Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider is simple to make, sweet, and delicious. This welcoming, spiced hot beverage makes the whole house smell amazing, too.

Slow cooker cranberry apple cider in a clear mug.

In my house, cinnamon and clove-spiced cranberry apple cider is THE beverage for the fall, winter, and through the holidays. On Christmas morning, mug after mug is happily sipped, slurped, and guzzled.

Thankfully, it’s quick to make and only needs 5 ingredients; all you have to do is mix everything together in a pot or crockpot and heat it up. Apple slices and cranberries make it even merrier.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled slow cooker cranberry apple cider ingredients.

Ingredient notes:

  • Cranberry juice: You can use 100% cranberry juice or cranberry juice cocktail (the cocktail is a prettier color but has added sugar).
  • Sugar: My recipe has 2 cups, but you can add it to taste. Brown sugar is fine, too.  Or Substitute 6 to 10 packets or teaspoons of Splenda OR Stevia, but taste it along the way so you don’t go overboard.
  • Cinnamon sticks: Or substitute 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (One 3-inch cinnamon stick = ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon).
  • Whole cloves: Or substitute 1 teaspoon ground cloves (3 whole cloves  = ¼ teaspoon ground cloves).
  • Apple slices or fresh cranberries: For garnish. I like to slice the apples sideways through the core so the seeds look like stars.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. To a slow cooker (4 quarts or more), add apple juice, cranberry juice, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Float some apple slices and fresh cranberries on top if you want them.
  2. Heat until hot, about 3 to 4 hours on HIGH. Serve right from the slow cooker with a ladle and some cozy mugs close by.
    Slow cooker cranberry apple cider in a crockpot.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Yield: One recipe makes 96 ounces, enough for twelve 8-ounce servings.
  • Make ahead: You can make it the day before, but then you’d need to reheat it, so it’s not absolutely necessary. Reheat the cider on the stove and transfer to the crockpot to speed things along.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator and enjoy within the week.
  • Stove-top: Add the ingredients to a large pot and heat over medium-high heat until hot, about 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to warm and serve with a ladle and mugs closely so everyone can help themselves. Or, transfer to a slow cooker to keep warm all day long.
  • Make it a cocktail: Looking for some hard cider this holiday season? Stir in 1 or 2 cups of your favorite alcohol such as spiced rum, cinnamon schnapps, brandy or bourbon. Stir the alcohol in after you heat the cider and reduce the temperature to warm; you don’t want it to boil off. Or place a bottle nearby and let everyone tipple as they see fit.
  • Apple cider: You can make this recipe with real apple cider, too. It will taste great, but it will be cloudy from the fruit solids.
  • Sugared cranberries: For extra sparkle at the holidays, soak the cranberries in simple syrup, let dry, then roll in sugar.

Slow cooker cranberry apple cider in a clear mug.

More merry, merry recipes:

Slow cooker cranberry apple cider in a clear mug.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider

Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider is simple to make, sweet, and delicious. This welcoming, spiced hot beverage makes the whole house smell amazing, too.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 10 mins
Servings 12 servings
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Calories 244

Ingredients 

  • 64 ounces apple juice
  • 32 ounces cranberry juice cocktail (see note 1)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (see note 2)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (see note 3)
  • 12 whole cloves (see note 4)
  • Apple slices and fresh cranberries, for garnish, optional

Instructions 

  • To a slow cooker, and apple juice, cranberry juice, sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves. Float apple slices and fresh cranberries on top if desired.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH until hot about 3 to 4 hours. Turn heat down to "warm" and serve.

Notes

  1. Cranberry juice: You can use 100% cranberry juice or cranberry juice cocktail (the cocktail is a prettier color but has added sugar).
  2. Sugar: My recipe has 2 cups, but you can add it to taste. Brown sugar is fine, too.  Or Substitute 6 to 10 packets or teaspoons of Splenda OR Stevia, but taste it along the way so you don't go overboard.
  3. Cinnamon sticks: Or substitute 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (One 3-inch cinnamon stick = ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon).
  4. Whole cloves: Or substitute 1 teaspoon ground cloves (3 whole cloves  = ¼ teaspoon ground cloves).
  5. Apple slices or fresh cranberries: For garnish. I like to slice the apples sideways through the core so the seeds look like stars.
  6. Yield: One recipe makes 96 ounces, enough for twelve 8-ounce servings.
  7. Make ahead: You can make it the day before, but then you'd need to reheat it, so it's not absolutely necessary. Reheat the cider on the stove and transfer to the crockpot to speed things along.
  8. Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator and enjoy within the week.
  9. Stove-top: Add the ingredients to a large pot and heat over medium-high heat until hot, about 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to warm and serve with a ladle and mugs closely so everyone can help themselves. Or, transfer to a slow cooker to keep warm all day long.
  10. Make it a cocktail: Looking for some hard cider this holiday season? Stir in 1 or 2 cups of your favorite alcohol such as spiced rum, cinnamon schnapps, brandy or bourbon. Stir the alcohol in after you heat the cider and reduce the temperature to warm; you don't want it to boil off. Or place a bottle nearby and let everyone tipple as they see fit.
  11. Apple cider: You can make this recipe with real apple cider, too. It will taste great, but it will be cloudy from the fruit solids.
  12. Sugared cranberries: For extra sparkle at the holidays, soak the cranberries in simple syrup, let dry, then roll in sugar.

Nutrition

Calories: 244kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 11mgPotassium: 173mgFiber: 1gSugar: 57gVitamin A: 6IUVitamin C: 33mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. My experience with fresh cranberries is that they are hard…should you disregard them in your cup or add them to the crockpot so they can cook and soften? Are they also too bitter to eat from your cup?

    1. Hi Ronald, you’re right. Raw cranberries are terribly bitter. In this case, I use them as a garnish the way you might put a twist of rind in a martini. It’s technically edible, but no one is eating it; it just looks pretty. I wouldn’t eat them either way, even if you softened them in the cider. They’ll still be too bitter! Thanks for the question and sorry if I created any confusion. Take care! -Meggan

  2. first of all, it look beautiful! and second, 5 ingredients and just a few minutes of actual work is right up my alley! Came out fantastic5 stars