Homemade Apple Cider

November 17th, 2011  |  Drinks, Family Dinner, Favorites  |  2 Comments

I asked my friend the other day if she knew how to make apple cider.  She said that you buy a bottle of apple cider at the store, take it home and warm it up with some cinnamon sticks.  Hmmmm....... while I liked her thinking, what I really wanted to know was what makes the "cider" in apple cider and how does it differ from apple juice?   What does cider even mean?   And how do you turn plain ol' apples into cider?  As I stared at the enormous bowl of apples piling up on my counter from my CSA, I was on a mission to find out....

Here is the answer:

You slice and slow cook apple slices with spices {and orange} for several hours, then drain it through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth, discard the pulp and seeds and the remaining juice is cider!  That's IT!

I couldn't wait to try my hand at making homemade cider and what I really couldn't wait for was the incredible aroma of fresh apples cooking with cinnamon and cloves that would fill my house and make it feel like Thanksgiving was upon us.  Boy oh boy, did it ever.  I had to "take a walk" through my garage several times while the cider was brewing just so I could walk back inside and take another delicious whiff!

The orange cooked into this cider made it taste very similar to a spiced tea {made with Tang} that my grandmother used to make around the holidays.  It was one of my favorite treats as a little girl and I was shocked at how close this homemade cider tasted to Granny's spiced tea.


8-10 medium-sized apples {assorted varieties work best}
1 orange, cut into sixths
1 small chunk of fresh ginger {about the size of 1 tablespoon}
3/4 cup brown sugar
5-6 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon allspice


Wash apples in cold water.

Chop apples into quarters and place in a large Dutch oven [7-quart] {or other large pot}.

Peel and slice fresh ginger.

Add water to the apples and fill until water comes up to one inch below the top of the pot.

Add in oranges.

Add in ginger, sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice and stir well.

Bring mixture to boil over high heat.  Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered for about one hour.

Using the back of a wooden spoon or potato smasher, smush apples as best as you can.

Place a lid on the pot and continue cooking for about two more hours {lifting the lid, taking a big whiff of the most amazing smell you've smelled all year, and smashing the apples some more several times}.

Line a large colander/strainer with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl.  Carefully pour or spoon the apple mixture into the colander, working in batches.  When all of the mixture has been added, and apples have cooled a bit, mash the apples with the back of your spoon to get out all of the cider.

Squeeze the remaining juice out of the cheesecloth with your hands.   You have now just accomplished making your very own {insanely delicious} apple cider at home.

Transfer sweet cinnamon goodness to a pitcher {or large mason jar} until ready to enjoy.  Cider will keep for about 5-7 days in the refrigerator.

I recommend one glass immediately....served with a little slice of orange and a cinnamon stick.   Now would be a good time to invite your mother-in-law over so she can see how amazing you are.

2 thoughts on “Homemade Apple Cider

  1. You should specify size of dutch oven.
    I have both a 7qt & a 13qt dutch oven. If I put the same amount of apples in both pots and fill to 1″ of top, one will be more diluted than the other when done.

    • Thanks Larry–you’re absolutely right…. I used a 7-quart Dutch oven. If you wanted to use your 13-quart, I would double the amount of apples and spices and take a batch to your neighbor!

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