This Slow Cooker Apple Cider recipe is easy to make from scratch, and full of the best sweet cinnamon apple flavors!
Sometimes I wonder if I get a little too excited about recipes I love on the blog.
Reason tells me that I should tamp down my enthusiasm, that I can become the “girl who cried delicious” if I sing the praises of too many recipes, and that people will start to doubt my sincerity. But you know what, I have come to accept that I’m just naturally one of those people who tends to get really excited about just about anything I love in life! Be it an innovative new band, a challenging editorial, a new restaurant, a perfect winter moisturizer, you name it — if I find something I love, I want to shout its praises from the rooftops. Because good things are meant to be shared, right?! :)
Well, that said, today’s recipe for homemade slow cooker apple cider might not seem like the most exciting “new” recipe. But it is one that makes me so — like, so — happy. It’s made 100% from scratch, and has been one of my favorite entertaining recipes over the past few years. So since I have been given this blog which is the proverbial modern “rooftop”, I’m giving it the modern shout-out. Here’s why it’s my fav…
First off? This homemade apple cider recipe is made 100% from scratch, which means that it’s made with real apples. Lots and lots of colorful, crisp, fresh, keep-the-doctor-away, delicious apples. I like to use a mix of varieties, partly for the variance in flavor, but mostly to create a literal rainbow of apples for my cider (with a few oranges thrown in there for mulling). Beautiful.
Second, I love that this particular recipe is made in the slow cooker. I have a recipe for homemade apple cider that is made on the stove, and I made it for winter parties for years and years. But then the lightbulb finally went off that the recipe would be made even easier in the slow cooker! And sure enough, it works like a charm. Simply add your apples, a few oranges, and some mulling spices to a slow cooker and let it cook for a few hours.
Then once the apples are soft, mash them up with a spoon or a potato masher, and let those juices seep even more into the cider. Then strain out all of the pulp and and seasonings until there is only broth left, and then sweeten it with your desired kind and amount of sweetener. (I like a mix of brown sugar and maple syrup.)
And then two amazing things will happen:
1) Your home will smell absolutely amazing at this point. I made a batch last night for a party, and the first thing that all 20 or so people said when they walked in was how incredible the place smelled. (Fall candles…you don’t hold a “candle” to the amazing smell of this cider!)
2) A delicious batch of 100% homemade apple cider will be ready to ladle up and serve…and enjoy. Some of my friends love it best garnished with a cinnamon stick and a few orange slices. Some of them love to spike it with some bourbon or rum. Some love a steaming cup completely plain. But I’m telling you, everyone who tries this cider unfailingly loves it.
I love it because it genuinely is so surprisingly simple to make completely from scratch. But even more, I think I love it because there’s something comforting knowing that countless generations of people who came before us also made and enjoyed this same drink. It’s nothing fancy, nothing new. (Well, the slow cooker part is new, and cheers to that!) But it’s autumn at its best, and I have no doubt that generations after us will be toasting warm glasses in the company of friends for years and years to come too.
So yes, as Molly Shannon would have said, “I love it, I love it, I love it!” And I hope you do too. :)
This Slow Cooker Apple Cider recipe is surprisingly easy to make from scratch and so delicious!
9 medium apples, assorted types (I used a mixture of red, yellow and green apples)
3 cinnamon sticks
1 whole nutmeg
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice (optional)
12–16 cups water
1/3 – 2/3 cup brown sugar (or your desired sweetener*)
Wash apples and the orange, and then roughly cut into quarters. (Don’t worry about removing peels, seeds, or stems.) Place in the bowl of your a large cooker. Add cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Cover with water, filling the slow cooker until it is nearly full. (I left about 1/2 inch of space at the top of my pot.) Cook on high heat for 3-4 hours, or on low heat for 6-8 hours.
About an hour before the cider is done cooking, use a potato masher (or tongs or the side of a spoon) to mash the apple and orange slices once they are soft. Finish cooking for one more hour.
Strain out the apple cider juice into a clean pitcher or pot. To get the maximum juice out of the apples, you can press them through a fine-mesh strainer or strain through a cheese cloth. Stir in your desired amount of sweetener until it is dissolved.
Serve hot. (You can also transfer the cider to a heat-safe sealed container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Just rewarm the cider to serve.)
*I like to use half brown sugar and half maple syrup for my sweetener. But you can use any combination of brown sugar, white sugar, maple syrup, cane sugar, coconut sugar, or whatever other sweetener you might like. Just add to taste.
ouuuuhuhh wow.. it is apple season here so i might give it a go
This is amazing. I’d say homemade apple cider is worth getting excited about. :) This needs to be either at my Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration. Or both.
Ooooh, I’ve never made apple cider from real apples. I will take this back to my mom’s house for Thanksgiving I do believe (with a bit of rum). Thanks!
I’ve never even thought of making this from scratch….love this!
I just made homemade crockpot applesauce from our apple picking trip but homemade apple cider from scratch? Amazing! I will definitely be trying this next since it’s only a few more steps added on to my applesauce recipe! Love it served warm with a shot of spiced rum :)
Looks delicious!! I can just imagine this simmering away on Thanksgiving Day and making my house house smell amazing!
this looks so good!! I love having cider on hand during the fall and winter, but this would be a great way to get my fix even when it’s harder to find in stores. I can’t wait to try it!
YOU MADE A RAINBOW. There’s nothing that gets me happier than food made into rainbows. Yes yes yes yes yes.
Also I totally know what you mean about getting excited about recipes! But you know what? Accepting that it’s just who we are is the best thing to do. Plus, how can you not get excited about homemade apple cider?!
It’s just apple juice… no? Nothing special here :/
Hi Steve, the cinnamon and other ingredients serve as mulling spices to turn it into cider. Apple juice is just apples, water and sweetener.
I can only IMAGINE how amazing the house smells while this is stewing. I love that everything is made from scratch, which honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Bring on the cold nights!
This is fantastic. The thought of homemade apple cider has never even crossed my mind before. I want a big mug of it right now!
I am going to try to make this for Thanksgiving! I
Yay! Hope you enjoy it! :)
The apples and oranges in your crock pot look BEAUTIFUL!!!
Thank you so much, Summer!
This is SO perfect and worthy of your excitement! Pinning this now and making it for…well, every single day! This time of year apple cider goes FAST in my house. My boyfriend and I always go to the local orchard and buy as much as we can but between drinking it and baking with it, it just doesn’t last. Not to mention it is fairly pricey at the orchard so this is the perfect solution for us!
I’ll gladly be the, like, millionth person to say how beautiful these colors are!
Hey, first of all love the website, but i was wondering if you could make this same recipe in a stock pot or on the stove top since my slow cooker will most likely be occupied on thanksgiving day, i’m sure you can but what temperature would you reccomend since it seems to cook for a long time?
I NEED my house to smell like this. I’m sipping on some hot chocolate now, but I’d give that up for some of this cider in 2 seconds!
What the??? I would never in a million years think of this. Which is exactly why I love your blog.
This is such a beautiful rainbow cider and I love the fact that it is truly made from scratch. What a simple yet amazing concept.
This looks so good! I’m still slightly terrified of my crock pot, but I’d love to give this recipe a try.
Oh wow, this is fantastic! I can just imagine how wonderful this smells!!!
Getting excited over the things we love is one of the joys in life. Keep doing it! And now I am excited over this apple cider. What an awesome idea to get all of that flavor out of the apples and spices. I HAVE to make this over the holidays!
This apple cider looks amazing! Homemade is always better! I get inspired to try it when I look at your gorgeous photos!
This looks so good! I especially love simple recipes with fresh ingredients that are easy to make ahead for a party…this is right up my alley! I bet you would like my Spiced Cranberry Mimosa – it’s a mulled cranberry juice that tastes sooo good and you can make ahead on the stove top. Once people show up all you have to do is add it to champagne and watch their faces light up :)
OMG…OMG…OMG…talk about stumbling on the find of the century. I moved from NY to Brasil and one of the things I really miss this time of the year is apple cider. I was searching for something else and fell upon this recipe! I cannot wait to make this! Thanks so much. Great website.
This recipe looks delicious and the photos are stunning! so crystal clear! :)
Looks amazing!! My husband loves apple cider so I decided to try it out.
Just started mine can’t wait to taste it !!!
Any suggestions for use for the apple mash you strain out? I’d feel way too wasteful throwing it out
Sure, you could add it to smoothies!
This was great. I made for Thanksgiving day. Everyone enjoyed , even four teen grandsons.
I was given an Allclad pasta pot and since it was right there on my stove I used to cook the apples. It worked great especially when time to mash. Then I just raised the inside liner, tilted it and let it drain. I just adjusted the time and simmered on low low flame. I also used to serve cause my dressing was cooking in my crockpot. I have also used the pasta pot to do several small batch canning this past fall. Worked perfectly with less water and space.
Thanks for all the great recipes I’ve gotten from you and the great info on Aldi’s …..I now stop by each week to grab their specials .
I’ve been looking for a way to use up some apples, since I got a few free bags free for thanksgiving. Everything is in the slow cooker and looks great! I’m so excited! :)
I just made this in my slow cooker; left it all day. Just got home and tried it after mashing…it’s really bitter! I’m wondering if it is the orange pith making it seem that way. I haven’t sweetened it yet, so maybe that will help. Has this happened to anyone else?
Oh no! It could possibly be the orange peel, but shouldn’t be. Have you tried adding extra sweetener?
Delicious—–it’s been cold here. A hot apple cider——heaven!
Update: I took the oranges out and let it sit for about an hour before straining. Added maple syrup (real stuff from Canada!) and it has improved a lot! The flavor is great, but it still has a bit of a bitter aftertaste. I think I let it go for too long. Next time, I’ll maybe take the oranges out halfway through. Thanks for the recipe!
This looks perfect for the holidays! I love that you make it in the slow cooker!
Just made this today in the crockpot, so lovely! And my home smells wonderful! Couple things though. I couldn’t get whole nutmeg, only ground. :( So I put the spices in some cheesecloth and tossed it in. After 6 hours I ran everything through a food mill and strained through cheesecloth into a pitcher. That went back into the crockpot with a new baggie of spices.
After the mill, I’ve got the finer solids of fruits as the mill caught the seeds and what not. What I’m left with reminds me of extra thick apple butter. I don’t want to throw it away though. What can I do with it? Can I make true apple butter from it?
Thanks for the recipe, I’ll be making some more for Christmas with the family!
This is Apple juice, not cider? Cider is fermented, very clear difference. This is mulled Apple juice, not saying it doesn’t look nice, just don’t call it cider unless you’ve thrown in some yeast and fermented it for a couple of weeks
This looks so good! I’ve been wanting to try cider in the crock pot so this is perfect! Love the pictures, by the way! :)
Making this today! Perfect for my vacation at home starting now, thanks for this :)
I can’t wait to try this! I’ll be featuring this recipe tomorrow on my blog, Creating My Happiness.
Awesome Stacey, thank you for sharing! :)
I just finished making this. My house smelled amazing but my cider is bitter! ? I even added a lot of sweetener. Next time I think I won’t cut up the orange. I’ll just leave it whole see if that helps.
This looks/sounds amazing!! I have one question though- could you use ground nutmeg, cloves, and allspice, or only whole?
Sure, you could use ground, but you will need to use the correct amount of substitutions (considerably less than whole). It will also make the cider a little bit cloudier, but it will still taste great!
Do you put the lid on the crock pot?
Yes, I did. Enjoy!
I’m trying this tonight. I have a large crockpot, but after putting all that fruit in, there’s no way 12-16 cups of water fits in. It would help if you indicated the size of your crockpot so people would know whether they need to cut down on the measurements.
Ah, sorry about that. I used a 6-quart slow cooker, and it was super-full. You can cut down on the water a bit if need be to fit, and then always dilute it later if you’d like. Enjoy the cider!
I bet adding a little SoCo or Bourbon would make it such a great “grownup” drink. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy!
Yes, we totally think that would make for an AWESOME grownup drink! Good thinking! ;)
If you can’t find apple cider in India you make your own and the whole neighborhood is jealous! Awesome recipe!!!!!!
Thanks M, we’re so glad you like it! :)
This may be a silly question, but what exactly do you do with the nutmeg? Do you just toss it in whole, chop it, grate it? Thanks.
Not a silly question at all Troy! We just toss it in whole. :) We hope you enjoy!
I am trying this recipe with 100% cranberry juice instead of water. Hopefully it comes out good.
We hope you enjoy it Lisa – we think that sounds like a good idea!
Can’t wait to make this tomorrow, I work at a local assisted living home and like to make special drinks for our resident especially around the holidays
Thanks Jamie, we hope you enjoy it as much as we do! :)
Im allergic to oranges. Can i use lemon.
We think that should work fine, Edna! :)
Can this cider be frozen and if so, how long? Thanks!
Hi Angela! Yes, you should be able to freeze this – it’ll probably keep for a few months at least. Just be sure to leave enough some room between the cider and the lid, because it will likely expand.