Hot Mulled Cider Recipe: Easy and Delicious

Hot mulled cider is a perfect fall drink when apple season is at its peak. Mulled cider takes apple juice and infuses it with warm spices and citrusy goodness for a one-of-a-kind drink you can’t get enough of.

Serves: 4 Time: 25 minutes Cookbook: Williams and Sonoma Sweet Treats

hot mulled cider in mugs

Is anyone else excited for the fall? We sure are, and it’s still 80 degrees outside where we live. No matter! With this mulled apple cider recipe, we can make it feel like fall, even if the weather isn’t cooperating with chilly days just yet. Let the holiday season begin!

When we first set out to find a basic but oh-so-good cider recipe, we had to learn a few things. One such thing was the difference between apple cider and mulled cider. Apple cider is apple juice that’s been pressed and unfiltered. Mulled cider, on the other hand, means that the unfiltered juice gets dressed up with spices like cloves, cinnamon, star anise, allspice berries, cardamom pods, and orange peel. The spices are what make it mulled. Therefore, we are making mulled cider.

For this recipe, you can use any type of apple juice. If you have unfiltered fresh-pressed apple juice (cider) available, then by all means use that! But if it’s not available, or maybe it’s not even apple season, you can use filtered apple juice and this recipe will still turn out great. After all, it’s the stuff legends are made of. From mentions in Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol to the New York Times crossword puzzle, this is one non-alcoholic beverage everyone can love.

Jump Ahead:

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Easy and Kid-Friendly: This easy recipe is brought to us by Williams and Sonoma’s kid-friendly cookbook. While an adult will need to cut the orange slices and supervise around open flame, this recipe is simple and easy for a child to make.

Delicious: The spices lend a deep sweet flavor and the bright citrus rounds it out so the flavors are balanced just right. You don’t even need brown sugar for this recipe.

Crowd Pleaser: If you need a drink to serve a crowd and you’re in a hurry, this is a great one. It will fill your home with the pleasing scents of fall while it simmers away, and everyone will enjoy a mug or two when you serve it.

Scalable: Need to serve 8 or 10 people? Simply double or triple the recipe and pull out a large saucepan, and you’re in business!

Ingredients Needed to Make Hot Mulled Cider

Apple juice, cinnamon, cloves, and orange
  • Orange: Any type of orange will work well here. The larger medium-sized oranges like Valencia, Navel, and Mandarin provide ample juice and sweetness. 
  • Apple Juice: If you have the freshed-pressed, unfiltered juice available, you’ll want to start with that. Otherwise, just get 100% apple juice, and this recipe will still turn out great.
  • Cinnamon Sticks: Whole cinnamon sticks will make this cider unbelievably fragrant. You can find whole cinnamon sticks in the spices section at most any grocery store.
  • Whole Cloves: Cloves provide a depth of flavor that no cider is complete without. Whole cloves can also be found in the spices section of your local grocery store.
  • Other Spices (optional): Play around with this base recipe by adding a 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder, a few allspice berries or an 1/8 teaspoon allspice powder, and one star anise pod. We love it spiced up and this base recipe is a perfect one to play around with.

Equipment Needed In the Kitchen

  • Chef Knife: You’ll need a standard chef knife to cut slices of orange. The sharper the better, just watch your fingertips! 
  • Saucepan: A medium-sized pan that can hold at least 5 cups of liquid is perfect. We used a 3-quart saucepan.

How to Make Hot Mulled Cider

Cider warming in the pan

Hot mulled cider is super easy to make and you’ll have a beverage that is crowd-worthy in just a few minutes.

Pro Tip: Would you rather have this warm slowly all day to be ready in time for an evening dinner or get-together? Place all the ingredients in your slow cooker and set it to low heat. It can stay this way for hours.

Prep, simmer, and serve

  • First, slice your orange into thick slices. Next, add the slices, the apple juice, the cinnamon sticks, and the cloves into the pan.
  • Bring your mixture to a gentle simmer – where the edges of your pan have tiny bubbles. Simmer for 20 minutes to infuse the cinnamon, clove, and orange flavors into the juice. 
  • Remove the cider from the heat.
  • Serve by placing one orange slice into each mug, then filling with hot cider using a ladle. 

Wasn’t that easy?

Variations on Hot Mulled Cider

hot mulled cider for one

This is a very classic hot mulled cider. If you want to change it up a bit, try some of these combinations!

Cranberry Cider: Instead of apple juice, substitute cranberry juice cocktail and continue with the rest of the recipe.

Orange Cider: If you’d like more of the orange flavor, swap out 2 cups of apple juice for 2 cups of orange juice and follow the rest of the recipe.

Pineapple Cider: Want something really unique and delicious? Try making our pineapple cider. It’s delicious hot or cold!

Faux Hard Cider: If you want the flavor without the adult beverage warning, add a splash or two of non-alcoholic spiced rum to the saucepan or crock pot while the cider simmers away.

Hot Mulled Cider Tips, Tricks, and FAQs

Does hot cider taste good cold?

Absolutely! If the temperatures outside are chilly, however, we highly recommend serving it nice and hot.

How long will hot mulled cider stay good?

This cider recipe can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Keep it in an air tight container to keep other pungent scents and smells from mixing with the cider.

What can I serve with hot cider?

We love serving this hot beverage alongside fall favorites like apple pie, pancakes, and winter squash soup.

When can I serve this beverage?

Hot apple cider is a perfect drink for the fall and winter seasons. It’s traditionally served as a holiday beverage, but it’s great any time. We think it’s especially fun to raise a glass and toast to good health and apple cider on National Hot Mulled Cider Day!

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hot mulled cider for one

Hot Mulled Cider


  • Author: Matt
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Hot Mulled Cider is a perfect fall drink when apple season is at its peak. Mulled cider takes regular apple juice and infuses it with warm spices and citrusy goodness for a one-of-a-kind drink you can’t get enough of.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 Orange
  • 4 cups Apple Juice
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 4 Cloves

Instructions

Prep 

  • First, slice your orange into thick slices.
  • Next, add the slices, the apple juice, the cinnamon sticks, and the cloves into the pan.

Simmer

  • Bring your mixture to a gentle simmer.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes to infuse the cinnamon, clove, and orange flavors into the juice. 

Serve!

  • Remove the cider from the heat.
  • Serve by placing one orange slice into each mug, then filling with hot cider using a ladle. 
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: Beverages
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Apple Cider, Hot Apple Cider, Mulled Cider, Apple and Orange Cider, Hot Mulled Cider

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