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

  • 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


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 sugar*


  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!


  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 | 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


  1. Ugh! I had no idea it was so easy to make cider at home! Every fall we go apple picking here in New Jersey and I always get a cup of hot apple cider…and a few apple cider donuts rolled in cinnamon sugar 🙂 I’m definitely going to need this homemade cider in my life when it starts to get cooler!

  2. i love the smell of homemade apple cider! it’s probably one of my favorite fall scents. kind of random but making apple cider in a coffee maker doesn’t always work; there’s an infamous incident where my cousin somehow got the spices stuck in a coffee maker, causing it to 1) overflow all the time and 2) make all the coffee taste spiced.

  3. I would love my house to smell like this cider instead of paint. My husband is going DIY crazy this Fall and is once again remodeling every room in my house. Cracking the whip. It’s insane. Everything smells like paint. (which is fresh but NOT cider). Just the thought of this cider wafting in my house is cheering right now. I just want to watch Harry Potter movies, pick pumpkins and sip cider. 

  4. Shut the front door!  What size slow cooker do you use. My people think cider is a regular fall drink and go through it very quickly. We buy it by the gallon on the regular. I’d love to double this. It looks amazing, I can almost smell it. 🙂 

  5. Thanks again Sally for another simple but stellar recipe.  I have all of the ingredients on hand.  I may add a small piece of fresh ginger to the pot for another layer of flavor.  I will prep and start the slow cooker before church tomorrow morning.  It’s going to smell so good in here when we get back home. I can’t wait!

      1. Tried to get in touch with a few stores but no luck. They either do not host cookbook authors OR are all booked up this year. Would love to visit though!

  6. We’re going apple and pumpkin picking today! This couldn’t have come at a better time. Can’t wait to try it. Like so many other readers, I had no idea it was so easy to make cider at home! I usually “make” cider by buying a half gallon and then adding stuff to it and letting it simmer on the stove (which also smells amazing) but I can never drink much because it’s so sugary. I’m looking forward to trying your recipe and enjoying it knowing exactly what’s inside. Hooray for fall! (And OF COURSE you needed to buy cute new mugs for the cider. Just as I needed to buy a Halloween apron and spatula for all the treats I plan to make in October! Is this in some way abnormal? Perish the thought!)

    1. NOT AT ALL abnormal. Though you may be asking the wrong person! I used to make cider that way too– starting with store-bought. This cider is worlds better! I can’t wait for you to try it. Have fun today!

      1. We picked 73 apples– I’m ready to cider it up tomorrow! Also, my cookbook shipped and the estimated delivery is Monday! (I upgraded to Prime yesterday, right in the nick of time, it seems!) I’m so excited!!! Food nerdery is the best type!

  7. Hi Sally!

    This looks really good. One question though.. Can you make it on the stove top as well?
    Slowcookers are not that popular here.. Yet!
    I really love making your recipes, especially because you make it easier for us living with the metric system 🙂


    Greetings from the Netherlands

  8. That’s looks delicious!  I can’t wait to try it.  It’s still in the mid-80’s here in San Diego, so I just can’t bring myself to switch over to all things apple and pumpkin yet.  It’s still berries and peaches for a bit longer.  I, just this morning, signed up for your book signing here in San Diego.  Woohoo, can’t wait!! 🙂

  9. I think apple and pumpkin things are the BEST smelling desserts. Aside from banana bread, they reign supreme!!! I wish I could just bake bread all day long and bottle it up as a perfume. I’d bring all the boys to the yard. HA! Okay, I’ll stop now.

  10. It says to peel the orange but all the pictures show the rind still on the orange segments.  I would think the cider would taste bitter if the orange rind cooks for hours.  So the question is do you peel the orange or not?  The picture certainly looks prettier with the rind on.

  11. I am sure my house would smell amazing if I made this Cider! I pre-ordered your new cookbook from Amazon, and it is arriving on Monday; cannot wait to get my hands on it! Also, I love that you are coming to Hudson, Ohio, which is close to me!

  12. I am absolutely going to make this! We go through cider from the farm stand like crazy, and I like that with this I can control the sweetness. I wish I’d looked at the recipe before I came home because I would have bought more apples to make it right away!

  13. Sally, I’ve been out of town this weekend and just got home. Did you know your new cookbook has hit mailboxes?!?  I’m SO excited!! Congratulations!!

  14. Was about to ask if there is a way to make this recipe without a slowcooker but then I saw your additional notes – thanks for always being so considerate! 🙂 

  15. This sounds amazing, I love that you use a whole apple, I sometimes juice the apples and that cook the juice with spices, but then you’re left with the pulp (I don’t waste it, I put it in smoothies for extra fiber kick).

  16. I’ve never tried a slow cooker but keep seeing all these amazing recipes made ina slow cooker. My problem with a slow cooker is that I have this fear (maybe irrational) that if there is any appliance plugged in while I’m away (for hours) from home, any accident can happen: it overheats, boils, burns, etc. that could burn down the house.

    So reassure me, tell me, there are no safety risks with slow cookers?

      1. Another concern of mine Sally is that slowcookers need to go for hours usually, and that always make me wonder that doesn’t it take too much energy consumption? The frugal and environment conscious in me has all these nagging concerns sorry.

        But I’m sure this cider must smell divine, I LOVE fall scents in the house 🙂

    1. I can personally reassure you about the energy efficiency Stella. Slow cookers  are actually running very little overall.

      The ceramic body the food sits it retains heat and doesn’t want to let it go, so the slow cooker is on consistently for just long enough to get it up to temp. After that, it only has to be on for a few seconds at a time here and there in order to maintain the temp.

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About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally