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Homemade spiced apple cider (Instant Pot or stove) + video

1 January 2020 | Last Updated: 5 June 2020

Homemade apple cider flavored with aromatic spices. Served hot, it’s warming and smells wonderful. You can use a store-bought apple cider or make your own! It’s so easy to make and doesn’t require peeling and coring the apples. You just need to throw all the ingredients into a pot and let it cook! This is a non-alcoholic drink but you can always spike it with alcohol.

two glasses with spiced apple cider, apples and spices in the background

What is apple cider?

Apple cider is an unsweetened, unfiltered non-alcoholic beverage made from apples. It can be confused with alcoholic apple cider which is also called ‘hard cider’.

The difference between apple cider and apple juice: Apple cider is less processed, it’s more cloudy because it contains a small amount of the apple pulp. Apple juice is usually sweeter, it’s completely filtered and pasteurized to increase its shelf life.

Apple cider vinegar, on the other hand, is vinegar made of fermented apple juice.

What is spiced / mulled apple cider?

This is apple cider that is sweetened and flavored with spices, it is usually served hot.

overhead photo of 2 glasses with mulled apple cider

Ingredients:

  • Whole apples – it’s best to choose a sweet variety because then you can add less sweetener.
  • Water
  • Spices – I’m using whole spices, which are very aromatic and don’t cloud your drink or taste gritty. I like it most with cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. I tried it with oranges but didn’t like it. The drink was a little more bitter (even though I removed the white pit) and the orange flavor wasn’t paring well with the intense cinnamon flavor.
  • Sweetener – you can use sugar / xylitol / maple syrup or honey. I most often use xylitol, because it tastes like sugar but it’s much healthier.
  • I prefer to make my own apple cider by cooking whole apples but if you wish you can use store-bought apple cider and just infuse it with the spices. If you’re not sure what apple cider is, please read the paragraph above.
  • If you want to make spiked mulled apple cider: you can add brandy, calvados, whiskey, rum or bourbon.

Preparation methods – pressure cooker vs. stovetop:

The recipe includes stove and Instant Pot instructions. I prefer the pressure cooker with this recipe. I’m not sure why, but this drink tasted for me better cooked this way. In terms of time, the pressure cooker method is a little quicker. The Instant Pot needs 15 minutes to come to the pressure and 15 minutes of cooking time. Stovetop cooking time is about 45 minutes or longer.

How to make spiced apple cider on the stovetop:

  1. Cut 2 lbs / 1 kg of apples in half (you don’t have to peel and core them).
  2. Add all the other ingredients into a big pot (4 cups/1L of water, 2 Tbsp of sweetener of your choice, 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 cloves, 3 cardamom pods, 1 star anise).
  3. Close with a lid and cook over low heat for about 45 minutes-1 hour, or even longer, up to 2h.
  4. Transfer the content of the pot to a sieve hung over a big pot.
  5. Press the apples through the sieve (the juice should be collected in the pot), press as much as you can. You can discard the pulp and the spices. Serve warm and enjoy!


How to make mulled apple cider in a pressure cooker:

ingredients needed to prepare spiced apple cider on a table and in a pressure cooker
  1. Cut 2 lbs / 1 kg of apples in half (you don’t have to peel and core them). Add all the other ingredients into the pressure cooker pot (4 cups/1L of water, 2 Tbsp of sweetener of your choice, 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 cloves, 3 cardamom pods, 1 star anise).
left picture: sealing position of the pressure cooker valve, right picture: timer setting on the pressure cooker

2. Close the lid, make sure the valve is in ‘sealing’ position.
3. Set manually to cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.

left photo: venting position on the pressure cooker, right photo: apples cooked in the pressure cooker

4. When the apple cider is ready, make the quick release – push the valve to the ‘venting’ position with a wooden spoon and wait until the pin drops (I like to cover my pressure cooker with a kitchen cloth so I won’t steam my kitchen).
5. Open the pressure cooker.

spiced apple cider is being strained through a sieve

6. Transfer the content of the pot to a sieve hung over a big pot.
7. Press the apples through the sieve (the juice should be collected in the pot), press as much as you can. You can discard the pulp and the spices. Serve warm and enjoy!

Spiced apple cider mulled apple cider

Homemade apple cider, flavored with aromatic spices. Includes stovetop and pressure cooker instructions.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Calories 10kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs sweet apples 1kg, about 6 medium apples, I used Gala
  • 4 cups water 1 liter
  • 2 stalks cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 6 cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods lightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons sweetener xylitol/light brown sugar/granulated sugar/maple syrup

Instructions

In a pressure cooker:

  • Cut the apples in half (you don’t have to peel and core them*).
  • Add all the ingredients into the pressure cooker pot.
  • Close the lid, make sure the valve is in ‘sealing’ position.
  • Set manually to cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
  • When the apple cider is ready, make the quick release – push the valve to the ‘venting’ position with a wooden spoon and wait until the pin drops (I like to cover my pressure cooker with a kitchen cloth so I won’t steam my kitchen).
  • Open the pressure cooker. Transfer the content of the pot to a sieve hung over a big pot.
  • Press the apples through the sieve (the juice should be collected in the pot), press as much as you can. You can discard the pulp and the spices.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!

On the stovetop:

  • Cut the apples in half (you don’t have to peel and core them*).
  • Add all the ingredients into a big pot.
  • Close with the lid and cook over low heat for about 45 minutes-1 hour, or even longer, up to 2h.
  • Transfer the content of the pot to a sieve hung over a big pot.
  • Press the apples through the sieve (the juice should be collected in the pot), press as much as you can. You can discard the pulp and the spices.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!

Notes

  • If you don’t want any pulp fragments in your juice you can puree it in a blender.
  • The recipe was tested in Instant Pot Duo 6qt/6l.
  • If you don’t want to discard the apple pulp you need to peel and core the apples before cooking them, otherwise it’s really hard to separate the peel and cores from the apples. You can add the apple pulp to your oatmeal or to a smoothie.
  • I didn’t like the addition of orange zest (though I added only the orange part and not the white part).
  • If you would like to use store-bought apple cider and just flavor it with the spices: add 4 cups (1 liter) of apple cider and all the spices into a big pot. Warm up slowly and simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Serve warm. You should buy unsweetened apple cider (no alcohol), without any spices and flavorings.
  • How to make spiked mulled apple cider: you can add brandy, calvados, whisky, rum or bourbon.
  • This mulled apple cider can be easily made ahead and reheated.
  • Keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days (it will probably be ok even if you keep it there longer but it won’t be tasty and fresh in my opinion).
Course hot beverage, non-alcoholic beverage, non-alcoholic drink
Cuisine American, international
Keyword homemade apple cider recipe, hot apple cider, mulled apple cider, spiced apple cider

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!

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