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!
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.
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.
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!
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
- fresh ginger
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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!
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!
- Apple Crisp with Oat Topping
- Mini Apple Spice Rum Cakes
- Cast Iron Apple Spice Skillet Cake
- Apple Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin
- Caramel Apple Crumble Muffins
- Caramel Apple Smoothie
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.
- 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
- 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!
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.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 6 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 168Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 11mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 6gSugar: 34gProtein: 1g