Welcome Fall with this hot homemade spiced apple cider recipe made from fresh red apples and sweet oranges. Warm and spicy, you will love making this apple cider from scratch for your next holiday celebration.
Best served warm or hot, this homemade spiced apple cider recipe is perfect for the cooler temperatures.
Fresh apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg come together to create a sweet and colorful hot cider you will love.
It can either be made on the stovetop or in a crockpot. In either case, it’s made from scratch without a press. So it’s super easy to do.
As the flavors sit and mend together, this old-fashioned apple cider recipe gets better and better which means it’s a great make-ahead drink for a fall or winter celebration.
Besides tasting delicious, it will also fill your home with that delicious apple and cinnamon smell that everyone loves.
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Here is your shopping list:
- Fruit: 12 organic apples, one organic orange. I like to use organic fruit for this (especially the apples) because they will be boiled in water, so any pesticides on them will end up in your cider.
- Spices: 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon whole allspice, 1 teaspoon of whole cloves
- Garnishes (optional): apple slices, cinnamon sticks, and/or star anise.
- Use 4 cinnamon sticks instead of the ground cinnamon.
- Substitute 1 whole nutmeg instead of the ground nutmeg.
- If you only have ground allspice, use 1 teaspoon instead of the whole allspice.
- Similarly, you can substitute 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves for the whole cloves.
- The nutmeg, cloves and/or allspice can be left out if you don’t have them on hand (although the apple cider will have less flavor).
- For a sweeter apple cider, add ¼ cup brown sugar, granulated sugar or honey along with the spices.
How to make hot apple cider from apples
1 | Chop the apples
Be sure to wash your apples first.
We’ll be keeping the peels on them (they add flavor and color to the cider) so you don’t want any dirt left on them.
Then core and slice them.
2 | Peel and slice the orange.
Be sure to peel the orange since the rind can add a bitter flavor to the cider that you don’t want.
Then cut it into slices.
Make the cider
3 & 4 | Mix the ingredients
In a large stockpot, add the chopped apples and the prepared orange.
Next, pour in enough water to cover the fruit by two inches.
Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and whole cloves. Stir.
Cook on high to bring the water to a boil.
Then turn the heat down, cover, and simmer on low heat for three hours.
If you’re in a hurry, you can reduce the simmering time to two hours, but the apple flavor will be less intense.
5 | Mash and simmer some more
Next, mash the apples and the orange with a potato masher or large spoon.
Simmer with the lid off for another hour.
6 | Strain
To remove the fruit, pour the mixture through a strainer, sieve or some cheesecloth.
You can decide which tool to use based on how much pulp you want in your cider. Since strainers typically have the largest holes (unless you use a fine mesh strainer), you’ll end up with some larger bits of fruit in your cider. Whereas cheesecloth will remove pretty much all of the pulp. And a sieve is somewhere in the middle.
Serve warm, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week if you are making it in advance.
How to serve
To keep the apple cider warm, I like to put it back in the pot on the stove on very low heat, or put it in a crock pot on low. (You can also make the whole thing in a crock pot. See the instructions below).
Then use a ladle to spoon the cider into mugs or glasses.
If you’re serving it cold, a pitcher or punch bowl works well.
Although I love drink dispensers, I don’t use them for homemade apple cider because the pulp can clog up the tap (especially if you didn’t use cheesecloth to strain the liquid).
For a fun alternative, you could cut some apples in half and scoop out the insides to make mugs out of them.
Sprinkle some lemon juice over the white part of the apples to keep it from turning brown.
This usually works best for cold cider, since liquid that is too hot can cause the apples to get mushy.
I like to add a cinnamon stick and star anise for garnish.
The cinnamon adds to the flavor of the drink, and the star anise looks so pretty.
Thin apple slices also work quite well.
To make these, lay the apple on its side and cut slices across it.
Then cut a slit from the edge of the slice to the middle and stick it on the side of the glass.
How to make apple cider from scratch in a crock pot
To make this apple cider in a crock pot, follow the same instructions as above but put everything into a slow cooker instead of the stock pot.
Then cook on low heat for 7 hours (or high heat for 3 hours).
Mash the fruit with the potato masher or spoon and cook for another hour on low heat.
If you are serving it right away, return the cider to the crock pot and change it to the Warm setting (if it has one). The cider will stay good for many hours like this.
How to store and reheat apple cider
If you are making the apple cider in advance, pour it into a covered pitcher or container.
Then store it in the refrigerator until you are getting ready to serve.
You can reheat it in a pot on the stove (on low heat) or put it in the crock pot on low. It usually takes about 30 minutes for it to heat up.
If you have it in a crock pot with a Keep Warm setting, I like to put it on that after it has been heated through.
If you are looking to make a gallon of cider for a crowd, then you will need roughly 40 apples.
Honeycrisp, Galas, Newtown Pippins, and Rome Beauties yield the best ciders. If you don’t mind having a less red color, Granny Smith apples will work also.
Apple cider can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
More fall drink recipes you might like
Homemade Spiced Apple Cider From Apples
- measuring spoons
- Large pot
- potato masher
- strainer, sieve or cheesecloth
- 12 apples cored and sliced
- 1 orange peeled and sliced
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon or 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg or ½ whole nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice or 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves or ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
- In a large pot, add the chopped apples and the peeled and sliced orange.12 apples, 1 orange
- Pour in enough water to cover the fruit by about 2 inches.water
- Add the spices. Stir.1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon whole allspice, 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- Bring to a boil. Then turn the heat down, cover and simmer on low heat for 3 hours.
- Mash the apples and the orange with a potato masher or large spoon.
- Simmer with the lid off for another hour.
- Pour the mixture into a pitcher through a sieve, strainer or some cheesecloth to remove the pulp.
- Serve hot or cold.
- For the best color and flavor, leave the skin on the apples.
- Make sure the orange is peeled. Otherwise, it will add a bitter flavor to the drink.
- For a sweeter apple cider, add 1/4 cup brown sugar, granulated sugar or honey along with the spices.
- If you’re in a hurry, you can reduce the simmering time to 2 hours but the apple flavor will be less intense.
- This recipe can also be made in a crock pot. Follow the same instructions, but cook on low for 7 hours before mashing the fruit and continuing to cook them for another hour.
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This post was originally published on September 26, 2021 but was updated with new content on August 16, 2022.