Homemade Apple Cider

Your house will smell like Fall all day long. And yes, it’s amazing.

Homemade apple cider in the slow cooker! It's so, so easy! Learn how on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Before I forget, I have a new post in my photography section this week. Come explore with me. Have you been enjoying photos of things other than food??

So as you know, I’ve been preparing for my book tour for a couple months now. I’m not kidding when I say that the aroma of Fall has been strongly wafting in my house since July. Not that I’m complaining. Bring on the pumpkin coffee creamer! When I began to create recipes for this fall season, I knew homemade apple cider had to be on the agenda. “I need to teach them how to make apple cider with pretty cinnamon sticks and I definitely need to buy cute new mugs for the pics.”

How my brain works.

By the way– the book tour begins next weekend! Click here for the full schedule. I just added a San Diego stop in February as well as NYC and two more Boston visits.

Homemade apple cider in the slow cooker! It's so, so easy! Learn how on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I was going to wait until well into October to share this recipe, but that just seemed cruel. Apple cider, spiced with cinnamon and cloves, is the quintessential Fall drink and you’ve got to make it NOW.

Homemade apple cider is actually really, really simple. In fact, I was shocked when I found this super easy recipe on All Recipes. I love that the cider is made in a slow cooker! Set it and forget it. That’s the beauty of a slow cooker. Side note– I make these turkey meatballs in my slow cooker at least 3x a month. Great leftovers for lunch.

So let’s talk about what is actually in this apple cider. Well, not much at all! There’s apples, an orange, water, spices, and sugar. I strongly recommend you use a couple different types of apples for the best flavor. I love using a sweeter variety (like Jazz, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, etc) and a tart variety like Granny Smith. An orange balances out all the apple flavor, giving the homemade apple cider a unique citrus burst. The citrus pairs wonderfully with the spices too: ground cloves and cinnamon sticks.

Can you handle how amazing your house is going to smell?? I’ve made this homemade apple cider 4x in the past month not only because it tastes so damn good but because of THE SMELL. Autumn is totally taking over your home.

slow cooker apple cider

Stick it all into the slow cooker and fill with water.

Homemade apple cider in the slow cooker! It's so, so easy! Learn how on sallysbakingaddiction.com

After several hours, take a giant spoon and begin mashing up all those warm apples and oranges. They’ll be super soft at this point. And that’s when their flavor really starts to infuse into the cider. It’s incredible. Allow this liquid mash (how appetizing?!) to simmer for another hour or so, then strain the apple cider goodness through a fine mesh sieve.

That’s it! Homemade apple cider for all.

One thing that’s important, though. Ok so what I love most about this homemade apple cider is that you have total control over the amount of sugar and spice in each batch. For me? Apples are super sweet on their own, so I add very little sugar to my homemade apple cider. We all have different preferences, so make sure that you add enough sugar. I recommend 1/2 cup of granulated sugar if you like your cider on the sweeter side. To be honest, I only use a couple Tablespoons total.

I’d rather eat my sugar.

Homemade apple cider in the slow cooker! It's so, so easy! Learn how on sallysbakingaddiction.com

So, how easy does this sound? And, most importantly, aren’t the cinnamon sticks pretty and the mugs cute? Yay for all things Fall.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make!

Homemade Apple Cider

Your house will smell like Fall all day long. And yes, it's amazing.


  • 1 orange
  • 10 medium apples (use a variety-- I use Honeycrisp and Granny Smith)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (or 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • granulated sugar1 (see note)
Special Equipment
  • Slow cooker (4-quart or higher)2
  • Fine mesh sieve


  1. Peel the orange and place the segments in the slow cooker. (Pictures show unpeeled- I prefer peeling it. Less bitter.) Wash the apples, cut into quarters, and place in the slow cooker. Add the cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, and sugar. Add enough water to cover the fruit.
  2. Cook on low heat for 6-7 hours. (Or high heat for 3.)
  3. After 6-7 hours, the fruit will be very soft. Use a large spoon to mash the fruit and release its liquids. Allow the cider to cook on low for 1 more hour.
  4. Very slowly strain the chunky liquid though a fine mesh sieve into a large pot or pitcher. You can discard the solids. Strain the cider one more time to rid any other solids. Serve the cider warm. Leftover cider keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days. Warm up on the stove before serving-- or drink it cold!
  5. Make ahead tip: Cider can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Adjust the sugar to your taste. I only use a couple Tablespoons of granulated sugar because I prefer spicy cider as opposed to sweet. If you prefer your apple cider on the sweeter side (like the kind you buy at the store), use 1/2 cup (100g) of granulated sugar.
  2. No slow cooker? No problem! In step 1, place all of the ingredients into a large stock pot instead of a slow cooker. Turn the stove up to high heat and bring everything to a simmer while stirring occasionally. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Mash the fruit as described in step 3. Then, allow the cider to cook for 1 more hour. Continue with step 4.

Adapted from All Recipes

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.


Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

Slow Cooker | Fine Mesh Sieve | Ground Cloves | Cute Glass Mugs

Make the best of your homemade apple cider and make Honeycrisp Apple Sangria. It’s like a big Fall hug in a wine glass. My favorite kind of hug. 

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Honeycrisp Apple Sangria

Homemade apple cider in the slow cooker! It's so, so easy! Learn how on sallysbakingaddiction.com
Homemade apple cider in the slow cooker! It's so, so easy! Learn how on sallysbakingaddiction.com



  1. Senika @ Foodie Blog Stalker on September 28, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I’m not sure just HOW I thought cider was made but, for some reason, I imagined some sort of cider wizardry that was not do-able at home. Thanks for making me see that it’s completely capable of being made, in a slow cooker no less! This will be happening in my home very shortly, can’t wait for the smell!! And taste!

  2. Miriam on October 1, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    You are now my favorite person. I cannot tell you how long I’ve been wanting a recipe for apple cider. Thanks a billion!

  3. Crystal on October 3, 2015 at 11:27 am

    I made this apple cider for my husband and he loves it.. Plus I have been trying to figure out a way to get rid of a 40 gallon tote of apples I got… Plus I love the fact you can freeze it up to 3 months… So good bye apples hello happy husband who loves cider on cold mornings..

  4. Lindsay on October 3, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    I made this last night and got barely any liquid from the apples…instead I put in through a larger strainer to end up with applesauce. I let I cook overnight…so close to 9 hours. Did I let the fruit cook down too much? (Wrong apple product but it tasted good at least!)

    • Sally on October 3, 2015 at 6:06 pm

      Lindsay, I’m afraid 9 hours is too long. You want the apples soft enough to mash, but not completely falling apart. If you want to try again, cook for 6 hours, mash, then the final hour.

  5. Lindsay on October 3, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Thanks so much! I intended to get up earlier to pull them but that didn’t obviously happen 🙂  I look forward to trying again (the right way this time)!

  6. Keri on October 4, 2015 at 10:00 am

    I made this yesterday and loved it!  And the house smelled fantastic all day!  I hate to be wasteful so I made apple butter out of the remaining solids, which also turned out great.  The only tedious part was removing the bits of peel from the solids.  Do you think the cider would taste the same if I peel the apples first?

    • Sally on October 5, 2015 at 10:08 am

      Peeling the apples first is absolutely OK Keri! Whatever you find easier.

  7. Meaghan on October 4, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Ok. So I thought I totally screwed this up today! I strained everything out and had almost NO juice! I was so confused! Then I read back through the recipe and saw that I FORGOT TO ADD THE WATER! Good grief.  So I added water to my half gallon jug to make it come to about 1.5 quarts, poured some out and hoped for the best.  Success!! Next time, I will be sure to add the water! Sally, this is yet another wonderful recipe from you! Oh! And I also made pumpkin spice toffee from your cookbook today!! SO good!! Thanks for all you do! 

    • Sally on October 5, 2015 at 9:55 am

      Hahahaha oh well, a simple mistake to fix next time!

      And that pumpkin spice toffee. Meaghan, I’ve been making it for my recent book signings in Philadelphia and everyone is obsessing over it! It’s easily one of my favorite recipes from the cookbook.

      • Meaghan on October 8, 2015 at 9:19 am

        I took some of the toffee into work on Monday, and everyone loved it! One co-worked even asked me if I had anymore to bring in, because she couldn’t stop thinking about it! Haha!! I can’t wait to try the other candies in the book!

  8. Heaven on October 10, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    Coming to you from tastespotter. This looks amazing. Thanks for sharing. Pinned and following you on Pinterest. 

  9. Alycia on October 12, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Sally,

    Is it okay to leave the cider in the crockpot on low if I bring it to my office, to keep it warm throughout the day? So excited to make this! 

    • Sally on October 12, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      Yes, definitely! Lucky coworkers!

  10. Beth Marcelle on October 13, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    I am dying to make this but I only have a 2.5 qt slow cooker….can the recipe be cut in half to compensate??

    • Sally on October 13, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      You can halve this recipe, yes.

  11. Nikki on November 22, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Gonna try your honey crisp sangria for thanksgiving then saw your cider recipe.  Made the cider today & it is delicious!  Could not believe how easy it was to make the cider & looking forward to the sangria on turkey day, Thanks!

  12. kristy on November 23, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    I made this the other night and it was delicious…so much better than store bought.  Thanks for sharing. 

  13. Denise on November 27, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Omg…the best apple cider ever!!! I made yesterday for Thanksgiving, everyone loved…adults, kids…a real crowd pleaser! I didn’t add any sugar, apples are sweet, no need for sugar. I recommend 100% this recipe. Easy, healthy,  cheap and delicious!! =)

  14. Justin Goldberg on November 30, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Hey wait a minute, how does this have all the gut-repairing fermented goodness of real apple cider? Don’t you need a starter or vinegar?

    • Mrslawrence on September 25, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Im pretty sure you may be thinking of apple cider vinegar. 🙂

  15. Eileen on December 12, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    I just ordered my slow cooker and the Apple cider recipe will be my first venture. I truly hope more people will use natural ingredients esp less sugar/salt in recipes.  Now that l am not eating processed, less fats, no sugar & less salt, my food has real taste. Spices, natural squeezed fruits, vinegars are wonderful complements.  Let’s get back to down home cooking and not buy dinner that takes a few minutes in a microwave.

  16. Loren S. on December 29, 2015 at 11:03 am

    I am tweaking your recipe idea into a small slow cooker about 1.5 quarts. It is just me. I do not possess or own a large crock pot, since just me in the house. I know most people would say buy a larger one and freeze, but my space is limited. I know next time peel the orange. You are right I do taste a bitterness with the peel. Used way less apples, water, and cinnamon. Not bad though. My first attempt not great, even with a bunch of liquor added. 

  17. rochellereigns on March 5, 2016 at 2:21 am

    I just love it… Gonna make it soon ..Like your way… Thanks for sharing such a Lavish Stuff..!!

  18. Marie Pierce on March 12, 2016 at 5:13 am

    Yum, this looks so great! I just went apple picking, so making this with each one of those apples would be great. I like the thought of doing it in the moderate cooker, I’ll need to attempt this soon!

    Marie Pierce

  19. Lindsay on September 6, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    I made this today it is the best Apple Cider I have ever had!!! I made apple butter out of the apple solids after I strained the cider! The apple butter is gosh darn yummy as well!!! Thank you Sally for another awesome recipe!!! 

    • Sally on September 7, 2016 at 8:13 am

      I’m glad you turned those solids into butter! Thanks for reporting back Lindsay.

      • Peg on October 28, 2016 at 5:20 pm

        How did you make the apple butter with the remaining solids?

    • Judy on October 26, 2016 at 5:20 am

      I would love to know how to make apple butter out of the apple solids! Any chance you would part with your secret Lindsay?

  20. Nicole on September 16, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Do I take the cinnamon sick out before smashing or smash it with the apple’s?

    • Sally on September 19, 2016 at 11:17 am

      Remove it first.

  21. Kristin Pollett on September 17, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    I own a 7 quart slow cooker. The recipe says to fill with water until the fruit is covered but I’m afraid I put too much in. Do you know exactly how much water you use? I still have a few more hours of cooking to go. I hope it turns out ok! I’m making the honeycrisp Sangria tomorrow! 

    • Sally on September 19, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Hi Kristin! As long as the fruit is covered by a little water, you wouldn’t have put too much in. I’ll measure exactly how much next time. How did it taste? And the sangria too?

      • Kristin Pollett on September 19, 2016 at 11:50 am

        I do think the apple cider was a tad bit watered down. My fiancé and I like our cider really sweet. And I may have cooked it for too long or smashed the apples to hard while straining because there were some teeny apple pieces in the cider. At least I know what to fix next time! Which will be soon because that was fun! The sangria turned out wonderful! Super yummy especially with the cinnamon sugar rim! Thanks so much Sally!

  22. Tabitha on September 20, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Can I juice the apples and orange before hand, to avoid straining in the end? 

    • Sally on September 21, 2016 at 10:30 am

      Slow cooking them with the water and flavoring is best for flavor, but I can’t see why that wouldn’t work too.

  23. Liza on September 22, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Can this recipe be canned or frozen? Would love to enjoy it all winter long 🙂

    • Sally on September 25, 2016 at 9:57 am

      Hi Liza! The apple cider can be frozen. See my note 🙂

  24. mercedes on October 4, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    How could I can this because I would love to do that instead of freezing it because I don’t have a lot of space in my freezer?

  25. Mallory Brisson on October 5, 2016 at 9:09 am

    This recipe is really lovely and so easy. I prepared the ingredients in no time and let them slow cook over night. In the AM my house smelled divine and it was very easy to strain the apples. I strained the liquid a second time through cheese cloth, and then restrained the apple chunks using the cloth as well, which yielded quite a bit more liquid! Thanks so much. This will definitely be a staple in our home for unwanted apples 😀

  26. Sarah on October 6, 2016 at 8:59 am

    I made this today and it is amazing! I did add more sugar because I like it sweeter. I also didn’t have ground cloves, so I used whole. Thank you for the recipe!:)

  27. Jenni on October 23, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    I kept the left over solids and made apple sauce.. it was practically made already!

  28. Amber Ridenour on October 27, 2016 at 9:42 am

    This looks so good! Can I make it a day ahead and refrigerate it then warm it back up in the crockpot the next day? I didn’t know if that would cook it too much.

    • Sally on October 27, 2016 at 9:58 am

      That wouldn’t be too much cooking at all– will be perfect.

  29. Becky on October 27, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Is this safe for pregnant woman? I don’t understand pasteurized and such…

  30. Vicky on November 2, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    This looks awesome! Do you think this would still be good if left on low for longer than the suggested time? I want to serve this for my book club but I’d have to leave it in the slow cooker for 9 hours while I’m at work.



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