Homemade Apple Cider

Apple cider definitely falls into the “homemade is always better” category. You can buy all the store-bought cider you want and it will never come close to the quality you get by making your own. I just discovered this last week when I made homemade cider for the first time. Not only was it surprisingly easy (throw everything in a pot, let it simmer for a few hours, and strain), but I have never tasted cider quite this good. The apple flavors are bursting, while the fresh vanilla, orange, and spices compliment each other perfectly.

Making homemade apple cider is the perfect family activity for these longer fall evenings. Promise me, sometime this holiday season, you will give this recipe a shot. Deal?

Apple Cider

Makes about 6 cups


  • 6 medium apples (any kind)
  • 6 cups of filtered water
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar or maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 fresh vanilla bean (or 1 tbsp extract)
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 2 orange peel slices

Apple Cider Ingredients

Step One

Wash and cut the apples into quarters. Add them to a large pot with about 6-7 cups of water and start heating. Meanwhile, throw in a cinnamon stick, half a vanilla bean (or some extract), 2 slices of orange peel (about 1 inch square), and some sweetener.

Most cider recipes call for way too much sugar. Apples are naturally sweet, and you all know how much I hate sugar, so I only used about 1/3 cup of turbinado sugar for all 7 cups of cider and it was plenty sweet for me. If you have more of a sweet tooth, however, feel free to add more.

Step Two

Leave the pot uncovered and bring to a boil. Allow to boil vigorously for about 30 minutes. Then, cover and let the cider simmer on lower heat for about 2 more hours. This would be a good time to make some healthy two-ingredient caramel sauce or some coconut whipped cream for the top. 🙂

Step Three

After about 2 1/2 hours of cooking, remove from the heat and allow to thoroughly cool. Then, using a handheld potato masher, turn the apples into applesauce inside the pot to fully release their flavors.

Pour the cider through a strainer to remove all the apple pulp. You can either use any kitchen strainer and a wooden spoon to strain the liquid, or (recommended) you can filter through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag.

Serve warm, either by itself or with some coconut whipped cream and caramel sauce. Store leftovers in the refrigerator in mason jars for 5-7 days.

Apple Cider Wide

Apple Cider


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    • Hmm, you could add it to a saucepan and heat for a minute until warm. Or if no one’s looking, you could pop it in the microwave :p

  1. I’m pretty sure you read my mind… I LOVE apple cider, but the Keurig version is not one ingredient and really doesn’t even cut it with the flavor. Can’t wait to try this!

    • It’s funny you say that, Allison. Not too long ago I was at a family member’s house and I tried the Keurig apple cider. I thought, “hmm, I love apple cider… but this is overly sweet, not very good, and probably has lots of chemicals, I wonder if I could make a better version myself…” and that’s where the inspiration for this recipe came from! 🙂

    • Nice! 🙂 if you want an affordable nut milk bag, my trick is to use paint filter bags from hardware stores. They’re basically the same product for about $1 each. I don’t know if they are “food grade” but I always wash them thoroughly before use and never have a problem.

  2. Andrew! Love it!! It’s been a while since I visited your site so I am being treated to two splendids… This simply recipe for yumminess and the fruits of your labour. Your site is chockful of awesomesauce! Thanks for delivery greatness. My body will be quietly thanking you as it ingests. 🙂

  3. I love this!! I can’t believe how much. Even apart from the amazing taste, it made my house smell so good!!

    I am actually vegetarian (meat not ok, eggs not ok, dairy ok) but with your delicious recipes, I will slowly and surely turn vegan!


    • Hey Faguni! So glad you like it! I loved how it made my house smell too (candles got nothing on cooking real food!) 🙂

      That’s great to hear, I feel like there’s always a substitute to animal products that are just as good, if not better. It just takes a little thinking outside the box.

    • Hi Ginger, I’d love to experiment with that idea, but I’ve never tried making mulled wine myself (yet), so I couldn’t comment on how to do that. I’ll be looking into it, though! 😉

  4. I live in Indonesia where it is very hard to find apple cider in stores. So, I googled recipe to making your own apple cider and stumbled upon your website. Will be trying this recipe this afternoon, sounds delish! 🙂

    • Sure, I use stevia often. It might be difficult to sweeten an entire batch of cider with just stevia, but possibly half and half.

  5. I’m going to assume that I add the anise in with the cinnamon stick and orange peels? I didn’t see that in your writing.

  6. Thank you for this recipe. I did another not too long ago and it was from scratch but far too sweet. I couldn’t taste the apple. Store bought is not great. I can’t describe it. And you also do less cinnamon. The one recipe j did asked for about 4x the sticks. And it made it a bit too much for me. People must have no taste buds to have that much cinnamon. And must not know when to use less sugar. But I have to ask, it’s hard to get whole star anise where I’m at. How much of ground anise should I use?

    • Hi Ashley, thanks for the nice comments. I don’t know about the ground anise, start with a little bit and just go to taste. It’ll be pretty easy to give it a taste and see how much it needs.

  7. Fantastic recipe. I live in the Caribbean which means no apple cider for thanksgiving! I made this tonight and used Stevia in lieu of sugar—
    it came out amazing. Not sure I can ever buy store bought again!

  8. I am going to try just straight apple sauce instead of the apples, we don’t have a store within 80 miles so our fresh apples are precious.

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