This homemade spiced apple cider is so easy to make with only a few ingredients; you can enjoy it all season long!
Apple cider is one of my favorite drinks to have around when the weather starts to get cold. Don't get me wrong, I love a delicious cup of homemade hot chocolate, but sometimes I just crave something a bit lighter and full of flavors of the season. I mean, after all, fall is prime apple season.
If you haven't made your own apple cider, then this is the year you need to make it. I promise it's so much better than what you can buy at the grocery store.
What's the difference between mulled cider, spiced cider, and wassail?
There is really nothing different between the three names. If you want to get technical, usually apple cider contains only apples, while mulled and spiced ciders can contain other flavors like orange and cranberry. Mulled cider often refers to having alcohol added to it to turn it into an adult beverage. You can serve all of them warm or cold. You can call it whatever you prefer because it's all delicious.
Why make it yourself?
- It's made with fresh apples. You can use whatever kind you prefer.
- You can control the sweetness and the spices.
- It's cheaper than buying it at the store.
Apples for Apple Cider
You need fresh apples to make homemade apple cider. What kind you use depends on you. Use what you like or have on hand. I prefer to use a mixture of apples that are sweet and tart, like gala, granny smith, honey crisp, golden delicious. You can even use something like Pink Lady and fuji apples if you like.
If you like to browse more apple recipes, I have compiled a list of 22 Gluten-Free Apple Recipes.
Homemade mulled apple cider isn't hard to make at all and uses only a few ingredients. range
- Apples - Use what you like.
- Orange - Yes, this is apple cider but trust me on this one.
- Ginger - Fresh or ground
- Star Anise
- Sweetner of Choice - You can use sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup or some other sweetner you prefer.
Tips and Tricks
The final flavor will depend on the apples used. This is why I prefer to use a combination of sweet and tangy apples.
I prefer to use organic apples and not peel them. If you are not using organic apples, I suggest cleaning the wax that is usually on the apples before using them or peeling them.
The short answer is yes and no. I prefer to strain the larger pieces of apples, orange, and spices out of the cider before enjoying it. The more you filter it, the less flavor it will have, so keep that in mind.
I prefer to wait and sweeten the apple cider after it has been cooked. This makes it easier to control the sweetness if the apples yield a sweeter cider.
Yes, you can. You can easily substitute lemon for orange. You can even add about ½ a cup of orange or lemon juice instead of the fresh fruit if that's what you have on hand. You can even add in a handful of cranberries for an added flavor twist.
Preparing the Apples
When it comes to making apple cider, there is not much prep work to do beyond prepping the apples.
- Wash the apples - Make sure you are removing any wax that might be on the apples.
- Peel the apples - If desired.
- Quarter the apples
- Remove the seeds and stem from the apples - This is a preference as I find when these are left in the cider it can add a bit of bitterness to the cider.
Let's make some cider!
- Prep the apples and oranges.
- Add the apples and oranges to a stockpot.
- Place the remaining ingredients (except the sweetener) into the stockpot.
- Cover all the ingredients with water.
- Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce the heat, cover, and let the cider simmer for about two hours.
- Strain the cider using a fine mesh strainer.
- Add the sweetener of choice and adjust to taste.
- Serve warm or cold.
How to serve apple cider.
I prefer warm apple cider, but you can serve it warm or cold. You can even add a bit of sparkling water for a bubbly treat.
Make it for the adults.
While naturally, this mulled apple cider is non-alcoholic, you can easily spike it with a bit of your favorite alcohol to make this an adult-only drink to enjoy at your next gathering.
How long does apple cider hold?
Homemade apple cider will stay fresh in the fridge for about a week. If you want it to last longer, then place it in a freezer-safe container and freeze it to last about two months. When you want to enjoy it again, just defrost it in the fridge or warm it over the stove if desired.
More Apple Recipes
- Apple Potato Leek Soup
- Cinnamon Apple Granola
- Caramel Apple Poundcake
- Apple Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops
Homemade Spiced Apple Cider
- 10 Apples Variety you prefer, cored and quartered.
- 1-2 Oranges Quartered.
- ½ inch Ginger or ¼ teaspoon ground
- 3-4 Cinnamon Sticks or 1 teaspoon ground
- 6-8 Whole Cloves or ½ teaspoon ground
- 1 Star Anise
- ½ cup Brown Sugar or equal sweetener of choice
- Water Enough to fully cover the ingredients completely.
- Prep the apples and orange.10 Apples, 1-2 Oranges
- Add the apples, orange and the spices to a stockpot.10 Apples, 1-2 Oranges, ½ inch Ginger, 3-4 Cinnamon Sticks, 6-8 Whole Cloves, 1 Star Anise
- Cover the ingredients with water to fully submerge the apples.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and let it simmer for about two hours or until the apples start to fall apart.
- Once the apple cider has cooked, carefully strain the large pieces out using a fine mesh strainer.
- Stir in the sweetener of choice to taste.
- Serve the apple cider warm or cold, or store for later.