Apple Cider Recipe

I made this apple cider recipe for the first Thanksgiving dinner that we hosted in the US. Nowadays I make throughout the fall.

As our Thanksgiving dinner guests arrive, we head out to the backyard for pre-dinner snacks and hot apple cider. Keep the cider warn in a slow cooker set on low. Place a ladle on a plate next to the slow cooker and put your  mugs nearby. Guests serve themselves giving you time to chat or do any last minute cooking. (If your slow cooker is already in use, pour the cider into an insulated carafe like you would use for coffee).

Hot Apple Cider


There’s no alcohol in this apple cider recipe so it can be served to everyone. Kids like it, especially if you add the extra brown sugar at the end of the recipe. Last year, a little eight-year-old boy told me, “This is just like apple juice but warm and…ummm…better!”

Hot apple cider simmering with oranges and cinnamon sticks

For those guests who want a buzz to their drink, place a bottle of spiced rum, a bottle of brandy and a bottle of whiskey behind the slow cooker and let people know that they can pour a splash into their mug before ladling in the apple cider.

If you love the idea of hot holiday drinks, be sure to also check out my classic and my classic Mulled Wine Recipe.

Easy Mulled Wine


And now, here the Hot Apple Cider Recipe:

Hot Apple Cider

This is an easy apple cider recipe with a bit of spice coming from some whole peppercorns. By using apple juice instead of apple cider, the warm cider can be kept warm for a long time without worries about it separating. We don't add alcohol to the cider mix so that everyone can enjoy it. But we do stash a bottle of whiskey or brandy nearby for anyone who wants to add a little.


  • 64 FL OZ / 2 liters) apple juice*
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 large strips of orange zest, removed with a vegetable peeler
  • 3 tbsp whole cloves
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg**
  • 12-15 whole peppercorns
  • 1-1 inch piece of fresh ginger cut into 5-6 pieces
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar, and more to taste


  1. Pour the apple juice into a medium saucepan and place it over medium heat while you add the cinnamon sticks, orange zest, cloves, nutmeg, peppercorns, ginger and ¾ cup packed brown sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Continue to heat the pot over medium until it is almost at a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
  2. Ladle a bit of the cider into a mug and taste it. You will likely need to add more brown sugar. I usually add ¼ cup more (packed). If you prefer it to be sweeter, you may need as mush as a full cup.
  3. Ladle the cider through a fine-mesh sieve into a slow cooker set to low or into a carafe.

*You may prefer to use apple cider rather than regular apple juice. If you do so, be extra careful not to bring the cider to a boil and do not leave it at high heat for very long. I've had apple ciders separate (have a curdled-type texture rise to the top of the pot) on more than one occasion. This never seems to happen with regular apple juice. Just in case though, I don't ever bring the apple juice up to a boil.
**This nutmeg grinder is one of my favorite kitchen tools. It stores whole nutmeg seeds in the top. One seed is kept in the bottom where it is grated when you turn the handle of the device (the nutmeg dust floats downwards into whatever you're cooking). I found it a little hard to get used to at first but now I use nutmeg in dishes more often because the tool is so convenient: Just grab it and start grinding immediately. No need to wash anything afterward either. It's also more kid-friendly than a traditional grinder. My little J likes to turn the handle to see the little shavings fall out of the bottom and, of course, all over the counter.


  1. The Produce Mom® – 50 Favorite Apple Recipes — December 23, 2013
  2. Thanksgiving Stories « Cook the Story — November 30, 2010

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