Cozy Hot Spiced Cider – This easy mulled cider recipe smells and tastes incredible. The perfect blend of flavors and spices! (Naturally paleo & Vegan)
A few months ago, I took some polls on Instagram about the holiday season and one of the most popular requests was more hot or warm drinks to enjoy in the fall and winter. My kids are MAJOR hot chocolate fans, but especially in the fall, and right around the holidays, I love hot spiced cider.
Spiced apple cider (sometimes called mulled cider), is infused with warm spices and citrus, and the effect is absolutely delicious. It’ll warm you up from the inside out, and the gorgeous spices will make the whole house smell incredible while it simmers.
You can enjoy it hot and fresh from the stove, reheat it the next day, or even enjoy it cold! Plus, you only need a few simple ingredients to get started…
Here’s What You Need To Make Cozy Spiced Cider:
- Apple Cider. In the U.S., the terms apple juice and apple cider can be interchangeable, but for clarity, I’m referring to the cloudy, tangy drink as apple cider (vs. the clear drink I refer to as apple juice). You’re looking for something cloudy, if possible!
- Cinnamon Sticks. Whole cinnamon sticks infuse the cider with flavor and are easy to remove (which helps prevent the cider from going gritty with ground spices).
- Whole Cloves. Similarly, whole cloves add their warm flavor and can be skimmed off easily before serving.
- Nutmeg. Whole nutmeg doesn’t really work whole for cider, so I do use ground nutmeg. Just a little goes a long way!
- Orange Peel. The magic ingredient! Aim for the orange peel, but try to avoid the white pith as much as possible, as it can make the cider bitter. (That said, sliced oranges can look beautiful simmering in a pot!)
- A Dutch Oven Or Soup Pot. Lastly, you’ll need something to simmer your mulled cider in. I find a Dutch oven like this works wonderfully! (See the FAQ below if you want to try it in the slow cooker!)
How to Make Spiced Hot Cider, Step-By-Step.
- Pour the apple cider into a Dutch oven or large soup pot.
- Add cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, ground nutmeg, and orange peel.
- Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer on medium-low or low heat for at least 20-60 minutes, up to 2-3 hours. (Note: the longer it simmers, the stronger it will taste. Water will also start to evaporate, so keeping the pot covered will help the cider from reducing too much.)
- If desired, skim off the whole spices and orange peel and pour into heat-safe cups or mugs.
- Serve with cinnamon sticks, sliced apples, and sliced oranges for garnish.
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Spiced Cider:
What’s The Difference Between Apple Juice and Apple Cider? The terms can be used interchangeably, but in the United States, apple juice is typically clearer and runs sweeter than apple cider. Cider has a bit more tang, a signature cloudy appearance, and (in my opinion) a richer flavor. (But just because something is labeled “apple juice” doesn’t mean it’s not cider, and vice versa. Trader Joe’s, for instance, sells a cloudy, tangy cider-link drink in the refrigerator section that’s labeled as juice.)
Can I Use Apple Juice Instead of Cider? It’s up to you! I like the flavor of the cloudy apple juice or apple cider, but clear apple juice will work if you like the taste.
How Long Do You Cook Spiced Cider? It depends on how strong you want the flavor to be. The longer you simmer or cook spiced cider, the stronger the flavor gets, as the spices and citrus infuse. (Sort of like steeping tea)
Can You Make Spiced Cider In a Slow Cooker? Yes! This is a great option when you’re going to be out, or you simply want a more hands-off approach. To make spiced cider in the slow cooker, add all the ingredients and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or LOW 4-6 hours.
Do You Drink Spiced Cider Warm Or Cold? Either! Mulled cider is usually served warm, as a cozy fall or winter drink to stave off the cold. But, it’s also absolutely delicious served cold.
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