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


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.


  • 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, and Glass Mugs
  5. Adapted from All Recipes.

Keywords: apple cider, slow cooker apple cider


Comments are closed.

  1. Senika @ Foodie Blog Stalker says:

    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. 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. 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. 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!)

    1. 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. 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. 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?

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

  7. 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! 

    1. 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.

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

  9. 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! 

    1. Yes, definitely! Lucky coworkers!

  10. Beth Marcelle says:

    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??

    1. You can halve this recipe, yes.

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

  13. 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 says:

    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?

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

  15. 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. 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 says:

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

  18. Marie Pierce says:

    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. 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!!! 

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

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

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

    1. Remove it first.

  21. Kristin Pollett says:

    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! 

    1. 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?

      1. Kristin Pollett says:

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

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

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

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

  24. 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 says:

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

  28. Amber Ridenour says:

    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.

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

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

  30. 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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