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Apple cider in a clear glasses.

Apple Cider Recipe

Invest 10 minutes of prep time and you can transform fresh apples into a classic Apple Cider. This big-batch homemade cider is sensational party drink idea.
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 12 servings (1 cup each)
Calories 47kcal


  • 3 pounds medium apples stemed and quartered (about 10 to 12 apples)
  • 2 oranges unpeeled and quartered
  • 4 cinnamon sticks plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar plus more to taste, if desired
  • 12 to 16 cups water
  • orange slices for garnish


  • In a large stockpot over high heat, combine apples, oranges, cinnamon, cloves, and sugar. Cover with water, leaving an inch to an inch and a half space at the top of the stockpot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until apples are completely soft, about 2 hours.
  • Using a potato masher or large spoon, carefully press the apples and oranges against the sides of the stockpot to release their juices. Cover and continue to simmer until flavors meld, about 1 hour more.
  • Strain the cider through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth over a very large bowl, pressing the apples and oranges against the side of the strainer to release their juices. Discard solids. Return cider to the pot to keep warm and serve, garnish with cinnamon sticks and sliced oranges.


  1. Apples: Sweet Galas are my go-to for Apple Cider, but feel free to tailor your choice to your flavor preference. For sweeter results, you could also consider Fuji, Golden or Red Delicious, or Cortland. For more tartness, try Braeburn, McIntosh, Jonathan, or Pink Lady. No need to stick with just one variety; you can certainly mix any of the above apple varieties as desired.
  2. Oranges: The tart citrus element really amplifies the natural sweetness of the apples for a beautifully-balanced hot drink recipe.
  3. Yield: This recipe makes 12 (1-cup) servings.
  4. Storage: Allow the cider to come to room temperature, then store in an airtight container (such as this lid-topped pitcher) in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  5. Make ahead: Apple Cider can be made up to 4 days ahead; store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, then reheat in a large stock pot and enjoy.
  6. Freezer: Cool completely and transfer to a freezer-safe airtight container (leave 1/2-inch headspace for expansion) and freeze for up to 3 months. For Apple Cider ice cubes to add to cocktails or tea, freeze in an ice cube tray to pop out and use as needed (or to reheat and savor a smaller batch at a time).
  7. Cook with your cider: Put any extra cider to great use in Apple Cider Donuts, Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider, or as a glaze for Cornish hens.
  8. Cider serving ideas: Garnish each glass with a thin apple slice, an orange wedge, a few cranberries, and/or a cinnamon stick.
  9. Spike it: For the 21+ crowd, add a shot of brandy, whiskey, or dark rum to each mug. Or up the ante with Mulled Cider (boozy cider plus orange peel, brown sugar, and spices).


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 47kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 53IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg