Drink a steamy mug of mulled spice apple cider, or hot apple cider, made in minutes with just 3 ingredients. The dreamy spicy fragrance of fall and winter will fill your kitchen whether you make one mug in the microwave, or a potful on the stove for family and friends.
Mulled spiced apple cider, also called hot apple cider, is steamy with many classic spices giving it a wonderful depth of flavor. This hot spicy drink is perfect for fall and winter celebrations. Make a mug for one in the microwave or a simmer a whole pot on the stove for the family or a party. Either way, your kitchen will smell amazingly spicy.
This easy mulled apple cider starts with a base of either plain apple juice or apple cider so it's the perfect recipe to use to make apple cider from apple juice. This spiced cider is also perfect for celebrations, just like my other festive drink recipes including hot ginger tea, pumpkin spice latte, mini hot chocolate bombs, and the larger homemade hot chocolate balls.
Why You'll Love These
An easy hot apple cider. This mulled apple cider recipe is particularly easy - just add spices and fruit to apple juice or plain apple cider, warm and strain. You can warm one mug in a microwave or a potful on the stove.
Delicious flavor of spicy sweetness. This hot apple cider recipe is the first place my brain goes when the golden leaves start to fall. The apple spice flavor and cinnamon spice scents just fill my brain with everything fall.
A customizable hot drink. This hot apple cider is easy to customize. Sweeten with date paste for a caramel twist, add lemon to reduce the sweet flavor if you prefer. This recipe is non alcoholic, but you can make a spiked apple cider and add an ounce of rum or bourbon to make it a cocktail or add wine to make mulled wine.
Apple juice. Or use apple cider. Be sure to use either with only apples as ingredients, no added sugar or other additives.
Orange slices. Use orange slices that are cut, not peeled sections so your drink has access to the juice directly. Or use orange juice.
Ginger root. Peel a small bit of fresh ginger root and cut into a few large chunks.
Anise. Use the whole star spice.
Cloves. Use a few whole cloves.
See the recipe card at the bottom for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Step by Step Instructions
For more detail, visit the complete and printable recipe at the bottom of this post, but here are general steps.
Make One Cup of Hot Apple Cider
Step 1: Pour apple juice or apple cider, spices, and fruit into a jar. Microwave for 1 minute uncovered. Let it sit for 10 minutes to mull the flavors.
Step 2: Pour the warm apple juice through a fine mesh strainer into a mug. Discard the spices. Heat the mug again, then serve with a cinnamon stick, and an apple or orange slice.
Make a Pot of Hot Apple Cider
Step 1: Pour apple juice or apple cider into a large pot, add fruit and spices and heat to simmer. Turn off heat, and cover and allow it to mull for 20 minutes.
Step 2: Pour the warm apple juice through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the spices and reheat the drink in the pot by turning it up to reach simmer again. Drink right away by pouring out into mugs and serve with a garnish.
Do not use ground spices in this spiced cider because they won't strain out and your hot apple cider will be gritty.
If your hot apple cider tastes too sweet at the end, add a teaspoon or more of lemon juice to temper the sweetness.
You can add your mulling spices in a fabric bag to your warm apple cider instead of adding them directly to the liquid. Then you don't have to strain your drink, just remove and discard the bag full of spices. You can even use tea bags especially made with mulling spice flavors.
Instead of using a pot and stove, you can make my stovetop recipe in a slow cooker. To use a crockpot or slow cooker, put all ingredients into the slow cooker, covered on low for about 4 hours.
This hot apple cider can be refrigerated about 3 days before it begins to lose flavor. Mulled apple cider cannot be frozen as it won't retain the mulling flavor.
Additional spices. You can expand your spice blend to add whole peppercorns, allspice berries and cardamom pods as well to your hot apple cider.
Spike with alcohol and make cider cocktails. Warm your drink further with alcohol. The best alcohol to add to hot apple cider is rum, brandy and bourbon because their deep caramel notes support mulling spices perfectly. Add any alcohol at the end of the heating so the alcohol doesn't evaporate. You can add an ounce of alcohol per person.
Mulled cider is apple juice or apple cider heated with spices and fruits. Mulling takes place once the heated drink is allowed so sit and let the flavors become absorbed.
Taste your apple cider before making the recipe. If they taste slightly sour, add a tablespoon of maple syrup to the mixture. Apple juice is unlikely to have this issue.
More Holiday Drinks
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Mulled Spiced Apple Cider
- mug 8 ounce
- pot 4 quarts+
- slow cooker or crock pot 6 quart
- 1 cup apple juice or apple cider
- 1 orange slice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 slice ginger root
- 1 gallon apple juice or apple cider
- 1-2 orange, sliced in wedges
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 star anise
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- ½ inch ginger root, sliced thin
Make One Cup
- Pour apple juice or apple cider into a heat safe measuring cup. Add in the spices, ginger and orange slices.1 cup apple juice or apple cider, 1 orange slice, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, 2 whole cloves, 1 slice ginger root
- Heat the cup uncovered in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove it, give it a stir, and let it sit for 10 minutes or longer to mull the flavors.
- Pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a mug. Discard the spices. Heat the mug in the microwave another minute so the drink is steamy. Serve with a cinnamon stick, and an apple or orange slice.
Make a Gallon
- Pour apple juice or apple cider into a deep pot, and turn the heat on to medium. Add in the spices, ginger and orange slices.1 gallon apple juice or apple cider, 1-2 orange, sliced in wedges, 3 cinnamon sticks, 3 star anise, 1 teaspoon whole cloves, ½ inch ginger root, sliced thin
- Do not cover. Give it a stir, and as soon as the mixture begins to bubble, remove the pot off the stove, cover and allow it to mull for 20 minutes.
- Pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the spices and reheat the drink in the pot by turning it up to reach simmer again. Drink right away by pouring out into mugs and serve with a cinnamon stick and apple or orange slice in each mug.