Mulled Apple Cider (slow-cooker, stovetop)

Mulled Apple Cider is a warm, cozy drink full of fall flavors. And it’s easy to make on the stovetop or in a slow-cooker!

Pure apple cider is mixed with fresh citrus, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. No need for any sweetener – the cider is sweet enough.

It’s fast and easy to make and makes your house smell amazing.

Plus I include a few extra tips to make it as tasty as possible and easy to serve.

And while it’s great for kids and adults as it is, you can also add a shot of your favorite booze like whiskey, dark rum, vodka or tequila.

crockpot mulled cider next to glasses filled with cider, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks and a ladle

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Mulled Apple Cider

Mulled apple cider is a warmly spiced drink that’s perfect when the weather starts getting chilly.

The fresh orange and lemon add a bright, fresh edge to it while also supplying some much-needed vitamin C in cold and flu season.

And the best part about mulled cider is that it’s so versatile. Add as many or as few spices as you like.

If you don’t have an orange, use just lemons. No lemon? Use just oranges. Don’t have either? Try tangerines instead.

You can make this mulled apple cider recipe on the stove in a large pot or Dutch oven. Keep a ladle and mugs nearby and let everyone help themselves.

Or make it in a slow-cooker. It makes it easy to prep ahead of time so there’s no last-minute rush if people are coming over.

Don’t have a slow-cooker but have an Instant Pot? Use the slow-cooker function on your IP and you’re all set!

 

What you need to make mulled apple cider

Ingredients:

Equipment:

mulled cider in a glass on a wooden table with cloves, cinnamon sticks and ginger

How to make mulled apple cider on the stove

This easy hot apple cider recipe is pretty simple:

Add the apple cider to a large pot or Dutch oven.

Cut two 1/4″ slices from the lemon and orange.

Pro tip #1: stab the cloves into the citrus slices. This way the cloves won’t float freely in the cider where someone could accidentally drink one. It’s not terrible if you do but it’s not super pleasant either!

Thinly slice 8 coins of fresh ginger.

Add the citrus, ginger and cinnamon sticks to the pot.

Turn the heat on high to just barely bring the cider to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low to keep it warm.

Pro tip #2: Use the ladle to gently press the citrus against the bottom or sides of the pot a few times. This will help release their flavor.

Serve in mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick, fresh ginger slices or orange slices, if desired.

The longer the cider sits on the stove, the more intense the flavors will get. When it has reached your preferred level of spice/flavor, remove the citrus and spices with a slotted spoon so they don’t become overpowering.

 

How to make slow-cooker mulled cider

Add the apple cider to the slow-cooker insert.

Cut two 1/4″ slices from the lemon and orange.

Pro tip #1: Stab the cloves into the citrus slices. This way the cloves won’t float freely in the cider where someone could accidentally drink one. It’s not terrible if you do but it’s not super pleasant either!

Thinly slice 8 coins of fresh ginger.

Add the citrus, ginger and cinnamon sticks to the pot.

Cook on High for 2 hours or Low for 4 hours to fully infuse the cider with the flavors. Then turn the setting to Warm.

Pro tip #2: Use the ladle to gently press the citrus against the bottom or sides of the insert a few times. This will help release their flavor.

Serve in mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick, fresh ginger slices or orange slices, if desired.

The longer the cider sits in the slow-cooker, the more intense the flavors will get. When it has reached your preferred level of spice/flavor, remove the citrus and spices with a slotted spoon so they don’t become overpowering.

apple cider with mulling spices in a slow-cooker next to glasses filled with cider, cloves, cinnamon sticks and ginger

Variations and substitutions

  • If you particularly love any of the spices, add more of them.
  • If you don’t like any of the spices, leave them out.
  • You can use all orange slices or all lemon slices. Or try another citrus like tangerine.
  • Add fennel flavor with a teaspoon of fennel seeds or 1-2 star anise.
  • Add a teaspoon of allspice berries for more fall spice flavor
  • Add a shot of whiskey, brandy, dark rum, vodka or tequila (100% agave silver, reposado or anejo) for an easy spiked apple cider
  • Use it in my Pumpkin Cider Margarita!

 

How to store leftover mulled cider

Let the mulled apple cider cool completely. If you haven’t already, strain out the citrus and spices. (If you leave the citrus and spices in, the flavor will just get more and more intense until it’s too much.)

Store in the fridge for up to a week.

You can also freeze it for up to 2 months. Do not fill your freezer-safe container all the way as liquid expands as it freezes. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

Serve over ice for chilled mulled cider (also good with alcohol).

Or reheat on the stove over gentle heat.

 

Other Paleo beverages and fall foods:

  1. Sparkling Winter Sangria
  2. Pumpkin Cider Margarita
  3. Pomegranate Old-Fashioned
  4. Apple Carrot Smoothie
mulled apple cider in a pot and in a slow-cooker
mulled cider in a glass on a wooden table with cloves, cinnamon sticks and ginger
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Mulled Apple Cider (slow-cooker, stovetop)

Mulled Apple Cider is the perfect warm, cozy drink for fall. Fresh citrus and whole spices make your house smell amazing. And it's so easy to make on the stove, in a slow-cooker or Instant Pot!
Note: the cook time is when using the slow-cooker on the Low setting.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 5 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple cider, mulled cider, slow cooker apple cider, slow cooker cider
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Don Baiocchi

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon 100% pure apple cider
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 (1-2") piece fresh ginger, unpeeled
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  • Add the cider to a large pot/Dutch oven on the stove or to your slow-cooker insert.
  • Slice two 1/4" slices from both the lemon and orange, Reserve the fruit for the garnish later.
  • Stab the whole cloves into the citrus slices and add to the pot.
  • Thinly slice 8 coins of fresh ginger and add to the pot along with the cinnamon sticks.
  • For the stovetop: bring just barely to a boil, then reduce the heat to low to keep warm.
    For the slow-cooker: cook on High for 2 hours or Low for 4 hours, then switch to the Warm setting.
    For the Instant Pot: use slow-cooker setting and follow directions above.
    Once the cider and citrus have warmed up, use a ladle to gently press the citrus slices against the bottom or sides of the pot a few times to help release their flavor.
    The flavors will intensify the longer the cider sits. When it has reached your preferred level of spice/flavor, remove the citrus and spices with a slotted spoon so they don't become overpowering.
  • Serve in mugs and garnish with cinnamon sticks, ginger slices and orange or lemon slices, if desired.

Notes

Variations and substitutions
  • If you particularly love any of the spices, add more of them.
  • If you don't like any of the spices, leave them out.
  • You can use all orange slices or all lemon slices. Or try another citrus like tangerine.
  • Add fennel flavor with a teaspoon of fennel seeds or 1-2 star anise.
  • Add a shot of whiskey, brandy, dark rum, vodka or tequila (100% agave silver, reposado or anejo)
  • Use it in my Pumpkin Cider Margarita!
How to store leftover mulled cider
Let the mulled apple cider cool completely. If you haven't already, strain out the citrus and spices. (If you leave the citrus and spices in, the flavor will just get more and more intense until it's too much.)
Store in the fridge for up to a week.
You can also freeze it for up to 2 months. Do not fill your freezer-safe container all the way as liquid expands as it freezes. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
Serve over ice for chilled mulled cider (also good with booze).
Or reheat on the stove over gentle heat.

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