Make your own no-sugar-added Spiced Apple Cider with this easy slow cooker recipe. Use it in cocktails or cooking, or simply enjoy it on its own for a not-too-sugary treat the entire family can enjoy.
From-scratch apple cider might sound intimidating, but when you throw everything you need in a slow cooker and just set it and forget it, it couldn’t be easier. The result is a subtly spiced and not too sweet cider that’s perfect to sip on its own, or to have on hand for your favorite fall cocktails and baking projects.
Why This Recipe Works
- There’s very little prep time. Simply throw your ingredients in the slow cooker and let it do all the work.
- It’s healthier than store-bought ciders. There’s no added sugar and you’re completely in control of the ingredients.
- It’s inexpensive. While the ingredients list does include some whole spices you’ll have to acquire, the amount of cider you get for the number of ingredients you need is incomparable.
- You can get the kids involved. The recipe only requires very basic chopping, throwing everything in the slow cooker, and straining it when it’s done. Kids of all ages will enjoy getting involved!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Apples – I recommend any variety of red-green hybrid apple for this recipe. My personal preference is Gala, but you could also use Fuji or even Honeycrisp.
Orange – Including an orange with the apples adds the perfect extra dimension since you won’t be adding in any other type of sugar.
Caraway seeds – This is a secret ingredient I carried over from my favorite hot toddy recipe that adds the perfect spice along with the cinnamon and cloves.
Cinnamon sticks – A classic apple cider spice!
Whole cloves – Yet another classic. It’s important not to substitute ground versions of these.
This recipe is so simple it will become a seasonal standby each fall.
Simply add all the ingredients to the slow cooker…
Cover with water…
Cook on low for 7 hours…
Strain out the solids…
And enjoy! (Or refrigerate/freeze for later.)
This recipe fits perfectly in a 6-quart slow cooker like this one here.
I recommend cooking the cider on low for at least 7 hours. You can certainly cook it longer for even stronger flavor, or do what I did and leave the cooker on “Keep Warm” overnight after cooking to let it marinate even more.
Completely sealable glass jars (such as Mason jars or glass jars with hinged lids) are the best way to store the cider. If you’re freezing the cider, just be sure to not fill all of the glass jars to the brim.
There are a few different sweetener options depending on your taste preference. You can add the sweetener with all the other ingredients before the cooking process, or you can stir it in after it’s done cooking but still warm. Granulated sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup and agave are all great sweetener options.
More Ways to Use Up Your Apples
Maple Apple Pie Stuffed Apples
Savory Pretzel Bread Pudding with Cheddar, Apples and Sausage
Baked Whiskey-Soaked Apple Fritters with Maple Whiskey Glaze
The Easiest Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups
Weeknight One-Pan Apple and Herb Pork Chops
Candy Cap Waffles with Sautéed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream
Butterscotch Apple Oatmeal Cookies with Bourbon Glaze
Tried this recipe and loved it?? Be sure to leave a comment and five-star rating in the recipe card below!
From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider
- 8-10 medium Gala apples, cored and sliced, plus more for garnish
- 1 orange, cut into wedges
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 3 whole cinnamon sticks, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 10 cups filtered water
- Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 hours.
- Strain solids from mixture using a sieve (or cheesecloth) and into a large pitcher. Add more sliced apples and cinnamon sticks. Serve warm (and add bourbon if you want to booze it up!)
- For best results, use a 6-quart (or larger) slow cooker for this recipe.
- Store the apple cider in Mason jars or glass jars with hinged lids.
- Once made, the apple cider can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or the freezer for up to three months.
- If you prefer a sweeter apple cider, feel free to use brown sugar, sugar, maple syrup, honey or agave nectar.
I have a crab apple tree and if I don’t take care of the dropped apples, the bees come…. so that is what I do. Last year I picked them all and sort of winged it on making hard cider (I have a keezer at home so I kegged it up). It actually turned out really good and my wife loved it.
That being said… it is A LOT of work to skin and juice those little guys. I let a friend come and almost all my apples this year. Your beverage looks tasty and makes me regret it a little bit.
Ben – You’re so lucky to have access to all those apples! I’m jealous 🙂 This recipe is definitely a “cheater’s” version with very minimal effort involved. I hope you give it a try and let me know how it turns out!
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