Gimme Some Oven

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”

  1. I am cooking his right now! Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Can you use ground spices instead of whole? I have all of them but they are ground.

    • Unfortunately we wouldn’t recommend that for this recipe, Sarah. You really want to use whole spices since you’re infusing the cider (then straining it later). We hope you can still give this a try!

  3. We make your recipe every winter. Love it!!

    • Absolutely delicious. Only had 10 addorted apples and one very lange orange. Used 4 cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, powdered all spice (didnt have whole in hand) and a chunk of ginger.
      Still used 16 cups of water and 1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar. The adults spiked with burbon and it was a huge hit! Never made apple cider before but this is going to be a must throughout the winter months

  4. Very nice recipe for winter! i will try it out

  5. This sounds wonderful. Perfect for cooler weather. Thought you might like to know that your stock pot and crockpot links took me to cheesecloth.

  6. Could the cider be frozen?

  7. The orange makes this absolutely amazing. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Aw Ali, you are so kind to show us many ways of making this amazing homemade apple cider. I made it by the stovetop last Saturday and it went brilliant! I did enjoy it for the whole weekend xD Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! ?
    – Natalie

  9. I made this in my crockpot with a bunch of gala apples and some fresh Texas oranges. I made it with 2 tsp ground nutmeg instead of whole, allspice, cloves, cinnamon sticks as directed, and added some maple syrup with the brown sugar. Sweetening it to taste really helped, but there’s a really strong bitter aftertaste that I can’t figure out where it’s coming from! Maybe the nutmeg? This recipe is really good though, and great for warming up! Thank you!

  10. I made this in my Instant Pot. So easy and so yummy! It gets better after a day or so.

  11. Just wanted to know what’s the best way to store the cider after it’s been made.

  12. Sounds great! I went to ‘all recipes’ and all of the recipes will call for apple cider as an ingredient. So this is what I am looking for and I’ll definitely throw in that fresh ginger. Thanks

  13. This was delicious and so pretty to watch cooking on the stove! ❤️???

  14. This was super good! I used the slow cooker method and it only held about 6 cups of water but I’m extremely pleased with the results! I let it cook on high for about four hours and then mashed it and let it simmer. I did add about 3 tablespoons of honey to get the sweetness that I wanted but overall I’m very pleased with this recipe and will definitely be making it again!

  15. YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYA

  16. I made this recipe over night, but my cider is way too orange-y. I have to bring it for a school potluck and am freaking out Haha. Any quick tips on how to make it taste like apples not oranges?? I followed the slow cooker recipe exactly. I already have more apples on high stove top. Help!

  17. The flavor of this recipe seems to be great. Although, there should be an alteration to the orange. Either zest the orange and use the the fruit (no peel) or juice to add flavor. The white peel on the orange makes for a bitter flavor. I will attempt to do this again next week.

  18. I love this recipe, so glad to have found it again just in time for Thanksgiving. I made it a couple of years ago and still remember how good it was. It’s refreshing to see a mulled apple cider with water as the base instead of pre-made cider or apple juice.

    Cheers!

  19. I was really excited to try this recipe. The prep is easy. The only problem was user error, I messed up big time and I am blaming it on pregnancy brain. I unknowingly used a smaller crock pot and did not adjust the spices. I used the full amount of cloves. My mouth was numb for an hour, lol. When you try this recipe make sure you are paying attention to your proportions. Clove is a nice flavor but does weird things to you in large doses lol. All in all I am going to keep this recipe but make a few adjustments. For my first time making homemade cider I am absolutely in love with this recipe. To fix my mistake I diluted my cider with a little water which helped a lot! In the future I will be using smaller amounts of clove until I figure out what works in my small crock pot.

    • Love this. Made it a couple of times. Threw in 2 extra cinnamon sticks. Pealed all the pith off the oranges before adding. Easy recipe. Toughest part is straining on your own. Works better as a two person job. ☺️

  20. I can’t wait to make this with my daughter it was a tradition growing up in Waltham to go to the apple orchards and get some pick that day

  21. Delicious! Made this last night/this morning and it’s wonderful. 4 Granny Smiths, 4 Goldens Delicious, 2 Galas (all apples around a decent medium/large size), 1 large navel orange (zested and peeled, omitted the peel), 4 cinnamon sticks, a dash of all spice and a dash of nutmeg, and enough water to reach about an inch below the top of my slow cooker. Left it for 9hrs on low. Smashed it up and left it on warm for another 2hrs while I had breakfast etc. Strained out the big stuff and then strained again through a fine mesh strainer. Wanted even more juice so I put the chunks back into the colander in bowl and put a heavy pot on top to really squeeze out some more since I didn’t have a cheesecloth. The result is a beautiful dark amber colored cider that we plan on adding some spiced rum to for a party. It’s sweet enough that I didn’t add any sweetners. Delicious but definitely a labor of love.

  22. Aw Ali, you are so kind to show us many ways of making this amazing homemade apple cider. I made it by the stovetop last Saturday and it went brilliant! I did enjoy it for the whole weekend xD Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! ?

  23. This is an excellent recipe! I used the same recipe, but I used my juicer to juice the apples instead of heating and simmering them on the stove. I highly recommend using a juicer if you have one, it makes this recipe quick and easy!

    • Can you tell me if you added any water, or did you just use the juiced apples. I have lots of apple juice and was wanting to just use the apple juice. How much do you think I should use instead of water and full apples, which I have cored to get rid of the poisonous seeds. Yeah I know it takes a cup of ground up seeds to actually kill a person, I am just very careful.
      If anyone else knows how much apple juice to use, chime here and let me know!
      Also would I still need to add water, or not??? Please help!!!

  24. I’m a big fan of organic apple cyder than regular vinegar and the best part of apple cider is I use it as a toner for my skin every 2nd day. I didn’t know that I can make it at home. I’m definitely gonna try this on the weekend as I’m running out of my regular cider. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
    -Ray

  25. I found it really strange so much so that had to reread several times and what got me was the spices and to serve it warm. Took me a while before I googled “American” cider. the cider I know is cold and alcaholic and has a different taste all together lol u may want to say hot drink at start.

    • Cassandra, that’s on you lol. Usually when people look up apple cider recipes they mean this fall drink. You should look up hard apple cider, or hard cider, if you’re looking for that. This can also be alcoholic*, as well as what you’re looking for can also be served warm/hot.

  26. Yummy ! I NEVER make comments but felt the need to here. Thanks for sharing

  27. Over abundance of apples, just love this recipe. Thank you!

  28. I enjoyed this but there was wayyy too much spice in it. I would suggest cutting the cloves and all spice by at least half. The spices are extremely overpowering and takes away from any apple flavor you would get.

    I used the 6 qt instapot method and really appreciated instructions for using it. The only other thing I wish was included was how long to simmer for after mashing the fruits. It said to “simmer for a little longer” but didn’t indicate for how long.

    I was only able to fit 9 apples, but I’d try this again with the spice adjustment and would add another orange as well.

  29. Thank you very much! I tried it with my home grown apples and it tastes amazingly!

    Robert, WA

  30. What is the best way to store the leftovers of the cider? And for how long in the fridge or freezer?

  31. Do I leave the nutmeg whole? If so, do I take it out when done cooking?

  32. What if I used too much water? How do I correct this?

    • Hey, I think you can just take off the lid of your pot and let some of the water evaporate. You end up with a more concentrated version. My cider doesn’t taste super apple-y so I’m letting it boil without a lid for a bit :)

  33. Thank you so much for this recipe. It turned out wonderfully!

  34. Didn’t read carefully enough and added the honey before hand. Will the effect the taste?

  35. This recipe was so easy to follow, and I was so surprised at how DELICIOUS this was!! I used the insta pot, and I will absolutely be making this again! I used 4 red apples, 4 golden delicious, and 2 honeycrisp.

  36. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I did the version in the instant pot and in less than 3 hours I had homemade apple cider. :) Only problem is mine turned out a little bitter due to the oranges I used. I guess I could use more sugar to balance it? I used 1/2 cup brown sugar. Otherwise it’s perfect. Thank you again!

  37. this recipe is amazing! my grandparents have an apple tree in their backyard, and i would go over to their house every weekend to make this apple cider last fall. This year, I went hiking at my cottage and found a wild apple tree and made a batch of cider on thanksgiving! thank you so much for posting!

  38. My kids and I had fun making this recipe however it was SO overpowering and bitter it wasn’t drinkable. I will try again without the oranges. One adjustment I might try is adding in some orange zest or fresh orange juice at the end to add flavor but avoid the bitterness.

  39. What did you do with all the mash apples? Looks too good to throw away?

  40. Delicious!
    But how long will it keep in the refrigerator afterwards? I just cooked a batch. Thanks

  41. I love homemade food and this homemade apple cider recipe is really amazing and easy to understand article. Thank you for sharing such an amazing post.

  42. I was so excited to try this recipe and overall it’s not bad but it’s not good either. Not sure what happened. It’s very orangey tasting and bland. I feel like all I can taste is an orange that’s heated up. I didn’t peel mine which I know there’s an option to do that. I didn’t have the whole clove spices and I did my best to use the correct powder substitutions. I do wish the author of the recipe would write out the specific powder substitutions to help with this instead of just saying you could use them. It was very difficult to figure this out and I don’t think I did it correctly. Also, make sure you have a cheesecloth to strain. Oh my! I used my typical strainer and what a load of work. Not to mention, the apples were so soft that they mashed up like applesauce and these bits fell through which caused a slight “chewing your cider” while drinking. I did not care for that. I also had to add 2 cups of brown sugar (mine was light maybe that’s what the problem was) to even get a decent taste out of this. I’m plant based so I do not like sugar in the least! Anyway, I will attempt this again but could the author please update this recipe for the powder substitutions? That would be amazing! Thank you!!

  43. Hi, this recipe looks amazing and I’d love to try it out in my slow cooker. I’m not sure why, but the link for the Crockpot instructions takes me to an Amazon page that is no longer available. Is there another link I can use to find those instructions? Thank you! Can’t wait to taste it!

  44. This recipe turned out delicious! Unfortuantly, as a recent expat, I can’t find the New England style apple cider I crave this time of year in Munich… So thrilled to know how to make it from scratch at home!

  45. I feel like it would have been good but I added a tablespoon of GROUND cloves….

  46. I had a bag of apples that the kids weren’t eating so I decided to try this. I didn’t know making fresh cider was so easy! I always bought a gallon of cider from the grocery store and then added the spices but this tastes much better. For anyone who thinks it tastes too much like orange, you could wait until the last hour to add the oranges or use one instead of two. Next time I think I will try to make this in my Instant Pot.

  47. You write that we can use ground spices—what are the amounts to use?

    Thanks!! I love every recipe of yours I make!

    • I found this website, hope it helps you!
      How to Swap Whole Spices for Ground (and Vice Versa)
      https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/spice-conversion-whole-to-ground-article

  48. Just wanted to know what’s the best way to store the cider after it’s been made
    .

  49. I made a half batch of this cider yesterday and it was delicious! I don’t think I’ll ever buy cider in the store again. Love the addition of the spices. And, as expected, the house smelled amazing! Great recipe!

  50. This smelled amazing but the end result was very watery tasting. I used 12 apples and way less than 16 cups of water. Will make it again with less water. In the meantime, any advice on boosting the flavour? thanks.