Drinks

Spiced Apple Cider

at a glance
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings

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This homemade hot apple cider recipe is made with fresh ingredients and will have your house smelling like a little piece of fall heaven!

Three glasses of spiced apple cider on a blush surface with spices, apples, and a pot of cider.

Ultra Comforting Recipe for Spiced Apple Cider

When it comes to fall, there tend to be two camps – Team Apple and Team Pumpkin. Pumpkin tends to be the dominator (thank you Pumpkin Spice Lattes…), but I stand firmly on Team Apple. You can’t beat the crisp, fresh flavors of an apple, and there are so many varieties to choose from! 

This spiced apple cider combines the mild sweetness of red apples with the classic tartness of green apples, married together by a combination of warm spices and a touch of honey. The prep for this spiced cider is SO simple (you don’t even have to core your apples!), and we’re sharing three easy ways to make it. The smells that will encapsulate your home are a party for your senses. 

The process for making apple cider and spiced apple cider is the same. The main difference is that spiced apple cider is, well, spiced! It typically has been infused with flavors of different warm spices (like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg) versus regular apple cider which gets its flavor solely from the apples. 

Mulled cider is another name for spiced apple cider. It gets its name from mulling spices, which are spice mixtures that are used in drink recipes to impart flavors. Cinnamon, cloves, star anise, peppercorns, and allspice are some of the most common mulling spices. So the difference between an apple cider and mulled cider is that the mulled cider has been infused with a variety of mulling spices. 

Spiced Apple Cider Recipe Ingredients

The list of ingredients is simple, but the end result is complex in flavor. Here’s what you’ll need to make this fresh apple cider:

Ingredients for spiced apple cider on a gray and white marble surface.
  • 4 small green apples cut into quarters
  • 4 small red or pink apples cut into quarters
  • 2 lemons cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 5 cinnamon sticks, plus additional for garnish
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 5 cups of water

Substitutions for this Spiced Apple Cider Recipe

  • Use different apples – we used red and green apples here, but feel free to use any apple varietal – pink lady, honey crisp, Fiji, golden delicious, you can’t go wrong! Do know that the green apple gives a bit of tartness, so you’ll have a sweeter spiced cider if you go with all sweeter apples.
  • Add a different citrus – sub a couple of small or medium oranges for the lemons as your citrus. Orange pairs beautifully with the warm spices.
  • Adjust the sweetness – feel free to add more or less honey or sweetner of your choice to adjust the sweetness of this cider.

How to Make Spiced Apple Cider

The process really couldn’t be easier, and we are providing you with 3 different ways to do it. Here’s how you’ll make this spiced apple cider:

Hand cutting red apple into quarters on a wooden cutting board with other sliced red and green apples on a gray and white surface.
Top down view of pot with apples and spices inside.
Cooked apples and spices in a large pot.
Side view of a strainer with cooked apples and spices and liquid in a large glass bowl.
Hand pouring honey into spiced cider liquid in a large glass bowl.
Top down view of pot of cider with slices of lemons, cinnamon sticks, and star anise on a blush surface with red and green apples and a checkered linen.

In the Instant Pot:

  1. Add ingredients – put all of the ingredients (except the honey) into your Instant Pot.
  2. Cook – secure the lid and ensure that the valve is sealed. Cook on manual or pressure cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Quick Release – perform a quick release of pressure.
  4. Mash and Strain – using a spatula, smash the apples and lemons to get all the extra juices out, then pour the mixture through a colander into a large bowl. 
  5. Sweeten – add the 2 tablespoons of honey and stir until dissolved. 
  6. Serve and enjoy – serve hot or cold, and enjoy! 

In the Crockpot:

  1. Add ingredients – put all of the ingredients (except the honey) into your slow cooker.
  2. Cook – cook on low for 8-12 hours.
  3. Mash and Strain – using a spatula, smash the apples and lemons to get all the extra juices out, then pour the mixture through a colander into a large bowl. 
  4. Sweeten – add the 2 tablespoons of honey and stir until dissolved. 
  5. Serve and enjoy – serve hot or cold, and enjoy! 

On the Stove:

  1. Add ingredients – put all of the ingredients (except the honey) into a large stockpot on the stove.
  2. Cook – heat over high heat until the liquid reaches a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, or until the apples are soft. 
  3. Mash and Strain – using a spatula, smash the apples and lemons to get all the extra juices out, then pour the mixture through a colander into a large bowl. 
  4. Sweeten – add the 2 tablespoons of honey and stir until dissolved. 
  5. Serve and enjoy – serve hot or cold, and enjoy! 

Yes! It’s a true set-it-and-forget-it way to make this hot spiced cider. You just add all the ingredients (except the honey) to the crockpot and cook on low heat for 8-12 hours, or even overnight. Then, you’ll mash the apples and lemon to get all the juices out, strain, add sweetener, and enjoy!

Spiced Cider Recipe Tips for the Best Flavor

  • Don’t worry about coring your apples or peeling the lemon. Not only does this make prep super easy, but you’ll extract all the flavors from all parts of the fruits. 
  • Use a spatula or potato masher to mash the mixture after it finishes cooking to get all of the juices out before straining. 
  • Spiced apple cider is meant to be a “cloudier” beverage, so don’t worry about straining out all of the pulp. You’ll get more flavor there too!
  • Use a variety of apples, like pink and green, to get different flavor notes and build complexity. 
  • Use whole spices during the cooking process to get the full depth of flavor from the spice.

What goes well with spiced cider?

Apple cider is delicious alongside savory dishes like butternut squash soup or herbed turkey breast or sweet dishes like apple crumb cake or apple pie. You can also enjoy it as a warm beverage with a dollop of whipped cream or as a hot toddy with a shot of whiskey.  

Top down view of glasses with spiced apple cider garnished with star anise on a blush surface with apples and a checkered linen.

This hot spiced cider will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Make this Hot Apple Cider Recipe into a Cocktail

If you want to have a nice, hot cocktail that will warm your hands and your soul, feel free to add a shot of whiskey, bourbon, or rum. 

Q Can you just heat up apple cider that’s store bought?
A

Yes! You can absolutely heat store bought apple cider and enjoy it that way. This recipe makes for a great fresh and easy, homemade option.

Q How do you spice up regular apple cider that’s store bought?
A

To spice up store bought apple cider, you can add whole spices like cinnamon, star anise, clove, and cardamom, then heat to infuse the flavor. You could also stir in ground versions of the spices as well.

Q What does spiced apple cider do for you?
A

In addition to being a super tasty drink, homemade spiced apple cider has health benefits as well. You get antioxidants from the apples and lemon that help fight free radicals and help ease inflammation in the body. Warm beverages also help support digestion.

Q Is spiced apple cider good for you?
A

We think so! This recipe is made with whole, fresh ingredients that contain beneficial vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for the body.

two apple cider margaritas next to a pitcher of margaritas next to apples, limes, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, and rosemary

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Spiced Hot Apple Cider Recipe

By: Cassy Joy Garcia
No ratings yet
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
This homemade hot apple cider recipe is made with fresh ingredients and will have your house smelling like a little piece of fall heaven!

Ingredients  

  • 4 red or pink apples quartered
  • 4 green apples quartered
  • 2 lemons halved
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 5 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 tablespoon ginger ground
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 5 cups water

Instructions

Instant Pot

  • Put all of the ingredients (except the honey) into your Instant Pot.
  • Secure the lid and ensure that the valve is sealed. Cook on manual or pressure cook for 15 minutes.
  • Perform a quick release of pressure.
  • Using a spatula or potato masher, smash the apples and lemons to get all the extra juices out, then pour the mixture through a colander into a large bowl.
  • Add the 2 tablespoons of honey and stir until dissolved.
  • Serve hot (or chilled) and enjoy!

Crockpot

  • Put all of the ingredients (except the honey) into your crockpot.
  • Cook on low for 8-12 hours, or up to overnight.
  • Using a spatula or potato masher, smash the apples and lemons to get all the extra juices out, then pour the mixture through a colander into a large bowl.
  • Add the 2 tablespoons of honey and stir until dissolved.
  • Serve hot (or chilled) and enjoy!

Stovetop

  • Put all of the ingredients (except the honey) into a large stockpot on the stove.
  • Heat over high heat until the liquid reaches a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, or until the apples are soft.
  • Using a spatula or potato masher, smash the apples and lemons to get all the extra juices out, then pour the mixture through a colander into a large bowl.
  • Add the 2 tablespoons of honey and stir until dissolved.
  • Serve hot (or chilled) and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Tips and Tricks
  • Don’t worry about coring your apples or peeling the lemon. Not only does this make prep super easy, but you’ll extract all the flavors from all parts of the fruits. 
  • Use a spatula or potato masher to mash the mixture after it finishes cooking to get all of the juices out before straining. 
  • Spiced apple cider is meant to be a “cloudier” beverage, so don’t worry about straining out all of the pulp. You’ll get more flavor there too!
  • Use a variety of apples, like pink and green, to get different flavor notes and build complexity. 
  • Use whole spices during the cooking process to get the full depth of flavor from the spice.
Meet the Author
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Melissa Guevara

Melissa spends the bulk of her time writing, managing our content calendar, and lending a hand in recipe shoots. She values time spent exploring outdoors with her family and baking all things sourdough.⁠
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