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Hot apple cider is a classic during the winter days of the holiday season! This easy hot apple cider recipe uses the sweet, savoury combination of cinnamon sticks, star anise, whole cloves, nutmeg spices, fresh orange slices and sweet apples to make the most delicious holiday drink!

Here at our house, we make a batch of homemade hot apple cider every single year when we put up our Christmas tree. There is nothing better than the smell of fresh mulled cider and evergreen trees to give you all the holiday feels and warm you up on those chilly days! 

This easy recipe is delicious on its own but it is even better when you use my homemade apple juice from scratch if it is still apple season.

What is Mulled Apple Cider

Mulled apple cider is an apple juice mixture that has been warmed or heated, sweetened and spiced for added flavor. It makes the most delicious, cozy drink that is usually consumed as a winter drink, on a cold winter day or around the holidays. 

Some enjoy mulled apple cider mixed and spiked with spiced rum, bourbon or even vodka for a warm, flavorful alcoholic beverage.

The Best Spices to Use For Hot Apple Cider

There are many different types of spices that can be used to mull a fresh apple cider. I only use a few for this delicious recipe however, feel free to give any of these simple ingredients a try for a slightly different mulled flavor.

Cinnamon sticks.

1 lb. Bulk Bag, $25

Whole cloves.

1 lb. Bulk Bag, $35

Star Anise.

100 gm, $45

natural Christmas decorations star anise

Black peppercorns.

15 oz, $37

Ways to Heat Apple Cider

Stove Top

Heating homemade apple cider on the stove is the most traditional way to make it. It’s quick and easy to do with amazing taste and results. You do need to keep an eye on the cider on the stove, however, so it’s not the most convenient option if you are having a large gathering.

Slow Cooker

If you have a large group of friends or family coming over, mulled apple cider made in a slow cooker is a great option! This method will keep your cider warm and ready to serve for a long period of time. 

The slow cooker doesn’t need to be managed the same way a stovetop does either which makes it extremely convenient.

Microwave

The easiest way to heat a single cup of mulled cider is in the microwave. Add your spices to the mug and zap for approximately two minutes. You cider will come out great every time!

How to Make Homemade Hot Apple Cider

Equipment

Cast Iron Enamel 7 Quart Crock

Slow Cooker

Ingredients

Optional Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, enamel cast iron crock on the stove or slow cooker, combine the apple juice with the orange juice.
  1. Cut apple and orange slices thinly. Then add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, apple and orange slices into the cider pot. Turn on high and bring to a boil.
  2. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce to medium heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the mixture is aromatic or until your desired cider flavor is achieved. 
  3. Add any maple syrup if desired at this point.
  4.  Pour the cider juice mixture into a mug through a mesh cheesecloth to strain any unwanted items from the pot. Allow the mixture to cool and ENJOY!
  5. Optional* Add an ounce of spiced rum like Captain Morgan for an alternative alcoholic version.

Tips and Tricks for Hot Apple Cider

  • Add the spices to a small cheesecloth bag before placing them into the cider mixture on the stovetop. This will prevent the spices from going into the serving mug.
  • For the best flavor, don’t let your cider simmer for too long with the spices as it will take on a bitter taste. When the cider is ready, it will produce a wonderful aroma. Once you have the desired flavor you are wanting, remove the spices from the mixture.
  • Try adding a few different spices with you to make mulled apple cider for a flavor variation.
  • Garnish your cider with a stick of cinnamon and dried orange slices for a beautiful holiday treat.
  • If you have a small amount of cider left over, let it simmer in a small pot and reduce to low heat. It will work like a scented simmer pot and make your entire house smell amazing!

Storing Apple Cider

Mulled apple cider can be stored and used again at a later date. There are a few methods that work however it is important to remove all the spices before any of these methods are used. If you leave the spices in the apple cider mixture while storing it, the spices will become overbearing and the cider will taste bitter.

Refrigerated Cider

You can store your cider in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Simply reheat it when you are ready to use it.

Canned Cider

Canning your cider is VERY easy! Simply pour the cider into clean canning jars and tighten the lids.  The hot cider should force your jars to seal. If some of the jars don’t seal, a simple canning bath should work. 

 The canned cider can be stored for up to one year in a dark cool space. Reheat when you are ready to use and use the whole jar within 2 weeks of opening it.

Frozen Cider

The easiest way to store apple cider for long periods of time is to freeze it. Pour into an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat and serve when you are ready to use it.

I hope you love this recipe as much as my family does. Don’t forget to Pin it so that you can make it again, every year! Make sure you also try this delicious dairy free eggnog too. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is apple cider just hot apple juice?

No, apple cider is not just hot apple juice. Mulled hot apple cider has a base of apple juice but is then heated or warmed and spices and citrus fruit are added to it to produce a warm flavorful beverage! 

What is the best way to heat up apple cider?

There are a few different ways to heat apple cider. On the stovetop, in a slow cooker or crock pot, in the microwave or even in a dutch oven are the most common.

What is the best alcohol to have with mulled apple cider?

Mulled apple cider is delicious with spiced rum, whiskey, bourbon, brandy, and bitters. However, you can also pair it with vodka or tequila for a different taste.

large pot of hot apple cider
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5 from 1 vote

How to Make Hot Apple Cider

The best from-scratch hot apple cider recipe ever! This easy-to-make mulled apple cider uses cinnamon, cloves, and other mulling spices for the perfect drink on a cold winter day! Stovetop, slow cooker and microwave instructions with pictures included!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple cider, easy to make apple cider, from scratch apple cider, homemade apple cider, hot apple cider, how to make apple cider, mulled apple cider
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 150kcal
Cost: 7

Equipment

  • 1 Cast Iron Enamel 7 Quart Crock
  • 1 Slow Cooker optional

Ingredients

Optional

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan on the stove, combine the apple juice with the orange juice.
  • Cut apple and orange slices thinly. Then add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, apple and orange slices into the cider pot. Turn on high and bring to a boil.
  • Once the liquid is boiling, reduce to medium heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15-25 minutes.
  • Allow the mixture to cool, serve in a cozy mug and ENJOY!

Notes

  • Add the spices to a small cheesecloth bag before placing them into the cider mixture on the stovetop. This will prevent the spices from going into the serving mug.
  • For the best flavor, don’t let your cider simmer for too long with the spices as it will take on a bitter taste. When the cider is ready, it will produce a wonderful aroma. Once you have the desired flavor you are wanting, remove the spices from the mixture.
  • Try adding a few different spices with you to make mulled apple cider for a flavor variation.
  • Garnish your cider with a stick of cinnamon and dried orange slices for a beautiful holiday treat.
  • If you have a small amount of cider left over, let it simmer in a small pot and reduce to low heat. It will work like a scented simmer pot and make your entire house smell amazing!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 419mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 187IU | Vitamin C: 58mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1mg

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