulting liquid is sweeter than the liquid + fibrous parts/spices.

    - Lynn

  10. Do you mash the fruit in the pot because I tryed it once and it was very thick after I strained all out

    - Jake

  11. I will definitely be trying this with all the apples we picked this fall! Have already made applesauce and apple pie!

    - Emma M.

  12. girl. you are speaking my canning-loving language right now. i am so trying this.

    - jacin

  13. In the process of being made right now, my wife and kids cant wait to try it tonight, Christmas Eve! It smells amazing!

    - Bryce

  14. Does anyone know if this can be freezed after making? I have 2 dozen apples for cider making and want to make sure my apples don’t spoil!

    - Arleen

  15. Oh thanks for posting this, Ali!!! I can’t wait to try it. :)

    - Leanne

  16. Actually, I have gotten really spoiled. Our local Raleigh NC Farmer’s Market is brimming with NC apples this time of the year. And one of the vendors makes the best apple juice going. So I buy her’s. Supporting our local economy and my need for great apple juice. It’s all brown and you have to shake it up before pouring. I usually have a gallon in the fridge and 1 in the freezer. Then I can drink it hot or cold. If I want it hot, I warm it on the stove (microwave doesn’t cut it) and add a touch of ground cinnamon or nutmeg to mine. I have to be careful as my youngest is allergic to cinnamon. But it is define. What I have made is homemade apple sauce in my slow cooker. I just peel and chunk the apples and a touch of water and let them simmer all day. Add a little sugar and mash up and can. I’m eating a batch of “Rusty Coat” apples right now which are a hard, tart apple and is great.

    - Judy Hudgins

  17. Ali, I saw this on Pinterest and just had to come on over!! I love it and will be making this often! Do you think it can be bottled to keep at least a few days or a week or so? I’d love to share this with my friends. Also wondering about a sugar-free version. xo

    - Barbara F.

  18. This looks delicious! Thank you for sharing.

    - geek+nerd

  19. First off, I found this link on momadvice’s blog, and i LOVE the name of your blog! Genius!! Nothing like a clever name!! Well done!

    I am trying this recipe tomorrow! Cannot wait – thanks for the idea; it never occurred to me to try cider on my own. Apple cider doughnuts to follow :-)

    - Carole

  20. I am definitely going to try this in the slow cooker! Thank you for the idea, I never thought of making my own cider before!

    - Amy J

  21. Where have you been all my life? I am LA-HA-UV-ING your site! So glad I stumbled upon it :) I am heading to the store now for some apples! It’s finally cool in Arizona (72 degrees) and I am in the fall mood!!!!
    Thanks for being fab and sharing that with the world!

    - Tammy S

  22. Looking at the picture of all the ingredients in the pot make me think of how wonderful the house would smell while this was simmering on the stove!

    Going to have to try this recipe, and soon!

    - Cheryl | Black Girl Chef's Whites

  23. I made this in my crock-pot today!! It was fantastic. I used all of the ingredients listed above and let it cook for 6 hours on high. I lined my strainer with cheese cloth and lightly pressed the excess juice out after the first strain. I ended up with about 2 large mason jars worth in the end…I will be making this every year….My kids LOVED it!! Thanks!! : )

    - Sarah

  24. Just imagining the amazing fragrance you must have had in your house sounds wonderful. We just went to the cider mill a few weekends ago…now that you have shared this recipe I am going to have to try it myself!!

    - Megan

  25. Love that second photo, and this sounds wonderful.

    - Michelle

  26. This sounds wonderful! How much did you end up with in the end?

    - sherrie

  27. i like apple!!!!!!!! and i like tea

    - vvvv

  28. the pictures on this website is absolutely gorgeous:)

    - blackbookkitchendiaries

  29. ali. SO excited to try this. i was going to buy some from the store this weekend, actually.

    i do have a question though, if you just use preground nutmeg, how much do you use?

    - anna

    • Did you ever get an answer or try it with pre-ground nutmeg? If so, did it turn out? Thanks in advance. :)

      - Ashley

      • I made this today, enjoying some right now. I used 2 and a half teaspoons of nutmeg to replace fresh nutmeg, and added a few shakes of cinnamon with 2 fresh sticks instead of 4. Fresh sticks of cinnamon are expensive!

        - Lisa

  30. Totally impressive!

    - Linda

  31. Oh yum! I have got to try this soon. Wishing I had all the ingredients to make some right now!

    - Cheri