Next to pumpkin pie, cozy sweater weather, and Halloween costumes, hot apple cider is one of the best parts of celebrating the arrival of the autumn season. And if it’s homemade, even better. Before any intimidation sets in, know that making apple cider from scratch is incredibly easy—all it takes is about 20 minutes of hands-on prep, plus fresh apples, one orange, brown sugar, and warming spices. Those same seasonings will impart your kitchen (and entire house) with the scent of all your favorite fall flavors as it simmers—think sweet cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Making apple cider is also the perfect why to put all those apples you brought home from the orchard to use. We recommend a combination of sweet apples (like Fuji, Honeycrisp, Gala, and Cortland) and tart apples (like Granny Smith or Jonathan). To make it boozy, add an ounce of brandy to each mug before serving.

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Recipe Summary

hands-on:
20 mins
total:
20 mins
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Add apples, orange pieces, brown sugar, and spices to a large stockpot and add enough water to submerge the mixture by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil and boil, uncovered, for 1 hour. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for another 2 hours.

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  • Remove the cider from the heat and allow to cool. Strain the apple mixture through a fine mesh sieve. If need be, use a potato masher or wooden spoon to crush extra apple solids. Strain one more time through a cheesecloth (or cheesecloth-lined sieve) into a large pot, bowl, or pitcher, squeezing all juices out. Discard any remaining solids.

  • Reheat cider on the stovetop to serve it warm, or chill it in the fridge for up to a week.