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. 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?

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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