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Apple Season is here which means Homemade Apple Cider! Yes yes please. Sweet and tart apples are cooked together with oranges and warm spices. Delicious plain but over-the-top with whipped cream and caramel sauce. Be sure to check out my other Fall Favorite Recipes here.
Making Apple Cider at Home: The Basics
There are a few different ways and methods to make a homemade Apple Cider. This is probably one of the easiest and fastest methods out there, using a large pot and cooking it simply on the stove for about two hours. While orchards use a large wooden press to make cold apple cider, this is a hot version.
Use Sweet and Tart Apples
I like using different kinds of apples in my Apple Cider recipe. I find a combination of sweet and tart apples create a nice balance of flavor. I also add orange for a little flavor because it lends itself so nicely to the cloves and other spices. I used Organic Fuji’s (sweet) and Granny Smith (tart). Here are a few other kinds of apples that would work well for this recipe:
- Sweet: Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Gala or Fugi.
- Tart: Granny Smith, McIntosh or Cortland.
Sugar is Optional
Depending on the time of year, how sweet your apples are and/or your personal preference, feel free to reduce the brown sugar to an amount you feel comfortable using. This recipe is extremely forgiving when it comes to the sugar. If you happen to complete this recipe and you find your cider is not sweet enough, feel free to reheat the strained cider gently and dissolve a little more sugar into it.
No Apple Press Needed
If you were to go to a farm or orchard selling apple cider, it would most likely be out of an apple press. An apple press is simply a hand cranked system that grinds whole apples into a pulp. That pulp is then pressed to remove all the juice which is apple cider. This would be served cold.
No Crockpot Required
While you definitely can cook this cider is a crockpot (4-6 hours on low), this version does not require it! Simply add all ingredients to your pot and cook. Mash the apples, remove the oranges, cook a little longer, then strain.
What’s the Difference Between Apple Cider and Apple Juice?
Apple Cider and Apple Juice are similar, both being juice that come from apples. The difference lies in the filtration process. Apple Cider is not filtered. Apple juice is filtered, pasteurized, sometimes with sugar added, depending on the brand.
How to Make Apple Cider At Home
Like lots of my recipes, there isn’t anything HARD about this recipe…like at all. You just need a couple of hours to babysit these apples on the stove, then strain them out to get the cider. Yum!
Wash, Core and Quarter Apples
Using five pounds of sweet and tart apples (I used fuji’s and granny smith), wash them thoroughly with cold water. Cut them into quarters and remove any seeds. You will be straining this entire pot of cider, so coring is optional. I like to do it. Add all the apples to a large pot.
Add Orange, Brown Sugar, Water and Spices
To your apples, add in one navel orange cut in half, 1/2 cup brown sugar (or less, depending on preference), cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and 8 cups of cold water. Stir well to incorporate the brown sugar and submerge the apples in the water.
Cook the Apples
Bring the entire pot to a boil, then reduce to simmer gently and cook covered for one full hour. Remove orange peels, mash remaining apples and cover and cook on low heat for another 45 minutes.
Strain the Apple Cider
After the apples have finished cooking, remove from the heat and transfer to a fine mesh sieve or strainer lined with cheesecloth. This process can take quite a few minutes because it takes some time to get all the juice out of the apple mash. Don’t worry! This is normal.
Once you have strained the cider from the apple skins and mash, voila! Your apple cider is done and ready to enjoy!
Serve Hot or Cold, With Whipped Cream!
The beauty of this recipe is it can be enjoyed hot, cold or at room temperature. My kids couldn’t wait to get a taste, so we had it warm with whipped cream and caramel sauce. Oh boy, was it a treat! So so good! Also delicious cold.
The consistency of this cider is smooth, but a little thicker than an apple juice would be, thanks to us not filtering it. Totally normal for apple cider.
Storing Apple Cider
Homemade Apple Cider can last up to two weeks in the fridge. I like storing mine in a large plastic pitcher with a lid in the fridge. Before serving, be sure to stir it well. Of course it’s tasty cold, but feel free to pour it into a mug and microwave it to enjoy hot.
Other Apple Recipes You Will Love:
Don’t forget to check out all my Fall Favorite Recipes that are really popular this time of year.
Homemade Apple Cider
- 5 pounds apples I used 2.5 pounds of fuji's and 2.5 pounds of granny smith
- 1 navel orange cut in half
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 8 cups cold water
- Wash apples, cut into quarters and core. Add apple quarters to a large pot. Add orange halves, brown sugar, cinamon sticks, cloves and water.
- Cover pot and bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and cook covered for 1 hour.
- Remove lid, discard orange halves, mash apples, then cover and cook on low another 45 minutes.
- Strain apples from cider by pouring through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth.
- Serve warm with whipped cream and caramel sauce or store in containers and refrigerate and enjoy cold.