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 in glass mugs

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 in a glass mug

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 and cinnamon sticks for apple cider in slow cooker

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 in mugs with cinnamon sticks

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homemade apple cider in glass mugs

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

139 Comments

  1. Jessica @ Citrus Blossom Bliss says:

    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. Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous) says:

    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. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    Oh my gosh! I love apple cider. It’s the perfect beverage for fall! I love that this recipe is so simple with just a few ingredients. And since it’s done in a slow cooker, there’s not need to really watch over it! Can’t wait to make this!

  5. I can’t wait to make this, Sally! I can smell the deliciousness now 🙂

  6. 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. 🙂 

    1. Mine’s a 4 quart cooker. Enjoy Chelle!

  7. Sara @ Life's Little Sweets says:

    I love apple cider!  It’s one of those things that I associate with Fall, thank you for sharing this!

  8. I love this! I never thought of making Apple Cider for myself before and I can’t wait to try it out! 🙂 

  9. 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. Ginger is a wonderful addition– enjoy!

      1. On a side note, have you considered adding Atlanta to your book tour schedule?  We’d love to have you!!

      2. 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!

  10. Bummer, what if you don’t have a slow cooker? 

    1. See my recipe note– enjoy, Linda!

  11. 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. Natalie Munroe says:

        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!

  12. Awesome Possum!!! I can’t wait to try this!

  13. 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 🙂

    Thanks!

    Greetings from the Netherlands

    1. Yes, definitely. See my recipe note. Enjoy Diana!

  14. 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!! 🙂

    1. Can’t wait to meet you and finally see San Diego– I’ve never been there before!

  15. 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.

  16. Trish - Mom On Timeout says:

    I love that you made this is in the slow cooker Sally! I bet it makes your house smell ah-mazing! This is happening ASAP!

  17. 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.

    1. Yep, pictures show unpeeled. In more recent batches, I certainly prefer peeling it.

  18. 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!

    1. Can’t wait to meet you in Hudson!

  19. Laura @ The Bluenose Baker says:

    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!

  20. Valentina Duracinsky says:

    ohhhhh i miss the delicious apple cider in MA!!

    Paris knows not what it is.

    Val

  21. Stephanie @ The Glamorous Gourmet says:

    Thanks for not waiting until next month to post this recipe – I’m going to make it tomorrow! Can’t wait for the divine smell to fill the house – thanks so much for sharing ~ Cheers:)

  22. Karen @ On the Banks of Salt Creek says:

    Yesterday we pressed most of our apples. Ended up with 18 gallons of cider. I’m really looking forward to putting some on the stove with all the spices to make warm spiced cider. LOVE IT!

    1. Mmm. Sounds perfect. Enjoy it all!

  23. 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!!

    1. Yes, I know! It feels so surreal!

  24. Rose @ Popcorn and Chocolate says:

    Yum, this looks so good! I just went apple picking, so making this with all those apples would be perfect. I like the idea of doing it in the slow cooker, I’ll have to try this soon!

  25. 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! 🙂 

  26. I love how easy this is to make! The best part is that I can make it in my Crockpot! 🙂 

  27. 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).

  28. @Sally

    I adore how simple this is to make! The best part is that I can make it in my Crockpot..

    regards
    rakhi

  29. Trisha @ Home Sweet Homemade says:

    Lol, I never even thought of making my own cider! Awesome! Pinned and shared on Facebook!

  30. Stella @ Stellicious Life says:

    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. Stella, I certianly can’t make any statements about safety risks. Why not try this on a day you’ll be home? Hope you enjoy!

      1. Stella @ Stellicious LIfe says:

        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 🙂

    2. 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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