Homemade spiced apple cider can be served hot or cold for the perfect seasonal treat.
One of my favorite fall activities is going to the Hacklebarney Cider Mill in my hometown of Long Valley, NJ for a pairing of fresh spiced apple cider and cider donuts. I remember going on field trips in elementary school where we learned to make cider. Since most apple orchards produce gallons upon gallons of cider in the fall they can cold press the apples in large quantities and pasteurize it.
For an “at home” version, the apples are simmered in a pot with spices over a long period of time until they break down. The mixture is then smashed and strained. Serve warm for a chilly night or serve over ice for a more refreshing cider. This recipe has the added bonus of making the house smell amazing!
Smell. It smells amazing wafting through the house!
Ease. It takes only 5 ingredients (plus water) and can be made in one pot! It’s a very “hands off” recipe. While it requires a bit of time to cook it doesn’t require much attention.
Flavor. Since you make it at home you can control all the flavor!
Use. It can be used in other recipes as in cider donuts, pork chops or cocktails.
The Best Apples for This Recipe
For the best balanced flavor, I recommend using a 50/50 mix of sweet apples and tart apples – you don’t want to use too many sweet apples in this recipe.
Stronger flavored apples = stronger flavored apple cider
I like using a combination of tart green Granny Smith apples and Gala or Honeycrisp apples. All have a strong apple flavor. Gala apples are red-pink, aromatic apples with sweet flavor. Tart apples with crisp texture like Granny Smith are also great for baking because they offset the added sugar though using too many can be overpowering.
How to Make Spiced Apple Cider
Add ingredients to a Dutch oven with water. Add the apples, orange, cinnamon and cloves to a large Dutch oven. Cover the apples with 12 cups of water (¾ gallon).
Boil. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the apples start to break down, about 3 hours.
Smash the apples. Use the back of a spoon or potato masher to break up the apples. Continue cooking, uncovered, for an additional hour over low heat.
Strain. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on the solids to get all the liquid out.
Add the maple syrup. Return to the pot and sweeten the mixture with maple syrup.
Serve or store. Serve the spiced apple cider warm or chilled. Pour into a container and store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Tips and Tricks for this Recipe
Make sure you wash your apples thoroughly!
Cook the cider with the lid on first to keep too much of the water from evaporating.
Let the cider cool completely before refrigerating.
I love using apple cider in fall cocktails as well. Pair this recipe with your favorite bourbon for a spiced drink (either chilled or warm!).
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
How long will apple cider keep in the fridge?
Homemade apple cider will last in the fridge for 2 weeks.
Can I make this in a crockpot?
Yes! Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
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