Homemade Apple Cider

I am honestly shocked that this week I did not pick a dessert to make for #GettingItLocal. There is nothing in this world that I would choose to eat instead of an apple dessert. But, truly, I didn’t want to make apple pie because who has the time for that on top of a 5 hour commute each day?

Apple cider is super easy with minimal effort! The only downside of it is that it is time-consuming. But waiting a few hours for your fresh, local apples to simmer is a small price to pay for a warm cup of homemade autumn. Incase you don’t already know, apple cider and apple juice are essentially the same, but apple cider is made with the entire apple (seeds, stems, skins) while apple juice is just the apple flesh and often undergoes significant filtration so it is no longer opaque. Although apple cider can be clear sometimes, too.

I like to use a bunch of different apples to give a really well-rounded flavor profile for cider, but feel free to stick with only 1 type, or experiment with all different varieties. I used 2 Autumn Glory (if you can find these somewhere, GET THEM!), 2 Jazz apples, 2 Empire, 3 Granny Smiths, and 3 Cortland. I also use oranges because they add a nice balance to the spices and some cranberries for a hint of tartness.

Honestly, I made this recipe a few days ago, picked out the spices, and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days to mellow out. It turned out perfect (even though I over seasoned it at bit) but letting the apples mellow turned out great! If you have time to do this, I recommend it, but you will be totally fine if you don’t have time too.

Homemade Spiced Apple Cider

Serves: 6, Prep time: 5 min, Cook time: ~4 hours


  • 12 apples (Do not use tart apples if using cranberries)
  • 2 oranges
  • 1/3 cup of cranberries
  • ~1/2 gallon of water
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp whole allspice
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar (optional)


  1. Clean all produce.
  2. Cut apples and oranges into quarters. Throw into large pot; stems, seeds, and everything. Add cranberries, spices, and enough water to cover.
  3. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer for 2 hours.
  4. After 2 hours, mash all the fruit using a potato masher or a wooden spoon against the side of the pot. Let simmer for another hour.
  5. Turn off heat and let cool for at least an hour or until cool enough to handle (or overnight in the fridge if you dig out the spices).
  6. Place a fine strainer lined with cheesecloth (or just the cheesecloth) over another pot and empty cider into cheesecloth to strain. Squeeze any juice out of the apple pulp.
  7. Add brown sugar, if desired, while hot and stir to dissolve.
  8. Reheat and serve.

Enjoy and Happy Nourishing.

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