A Spicy Perspective

Homemade Apple Cider

Easy Homemade Apple Cider Recipe – You only need a handful of simple ingredients and a slow cooker to prepare the best sweet, spicy and warm cider from scratch!

Jars of homemade apple cider with stick of cinnamon on top.

Why We Love This Apple Recipe

Every fall we go to our local orchards and pick apples. Although we often head straight to the prized Honeycrisp apples for snacking, we also pick up quite a few varieties of tart apples that are best used for making seasonal baked goods and fresh Homemade Apple Cider.

Yes, you can buy fresh apple cider in large jugs in the fall, across most parts of the United States. However, there’s nothing quite like making it yourself! The smell of simmering apples and spices fills your house with the most intoxicating cozy aroma. Plus, you can tweak the flavor of the cider to be more or less sweet, or more or less spiced.

This apple cider recipe is easy to make with a slow cooker, and although it takes several hours to prepare I promise that it’s super easy and definitely worth the time… Spicy cinnamon, cloves, and ginger beautifully balance the sweet and tart apples and oranges. Everything simmers together, then you simply mash and strain the mixture to get out every drop of delicious cider.

Give it a try this fall – you won’t be sorry!

Top down view glass jar with cider and cinnamon stick on top of the jar.

Apple Cider Ingredients Checklist

  • Apples – any tart variety will do, like Granny Smith, Braeburn, Pink Lady, Empire, etc.
  • Oranges – Navel, Cara Cara, or Valencia
  • Cinnamon sticks – for that iconic warm cider flavor
  • Whole cloves – earthy and spicy, cloves give the cider just the right taste of fall
  • Fresh ginger – vibrant, fresh, and spicy
  • Light brown sugar – a warming sweetener
  • Salt – just a pinch
  • Water – more or less is needed depending on the size of your crock pot
Fresh whole red apples.

How to Make Apple Cider

Firstly, wash the apples and cut them into quarters. There’s no need to peel or core the apples!

Then peel the oranges and cut them into quarters. Slice the ginger chunk into pieces.

Set out a large 6 to 8-quart slow cooker. Place the apples, oranges, cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger, brown sugar, and water in the slow cooker.

Ingredients in a slow cooker, hand adding a teaspoon to the crock.

Pour 14 cups of water over the top, filling the slow cooker to the brim. If your crockpot has extra room it’s OK to add another 1-2 cups of water to the mix. Gently stir the mixture. Then cover. Set on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 7-8 hours.

Once cooked, use a potato masher to mash the soft cooked apples, being careful not to slosh the cider mixture over the edges.

Hand with masher, mashing quartered apples in the crock pot.

Then cover and slow cook for another 1 to 2 hours to intensify the flavor.

Get the Complete (Printable) Homemade Apple Cider Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Boiling the apple cider in the slow cooker.

When ready to serve, set a large mesh strainer over a bowl or pitcher. Ladle the hot apple cider mixture into the strainer and strain out the apple mash and spices.

Finishing the apple cider recipe by pushing the mixture through a strainer.

Then serve the cider warm, or move it to an airtight container and chill until ready to serve.

Jars of fresh homemade apple cider.

Recipe Tips

  • If your slow cooker doesn’t have enough room for all 14 cups of water in the beginning, that’s OK. Fill it to the top. Then reserve the extra water to add later as the apple mash cooks down in the crock.
  • Make sure to use plenty of ginger! Cut a 1-inch thick chunk, or 2 inches from a skinnier piece of ginger. If the ginger skin is smooth and thin, there’s no need to peel it.
  • Use the leftover pulp – called pomace – for other recipes! Remove any large solid matter, like cinnamon sticks. (Run the pulp through a food processor or blender to make it smooth, if needed.) You can then add the flavorful pomace to baking recipes like you would apple sauce.
  • When serving add your choice of rum or bourbon to make a hard apple cider with alcohol.
Top down views final shots from apple cider recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of apples are best for apple cider?

Truly, any apples you like can be used! Gala, Fuji, Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Braeburn, etc. are all great options.

We recommend that you pick very tart apples for this recipe because they have the strongest apple flavor to stand up against heavy baking spices. Granny Smith, Braeburn, and Pink Lady are some of my favorites.

Can you make this recipe on the stovetop?

Yes, you can make this on the stovetop as well! Bring the mixture to a boil in a large pot, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for 2 hours. Once mashed, simmer uncovered for another 30 minutes.

Is homemade apple cider healthy?

Yes and no. Apples are loaded with healthy antioxidants. However, between the sweet apples and added sugar, there is a good amount of total sugar in the cider.

How long does homemade apple cider last?

It will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Let the cider cool completely before transferring it into containers with airtight lids.

Hand holding glass mason jar filled with fresh homemade apple cider.

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Homemade Apple Cider Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
You only need a handful of simple ingredients and slow cooker to prepare the best sweet, spicy and warm apple cider from scratch!
Servings: 8 – 10 cups

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Wash the apples and cut them into quarters. Then peel the oranges and cut them into quarters. Slice the ginger chunk into pieces.
  • Set out a large 6 to 8-quart slow cooker. Place the apples, oranges, cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger, brown sugar, and water in the slow cooker.
  • Pour 14 cups of water over the top, filling the slow cooker to the brim. If your crockpot has extra room it’s OK to add another 1-2 cups of water to the mix. Gently stir the mixture. Then cover. Set on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 7-8 hours.
  • Once cooked, use a potato masher to mash the soft cooked apples, being careful not to slosh the cider mixture over the edges. Then cover and slow cook for another 1 to 2 hours to intensify the flavor.
  • When ready to serve, set a large mesh strainer over a bowl or pitcher. Ladle the hot apple cider mixture into the strainer and strain out the apple mash and spices. Then serve the cider warm, or move it to an airtight container and chill until ready to serve.

Notes

If your slow cooker doesn’t have enough room for all 14 cups of water in the beginning, that’s OK. Fill it to the top. Then reserve the extra water to add later as the apple mash cooks down in the crock.
Make sure to use plenty of ginger! Cut a 1-inch thick chunk, or 2 inches from a skinnier piece of ginger. If the ginger skin is smooth and thin, there’s no need to peel it.
Stovetop Version – Yes, you can make this on the stovetop as well. Bring the mixture to a boil in a large pot, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for 2 hours. Once mashed, simmer uncovered for another 30 minutes.
It will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Let the cider cool completely before transferring it into containers with airtight lids.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 190kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 0.4g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g, Trans Fat: 0.001g, Sodium: 47mg, Potassium: 281mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 41g, Vitamin A: 184IU, Vitamin C: 29mg, Calcium: 63mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Beverage
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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4 comments on “Homemade Apple Cider”

  1. This homemade apple cider recipe is flavorful and tasty. It is satisfyingly good, a crowd-pleaser. Thanks Sommer for this wonderful recipe, I’ll surely have this again.

  2. DELICIOUS! The best apple cider ever!! 

  3. This was the most amazing apple cider; I’ll never buy store-bought again!

  4. this cider recipe is amazing and I love how easy it is to make! thank you for sharing