Mulled apple cider is a super easy hot drink that’s perfect for fall or Thanksgiving with its soothing flavors of apple and spices.  This warm and cozy drink can be made in the crock pot or on the stovetop.  It’s the perfect nonalcoholic drink for kids and adults this fall!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
two people doing a toast with glasses of mulled apple cider
Beverages, Thanksgiving

Mulled Apple Cider

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This recipe was originally published on October 12, 2017.

Mulled apple cider is my favorite autumn beverage.  The flavor and aroma of the allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger are a tasteful announcement of fall’s arrival.  You’ll definitely want to make this for a fall dinner party or Thanksgiving!

two glasses of mulled apple cider with a bowl of orange slices

What is mulled cider?

Mulled apple cider is unfiltered apple juice slowly cooked with warm mulling spices, such as allspice, cloves, and cinnamon.  The spices add an amazing flavor to the cider and unbelievable autumn aroma to your house!  I also like to add orange slices for a beautiful hint of citrus.

Is mulled apple cider good for you?

Plain, unfiltered apple cider is actually quite healthy for you.  Of course, it does contain natural sugars from the apples, but it contains large quantities of vitamin C and even some fiber.  Mulled apple cider typically isn’t quite as healthy as the plain cider because it has some extra sugar added, but it still is a healthy choice when enjoyed in moderation.

two people doing a toast with glasses of mulled apple cider

Does mulled apple cider contain alcohol?

In the United States and Canada, most apple cider sold at grocery stores is nonalcoholic, and is basically unfiltered apple juice.  In the UK and other countries, most apple cider is alcoholic, having been fermented for a time.  Be sure to read the label to ensure you’re purchasing the nonalcoholic kind for this mulled cider recipe.

Do you drink apple cider cold or hot?

You can drink apple cider either way; it’s just a matter of personal preference.  I find that the flavors and aromas of the spices and fruit in the cider are much more pleasing when the cider is served warm.  However, if you would like to enjoy your mulled cider cold, just chill it in the fridge overnight or pour over ice.

two glasses of mulled apple cider

What is the difference between mulled apple cider and apple cider?

Mulled apple cider is just plain apple cider that has been cooked with warming spices to improve the taste.  Mulled cider also usually has a sweetener added, such as brown sugar, for additional flavor.  Unfiltered apple cider that you buy from the grocery store is plain and has not been mulled with the spices.

What do you add to apple cider to make it taste better?

  • Spices. Any warm, soothing spice like cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, star anise, pink peppercorns, or cardamom pods are good choices.
  • Fruit. Float orange slices, apple slices, or cranberries in the cider as it mulls to add additional flavor.
  • Sweeteners.  Brown sugar is the most popular choice, but honey, simple syrup, homemade caramel sauce, or agave nectar are also good choices.
  • Other. You can add water to dilute the flavor if the cider is too spicy, or add herbal tea or other fruit juices for additional flavor.

How do you reheat mulled cider?

You can reheat leftover mulled cider three ways.  Pick which way you’d prefer.

  • Stovetop: pour the cider into a Dutch oven or stock pot and turn the heat to medium-high.  Bring to a simmer, then serve.
  • Crockpot: pour the cider into a 6-quart crockpot, cover, and turn to high.  Heat 1-2 hours, until hot.
  • Microwave: pour the cider into a microwave-safe pitcher or bowl.  Microwave on high until hot, stirring occasionally.

person holding a glass of mulled apple cider

Does apple cider go bad?

Yes, apple cider can go bad.  If the cider has mold, is discolored, or smells/tastes off, then discard it.  Mulled apple cider should keep in the fridge for about 7 days without spoiling.

How to Serve Mulled Apple Cider

There’s a few exciting ways that you can serve mulled apple cider.  Here’s some ideas!

  • Float whole spices, such as cinnamon sticks, star anise, allspice, or cloves, in each glass.
  • Float fresh fruit, such as orange slices or cranberries, in each glass.
  • Use a fancy footed glass instead of a traditional mug.
  • Serve the cider in hollowed-out apples for an impressive presentation.
  • Use a punch bowl or hollowed-out pumpkin if you’re serving cider to a crowd.

How to Make Mulled Apple Cider in the Crockpot

Gather the ingredients for the mulled apple cider.  You’ll need unfiltered apple cider, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, navel orange slices, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, whole allspice, and whole cloves.  Have some filtered water ready for later if you need to dilute the cider.

ingredients for mulled apple cider

Pour the apple cider into a large crockpot and add the brown sugar.  Turn the heat to high.

adding brown sugar to apple cider

Meanwhile, cut a square of cheesecloth to make the spice sachet.

piece of cheesecloth with spices and kitchen twine

Place the whole allspice and whole cloves in the middle of the cheesecloth and tie it up into a bundle with the twine.  Now, you’ve made your spice sachet!

spice sachet with kitchen twine and cinnamon sticks

Stir the cider to dissolve the brown sugar.

stirring the brown sugar and apple cider in a crockpot

Add the spice sachet to the apple cider.

adding the spice sachet to the apple cider

Float the cinnamon sticks on top of the cider.

person adding cinnamon sticks to apple cider

Float the orange slices on top of the cider.

person adding orange slices to apple cider

Cover the cider and cook on high for 1 hour, then turn the heat down to low and cook for another 3-4 hours.

covered crockpot filled with mulled apple cider

Remove the cinnamon sticks after 3 hours of mulling, or the cider will be too spicy.  Dilute the cider with filtered water if it does get too spicy for your taste.

person removing cinnamon sticks from mulled apple cider

Don’t forget to remove the spice sachet, too, after 3 hours of cooking.

removing the spice sachet from mulled apple cider

Pro Tips for Making Mulled Apple Cider

  • Want to mull the cider quickly?  Use the stovetop method instead of the crockpot method.  See the recipe card below for details.
  • Put the whole spices in a sachet.  This makes it much easier and faster to remove the spices.
  • Be sure to remove the spice sachet.  If it sits in the cider for too long, the cider will get too spicy.
  • Is your cider too strong for your taste?  Just dilute it with filtered water until it’s the strength you like.
  • Keep the cider warm in the crockpot or on the stovetop until you’re ready to serve it.  It will make your house smell wonderful!
  • Want an impressive presentation?  Serve the apple cider in large, hollowed-out apples.

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools for Mulled Apple Cider

  • Cheesecloth: this coarsely woven fabric is perfect for making spice sachets and straining liquids.
  • Kitchen Twine: use this twine for tying up spice sachets, securing roasts, or packaging baked goods.
  • 6-Quart Crockpot: this classic appliance does a fantastic job of slowly mulling apple cider.
  • Emeril Lagasse 5-Quart Dutch Oven: want mulled cider in a hurry?  Use this heavy-bottomed pot.

Enjoy these other cozy apple drinks this fall.

two glasses of mulled cranberry apple cider two glasses of caramel apple mocktail two glasses of wassail

The pleasure of a 5-star review for this mulled cider recipe would be greatly appreciated.

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two people doing a toast with glasses of mulled apple cider

Mulled Apple Cider


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x

Description

Mulled apple cider is a super easy hot drink that’s perfect for fall or Thanksgiving with its soothing flavors of apple and spices.  This warm and cozy drink can be made in the crock pot or on the stovetop.  It’s the perfect nonalcoholic drink for kids and adults this fall!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon unfiltered apple cider (3.79 liters)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed (150g)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger or 3 slices fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons whole allspice
  • 3 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, plus more for serving
  • 1 navel orange, sliced
  • 3 cups filtered water, optional (708 ml)

Instructions

Crock Pot Instructions

  1. Pour the apple cider into a large crock pot and turn to high heat.  Add the brown sugar and stir for a minute or two to dissolve it.
  2. Prepare the spice sachet by cutting a square of cheesecloth and placing the whole allspice and cloves inside.  Gather up the edges and tie with string to secure.  (If you’re using ginger root instead of ground ginger, add it to the spice sachet.)
  3. Add the spice sachet, cinnamon sticks, orange slices, ground ginger, and ground nutmeg to the crock pot, stirring gently to combine.
  4. Cover the cider and let it mull for 1 hour on high heat, then turn to low for another 4-6 hours.  Be sure to remove the spice sachet and cinnamon sticks after 3 hours of cooking, or the cider will get too spicy.
  5. Taste the cider.  If it is too spicy, dilute it with the filtered water.  Serve warm and garnish with cinnamon sticks and fresh slices of orange.

Stovetop Instructions

  1. Pour the apple cider into a large Dutch oven or stock pot and turn the heat to medium-high.  Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved.
  2. Add the spice sachet (see crockpot instructions for more details), the orange slices, cinnamon sticks, ground ginger, and ground nutmeg.  Stir until blended.
  3. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Taste to see if you like the flavor; if so, remove the spice sachet and cinnamon sticks.  If the cider is too strong, dilute it with the filtered water.
  4. Keep the cider on low heat until ready to serve.

Notes

  • Make this recipe perfectly the first time.  Check out the step-by-step photos and pro tips before the recipe card.
  • The pleasure of a 5-star review for this mulled cider recipe would be greatly appreciated.
  • 👩🏻‍🍳 Want to see our latest recipes?  Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.
  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Crockpot
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: how to make apple cider, hot apple cider, mulled apple cider

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4 thoughts on “Mulled Apple Cider

  1. The cider is a lovely orange-brown color and the orange slices, cinnamon sticks, and cloves make it look so cozy. The taste of the spices blended with the apple cider makes me hope that we’ll get some fall weather soon in south Georgia! 😊 The photos look great. 📷 It smelt so amazing as it cooked in the crock pot, that I could hardly wait for a taste! This recipe is definitely a must try.

  2. The smell of the cider makes me want to take a sip of it! All the spices blend together in a lovely way. This cider tastes good warm. The cinnamon and all the spices make it taste heavenly!

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