Mulled Apple Cider is the absolute perfect fall beverage! Made with fresh oranges, cranberries, and spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, this recipe for Homemade Mulled Cider is better than any packaged blend of mulling spices and just as easy to make! You can prepare this Mulled Cider in the slow cooker, Instant Pot, or on the stove-top.
When the temperatures begin to fall and orchards begin to open their doors, it is time to make mulled apple cider.
Apple Cider alone is delicious, but when spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and served warm, apple cider turns into something spectacular.
And while it is easy to purchase packaged mulling spices, it is so easy to make mulled cider at home and tastes A MILLION times better.
Instead of dried orange peels, this mulled apple cider recipe uses fresh oranges. Instead of added sugar, this cider is naturally sweetened with the addition of pineapple juice. Instead of dried spices, fresh spices are used to add the richest flavor to the mulled apple cider.
Key Ingredients for Mulled Apple Cider
- Apple Cider: I love fresh apple cider right from a local orchard, but of course store-bought cider works as well. Want to know a budget-friendly tip for making homemade apple cider? Use apple juice! The apple juice is cooked low and slow with so many other flavors that no one will know it is not cider. Apple Juice can also be found year-round, while cider can be harder to locate past apple season. Just be sure to use good quality apple juice. I personally prefer unfiltered apple juice.
- Homemade Mulling Spices: Instead of dried spices, I use whole spices for the most distinct flavor. The only exception to this is that I use freshly grated nutmeg instead of a whole nutmeg berry. Of course, you can use dried ground spices, but they do not incorporate as well into the apple cider.
- Pineapple Juice: Pineapple juice adds just the right sweetness to this cider. You can certainly omit, your mulled cider will not have as much dimension though.
- Cranberries: As the apple cider mulls, the cranberries soak up the delicious beverage and add a burst of freshness and a bit of tartness to cider. They can easily be omitted. Frozen cranberries can be used in place of fresh cranberries as well. Dried Cranberries will NOT work as a substitute.
How to Make Homemade Mulled Apple Cider
Prepare Homemade Mulling Spice Sachet
Instead of just placing whole spices right into the apple cider, I like to create a little sachet of the spices, so that once the cider has been infused, it is easy to fish out the sachet and discard–instead of trying to fish out individual spices before serving.
To prepare a sachet of mulling spices, place the whole spices into an unbleached coffee filter or piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine–it is as simple as that!
Prepare Mulled Apple Cider
You can prepare your mulled cider on the stove, instant pot, or in the slow cooker. I personally prefer the slow cooker as this method is completely hands-off, and no monitoring is needed. Plus your whole house will smell wonderful as the cider cooks. However, the advantage of preparing in the Instant Pot, is that it will be ready in a fraction of the time.
Slow Cooker Mulled Cider
To prepare Mulled Apple Cider in the crock-pot, simply pour in the cider, juice, cranberries, and orange slices into the slow cooker. Nestle in the mulling spice sachet and add in the grated nutmeg. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. Remove and discard mulling spices and then turn slow cooker to keep warm while serving.
Stove Top Mulled Cider
To prepare Mulled cider on the stove, place apple cider, pineapple juice, cranberries, orange slices, freshly grated nutmeg, and spice sachet into a heavy-bottomed stock pan. Bring to a boil and then turning to low and simmer on the stove for 1-2 hours. Be sure to simmer on low to keep the liquid from evaporating.
Instant Pot Mulled Cider
The Instant Pot is the FASTEST way to prepare Mulled Apple Cider, but you will not have the luxury of smelling the cider as it cooks. To prepare Instant Pot Mulled Cider, simple put all the ingredients into the inner pot of a 6-8 quart pressure cooker. Set to cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Let pressure release naturally, then remove lid, discard spice sachet and serve.
Notes on Mulled Apple Cider
- If you do not have whole spices, you can use 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and mix right into your juice or cider in slow cooker.
- Refrigerate leftover Mulled Cider for up to 5 days. Reheat by the glass.
More Holiday Beverages
Slow Cooker Mulled Apple Cider
- 1 gallon apple cider or juice
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 orange thinly sliced
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 inch fresh ginger peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 whole allspice berries
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 inch fresh nutmeg grated
- On a coffee filter or piece of cheesecloth, place cinnamon sticks, allspice, cloves, and ginger. Tie off with butcher twine.
Slow Cooker Mulled Apple Cider
- Place juice/cider, pineapple juice, orange slices, cranberries, gated nutmeg and mulling spices in the slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. Fish out spices and serve.
Instant Pot Mulled Apple Cider
- Place juice/cider, pineapple juice, orange slices, cranberries, gated nutmeg and mulling spices in the instant pot.
- Cook on HIGH pressure for 15 minutes. Once cook time has elapsed, let pressure release naturally. Once pressure has been released, fish out spice sachet and serve.
Stove-Top Mulled Apple Cider
- Place juice/cider, pineapple juice, orange slices, cranberries, gated nutmeg and mulling spices in heavy bottomed stock pan.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1-2 hours, watching closely. Remove spices and serve.