Homemade Hot Apple Cider

Two glass mugs of hot apple cider garnished with cinnamon sticks and apple slices.

Fill your home with the warm sweet and spicy aromas of Homemade Hot Apple Cider as it bubbles away on the stove or in a crockpot. Enjoy it hot or cold, with alcohol or without. Nothing says warm and cozy like a mug of hot cider.

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away…but does that apply when this sturdy tree fruit is part of a vintage Apple Dapple Cake? Or how about when it’s in a savoury Apple and Sausage Stuffing? No matter which way you slice them, apples are great in almost any application.

A glass mug of hot apple cider garnished with cinnamon sticks and apple slices.

Hot Apple Cider

Today’s theme is warm and cozy! Outside, the wind is blowing like crazy but I have a mug of steaming Hot Apple Cider to fend off the cold winter chill. This hot fall and winter beverage is full of flavour from sweet and tart apples, aromatic warming spices with just a touch of sweetness.

Hot Apple Cider is so easy to make ahead for large gatherings or to keep on hand for when you crave a little comfort. It simmers away on the stove and makes your house smell amazing. I like to think of it as an edible air freshener!

A yellow enamel Dutch oven surrounded by ingredients for hot apple cider.

This hot apple cider recipe contains only simple wholesome ingredients; fresh fruit, water, and warming spices. The best part?!! No added preservatives and you can adjust the sugar level to your liking.

Does Hot Apple Cider Contain Alcohol?

Just to be clear, this is a recipe for non alcoholic hot apple cider, not the fermented apple cider (or hard cider) you can buy at the liquor store. There’s no brewing involved in making this cider, only stovetop (or slow cooker) simmering.

A yellow enamel Dutch oven surrounded by ingredients for hot apple cider.

However, that’s not to say you can’t add some alcohol to this cider for an extra special treat. This hot apple cider pairs nicely with a splash of brandy or bourbon, whisky or even spiced rum. However, be sure to add the alcohol after the simmering is over or the alcohol will evaporate away.

Recipe Ingredients

While this ingredients list is fairly basic, once they are all together simmering away, magic happens! You can choose to use one, a few, or all of the flavourings according to your personal flavour preferences.

  • Apples
  • Orange
  • Water
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Whole Cloves
  • Cardamom Pods
  • Ginger
  • Star Anise
  • Allspice
  • Nutmeg
  • Brown Sugar
A yellow enamel Dutch oven full of apples, oranges, and spices.

You may be thinking…why is there an orange in this apple cider recipe? The answer is that the citrus rounds out the flavour and keeps the final beverage from becoming too sweet. I have made this recipe with a Meyer Lemon and it works well, though a regular lemon may bring too much acidity.

There is no measurement for the water because the amount needed will depend up on the size of your pot. I often double this recipe and use a huge stock pot. I add as much liquid as needed to cover the fruit, and then I add a bit more. You can always adjust the water level while the cider is simmering.

Close up of apples, oranges, spices and hot apple cider..

Use fresh whole spices in this recipe for best results. Much of this recipe depends upon your own flavour preferences. While I suggest cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, sliced fresh ginger, cardamom, star anise, and nutmeg you may combine any (or all) of these spices to make it your own.

Brown sugar has a warm, caramel flavour that pairs well with apples and spices. You can also use granulated sugar or even honey to sweeten your cider. Start with a small amount and taste test it to see if more sugar is needed. You can always add more sugar but you can never remove it!

Straining the hot apple cider through a cheesecloth.

Which Apples Are Best For Hot Apple Cider?

I saved the best (and most important ingredient) for last. There would be no apple cider without apples! While you can use any apple for this recipe, I highly recommend you use the ones you like to eat or bake with. Additionally, this is the perfect recipe to use up any languishing apples hanging out in the fridge.

Tart, or sour apples such as Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Braeburn, Jonagold, McIntosh, or Granny Smith are my favourite for cider. However, sweet apple varieties such as Red or Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, or Cortland will round out the flavour and add a natural sweetness.

Other fruits that would be delicious in this cider are pears, cranberries, or pomegranate seeds. The latter two make a stunningly rich red festive cider during the holidays.

Two glass mugs of hot apple cider garnished with cinnamon sticks and apple slices.

How to Make Hot Apple Cider

Wash all the fruit and cut it into quarters. Core the apples, then place them all in a large Dutch oven, stockpot, crockpot (or slow cooker).

Next, add the spices: cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, star anise, ginger slices, cardamon, or nutmeg. You can use all or select your favourites from this list. The recipe is intended as a guideline only so add as many or as little as you like.

Fill the pot with water, allowing enough space for the contents to reach a light simmer. Bring everything to a boil over medium heat, Once it boils for a minute or so, reduce to a slow simmer.

Simmer stovetop until the fruit is very soft. It will take just over an hour and a half for the fruit to soften. If you use a slow cooker cook on low heat for 6-7 hours (or high heat for 3).

Two glass mugs of hot apple cider garnished with cinnamon sticks and apple slices.

Once the fruit is soft, use a potato masher or the back of a large wooden spoon to mash it up. Add half of the sugar, allow it to dissolve and taste. Add more sugar if needed.

Slowly simmer the sweetened apple cider for another hour, then strain the mixture with a fine-mesh strainer, or double strain it with a cheesecloth on top of the fine mesh strainer. This may take a while as the mixture is quite thick.

Serve hot, garnished with a cinnamon stick, whole star anise, or a fresh apple slice sitting on the rim of the glass. Add a splash of brandy or bourbon, whisky or even spiced rum for a boozy treat.

This apple cider freezes well for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or reheat directly in a saucepan.

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Two mugs of hot apple cider surrounded by all of the ingredients to make it.

If you make this Homemade Hot Apple Cider, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.

Yield: 10 servings

Homemade Hot Apple Cider

Two glass mugs of hot apple cider garnished with cinnamon sticks and apple slices.

Fill your home with the warm sweet and spicy aromas of Homemade Hot Apple Cider as it bubbles away on the stove or in a crockpot. Enjoy it hot or cold, with alcohol or without. Nothing says warm and cozy like a mug of hot cider. *stovetop and crockpot instructions included

Prep Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large orange
  • 8-10 medium apples
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (or to taste)
  • 2- 3 whole star anise (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom pods (optional)
  • 1 whole nutmeg (optional)
  • allspice (optional)
  • 2-3 fresh slices ginger root (optional)
  • Enough water to cover all the fruit (and what fits in the pot)

Instructions

  1. Wash all the fruit and cut into quarters. Core the apples.
  2. Place fruit in a large Dutch oven, stockpot, or crockpot.
  3. Add desired spices: cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, allspice, ginger slices, cardamon, nutmeg.
  4. Fill the pot with water, allowing enough room for the contents to reach a light simmer.
  5. Bring everything to a boil over medium-high heat, Once it boils for a minute or so, reduce to a slow simmer.
  6. Simmer stovetop until the fruit is very soft. If you use a slow cooker cook on low heat for 6-7 hours (or high heat for 3).
  7. Once the fruit is soft, use a potato masher or the back of a large wooden spoon to mash it up.
  8. Add half of the sugar, allow it to dissolve and taste. Add more sugar if needed.
  9. Allow to simmer on low for one more hour.
  10. Strain the mixture with a fine-mesh strainer, or double strain it with a cheesecloth on top of the fine mesh strainer. 
  11. Serve hot, garnished with a cinnamon stick, whole star anise, or a fresh apple slice sitting on the rim of the glass. To do this, thinly slice half an apple and cut an inverted triangle close to the skin. Rub each side of the slice with a bit of lemon juice to prevent it from browning.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 165Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 10mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 6gSugar: 31gProtein: 1g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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24 comments

  1. Kayla DiMaggio

    This hot apple cider was so delicious! I loved the festive fall flavors!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you Kayla. I had to make another batch yesterday. This time I added pomegranate and it was so good.

      Reply

  2. Brianna

    Made this for a harvest party and everyone loved it! I used all the spices and it gave the cider a ton of flavor.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      That would be so perfect! Glad everyone enjoyed the cider.

      Reply

  3. Genevieve

    I love making homemade apple cider! It’s perfect to sit by the fireside and sip on this delicious drink. What a lovely winter recipe!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Yeah, I used to get the powdered stuff but it’s just so sweet and full of all sorts of things. This is so much better!

      Reply

  4. nancy

    perfect holiday drink thats nice and warming!! I love this way better than cold cocktails!

    Reply

  5. Jessica

    This apple cider is so delish and most definitely worth the time it takes to prepare it. It’s soooo much better than the pre-bottled stuff. Will be making it again!

    Reply

  6. Lilly

    I used Honeycrisp and pink lady apples to make this cider and it turned out perfect!! Thanks for the recipe! I’ll definitely be making this again!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Those are my favourite apples to use for cider too!

      Reply

  7. Jere Cassidy

    We love apple cider and definitely stay away from store bought. I actually love to bake with it too. Glad to have your recipe

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Great idea! Cider is great in a brine or marinade too.

      Reply

  8. Cassie

    This is the best homemade apple cider I’ve ever tasted! I’m definitely making this for Thanksgiving! Thank you!!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Glad you enjoyed it Cassie. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

      Reply

  9. Shelby Stover

    Yes! honeycrisp apples are my favorite for cider. They sweeten it so nicely.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      They really are the best apple IMHO. Perfectly sweet and sour, plus they last for quite a while and have a great texture.

      Reply

  10. Colleen

    I made this for our annual “friendsgiving” gathering and everyone loved it. But the best part was how amazing the house smelled!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Glad everyone love the cider and I agree, it smells so delicious!

      Reply

  11. nancy

    this drink reminds me of christmas markets ! so cozy and delicious!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      And those delicious aromas in the air….

      Reply

  12. Sadia Malik

    I love the idea of adding pomegranate to add the red color.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It make the cider just a little more festive. Plus, pomegranates are so delicious!

      Reply

  13. Terri

    I LOVE the aroma of apple cider – I really need to make it this year!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It’s so good…I had to make another batch while I was writing the post.

      Reply

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