Spiced Apple Cider

Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider is the epitome of fall! This homemade beverage is filled with mulling spices that compliment the sweetness of fresh apples so well. A batch of hot spiced apple cider won't last long in your house, but will fill you all with the spirit of the holiday season!

A clear mug of spiced apple cider with a whole cinnamon stick.
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Spiced Apple Cider Recipe

Spiced apple cider is so good for the soul and I look forward to making this recipe every autumn. Serving a big mug of this warm and tasty beverage is like drinking a cup full of fall flavor.

Over the last few years, we've started a tradition of serving apple cider on Halloween to the parents walking around with their kids. Having a nice non-alcoholic drink always brings a smile to their faces and it's great for the whole family to drink!

Not to mention, it's surprisingly difficult to meet your neighbors! And since Halloween is one of the only times throughout the year that the other adults in your neighborhood are out with their kids, a delicious homemade apple cider recipe seemed like the perfect thing to create.

We found that the time we spent pouring a cup from the slow cooker gave us a few minutes to chat with the parents.

You could even make pumpkin muffins or chocolate chip walnut cookies to give out too!

For us in Arizona, Halloween usually has temperatures in the 70s and 80s during the day and Halloween evening is often cool enough to need a sweatshirt or blanket when you're just sitting outside handing out candy. Apple cider (or Crock Pot Pumpkin Apple Cider) is the perfect beverage for the cozy harvest season.

Sliced apples and oranges on a wooden cutting board arranged next to cinnamon sticks and a small bowl of brown sugar.

Why you'll love this recipe

Aside from being a great way to break the ice with your neighbors, fresh apple cider is just so delicious! It is one of my favorite fall drink recipes and a sign that fall has really arrived.

Here's why I think you'll love it too:

  • It is so easy to make this perfect drink on the stove, but we've found making it in a slow cooker is perfect to keep it warm for parties or on chilly evening outside!
  • This delicious recipe doesn't contain a lot of sugar, and you can add less or more as you desire. (See below for my favorite sugar substitutes if you need a lighter version.) 
  • The flavor of homemade apple cider is unmatched — making your own apple cider definitely pays off here! 
  • Oh, and fresh cider will make your house smell absolutely amazing. Even better than candles!

Plus, it's a fall staple everyone should know!

Prefer something boozy that will remind you of apple cider? Try this Wassail Recipe or Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktail.

The recipe for a delicious homemade apple pie made with spiced apple cider.

Ingredients

This spiced apple cider uses just a few simple ingredients. Though the ingredient list looks longer, it mainly comes down to the spices used. Let's talk about what you'll need to grab from the grocery store:

  • fresh large apples
  • oranges
  • water
  • fresh ginger
  • nutmeg
  • cloves
  • brown sugar
  • extra cinnamon sticks and apple slices for garnish

Substitutions and Variations

This recipe for the perfect fall drink calls for ground spices. However, you can use whole spices if you prefer. Keep in mind you will need to strain the mixture a few times with a fine-mesh sieve to avoid a grainy texture from the ground spices.

You can use whole cloves instead of ground cloves. Allspice and star anise are also great to add to sweet cider.

For apple cider without sugar, you can simply omit the sugar or you can use a sugar substitute. For a natural substitute, try stevia, coconut sugar, agave syrup, maple syrup or honey.

A close up shot of a mug full of spiced apple cider.

Best Apples for Homemade Apple Cider

Green apples are much more tart while red apples are sweeter, so using a mixture provides a nice balance of flavor. However, you can use all red or all green apples if you like, but you may need to sweeten it more if you use green apples.

My go-to apples are Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji or Pink Lady for red apples and Granny Smith for green apples. Really, any variety of apples will do!

How to Make Spiced Apple Cider

Crock pot apple cider is actually incredibly easy to make. It's not necessarily a "quick" recipe, but it is a simple recipe — and the hands-on time is very minimal. 

Sliced apples and oranges placed in a large crock pot next to cinnamon sticks and a small bowl of brown sugar.

Begin by chopping up some apples. You can easily core them with an apple corer, or slice and then remove seeds.

Then, slice the oranges into even slices leaving the peel on. Place the orange slices and apple slices into a clean crock pot.

Sliced apples and oranges topped with cinnamon sticks, brown sugar, and vanilla.
Apple slices and orange slices coated in spices for apple cider.

Add whole cinnamon sticks, ginger, brown sugar, ground nutmeg, and ground clove to the sliced fruit.

Then, use a large wooden spoon or silicone spatula and mix together until all slices are evenly coated in the aromatic spices.

Cover the spiced apples and oranges with 10-12 cups of water, just enough to cover the fruit completely.

Spiced apples and oranges covered in water in a crock pot.

Cook the hot cider on high for about 3-4 hours. You can cook on low heat if you'd rather the cider cook for longer!

Cooked apples and oranges being mashed with a potato masher in the crock pot.
Mashed apples and oranges being strained to make the cider.

Once the fruit has cooked and softened, use a potato masher and mash it all together.

After all of the ingredients are well mashed, pour the homemade apple cider mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, or cheese cloth, and discard the pulp.

Strained apple cider back in the crockpot.
Someone using a ladle to pour spiced apple cider into a clear glass mug.

Seriously, it is that easy! Then you can pour it back into the slow cooker to keep warm. Stir in some vanilla extract and it's ready to go.

When you are ready to serve, ladle into separate mugs or disposable cups and garnish with whole cinnamon sticks and extra apple slices.

And did I mention it does all this while making your house smell incredible and just like fall? That may or may not be the real reason I make homemade apple cider!

A full mug of apple cider over a slow cooker of cider.

How to Store Spiced Apple Cider

Though I doubt you'll have any leftovers of this delicious drink, if you do you can store them for later! Place into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stove top (or even the crock pot!) or repurpose in any of the recipes detailed below!

Uses for Spiced Apple Cider

To make a bubbly apple cider soda, first let hot mulled cider cool down completely.

Then fill glasses with ice, ladle in some apple cider and top with ginger ale, ginger beer, or sparkling water for a light and refreshing fall drink. It's a great way to enjoy fresh apple cider if you are in a warmer climate during fall.

Though this is a non-alcoholic apple cider you can certainly make it boozy if you want! Stir in an ounce or two of bourbon or spiced rum for an extra punch of flavor and warmth. It's a delicious way to enjoy this drink that is full of fall flavors.

Two glass mugs of apple cider in front of a crockpot.

If bourbon isn't your thing, use some white wine instead! Or use red wine and make apple cider sangria.

Did you know that you can use your leftover apple cider in salad dressing too? Though my honey vinaigrette is delicious as is, it can easily be adapted to incorporate leftover cider.

Need more ideas for your leftover apple cider?You can use it in one of these recipes:

Spiced apple cider being ladled into a clear glass mug.

FAQ

Can I make apple cider on the stove top?

If you don't have a crock pot, you can absolutely make this easy hot apple cider recipe on the stove top instead. Just follow the same steps and add the ingredients to a heavy bottomed stock pot or dutch oven and let the mixture simmer over low heat for a few hours.

Is spiced apple cider better hot or cold?

Of course it is most common to serve apple cider hot, but you can absolutely serve it cold. Whether it is "better" hot or cold is personal preference. However, the warming spices definitely lean toward a drink that would likely be better when warm!

Spiced apple cider in two clear glasses with a cinnamon stick on a white, wooden table.

Fall Drink Recipes

Here are a few more fall drink recipes to try this season:

More Apple Recipes

Serve this spiced apple cider with your favorite apple recipes!

Did you make this recipe?

If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I'd love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.

A clear mug of spiced apple cider with a whole cinnamon stick.

Stovetop Apple Cider

This easy slow cooker a spiced apple cider is the best fall drink! Make a big batch for all of your holiday gatherings.
5 from 53 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 2 quarts
Author: Madison | A Joyfully Mad Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 10-12 apples
  • 1-2 oranges
  • 10-12 cups Water enough to cover everything
  • 1 inch piece Ginger peeled
  • 3-4 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Cloves
  • 1½ - 2 cups Brown sugar to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Serve with cinnamon sticks extra apple slices

Instructions

  • Chop up the apples and oranges, making sure all apple seeds are discarded, and add the fruit to the crockpot.
  • Add the ginger, cinnamon sticks, spices, and sugar.
  • Then add the water, just enough to cover everything. 10-12 cups of water should be enough, but the actual amount will depend on your slow cooker.
  • Cook on high for 3-4 hours.
  • Use a potato masher and mash down all of the ingredients in the water.
  • Once mashed, strain the mixture with a fine strainer, or a cheesecloth, and discard the pulp.
  • Stir in vanilla extract and then it is ready to serve.
  • Using a ladle, pour your cider into separate glasses, add a cinnamon stick and a few apple slices and enjoy warm!

Notes

Use a mixture of red and green apples for best results. There is no need to peel or core the apples since the mixture will be strained.

Nutrition

Serving: 6ounces | Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 11mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 34g

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7 Comments

  1. This was the first time I have ever made my own apple cider and I don't think I'll ever want to buy it at the store again. It was so wonderfully aromatic and flavorful. I went on the lighter side with the brown sugar and added a tiny pinch of salt.

  2. I served it in mugs with some whipped cream on top, and it felt like a special treat! Love it that even the kids could have a sip! I'm excited to include it in our family gathering menu next month!

  3. My daughter and I recently did a test run of this recipe before our house is full of company for the Christmas holiday. So easy and delicious!

  4. Just made a batch of Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider, it's pure autumn magic! Love how simple it is to make in the slow cooker, keeps the cider warm for hours. The spicy, apple aroma filling the house is irresistible too!

  5. I have this on the stove getting ready for Thanksgiving! It is SO tasty. I've already sampled quite a bit. I know everyone is going to love it. Thank you!

  6. Pingback: Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies • A Joyfully Mad Kitchen