Homemade apple cider is a cozy, fall and winter treat that can easily be made at home. Enjoy this slow cooker apple cider recipe this season.
I remember being a kid and hating apple cider. When I became an adult, I did not want anything to do with it. But since last year, I have loved it. Last year I started cooking with it around Thanksgiving and Christmas and my love for it sparked. Now I can easily finish off a batch in a day or two if I am not careful.
I also love to make everything myself. I find it to be a great learning experience to know how my food is prepared or where it comes from. It also is very comforting to know that I am feeding my family healthy, homemade treats. Making it yourself just adds an extra touch. My family knows the care that I put into their food and our family overall. This is why I cook from scratch.
Last weekend I joined in on a holiday market that our church ladies put on every year. It is always a lot of fun (and hard work) but it brings that same level of care and love that I strive so hard for at home, back into our community. Our ladies all join together to cook, bake and serve our community while they support our local artisans and small businesses. This is small town living y’all and is everything that I support in my home.
Anyway, I purchased homemade apple cider from a local jam and canned goods business. And of course my apple cider addiction for the year started and I was tempted to make my own. It really is simple and it allows me to adjust the ingredients to healthier, whole, traditional ingredients that nourish my family. Plus it is just a fun tradition to start up again when the weather cools down.
I was a little intimidated by this at first. There is not much on the internet about how to make apple cider “correctly” and while in my mind it seemed simple, I had no idea if there was something special about cider. Turns out, there is nothing super specific you need to do. Maybe there is if you want to go by all the rules, but our cider turned out delicious and I just threw my ingredients in a slow cooker and let it go. I tell you, this is the way to go if you want to do things from scratch. Just do not overthink and make the cider. That sounds ridiculous that I am saying that but when I tell you that I am an overthinker, I mean I am an OVERTHINKER. So much so that I research every last detail before ever starting. It is not my favorite trait.
The worst you could do is not like the flavor of cider. Which did happen to me. I like orange in my cranberry sauce so I thought I would add one to my cider. I did not like this at all. I like to keep mine simple to get a stronger apple flavor. However, if you end up with cider that you do not love, do not throw it out! It can still be used in baked goods, as a marinade or even to flavor sauces. This is what we did with ours.
How long does homemade apple cider last?
When stored in an airtight container, in the refrigerator this cider can last about two weeks.
Is apple cider high in sugar?
Apple cider definitely can be depending on the sweetener used. Store bought is likely to be higher. I like to use maple syrup for a warmer cider and as a healthier alternative. While it does still have sugar, it is much healthier and is a natural sweetener.
If you want your cider to be lower sugar, especially if you plan to cook with it versus just drinking, just lower the amount of maple syrup in the recipe. If I am using this as a treat to drink at night, I like to add more but if I am using it to cook (hello, cranberry sauce) I will use less.
What can I do with apple cider?
Obviously it makes a cozy treat in the colder months. I also love to cook with apple cider. You can bake with it. Replace any water with the cider for a spicy, cozy flavor added. Fall treats like cinnamon muffins taste so good with a hint of cider added! Apple cider donuts are also a hit.
I also love to use it cranberry sauce. You could also try using it as a brine or marinade for meat. Anything goes here!
Can I freeze apple cider?
Yes! I like to freeze in mason jars. Just be sure to give enough room allow for the cider to expand so it does not break the jar.
I have also frozen liquids in Ziploc bags. It does work but I prefer to freeze in glass for multiple reasons. The main reason is that somehow I always bust the bag and it leaks while it thaws. If you do choose to freeze it in bags, I recommend freezing it in a sheet pan or Tupperware first, flat. Once frozen, you can remove the Tupperware or sheet pan. This just keeps it from leaking while freezing. Then when you thaw, put it back in a sheet pan or Tupperware.
Again, you can use glass jars and this is what I recommend.
Tips for making this slow cooker apple cider recipe
- Use two or more varieties of apples- it adds to the flavor!
- Taste test before putting away to be sure the flavors are how you like
- Use any assortment of fruits and spices to create the flavor you like. I like to keep mine simple in flavor because I like the apple to stand out but you could make this spicier or add citrus to change it up if you like.
10 apples, chopped
3 cinnamon sticks
12-15 cups water
2 tablespoons nutmeg
1/2 cup organic maple syrup
*You could add other flavors to this mix to create your own flavors as well. Things like oranges, cranberries, cloves, and ginger all work well.
How to make this slow cooker apple cider recipe
Quarter your apples removing the stem and bottom. Seeds and core can be left in but I do like to remove the stem portions. If you are using oranges or another fruit, do this for all.
Add all ingredients to a slow cooker or Instant Pot. I have the 10 quart and it was quite full so if yours is smaller, you might half the recipe.
Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally.
Mash the apples and continue to cook an additional hour or two.
Strain with a fine mesh strainer and taste. Be careful, it will be very hot!
Serve immediately or pour into glass jars and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
- 10 apples, chopped
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 12-15 cups water
- 2 tablespoons nutmeg
- 1/2 cup organic maple syrup
- Quarter your apples removing the stem and bottom. Seeds and core can be left in but I do like to remove the stem portions. If you are using oranges or another fruit, do this for all.
- Add all ingredients to a slow cooker or Instant Pot. I have the 10 quart and it was quite full so if yours is smaller, you might half the recipe.
- Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Mash the apples and continue to cook an additional hour or two.
- Strain with a fine mesh strainer and taste. Be careful, it will be very hot!
- Serve immediately or pour into glass jars and store in refrigerator until ready to use.