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Homemade Apple Cider

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This delicious homemade apple cider recipe is super-easy to make in the Crock-Pot, Instant Pot or on the stovetop. It’s made simply with apples, warming spices, water, and your choice of sweetener. And it is so comforting and delicious.

Homemade Apple Cider Recipe | Stovetop, Crock-Pot or Instant Pot

Pssst, I’m going to let you in on my favorite cold-weather, holiday, ultimate-hygge entertaining tip. It’s these three simple words right here.

Homemade apple cider. 

If you’ve never tried making apple cider from scratch before, I can’t recommend it enough. First off, it is absolutely delicious, and tastes so much fresher than anything you can buy at the store. Second, it’s super duper simple to make in the Crock-Pot, Instant Pot, or on the stovetop. And when you make your own apple cider from scratch, you get to choose your sweetener and how much of it you add. Third, it’s the gluten-free, vegan, alcohol-free drink that everyone at a gathering can easily enjoy. (Or of course, you’re also welcome to keep a bottle of bourbon or brandy nearby, if people would like to spike their cider.)

But I’ve gotta be honest, the main reason I love making apple cider is because it makes your home smell absolutely amazing.  Seriously, a warm pot of cider simmering on the stove will beat out your strongest fall candles any day. And especially when you’re wanting guests to feel extra cozy and welcome in your home on a chilly winter night, I’m tellin’ ya, this cider is like — poof! — instant hygge. It’s always the first thing my friends and family comment on when they walk in the door. And a steaming mug full is guaranteed to everyone up on even the chilliest of days.

So now that the snow is falling, and apples are in season again, it’s time, friends. Let’s make a batch!

Rainbow of Apples and Oranges | Homemade Apple Cider Recipe

Homemade Apple Cider Ingredients:

So here’s the thing with apple cider — you’re welcome to make as large or small a batch as you’d like. I typically like to go big and fill my entire stockpot, Crock-Pot or Instant Pot. (And then save any leftovers in the fridge or freezer for later.)  But you’re also welcome to make a quarter batch in a small saucepan if you’d like. Whatever sounds good to you. ♡

In general, you will need (affiliate links included):

  • Fresh apples: As you can see, I enjoy making cider with a rainbow of apples. But feel free to use whichever varieties (or mix of varieties) that you love most. I recommend a mix of tart (i.e. Granny Smith) and sweet (i.e. Gala or Golden Delicious) apples.
  • Oranges: Fresh oranges are essential to giving cider its trademark citrusy flavor. That said, if you would like to reduce the tartness of this cider, you are welcome to peel the oranges before adding them to the cider.
  • Sweetener: Just about any kind of sweetener will work here. I typically use either maple syrup or brown sugar. And of course, please add whatever amount you prefer, to taste.
  • Warming spices: I typically add cinnamon sticks and whole cloves to my cider, plus maybe some whole allspice, nutmeg and/or fresh ginger if I happen to have it on hand. But if you only have dried powdered spices, those will work too!
  • Water: This will be the base of our cider.

You will also need:

Stovetop Apple Cider Recipe

How To Make Apple Cider On The Stovetop:

To make stovetop apple cider, simply:

  1. Combine your ingredients in a stockpot. Add the apples, oranges*, and spices to a large stockpot. Then cover with water, leaving about an inch or two of space at the top of the stockpot.
  2. Simmer. Heat the cider over high heat until it reaches a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 2 hours, or until the apples are completely soft.
  3. Mash the apples and oranges. Using a potato masher or a wooden spoon, take a minute to mash all of the apples and oranges against the side of the stockpot to release more of their flavors. Then cover and let the cider simmer a bit longer.
  4. Strain. Then, using a fine-mesh strainer or a cheesecloth, strain out all of the solids (apples, oranges, spices), pressing them against the strainer to release all of their juices. Then discard the solids (or save for smoothies or another use). This will probably take about 5 minutes.
  5. Sweeten. Then stir in your desired amount of sweetener, to taste.
  6. Serve warm. And then, your cider is all ready to go! For extra presentation points, I like to add a few fresh orange slices and cinnamon sticks back to the stockpot for pretty serving. But however you like to serve it, your cider is now ready to go and enjoy.

Crock-Pot Apple Cider Recipe

Crock-Pot Apple Cider Instructions:

To make slow cooker apple cider, simply:

  1. Combine your ingredients in a 6-quart* slow cooker.  Add the apples, oranges, and spices to the bowl of a slow cooker. Then cover with water, leaving about an inch or two of space at the top of the slow cooker.
  2. Simmer. Cover and cook the apple cider on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours, until the apples are completely soft.
  3. Mash the apples and oranges. Using a potato masher or a wooden spoon, take a minute to mash all of the apples and oranges against the side of the slow cooker bowl to release more of their flavors. Then cover and let the cider simmer a bit longer.
  4. Strain. Then, using a fine-mesh strainer or a cheesecloth, strain out all of the solids (apples, oranges, spices), pressing them against the strainer to release all of their juices. Then discard the solids (or save for smoothies or another use). This will probably take about 5 minutes.
  5. Sweeten. Then stir in your desired amount of sweetener, to taste.
  6. Serve warm. And then, your cider is all ready to go! For extra presentation points, I like to add a few fresh orange slices and cinnamon sticks back to the slow cooker for pretty serving. But however you like to serve it, your cider is now ready to go and enjoy.

*Feel free to use a smaller (3.5 or 4-quart) slow cooker if you would like. Just halve the recipe.

Instant Pot Apple Cider Recipe

Instant Pot Apple Cider Instructions:

To make pressure cooker apple cider, simply:

  1. Combine your ingredients in your Instant Pot. Add the apples, oranges, and spices to the bowl of your Instant Pot. Then cover with water until the level reaches the max fill line.
  2. Cook. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, set the valve to “Sealing”, and cook on Manual for 25 minutes, followed by a quick release. Do not turn off the Instant Pot.
  3. Mash the apples and oranges. Once all of the steam has been released, remove the lid of the Instant Pot. Then, using a potato masher or a wooden spoon, take a minute to mash all of the apples and oranges against the side of the Instant Pot to release more of their flavors. Cover and let the cider simmer a bit longer.
  4. Strain. Then, using a fine-mesh strainer or a cheesecloth, strain out all of the solids (apples, oranges, spices), pressing them against the strainer to release all of their juices. Then discard the solids (or save for smoothies or another use). This will probably take about 5 minutes.
  5. Sweeten. Then stir in your desired amount of sweetener, to taste.
  6. Serve warm. And then, your cider is all ready to go! For extra presentation points, I like to add a few fresh orange slices and cinnamon sticks back to the Instant Pot for pretty serving. But however you like to serve it, your cider is now ready to go and enjoy.

How To Make Apple Cider

Possible Variations:

There are all sorts of ways that you can mix things up with this apple cider recipe. For example, feel free to:

  • Use a chai tea bag: In place of the dried spices (or in addition to them), feel free to add in a chai tea bag or two to spice your cider.
  • Add in fresh ginger: I also love adding an inch of fresh ginger to my cider for an extra gingery kick.
  • Spike your cider: As mentioned above, feel free to serve your cider with a splash of bourbon or brandy or any other spirits that you might like to add.
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Homemade Apple Cider Recipe | Stovetop, Crock-Pot or Instant Pot

Homemade Apple Cider

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 180 minutes
  • Total Time: 190 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x

Description

This delicious homemade apple cider recipe is easy to customize with your preferred type and amount of sweetener.  See notes above for Instant Pot (pressure cooker) and Crock-Pot (slow cooker) instructions.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1012 medium apples (assorted types), quartered
  • 2 oranges, quartered (also peeled, if you would like your cider less tart*)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • optional extra seasonings: 1 teaspoon whole allspice, 1 whole nutmeg, and/or 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 16 cups water, more or less
  • 1/2 cup sweetener (I recommend brown sugar or maple syrup)

Instructions

  1. Combine your ingredients in a stockpot.  Add the apples, oranges, cinnamon, cloves and (optional) extra seasonings to a large stockpot.  Cover with water, leaving about an inch or two of space at the top of the stockpot.
  2. Simmer.  Heat the cider over high heat until it reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 2 hours, or until the apples are completely soft.
  3. Mash the apples and oranges.  Using a potato masher or a wooden spoon, take a minute to mash all of the apples and oranges against the side of the stockpot to release more of their flavors.  Then cover and simmer for 1 more hour.
  4. Strain.  Using a fine-mesh strainer or a cheesecloth, strain out all of the solids (apples, oranges, spices), pressing them against the strainer to release all of their juices.  Discard the solids.
  5. Sweeten.  Stir in your desired amount of sweetener, to taste.
  6. Serve warm.  Then, your cider is all ready to go!  For extra presentation points, I like to add a few fresh orange slices and cinnamon sticks back to the stockpot for pretty serving.  But however you like to serve it, your cider is now ready to go and enjoy. Or feel free to let the cider cool to room temperature, then transfer to a sealed pitcher and refrigerate for up to 5 days.  Or freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

*Oranges: Peeling the oranges first will reduce the tartness of the cider, if you would like.


Easy Homemade Apple Cider Recipe | Stovetop, Instant Pot or Crock-Pot

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147 comments on “Homemade Apple Cider”

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

  2. Totally impressive!

  3. 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?

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

    • 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!

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

  5. i like apple!!!!!!!! and i like tea

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

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

  8. 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!!

  9. 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!! : )

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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 :-)
    thanks!!

  14. This looks delicious! Thank you for sharing.

  15. 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

  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.

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

  18. 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!

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

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

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

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

  23. 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.

  24. How many liters does this make?

  25. 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

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

  27. 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!!!

  28. 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?

    Thanks!!

    sarah

  29. Its is yummmie!!!!!

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

  31. 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

  32. This year we got BUCKET LOADS and BUCKET LOADS of apples from our two trees, so I was wondering if it was possible to make the cider with just the dozen apples of one sort minus the oranges? We haven’t got any on us right now but are canning and baking so many apples that I wanted to make some cider to can for the winter while our trees are still at it.
    I’d really LOVE to make some because it would be a bummer not to!

    • Hi Amy, how cool that you have apple trees! We think you should be able to make the cider without the oranges. Have fun, and we hope you enjoy this recipe! :)

  33. Hi Ali, 
    I was blown away by the cider that resulted from your recipe! It was so delicious it didn’t last more than a night between the four of us. I’m currently writing a post about ways to cook with apples and would love to include a picture/link to your recipe, would that we okay?

    • Thank you Sarah, we’re happy to hear you loved this! and of course you can include a photo and link back to the recipe, thanks for asking! :)

  34. Wow — just saw the retraction/apology from the PR firm that used your photo and recipe in an email. Congrats for standing up to such craziness — you’d think, a PR firm of all organizations, would understand copyright law. PS And guess who just happens to have a whole pile of apples needing attention.  

  35. Came here because of the PR retraction as well. Nice to see the original recipe and source. Love your blog. :)

  36. I had this warm with wine in it. It was delicious!  When its cold outside.

  37. Okay, I have to be the person to ask it – any idea on the calories of this?  I know obviously the brown sugar, but I assume there’s some natural sugar added from the fruit as well.

    I am definitely going to give this a try, though.  Thanks for the recipe!

    • Hi Brittany! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps, and we hope you enjoy this! :)

  38. I came across this recipe via Pinterest. I will be doing this some time soon. I love the idea of all those flavors filling my home.

  39. So excited to make this cider! I love hot cider, but a glass of cold cider is always refreshing too. Can you drink this cold, or is there a different method for cold cider? Thanks!

  40. My son loves apples probably more than I do! :) We have not tried making apple cider, but after seeing this recipe, I think we need to give it a try this fall. Cider is my favorite fall-time treat.

  41. This is amazing and looks so beautiful! I’ve been wanting to try something like this, thanks for creating and sharing this recipe! 

  42. This looks so amazing! I would have never thought making cider would be that easy. Definitely trying this!

  43. Can a substitute ground cinnamon  if I don’t have cinnamon  sticks? If so how much would you recommend? 

  44. Can you make this using a slow cooker instead? Looks great – thanks!

  45. Oh how I miss going to the cider mills in Michigan. I will give this a try, though I am no cook. I’ll need to buy a pot, cheesecloth, a sieve & all the ingredients! LOL

  46. I am bringing this to my mother-in-law’s house for Thanksgiving! We always love having some cider with our dessert and vanilla ice cream. I love how it is infused with apples – it’s like hot Sangria!

  47. Great recipe, adding the oranges was a nice twist. Just a tip, I use the pulp to make apple butter..no waste and sooooo yummy!!!!

    • Thanks, Lisa, and we like that tip, that’s an awesome idea! :)

    • I just made this and it is amazing! My husband has never had apple cider and he loves it. My question is how would you go about turning the pulp into apple butter?

  48. Minus the cloves, I think this will be a hit with the family. Thanks!

  49. Wow this is gorgeous! Throwing a baby shower soon, and am excited to add this to the menu!