Savor the flavors of fall and make this homemade hot apple cider recipe that’s guaranteed to chase the chills away!

This recipe has just the right combination of apple and spices to make it the nicest fragrant cozy drink. Add it to the list of holiday and winter favorites!

glasss of Homemade Hot Apple Cider

Cozy Hot Apple Cider

  • Everyone loves a cozy cup of apple cider! Kids love it warmed with a dollop of whipped cream and adults will love it served as a hot toddy spiked with a splash of rum or another alcohol like Irish whiskey.
  • It’s one of those winter drinks that warms you from the inside out.
  • Unlike apple juice, which is pasteurized and available year-round, apple cider is fresh and unfiltered with a savory flavor which is why it’s often seen at pumpkin patches and hayrides.

Ingredients for Hot Apple Cider

Fruit – Any apple variety will work; red apples are softer and sweeter than green apples which are firm and tart. Why not try a colorful mix of both? Thinly slice before using.

Orange peel (or orange zest) and lemon peel add a lot of flavor to this easy hot apple cider recipe.

Sugar & Spice – 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon can be substituted for cinnamon sticks, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of apple pie spice can be substituted for all spices. Sweeten with brown sugar or a splash of maple syrup.

Garnishes – Other colorful garnishes to consider are cinnamon sticks, whole star anise, cloves, and even a few cinnamon red-hot candies.

Spiked Cider – So many great ideas, here! Set out bottles of spiced rum, brandy, bourbon or Grand Marnier, and let everyone spike their own drinks!

ingredients for apple cider

How to Make Hot Apple Cider

  1. Cut three large pieces of rind from the lemon and orange (only the skin, not the white part, aka ‘pith’).
  2. Make a sachet from a 6” piece of cheesecloth with all the spices, fruit peels, and half of the apple slices (as per the recipe below).
  3. Tie up the sachet and simmer it in a large pan with apple cider until warmed. Ladle into mugs.
  4. Before serving, remove the spice bundle and garnish with cranberries, remaining apple slices, and orange slices.

Keep It Warm

If serving guests, heat the cider on the stovetop and keep it warm in a slow cooker on the warm (or low) setting.

How Long Does It Last?

Hot apple cider is one of those recipes that tastes even better the next day, so don’t worry about making too much!

  • In the Refrigerator: This hot cider should last 7 to 10 days.
  • In the Freezer: Let cool and pour into an airtight container, leaving about 2 inches at the top for expansion.

Simply reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until warm.

Apple cider in a clear mug being held

More Holiday Beverages

Keep a few (or all!) of these classic holiday beverages on rotation for holiday parties!

Did you make this Hot Apple Cider? Leave us a rating and a comment below!

Apple cider in a clear mug garnished with a cinnamon stick
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Homemade Hot Apple Cider

Apple cider, fall spices, and citrus slices are simmered with cinnamon sticks until perfect!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 cups
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  • 6 cups apple cider store bought or recipe below
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 apple halved and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • cranberries & orange slices for garnish optional


  • Using a vegetable peeler, remove 3 large pieces of rind from each the lemon and orange. Be careful to only get the colored part and leave the white part behind.
  • Cut a 6″ square of cheesecloth and place all spices, rinds and half of the apple slices in the center. Tie with kitchen string.
  • Place cider in a large saucepan. Add spice bundle and simmer on low 5-10 minutes. Remove spice bundle and add garnish with cranberries, remaining apple slices and additional orange slices if desired. Serve warm.


Spice Substitutions: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon can be substituted for cinnamon sticks if desired
1 1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice can be substituted for all spices if desired
If using purchased apple cider, ensure you are not using apple cider vinegar. 
To Make Cider from Scratch (in place of store bought):
  1. Combine 10-12 apples (any variety), 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (depending on apples), 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 slices lemon, and 3 slices orange in a large pot.
  2. Add enough water to cover apples by an inch or so. Simmer for 35-45 minutes or until soft.
  3. Gently mash apples and strain through cheesecloth.  Discard solids.
5 from 5 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 159 | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 335mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 66IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Beverage, Drink, Drinks
Cuisine American
glass of Homemade Hot Apple Cider with apple slices and a title
Homemade Hot Apple Cider with orange and apple slices and a title
Homemade Hot Apple Cider with a cinnamon stick and a title
Homemade Hot Apple Cider in glasses and close up with writing


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About the author

Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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