I grew up drinking apple cider and homemade wassail (a spiced cider/tea with citrus) around the holidays, so when I had kids of my own I wanted to come up with my own apple cider recipe to keep the tradition going. Plus, given the cost of a gallon of organic apple cider, I thought I could save some money making it at home for my brood.
Most recipes online called for huge amounts of apples (even too much for us) and required canning and special equipment. I wanted to find a way to make a batch without canning since we would probably want to drink it that same day.
I immediately thought of making cider in the Crock-Pot. I loved the idea of the smell of baking apples filling the house all day while it cooked. They say smells trigger emotions and memories in the brain, and I believe it! Hot apple cider does that for me.
It’s easy to make too!
5-Minute Apple Cider Recipe (from Scratch)
We usually also make fresh applesauce when apples are in season in the fall, so the first time I tried making this we had a mixture of different organic apples in the house. I used Fiji, Honeycrisp, and Gala, but any apples would work. I didn’t have to add any sweetener because those varieties were naturally sweet. If you use more sour apples, add a little honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar to the final product.
I was pleased with the hands-on time for this recipe. It took about 5 minutes to wash, peel, and cut 10 apples. (My kids are pretty good with knives in the kitchen thanks to this class so that helps!)
After prep it’s really just a matter of waiting and taking in the heavenly smell of baking apples and spices as they cook down. All that’s left is to strain and serve!
We like cider best served warm, but we refrigerate the leftovers (when there are any) in a stainless steel pitcher and it’s wonderful cold as well.
Make This Apple Cider Recipe Even Better … with Butter!
Every heard of butter in your coffee? On special occasions (and when it’s cold enough outside) we’ve also made this into grown-up cider with this Hot Buttered Rum recipe from Mommypotamus. (It does seem to be true that butter makes everything better!)
If you haven’t ever had cider this way, I seriously urge you to try it … it’s amazing! Cider, maple syrup, a touch of butter, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and a dash of rum!
Now it’s a tradition we happily keep and serve for company during any holiday gathering.
How to Serve Apple Cider … the Wellness Mama Way
Granted, this apple cider isn’t exactly a health recipe as it does contain about 30 grams of sugar per cup. (If you need that, check out this immune-boosting Fire Cider or Apple Cider Vinegar recipe.)
In typical healthy mom fashion, I serve this in smaller cups. I’ve even been known to stir in a few tablespoons of gelatin or collagen for an extra boost of protein to help my kids ride out the sugar rush. (They’ll never know as long as you serve it hot … let it get cold and they might notice!)
Put this apple cider recipe in the slow cooker in the morning and have it ready for a cozy night around the fireplace with the family. Or, keep it warm in the slow cooker for guests at a fall party.
On the flip side, make this at night before bed and cook on low in the slow cooker so it is ready for breakfast (on Christmas perhaps!). Bonus: your house will smell amazing all day!
Hot Apple Cider Recipe
- 10 fresh apples
- 1 orange
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- a dash of ground nutmeg
- a dash of ground cloves or 4 whole cloves
- 1 gallon filtered water
- Wash apples and peel if they aren't organic.
- Cut into slices and place in slow cooker.
- Wash orange, cut into 8 slices, and add to slow-cooker.
- Add spices.
- Pour water into the slow cooker and turn on low for about 6-8 hours. See notes for 1-hour Instant Pot option! I use my Instant Pot on the slow cooker option since I prefer to make this before bed and have it ready (and the house smelling incredible) for breakfast.
- Strain out apples, orange, and spices using cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer and serve.
- Add all ingredients to pot.
- Fill with water to just below max fill line.
- Set to 1 hour on high pressure.
- Allow natural release and strain.
Which drinks are a family tradition at your house?
Discussion (60 Comments)
You’re right, the smell is wonderful but the taste is a bit bland. I had to add some honey and extra organic apple juice to punch up the flavour a bit. Love that it cooks overnight though.
I added maple syrup and that made it sweeter and made it taste better I still liked it without the syrup though
I’ve always wondered how they turned apple juice into apple cider. It must be the whole apples and the cooking process? My son loves apple cider but every time I look at the ingredients I can’t bring myself to buy it. This will satisfy him, I’m sure. Thanks again, Katie!
I love your site so very much. I’ve been reading for almost a year and have learned so much. I did a similar apple cider recipe about a month ago. I didn’t have any apples so I used no sugar added organic apple juice and I’m not great with a crockpot so I used a regular pot. You’re right about the smell. It really is amazing. I’ll be trying your recipe very soon. Thank You.
How long did you have it in the pot and on what heat? I don’t have a slow cooker and am having a tough time finding someone in my area who has one. Thanks!
Hi, I want to make this, but the recipe seems incomplete. Do you strain the final juice? Do you blend it or mash it first and then strain? Please answer! I really want to make this. Love all you do! Thanks for your hard work. : )
Katie - Wellness Mama
Yes 🙂 Somehow some of the recipe wasn’t showing! Sorry about that. Just strain through a wire strainer or cheesecloth before drinking.
Sounds wonderful! I’m definitely going to try this.
I would love to make this for Christmas! Can ground cinnamon be substituted for the cinnamon sticks? And if so, how much would be the proper ratio?
1 stick of Cinnamon = 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
I used ground cinnamon but I can’t remember how much and you could also probably use one drop of cinnimon essential oil if you have that
do you have to staine it ?
Yes cause the apples get really mushy and fall apart when you are trying to get it outlet but if you like pulp in your drinks then I guess not
This looks fabulous. I am going to try it. Perhaps I’ll add some sparkling water to the leftovers (if there are any) for a non alcoholic drink at dinner. Thanks for the recipe.
…you leave the orange peal on, right? ‘Cause that will give it a lovely citrus flavour!
Then when it’s cooked you strain out the fruit or put it through muslin?
I’ve never tried anything like this before. Is it alright to cool it in the fridge then drink it? I think it might be nice for the hot summer days we are having….
Many thanks for the wonderful information you provide on your Website.
You genius you! I have been looking for a cider recipe as well and this is perfect and I can’t wait to wake up Christmas morning to this smell!!! Happy Winter Solstice!