Homemade Apple Cider

Homemade apple cider is a quintessential fall drink, so I’m teaching you how easy it is. We’re using a slow cooker, fresh fruit, and fall spices to make this simple and flavorful cider– your house will smell like fall all day long! Cheers.

homemade apple cider

There’s something very special about homemade apple cider. I love how the house smells as it simmers, the delicious ways to serve it all season long, and that it’s made with 100% real ingredients– no preservatives or crazy additives. It’s actually really easy to make and I have a feeling you’ll revisit this recipe every year!

Apple Cider Ingredients

You only need 5 ingredients to make slow cooker apple cider. Because there are so few ingredients, the flavors truly shine and you can actually taste the homemade goodness.

  • Apples: Use a variety of apples for best tasting cider.
  • Orange: One orange balances out the apple flavor and pairs wonderfully with the spices.
  • Cinnamon Sticks + Cloves: These spices go hand-in-hand with anything apple.
  • Sugar: Adds sweetness.

homemade apple cider

Best Apples to Use in Homemade Apple Cider

For the best flavor, I strongly encourage using a variety of apples– some sweet, some tart.

  • Sweet apples I love: Jazz, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Gala, Fuji, and Cortland
  • Tart apples I love: Granny Smith, Braeburn, Jonathan, and Pacific Rose

fruit for apple cider

How to Make Homemade Apple Cider

This is a set it and forget it crockpot recipe.

  1. Place everything in the slow cooker.
  2. Add water. Use enough to cover the fruit.
  3. Cook. 6-7 hours on low heat, 3 hours on high heat.
  4. Mash the fruits. Take a giant spoon and begin mashing up all those warm apples and oranges. (At this point, they’ll be super soft.)
  5. Simmer. Allow this liquid mash to simmer for another hour.
  6. Strain. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the cider.

That’s it!

No slow cooker? Use a large stock pot instead. Place all ingredients into your pot and bring everything to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Continue with mashing the fruit, cooking for an additional hour, and straining as instructed.

slow cooker apple cider

You Control the Sugar & Spices

What I love most about homemade cider is that you can control the amount of sugar and spices. I find apples to be 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 to suite your tastes. For apple cider similar to what you purchase at the store, I recommend using 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.

homemade apple cider

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homemade apple cider

Homemade Apple Cider

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: about 1 and 1/2 quarts
  • Category: Beverage
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

For the best flavor, I strongly encourage using a variety of apples– some sweet, some tart. See recipe notes for how to make this apple cider on the stove.


Ingredients

  • 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 sugar*

Instructions

  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!

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Cider can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
  2. Sugar: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Special Tools: Slow Cooker (4-quart or higher), Fine Mesh Sieve, Ground Cloves, and Glass Mugs
  5. Adapted from All Recipes.

Keywords: apple cider, slow cooker apple cider

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

123 Comments

  1. Do you peel the apples before putting them in the slow cooker, or just the orange? This looks amazing! Can’t wait to make it! Thanks 🙂

  2. I barely covered the apples with water and it was very weak tasting. I must say I was disappointed. I did cook it 3 hours on high, mashed it and then cooked an additional hour on low. I was so anxious to try this as we don’t get regular apple cider here in Germany. Next time I want/need apple cider I will just use the unfiltered apple juice and spice it.

  3. Oh Wow! Spent Thanksgiving away from home and normal routine this year. But I must say this recipe gave our dinner some extra excitements. The boys were so excited even just by the aroma, the taste is wonderful too. So easy to make even without the slow cooker. I am definitely going to be making this regularly. Thanks a lot for this recipe.

  4. Help! I made this recipe today and even after adding 1 cup of sugar, it is so bitter and orangey tasting! How do I counteract? More apples? More sugar???

    1. Hi Tara, you can add more sugar to fit your tastes– did you leave the orange peel on? Make sure the oranges are peeled– see step 1.

  5. I had a co worker make cider from scratch a few years back that was awesome. This year I decided to try making some. Unfortunately I couldn’t remember the measurements (did remember the ingredients). I wanted to share the few issues & fixes I had, along with a few tips. First issue was that all the fruite wanting to float pushing the lid off. I took a mixing bowl that fit most of the way into the pot & put a large can in the bowl as weight. The other issue was it tasted a bit watered down (this is a comment I saw on a lot of other sites also). What I did on the next batch besides using less water was letting the ingredients sit over night & straining it just before heating it back up. Last thing has to do with sugar. When my co worker made cider he didn’t use any. He used actual sugar cane he got from a specialty store in Phoenix. If you live in a small town like I do call around b4 driving around first. I ended up using a small amount of molasses and/or honey. Have a wonderful holiday season everyone.

  6. Made this recipe for a party and everyone loved it. I peeled the oranges. Add a few additional apples, and cooked it for a good 7 hours before straining. Will make again.

  7. It turned out great! I used a 5-quart slow cooker, two peeled oranges, 12-14 apples (Honey Crisp and Granny Smith) and just about doubled the spices. I didn’t use any sugar. Cooked for 7 hours. Mashed it all up and cooked for another 1 hour. Straining took longer than I thought and a little more effort than I thought it would. I felt like I had to press a lot of the apple mush into the sides of the strainer to release all of the juices. I will plan a better straining strategy for next time. Everyone loved it and I will make it again!

  8. I made this over the weekend and it was amazing! I bought big apples so it overflowed a bit. Next time, I will pick out the smaller ones. Straining it did take longer than I thought but in the end it was so delicious! Adding to thanksgiving this year!

  9. The apple mash is actually applesauce, so in answer to the above question, yes, it can be used as such. Or sweeten and spice it up with plenty of cinnamon and use as apple butter. Yum!

  10. Mine turned out better, even though I peeled the orange. I thought maybe from the apple seeds? I continued to cook the solids and I’m going to drain some liquid off and make apple butter.

  11. Just tried this today and it was SO good! I cooked it initially with just a dollop of honey and then added a little more at the end to cut the tartness of the apples. It’s so flavorful and delicious!

  12. Do you drain out the excess water in the crock pot? After it’s cooked. Or do you mash the apples and add it back to the water in the crock pot?

    1. Hi Rachel! I’m sure you could, but I actually don’t own one and haven’t tested it yet. Let me know if you try it!

      1. I’m trying it in my instant pot on slow cooker “more” setting (aka high), just because my instant pot was already on the counter!

  13. What I can use other than oranges? My husband is allergic therefore I wouldn’t be able to make this unless I substitute it. Thank you!

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