This recipe for Mulled Cider is made by infusing fresh apple cider with a homemade blend of mulling spices, creating the absolute perfect fall beverage!
Apple Cider alone is delicious, but mulled cider, spiked with cinnamon and nutmeg, is the absolute best!
And while it is easy to purchase packaged mulling spices, homemade is the way to go for many reasons.
Why Homemade Mulled Cider is the Best
- Less Expensive. A package of mulling spices is typically between $4-10, depending on your location. And it is often nothing more than sugar and spices you have on hand. The cost of making it yourself, even accounting for adding in fresh cranberries and oranges, is less expensive than purchasing the packaged blends.
- Naturally Sweetened. Instead of added sugars found in packaged mulling spices, this cider is naturally sweetened with the addition of pineapple juice. The pineapple juice not only adds natural sweetness but flavor as well.
- Better Tasting. Instead of flavoring the mulled cider with dried oranges and dried spices, this recipe infuses the apple cider with fresh spices and fresh oranges to create the most delicious warm mulled cider.
Notes on Ingredients
This recipe for mulled cider is more than just sweetened, spiced cider. It is made with a combination of apple cider, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, fresh fruit, fresh ginger, and the perfect blend of spices. It is nuanced in flavor, naturally sweetened, and insanely delicious.
- Apple Cider: I love fresh apple cider right from a local orchard, but of course, store-bought cider works as well.
- Mulling Spices: For the best flavored mulled cider, I recommend a combination of cinnamon sticks, whole allspice berries, whole cloves, grated nutmeg, and sliced fresh ginger root. Feel free to add star anise to the cider if you like the licorice-like flavor.
- Pineapple Juice: Pineapple juice adds just the right sweetness to this cider. You can certainly omit it, just keep in mind your mulled cider will not have as much dimension. Be sure to use 100% pineapple juice for the best flavor. NOT a blend of sweetened juice.
- 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 the 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.
- Cranberry Juice: The cranberry juice is not necessary but adds a nice tart contrast to the cider.
- Oranges: It is best to use seedless, navel oranges. And be sure to wash them well before slicing.
How to Make Mulled Cider
Step One: Prepare Homemade Mulling Spices
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 it rather than trying to fish out the individual spices before serving the warmed mulled cider.
- Place the whole spices and sliced ginger into an unbleached coffee filter or piece of cheesecloth and tie it with kitchen twine. It is as simple as that!
Step Two: Mull the Cider
My favorite way to prepare mulled cider is to use the slow cooker, as this method is completely hands-off with no monitoring. Plus your whole house will smell wonderful as the cider cooks.
- Combine the cider, juices, cranberries, and orange slices in 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 the slow cooker to keep warm while serving.
Instead of mulling cider in the slow cooker, you can use the stovetop for quicker preparation.
- Combine apple cider, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, cranberries, orange slices, freshly grated nutmeg, and spice sachet in a heavy-bottomed stock pan.
- Bring to a boil and then turn to low and simmer on the stove for 1-2 hours. Be sure to simmer on low to keep the liquid from evaporating.
You may also enjoy Spiked Mulled Cider, which is simply mulled cider mixed with alcohol. You can stir in a shot of alcohol, such as bourbon, whiskey, or brandy as desired.
If you happen to have any leftover Mulled Cider, allow it to cool, strain off the whole fruit and spices, and then refrigerate for up to 5 days. You want to remove the oranges and cranberries before refrigerating or you will risk the cider becoming bitter.
Reheat by the glass or over low heat in the slow cooker or on the stove in a heavy-duty stock pan over medium-low heat.
- Budget-Friendly Tip: Instead of apple cider, replace it with good quality, unfiltered 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.
- No Whole Spices? If you do not have whole spices, you can replace them with ground spices, just keep in mind they may not dissolve into the cider, but will still flavor the cider. In place of the whole spices, use 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ½ teaspoon ground ginger.
More Holiday Beverages
If you try this recipe, I would love for you to leave a comment below! I love to hear from you!
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 inch fresh ginger root peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 whole allspice berries
- 4 whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon fresh nutmeg grated
- 1 gallon apple cider
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- ½ cup cranberry juice optional
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 orange thinly sliced
Prepare Mulling Spices
- Using an unfiltered coffee filter or piece of cheesecloth, place cinnamon sticks, allspice, cloves, and ginger. Tie off with butcher twine. Be sure to use cheesecloth if preparing in Instant Pot.
Slow Cooker Mulled Cider
- Place juice/cider, pineapple juice, orange slices, cranberries, grated nutmeg, and mulling spices in the slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. Remove the bundle of spices and serve.
Stovetop Mulled Cider
- Place juice/cider, pineapple juice, orange slices, cranberries, grated 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.