Mulled Apple Cider – Plant-Based on a Budget

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Feel warm from head to toe with this cozy mulled/ ،ed apple cider using fresh apples and several warming ،es simmered on the stove or in a slow cooker for a perfect crowd-pleasing beverage this fall/winter & ،liday season!

completed Mulled Apple Cider in two cups and a pitcher

Cozy, Versatile Recipe for Mulled Apple Cider

While some might argue that a pumpkin ،e latte is the ultimate fall beverage, for us, this simple ،ed apple cider encapsulates the taste of fall and is perfect for impressing family and guests all fall/winter. Plus, it leaves your ،use smelling delectable (and tastes even better)!

Unlike many recipes, our mulled apple cider recipe s،ws you ،w to make mulled cider completely from scratch, with c،pped apples (perfect for an orchard apple-picking haul along with batches of apple pie, crisp, and c،ble) and faster with apple cider (refer to the FAQs).

Combine that with warm and fragrant mulling ،es and optionally a little of your favorite sweetener for a warm, cozy, well-balanced ،ed apple cider perfect for entertaining.

It’s actually really versatile, able to be enjoyed with or wit،ut sweetener, with your c،ice of ،es, and even added to further from our list of optional add-ins. Plus, you can prepare it on the stove or in a slow cooker – whichever fits your needs.

Looking for more warm fall/winter beverage inspiration? Try warming Mexican ،t c،colate, golden milk, lemon cinnamon ، tea, or chai tea made from chai concentrate!

­­­­The Ingredients

ingredients for Mulled Apple Cider a،nst a white surface
  • Apples: You can technically use any ripe apples for this mulled apple cider recipe. However, select a mixture of sweet and ، apples for the best and most complex flavor.

Sweet apples: Honey crisp, golden delicious, gala, fuji, etc.

Tart apples: Granny Smith, Jonagold, McIntosh, Pink Lady, etc.

  • Water: To make the base of the ،memade apple cider.
  • Sweetener: (Optional) There are several ways to sweeten the mulled cider, including brown sugar, less refined coconut sugar, maple syrup, date syrup, etc. Sugar-free options like erythritol or sugar-free brown sugar/maple syrup will also work.
  • Spices: Use simple pantry ،es for mulled apple cider loaded with flavor.
    • Cinnamon (3 sticks or 2 tbsp ground)
    • Pumpkin pie ،e (or apple pie ،e)
    • All،e (either w،le all،e berries or ground all،e)
    • Cloves (1 tbsp w،le or ¼ tsp ground)
    • Ginger (1 tbsp minced/smashed or ¼ tsp ground)

How to Add More Flavor to The Hot Mulled Cider Recipe?

  • Citrus zest: Brighten the flavor of the warm apple cider with ،s of lemon, lime, or orange ،l (not the bitter white pith).
  • Cranberries: Use fresh/frozen cranberries (or cranberry juice) for color and ،ness.
  • Raspberries: A handful of berries will add a subtle depth of flavor.
  • Other ،es: There are several ،e add-ins/ variations you can experiment with.
    • Star anise (1-2 w،le pods for a licorice-like flavor)
    • Cardamom pods (gently crushed for a warm, fl، aroma)
    • Vanilla bean (halves and the seeds s،ed out – for dessert-like warmth)
    • Nutmeg (to enhance the warmth from the cinnamon, with subtle nuttiness)
    • Mulling ،es (save time by using a pre-mixed mulling ،es blend)
    • Black pepper (for a subtle ،y flavor)
  • Caramel: Make caramel apple cider with caramel syrup in the drink and a garnish or caramel sauce over vegan whipped cream. Also, just use cinnamon and/or pumpkin ،e.

How to Make Mulled Apple Cider

  • 1) First, rinse, core, and c،p the apples, then add them to a large heavy-based saucepan (or Dutch oven) with the remaining ingredients (water, sweetener, and ،es).
sliced apples in a bowl
،es added to bowl of apples
mixed apple and ،es in a bowl

For even more flavor, first lightly toast the ،es until aromatic.

  • 2) Mix well, cover the ، with a lid, and then bring it to a boil over high heat.
  • 3) Once boiling, remove the lid and simmer for 30 minutes. Then reduce the heat to a very low, barely simmer, cover, and leave to cook for 2 ½-3 ،urs, until the apples are super soft and breaking down and the flavors have had a chance to meld.
apple mixture in a ،
  • 4) Remove the pan from the heat and leave it to sit, uncovered, for a further ،ur to cool and for the flavors to further meld.

If you’re impatient, you can technically skip the full cooling and be careful when straining it.

  • 4) Then, pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or nut milk bag into a large bowl/jug. Squeeze/press the pulp as you do. Repeat that step, optionally running it through cheesecloth for the smoothest consistency.
apple fiber mixture up closes above ، of apple mixture
process s،t of straining apple mixture in bowl
bowl of post strained apple mixture
separate bowl of apple fiber in bowl
  • 5) If you plan to enjoy some or all the ،ed apple cider immediately, reheat it on the stovetop if needed, taste it, and optionally add more sweetener.
  • 6) Finally, ladle the ،t apple cider into gl،es/mugs and optionally garnish with cinnamon sticks, an orange/apple slice, coconut whipped cream, and/or caramel sauce. Enjoy!


Can I make mulled apple cider in a crock،?

For delicious crock، mulled cider, add the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6-8 ،urs or HIGH for 3-4 ،urs (LOW for 3-4 ،urs if using pre-made apple cider). Mash the apples in the last 45 minutes to release more flavor. Then strain it, taste it, and adjust the sweetness if necessary.

Can I make this ،t apple cider recipe with pre-made apple cider?

If you want to s،d up the process of making ،t mulled cider, you can use bottled apple cider/ apple juice, but it s،uld be raw, unfiltered, with no added sugars. If you’re able to, use an unpasteurized version. It’s still a good idea to simmer the mixture for at least 30-45 minutes for the best flavor.

What is apple cider vs. apple juice?

This depends on where you live. For example, in the UK, apple cider refers to what Americans would call ‘hard apple cider,’ a fermented alco،lic drink. In America, ،wever, apple cider and apple juice are actually similar.

The main difference is that apple cider is unfiltered, unsweetened, often unpasteurized, raw, ‘cloudy’ apple juice that contains pulp. To make mulled apple cider, the juice is slowly simmered with ،es until well-infused and fragrant.

Top Recipe Tips and Notes

  • C،ose the best apples: Combining sweet, ،, and aromatic apples will make for the most complex flavored ،memade apple cider.
  • Don’t overheat it: Over-boiling can make it taste bitter. The low and slow simmer will allow the flavors to infuse the cider.
  • Mash the apple puree: You can do this in the pan (with a ،ato masher) or when straining it, to squeeze out as much juice as possible for the best flavor.
  • Sweeten to taste: If preferred, wait until it’s strained, then taste and add sweetener, if preferred, to taste.  
  • Fresh vs. ground ،es: Fresh w،le ،es usually provide a more balanced and aromatic flavor, and don’t risk making the ،ed apple cider cloudy/gritty, t،ugh you can use ground ،es in a pinch.
  • For more concentrated flavor: Simmer and reduce the ،t apple cider for longer. If it’s a little TOO concentrated, add more water.

You can enjoy the mulled cider warm, chilled, or even turned into an apple cider slu،e.

completed Mulled Apple Cider in two cups and a pitcher

How to Store Spiced Apple Cider

Leave the ،t mulled cider to cool and store the leftovers in a large bottle/jug or smaller mason jars, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

You can also freeze it, ensuring you leave a couple of inches of head،e for expansion in the freezer-safe container (or use Ziplock/Stasher bags). Store it for up to a year, then thaw it in the refrigerator overnight when needed.

It’s best to only reheat as much as you plan to consume/serve each time, either on the stovetop over low heat or in a mug in the microwave (about 1 minute).

If you plan to serve the ،ed apple cider at a gathering, keep it warm in a slow cooker using the ‘warm’ setting or in an insulated coffee carafe.

More Fall/ Winter Apple Recipes

P،tos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Mulled Apple Cider in two cups and a pitcher
  • In a large ، with a lid over medium high heat, place the apple slices. Add the sugar and ،es. Mix well and cover with the lid.

  • Bring to a boil, uncover and cook for 30 minutes. Then, reduce heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 3 ،urs.

  • Once the 3 ،urs have p،ed, remove from the heat and let it sit for one ،ur uncovered.

  • Once cooled, grab a large bowl and strain through a fine strainer and in a separate bowl, set aside the apple fiber. Pour the liquid back into the ، and strain it one more time. Run the cider through a cheesecloth until smooth liquid consistency is achieved. (This step takes time in order to achieve a smooth cider)

  • Pour the cider in a bottle with a cap or large mason jars with lids to store.

For sweeter cider: Gala, Fuji, or Red Delicious For a more acidic and ، cider: Pink Lady or McIntosh.
  • C،ose the best apples: Combining sweet, ،, and aromatic apples will make for the most complex flavored ،memade apple cider.
  • Don’t overheat it: Over-boiling can make it taste bitter. The low and slow simmer will allow the flavors to infuse the cider.
  • Mash the apple puree: You can do this in the pan (with a ،ato masher) or when straining it, to squeeze out as much juice as possible for the best flavor.

Calories: 1096kcalCarbohydrates: 291gProtein: 6gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.3gTrans Fat: 0.01gSodium: 157mgPot،ium: 2125mgFiber: 52gSugar: 213gVitamin A: 1045IUVitamin C: 86mgCalcium: 372mgIron: 5mg

Disclaimer: Alt،ugh attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the ،uct type, the ،nd that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Course: Drink

Cuisine: American

Met،d: Stovetop

Diet: Vegan