This Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider is steeped low and slow with apple juice, fresh apples and oranges, cranberries, warming whole spices, and a pinch of allspice. It’s delightful unsweetened and sweetened!
Mulled apple cider is the perfect warm beverage to sip on during wintry weather, and making it from scratch has never been easier. These easy-to-follow instructions will teach you how to make cider with apple juice instead of whole apples, so there’s no straining needed.
The best part? You can fix it and forget it. It’s seriously that simple! All you have to do is prep the fruit, dump everything into your slow cooker, and when you return a few hours later, you’ll be welcomed by a delightful cinnamon-spiced apple fragrance and homemade spiced apple cider.
This slow cooker apple cider leaves you in charge of the ingredients, sweetness, and spices. You can make it sweeter with a splash of rich brown sugar syrup and as much or as little warming whole spices as you like -and if you’re looking for a spiced apple cider recipe, this slow-cooked cider pairs perfectly with a variety of dark liquors. Cheers!
👉 Why You Should Make Mulled Apple Cider in the Crockpot
- This is a great way to enjoy an abundance of fresh apples from fall apple picking.
- It’s cooked in the slow cooker, and your guests can help themselves to a cozy cup of cider scooped directly out of the slow cooker.
- This apple cider is the most requested holiday party punch because it’s delicious and easy to spike.
Here’s what you will need for slow cooker cider:
- Apple juice – Many cider recipes call for making apple juice by cooking the apples down in boiling water, pressing the juices, and then straining the solids. Using unfiltered apple juice bypasses those steps.
- Fresh apples – You can toss in fresh apples to elevate the fruit flavor. To create vibrant, full-bodied flavor, use a medley of sweet and tart apple varieties.
- Orange – For a naturally sweet and citrusy element. Feel free to use any winter fruit here.
- Cranberries – Adds a tart element. You can use fresh or frozen cranberries.
- Cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, ground allspice – The spice! This trio of warm and wintry whole spices adds dynamic, drinkable flavor.
- Brown sugar simple syrup – Sweetening your cider is optional, so give it a taste beforehand. You may find the natural ingredients provide plenty of sweetness.
🥄 Recommended Equipment: Since this is a no-strain cider, the necessary equipment is nothing more than a slow cooker and a slotted spoon (to remove the whole spices),
♨ How To Make Hot Apple Cider in Slow Cooker
1️⃣ Step One: Prep fruit for cider
You’ll be adding whole pieces of fruit, so wash everything well. Then, quarter the apples and slice the oranges into wheels.
2️⃣ Step Two: Slow cook cider
Add the apples and oranges to the slow cooker with the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and allspice. Then, pour in the apple juice, stir the mixture well, and slow cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours.
3️⃣ Step Three: Sweeten and serve
Remove the fruit and whole spices from the cider using a slotted spoon, then give it a taste and decide whether you’d like to make it sweeter with brown sugar syrup (or honey or maple syrup). Enjoy!
💭 Recipe Tips
- Using unfiltered apple juice is critical to successful cider making. This is because it has a much more prominent apple flavor than filtered, pasteurized apple juice. Basically, filtered apple juice tastes identical to biting into a fresh apple.
- Apple varieties vary in color and flavor, ranging from sweet to tart. Add quartered Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, or Red Delicious for a sweet taste. Add Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Jonathan, or McIntosh to give the cider a crisp, more acidic mouth-feel.
- To make it easier to remove the whole spices, you can tie them up in a sanitized square of muslin or cheesecloth and toss the entire thing directly into the Crockpot. Then, when the cider is finished, remove the bundle of spices instead of fishing each spice out individually.
- If serving to guests, keep the cider in the slow cooker set on the warm setting, and allow guests to help themselves.
Feel free to get creative. Check out the list below for ways to modify this spiced apple cider and make it your own.
- Add other winter fruits – Steeping this cider with added fruit is a great way to add complexity. You can add pear, grapefruit, black currants, blackberries, persimmons, or pomegranates to the mix, but you’ll need to strain the fresh fruit out at the end. Instead of adding whole fruit, feel free to add the zest instead.
- More spice and flavor – Elevate the warm, cheery aromas by tossing in additional spices like star anise, peppercorns, cardamom, and whole-dried chili peppers.
- Extracts – Another way to add flavor is with extracts. Add vanilla, maple, pure anise, lemon, orange, or pumpkin pie spice extract to your cider.
🍺 Spiked Apple Cider
Follow the slow cooker recipe to make spiked apple cider, but let the cider cool. If you add the booze while it’s scalding, some of the potency will cook out. So instead, let the cider cool, add 1.5 ounces of bourbon, whiskey, brandy, or spiced rum per cup of cider.
This recipe yields 16 cups of cider, so you can add as much as 3 cups of booze to the mix!
Alternately, you can serve the spirits on the side and let your guests mix 1.5 ounces of the liquor of their choice directly into their glass of cider.
🧊 How To Store
Storing: Let the cider cool, pour it into an airtight glass jar or bottle, and keep it refrigerated for up to a week.
Freezing: Non-spiked cider has an excellent freezer shelf-life. Let cool, then keep frozen in a sanitized freezer-safe container for six months to a year—Thaw in the fridge before serving.
Making apple cider the old-fashioned way simmers fresh apples until they’re soft enough to mash. From there, you wrap the “apple mash” in cheesecloth and use your hands to press out the unfiltered apple juice.
If you have lots leftover, have no fear. See the list below for ways to repurpose leftover apple cider.
▪ Salad Dressing – Use it instead of apple cider vinegar to make vinaigrettes.
▪ Breakfast – Add cider flavor by replacing a portion of the liquid component in oatmeal, pancake batter, muffin batter, and smoothies with apple cider.
▪ Braising liquid – Braise chicken, pork, bratwurst, and veggies in cider for fall-themed flavor.
▪ Apple cider-infused cocktails – Mix up mimosas, sangria, hot toddies, and more with apple cider.
Yes. When apple cider ages, it slowly but surely undergoes fermentation. When this happens, the cider goes from sweet to sour, eventually becoming apple cider vinegar.
🍵More Specialty Drinks
- Iced Royal English Breakfast Tea Latte
- Chocolate Cream Cold Brew
- Matcha Horchata
- Iced Gingerbread Latte
- Persimmon Latte
Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider
- slow cooker or Crockpot
- slotted spoon
- 1 gallon apple juice unfiltered
- 2 fresh apples quartered
- 1 orange sliced
- 1 cup cranberries fresh or frozen
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 pinch ground allspice
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar simple syrup optional
- Wash all of the fruit thoroughly. Then quarter the apples and slice the oranges into wheels.
- Add the apples and oranges to the slow cooker. Next add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and allspice. Then pour in the apple juice.
- Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the fruit and whole spices from the cider.
- Taste and add brown sugar simple syrup if needed.
- If serving to guests, keep the cider in the slow cooker set on the warm setting, and enjoy it warm with fruit and cranberry garnishes.