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Of all the things we love about fall, hot apple cider tops our list. (Crunchy leaves and cozy cardigans are a close second.) And this year, we’re skipping the store-bought stuff to make our own. Read on to learn how to make homemade apple cider in four different ways.

RELATED: How to Store Apples to Keep Them Fresh Longer

What You Need to Make Homemade Apple Cider

Fresh-pressed cider that you sip at farms and apple orchards is typically made with a fruit press, but you don’t need one to make a batch yourself. Once you’re finished, you’ll have fresh cider for up to 10 days. Here’s what you’ll need to get started.

Ingredients

  • 10 to 12 apples, quartered or roughly chopped: Any type of apple will work, but we recommend Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji or Granny Smith. It’s also fine to use a range of apples, especially if you combine tart and sweet types. The number of apples can vary based on their size and the size of your stock pot.
  • 1 to 2 oranges: Oranges give apple cider its signature tartness and citrusy notes. If you like your cider on the sweeter side, peel them before you add them to the pot.
  • 3 to 4 cinnamon sticks: If you don’t have any, substitute ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon for every stick.
  • Spices: We’re using 1 tablespoon whole cloves, 1 teaspoon whole allspice and 1 whole nutmeg, but you can go ham with whatever you like or have (ginger and star anise are popular additions). If you want to cut back on straining time, wrap the spices in cheese cloth before dunking them in for easy removal.
  • Water (about 16 cups): The amount will vary based on the pot’s size and how full it is. Always be sure to leave a few inches of space at the top of the pot.
  • ½ cup sweetener: Use brown sugar, white sugar, honey or maple syrup. If you only used tart apples, included an extra orange or are planning to spike your glass with bourbon (try it if you haven’t!), feel free to use ¾ cup of sweetener instead.

Supplies

  • Large pot, slow cooker or Instant Pot
  • Cheese cloth (optional)
  • Potato masher or large wooden spoon
  • Strainer or sieve

homemade apple cider step1
Sofia Kraushaar

How to Make Apple Cider on the Stove

Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 2½ to 3 hours

Step 1: Add the fruit and spices to a stock pot.

homemade apple cider step2
Sofia Kraushaar

Step 2: Cover with water. Leave a few inches of space at the top of the pot. Turn the heat up to high until the mixture reaches a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer until the apples are totally soft and mashable, about 2 hours.

homemade apple cider step3
Sofia Kraushaar

Step 3: Mash the fruit in the pot to release their juicy sweetness using a wooden spoon or potato masher. Cover and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

homemade apple cider step4
Sofia Kraushaar

Step 4: Use a strainer or cheesecloth to strain the fruit and spices. Press them down into the strainer to make sure you don’t miss out on any juice. Discard the fruit or save for another project, like applesauce, apple butter or baked goods.

homemade apple cider step5
Sofia Kraushaar

Step 5: Stir in your choice of sweetener. Turn off the heat.

homemade apple cider step6
Sofia Kraushaar

Step 6: Serve warm in a mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick, orange slice or apple slice.

How to Make Apple Cider in the Slow Cooker

Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 3½-4½ hours

Step 1: Add the fruit and spices to the Crock-Pot.

Step 2: Cover with water. Leave a few inches of space at the top of the pot.

Step 3: Turn the heat up to high and cook the apples until they’re totally soft and mashable, about 3 to 4 hours.

Step 4: Mash the fruit in the pot to release their juicy sweetness. Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 5: Use a strainer to remove the fruit and spices. Press them down into the strainer to make sure you don’t miss out on any juice. Discard or save the fruit.

Step 6: Stir in your choice of sweetener.

Step 7: Serve warm in a mug. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, orange slice or apple slice, or leave a few floating in the Crock-Pot.

How to Make Apple Cider in the Instant Pot

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes

Step 1: Add the fruit and spices to the Instant Pot.

Step 2: Fill to the max fill line with water.

Step 3: Cover the Instant Pot and cook for about 30 minutes on Manual.

Step 4: Quick release the pressure in the pot. Mash the fruit in the Instant Pot to release their juicy sweetness. Cover and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Step 5: Use a strainer to remove the fruit and spices. Press them down into the strainer to make sure you don’t miss out on any juice. Discard or save the fruit.

Step 6: Stir in your choice of sweetener.

Step 7: Serve warm in a mug. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, orange slice or apple slice, or leave a few to float in the Instant Pot.

How to Make Apple Cider with Apple Juice

We call this cheater’s apple cider. If you’re *really* pressed for time and need to get your warm-and-cozy on ASAP, this recipe has your back.

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 cups of apple juice (no need to add extra sugar or sweetener)
  • 1 orange, quartered or roughly chopped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon whole allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon whole cloves

Step 1: Combine everything in a pot over medium heat. Let it cook for 5 to 10 minutes until hot or simmering, stirring occasionally.

Step 2: Strain the cider and remove the spices. Serve warm in a mug. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, orange slice or apple slice.

RELATED: How to Keep Apples from Browning? Here Are 6 Tricks We Love

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