How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar at Home

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How to make apple cider vinegar at home from apple scraps
Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar at Home

Every fall we take at least one trip to an apple orchard near us. They have family-friendly activities, wonderful local canned goods for sale, and of course, apples. So many apples! My kids love applesauce so I take advantage of the apple season to make homemade applesauce so that we can enjoy it throughout the year.

Don’t Waste Apple Cores and Peels!

I don’t always peel the apples when I make applesauce but if you do take the time to peel the apples (maybe you even prefer your applesauce that way), you can use the peels and the cores to make apple cider vinegar. This way you have virtually no waste!

It is also totally possible to make apple cider vinegar from the whole apple so don’t worry if you don’t have leftover peels and cores from anything.

When I make applesauce, I typically do large quantities at a time so I have enough peels and cores for a batch of apple cider vinegar. If you only occasionally use apples, you can store the peels and cores in the freezer until you have enough gathered to start a batch.

If you don’t have an apple orchard nearby, farmers markets are another great place to get organically grown apples. Just check with the farmer. Organic apples are ideal for apple cider vinegar, especially if you will be using the peel. If you cannot find organic apples, peel them first. Discard the peel and just use the inside portion.

What Is So Special About Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has many healthy uses. It is made through the process of fermentation and is high in phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Hippocrates is believed to have prescribed ACV for a variety of ailments.

ACV for Digestion and Heartburn

ACV is the base of spicy cider which is a great remedy to help quickly knock out a cold.

Amazingly, and contrary to what seems logical, ACV also has a valuable role in preventing heartburn and aiding digestion. In most cases heartburn is actually caused by too little stomach acid which slows down digestion. Food and gasses put pressure on the stomach, causing stomach contents (including stomach acid) to leak back into the esophagus. When you remedy heartburn with ACV it increases stomach acid and helps the body digest the food more quickly. This prevents the build-up and subsequent leakage which causes heartburn. You can read more about natural heartburn relief here.

ACV Topically

In addition to its many benefits when taken internally, it is wonderful for the skin. When added to bathwater, it helps to naturally restore balance to the skin’s pH. It also helps kill bacteria and fungus on the skin which can lead to a host of problems, including eczema, dandruff, and other skin conditions.

Because of its great pH balancing benefits and dandruff preventing abilities, it makes a great hair rinse that replaces conditioner and can be used after shampooing with a natural shampoo.

Unfiltered, Unpasteurized, And With “The Mother”

Most of the ACV you find in the supermarket is pasteurized and highly filtered. These versions still work well for cleaning but they are not optimal for internal and culinary uses because most of the benefits are gone once the “mother” is filtered out and the vinegar is pasteurized.

There are a few available that are “with the mother” which means they leave in the beneficial bacteria that develops during the fermentation process in the vinegar. When you make your own ACV you can be sure that your vinegar retains this beneficial “mother.”

Important Notes:

  • This recipe uses sugar. The sugar is necessary to “feed” the yeast, but most (if not all) of the sugar is fermented out. People often ask if they can use honey. The short answer is yes, but it really does not work as well and causes the whole process to take longer. And to be honest, because the sugar is broken down, there really isn’t anything to be concerned about as far as the effect it will have on blood sugar.
  • Make sure all of your equipment and your jar are very clean. It is important to make sure you don’t introduce any bacteria other than what is naturally occurring in the process.
  • My favorite apple variety to use for applesauce is Gala so my scraps are usually a majority Gala. However, you get the best flavor if you have a mix of varieties. I use mostly Gala, but I will throw in a mixture of other types for the rest. Some I have used are Fuji, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, and McIntosh. It just adds some complexity to the flavor.
  • White scum is going to form on the top. This is normal. Mold, however, is not good and will spoil your ACV. Be sure that the apples stay submerged under the water. This will help prevent mold. You can use a fermentation weight or even just a smaller glass jar (thoroughly clean the outside) and set it on top of the apples to keep them submerged.
  • Gnats and flies love ACV so you need to make sure your jar is well covered. However, it needs to be able to breath and release gasses created from the fermentation process so do not use a solid lid. Cheesecloth or a coffee filter work well.

Final Notes

At some point while making apple cider vinegar, you will probably notice a SCOBY-like “thing” that forms on the top. This is the “mother.” You can remove it or you can just leave it floating in your vinegar.

If you don’t want to make your own apple cider vinegar, it is becoming more common for grocery stores to carry organic ACV “with the mother.” Or you can buy it online.

How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar

Before starting to make ACV, there are a few things you’ll need to have on hand first:


  • Clean jar – you can use any size jar (I have used a wide mouth quart jar and a half gallon pickle jar)
  • Organic apple scraps – enough to fill your jar ¾ of the way full
  • Organic cane sugar
  • Filtered water
  • Fermentation weight or small glass jar
  • Cheesecloth or coffee filter
  • Rubberband
How to make apple cider vinegar at home from apple scraps

Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe with the Mother

Apple cider vinegar with “the mother” has many benefits and it is simple to make at home with some organic apple scraps and a little time. Here’s how…
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 42 days 5 minutes
Calories 6kcal
Author Katie Wells


2 cups


  • organic apple scraps
  • 2 TBSP cane sugar
  • 2 cups water (filtered)


  • Clean a quart jar very well and let air dry.
  • Fill the jar ¾ full with apple scraps. If you are using whole apples, roughly chop them up before you put them in the jar.
  • Dissolve the cane sugar into the cup of water.
  • Pour sugar water over the apples until they are completely submerged. Add a little additional water if needed to make sure the apples are covered.
  • Weigh down the apples with a fermentation weight or with the small glass jar. Any apples that are exposed to the air could mold.
  • Cover with the cheesecloth or coffee filter and secure with the rubber band.
  • Store in a dark place at room temperature. I put mine in a cabinet in the kitchen.
  • Leave it for approximately 3 weeks. Check on it every few days to make sure the apples are staying under the water and to make sure no mold is growing.
  • After 3 weeks, it will still smell fairly sweet. Strain the apples pieces out and return the liquid to the jar. Compost the scraps.
  • Recover and put the jar back in a dark spot for another 3-4 weeks, stirring every few days.
  • When the ACV has reached the “tartness” you like you can put a lid on it or transfer it to a different jar with a lid and start using it!


Nutrition Facts
Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe with the Mother
Amount Per Serving (2 TBSP)
Calories 6
% Daily Value*
Sodium 1mg0%
Carbohydrates 0.3g0%
Sugar 0.1g0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


This recipe is for a quart size jar of apple cider vinegar. If you are making a larger jar, just make sure your apple scraps fill the jar ¾ of the way and are covered with sugar water.
When the ACV is finished you can save “the mother” that has floated to the top or just a small quantity of the finished ACV to start a new batch that will ferment more quickly. 

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

How do you use apple cider vinegar? Will you try your hand at making your own?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


221 responses to “How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar at Home”

  1. Tamara Avatar

    This my first time attempting this and I have mixed the apples in a stainless steel barrel. I have used more water and less sugar than the ratio above (40 kg apples, 50 ltrs water and 1,5 kg of sugar). Today is the 13th day. I have noticed bubbles all last week and now the apples are sinking. Do you think it’s ok? Can I add more sugar now?

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      You might be able to add more sugar now. The sugar is necessary for fermentation to occur to give the bacteria food and without enough sugar it may not ferment right.

  2. Sandra Sherman Avatar
    Sandra Sherman

    I started this recipe last night and put it in a jar that I now realize I need for something else. It is a half gallon jar that has a lid attached to it. Can I now take it and put it into another jar or will that mess up the process? it has been less than 12 hours since I started the recipe. Thank you.

  3. Terri Avatar

    5 stars
    Do you know if vinegar can be made with some cinnamon in it? I have freeze dried apples that had cinnamon sprinkled on them pre-freeze drying. Do you think it would work to use them for vinegar?

  4. Elizabeth L. Avatar
    Elizabeth L.

    Hi. I’m just starting out learning about fermenting and canning. I picked up a Ball Fermentation Kit with a stainless spring and special plastic lid with a vent. Would it be OK to use the kit in making ACV?
    TIA ?

  5. Judy Lacewell Avatar
    Judy Lacewell

    I started a batch of ACV 2 weeks ago.
    I strained it today and the liquid had a thick viscous consistency? It doesn’t have a bad smell.
    Is this still good to continue fermentation or should I throw it out?
    Not sure what happened or what I did wrong.
    I would appreciate any advice.
    Thank you!

  6. Janice Bartholomew Avatar
    Janice Bartholomew

    I’ve completed the first 3 weeks and now will strain. My question is, after straining do I cover the jar with a lid or the cheesecloth again? Thank you. Janice

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      The jar is covered with cheesecloth or a coffee filter until it’s completely done fermenting and ready to be stored. (so 6-7 weeks total)

  7. Brittney Avatar

    I would like to make this in a gallon jar. Will it work to quadruple the recipe?

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      You could try it. Personally, I would use 2 half-gallon jars in case one didn’t turn out. I’ve found that making ACV can be a little tricky sometimes.

  8. Lauren Barton Avatar
    Lauren Barton

    5 stars
    Is there a problem leaving the scraps in the liquid for longer than 3 weeks. I will be gone for a while and want to use the apples up before I leave. I won’t be back to take the scrapes out for about 6 weeks.

  9. Mark Avatar

    Yes, you can save the mother and put it in a jar with some juice and put the lid on it when finished. I think some people refrigerate this also.

  10. Margaret Avatar

    I’m wondering if I can use the pomace from apple cider to make ACV? It’s got the whole apple chopped up. Skin, apple, core, seeds, some stems. I don’t like to waste anything!

    1. Christina Avatar

      5 stars
      I have been making ACV for 5 years, I noticed just using skins and core works better than when I added the apple itself I don’t remove all seeds

    1. Christina Avatar

      5 stars
      I had my same mother for 5 years I just added the new batch when it was done. The mother kept growing, it got to be 1lb very healthy. As long as you keep it in glass with no metal and in a dark place or covered it should be fine.

  11. Simon Avatar

    Hello I didn’t know you had to take out the apples after two weeks, I also didn’t know that you had to make sure the apples stayed under the water, I also lost track of time, so long story short, I had so many apples that I used a 20 ltr plastic bucket I put the apples and water in and left for 8 weeks with the plastic lid just sitting loose on top, it now has a thick white jelly on top, can I still use it or should I throw it away.

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