This easy homemade apple cider is made from scratch in the crockpot with just 5 simple ingredients. The perfect warm and comforting treat to enjoy on a chilly fall day!
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Apple Cider Drink
There’s nothing I crave more than a mug of hot homemade apple cider during the fall season and simmering it in the crockpot is a convenient and hand-offs approach to making this cozy drink. Chopped apples and flavorful spices like cinnamon and cloves meld together over several hours resulting in a fragrant and flavorful cider that’s perfect for sipping on a chilly day.
Even though crockpot apple cider is made from scratch, it is so easy to make. Just dump all the ingredients in and let the slow cooker do the work for you. This cider also makes your house smell heavenly! I love to top mine with homemade whipped cream and caramel sauce to turn it into an easy apple dessert.
It’s the perfect beverage for a holiday get-together and could easily be served for both kids and adults. If you’re in a pinch, you can try my easy Thanksgiving punch. Both are great for entertaining!
Why This Recipe Works
- Dump and go. The crockpot isn’t just for dinner recipes! It’s perfect for making beverages like this slow cooker apple cider. Cooking it low and slow allows the fruit and spices to infuse into the liquid, creating a super flavorful and cozy fall treat.
- Quick prep time. It only takes 5 minutes to throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker. Hardly any prep time needed. Sign me up!
- Great for entertaining. Whether you’re throwing a fall dinner party or hosting a Halloween celebration or Thanksgiving dinner, this crock pot apple cider will be loved by both kids and adults!
Find the full printable recipe with measurements below.
- Apples: I used a combination of gala, honey crisp and granny smith apples. Using a variety of different types will give you the best flavor. Other varieties to try are red delicious, pink lady, McIntosh or fuji.
- Oranges: The citrusy orange adds another layer of flavor and compliments the sweetness from the apples. No need to peel the oranges unless you prefer a less tart cider.
- Cinnamon: Whole cinnamon sticks are the main spice included in this homemade apple cider recipe and add a warm and sweet taste.
- Cloves: This spice tends to be a bit more pungent, so add more or less to taste. I’d recommend starting small, then giving it a taste test and adding more if needed.
- Water: Enough to cover most of the fruit. As the mixture cooks, it will get infused with the flavors and aromas from the fruits and spices.
- Sugar: Fine granulated sugar works best in this recipe. You can add more or less to taste, depending on how sweet you prefer your apple cider.
Feel free to swap the sugar with your preferred sweetener of choice. Honey or maple syrup are great replacements for a healthier alternative. You may also add extra fall spices such as allspice, nutmeg, star anise or apple spice.
Try making a caramel apple cider by mixing in 2 Tablespoons of caramel sauce before serving. It adds such a nice touch and richness!
How to Make Crockpot Apple Cider
- Fill. Place the fruit and spices in the bottom of the crockpot. Then pour the water over top (it should be about an inch below the top of the crockpot). Give it a good stir, so that the spices are fully incorporated.
- Cook. Then place the lid on top and cook the mixture on high for about 3 to 4 hours.
- Mash. After cooking, mash the fruit in the crockpot with a potato masher or large spoon.
- Strain. Then ladle the mixture into a strainer (a little at a time) so that the liquid drains into a large pot. Discard the fruit solids. Right before serving, mix in the sugar until dissolved.
For stove top apple cider, bring the ingredients to a light simmer and then cover with a lid and let simmer for 1-2 hours or until the apples have softened. Then follow the recipe as directed.
- Closing the lid. With 7 to 8 cups of water added, the fruit will float towards the top. If you have an issue with the fruit floating and pushing the lid up, you can place an over-turned bowl on top of the lid to help weigh it down. Once the fruit starts to soften, the lid should rest back where it should be.
- Sweetener. I added 1/3 cup granulated sugar to the cider. It wasn’t overly sweet, but just sweet enough. If you prefer your cider on the sweeter side (similar to store-bought), add 1/2 cup instead. I like adding the sugar at the end because then you can adjust accordingly and it dissolves nicely when the cider is still warm.
- Serving. I love adding cinnamon sticks or apple/orange slices to the pitcher or individual glasses to make it extra festive. A dollop of whipped cream is always a nice touch too!
- Repurpose the cooked apples. Instead of discarding the fruit solids, they can be used to make homemade applesauce. The apples would need to be cored before adding to the crockpot (as the seeds make the sauce very tannic). An immersion blender or potato masher can be used to blend the fruit mixture into a sauce-like consistency. Then add any additional spices to taste.
I used a 6-quart crockpot, which is the absolute perfect size for this recipe. With the fruit and water added, I usually have about an inch left to spare from the top. If your crockpot is on the smaller size, then I’d suggest cutting the recipe in half to make a smaller batch.
No need to peel or core the apples…all the seeds and any hard or large parts will be strained out. I also didn’t peel the oranges. It wasn’t overly tart and was the perfect balance to the sweet flavor.
If you prefer a less tart flavor, remove the orange peel before you add the oranges in.
After straining out the fruit, the recipe yields about 1.5 quarts total. This will make enough for about 7 cups (6-7 ounces per cup).
This homemade apple cider recipe can be kept in a covered pitcher in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
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Crockpot Apple Cider
- 6 quart crockpot
- 8-10 apples , quartered (a variety is best, I used honey crisp, gala and granny smith)
- 2 oranges , quartered (peeled for less tart cider)
- 3-4 cinnamon sticks
- 1-2 teaspoons ground cloves , more to taste
- 7-8 cups water
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar , more to taste
- Place apples, oranges and spices in the crockpot. Add enough water so that the fruit is just barely floating. The water level should be about an inch or so below the top of the crockpot. Give the mixture a stir to make sure the spices are incorporated.
- Put the lid on and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
- After cooking, use a potato masher or large spoon to mash the fruit. Ladle the fruit mixture into a fine mesh strainer, a little at a time, allowing the liquid to drain into a large pot. Use a spoon to press the fruit mixture into the strainer and remove the juices. Discard the solids.
- While the cider is still warm, add granulated sugar to taste. Ladle into a cup and enjoy!
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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