Laura The Gastronaut > Recipes > Fall > Homemade Apple Cider

Homemade Spiced Apple Cider

October 25, 2021 | Jump to Recipe

*This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please see full disclosure policy for details.*

I love this homemade apple cider because I can control the sweetness, and I can enjoy it year-round. Made with real apples and spices and simmered to perfection.

Margarita with Red Wine Recipe


This homemade apple cider is a part of my 31 Days of Halloween. For each day in October, I come up with a cocktail recipe and snack recipe that perfectly matches a scary movie, Halloween movie, or a fun spooky activity. Check it out for all of your Halloween snack and drinking desires!



While I love store-bought apple cider, there's just something so special about making it homemade. Usually the cider from the store is packed full of sugar and I can only get about half a cup down until I have a major sugar rush. When making it homemade, you can control the amount of sugar you put it for a wonderfully balanced apple drink.Also, your house will smell just like fall when this is simmering on the stove. The strong smell of apples, cinnamon, and spices just makes you want to curl up on the couch with a good book and a hot cup of cider.


Orange: The orange really compliments the apple flavor and balances it out.

Apples: I like to use a variety of apples such as Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Fuji.

Whole Spices Cloves, Cinnamon Sticks, Nutmeg, Star Anise, Allspice, Black Pepper

Brown Sugar: Adds some molasses flavor and sweetness.

Water: This will be the base of the homemade cider. The fruit and spices will flavor it up perfectly after a good simmering.


Quarter 10 apples. I like to use a variety of apples to get a delicious flavor profile. I use Granny Smith, Fuji, and Pink Lady apples. Place the quartered apples, 1 orange that has been peeled and segmented, 2 pieces of fresh peeled ginger (about 2" long and 1/4" thick), 3 cinnamon sticks, 6 whole allspice, 6 crushed wholed cloves, a couple twists of freshly cracked black pepper, 1/2 of a whole nutmeg- grated, and 1/2 cup of brown sugar into a large stockpot. Add enough water for it all to be covered. In my Lodge Dutch Oven, I used 10 cups of water.

Place the pot over high heat until simmering then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cover the pot, and let simmer for 2 hours. After two hours, mash the apples with a potato masher or back of a spoon.

Let the mixture keep simmering for an additional hour with the lid on. An hour would be the minimum time to let this cider simmer. However, it can continue to simmer with the lid on for more time. Actually, the longer it simmers, the more flavorful it will be.

When ready to serve, strain the cider through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the solids. Put the cider back into the pot, and add 2 whole star anise. If desired, you can add in some booze at this point. I added in 1 1/2 cups of spiced rum, but you can use any liquor that's your favorite. Heat cider of low heat until warmed. If you added alcohol, do not let the cider come to a boil or you'll boil off some of your alcohol!


Halloween Pumpkin Hand Pies; I made the homemade apple cider with these Halloween pumpkin hand pies for our Halloweentown movie night, and it was the perfect fall evening.


What types of apples are best for homemade apple cider?
Any variety of apples will taste good, but you can control your sweetness levels a bit by choosing apples that fit your taste. If you like a sweeter apple cider, try Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious, or Red Delicious. For a more tart flavor, go with Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or McIntosh apples.

What kind of alcohol can you add to this apple cider?
I personally like adding spiced rum the best because it brings in more spiced flavors. You can add in regular rum or vodka as well. Or you can pour some apple cider in your cup and top with sparkling wine for a bubbly beverage!

How long will leftover apple cider last?
When apple cider is stored covered in the fridge, it will last about 5-7 days.

Can I cook the cider in a slow cooker?
Yes! In a large slow cooker (8 quart), put in all of the ingredients except brown sugar, star anise, and alcohol. Cook it on low heat for 8 hours or overnight. Mash the apples, and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Add cider back to the slow cooker. Add in brown sugar, star anise, and alcohol, if using, and heat until warmed.

For this recipe:

Homemade Apple Cider Recipe

Homemade Apple Cider

I love this homemade apple cider because I can control the sweetness, and I can enjoy it year-round. Made with real apples and spices and simmered to perfection.

By Laura Bullock | Laura The Gastronaut

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 3 hours

| Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Yield: ~10 servings


• 10 apples, quartered; of differnt varities
• 1 orange, peeled & segmented
• 1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark
• 2 2" long by 1/4" thick pieces fresh ginger, peeled
• 3 cinnamon sticks
• 6 whole cloves, crushed
• 6 whole allspice
• 1/2 whole nutmeg, grated
• Pinch of black pepper
• 2 star anise
• Optional: 1 1/2 to 2 cups spiced rum, or some other liquor


1. In a large stockpot, add in apples, orange, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and black pepper. Add in enough water for all to be just covered. In my Dutch Oven, I use about 10 cups of water.
2. Place over high heat until simmering then lower heat to maintain a simmer. Cover, and let simmer for 2 hours.
3. Mash the apples with a potato masher or back of a spoon. Continue to simmer, with lid on, for at least an additional hour.
4. When ready to serve, strain through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the solids. Pour cider back into the pot.
5. Add in the star anise. If using, add in liquor. Put pot over low heat, and heat until warmed.



Let me know by leaving a comment below and sharing on Instagram. Tag @laurathegastronaut and hashtag it #laurathegastronaut.

Category: Cocktails, Fall, Beverages

Keywords: apple cider, homemade apple cider, spiced apple cider


Bon appétit!

October 25, 2021 by Laura Bullock

*This homemade apple cider blog post and recipe may contain some Amazon affiliate links. These link to products that I personally use and recommend. If you purchase anything using my links, it will not cost you anything. It will though give some financial support which helps me keep this blog running. Thank you for reading my blogs and your continued support.