Homemade apple cider couldn’t be easier or more fun to make with just one ingredient: fresh fall apples!
If you only make one thing this fall ~ make cider! One sip and all of your sense memories of the season come flooding back. It’s fresh, vibrant, and not too sweet. Best of all? It’s a cinch to make. And you can enjoy it cold or hot.
what you’ll need to make homemade cider
- that’s the only ingredient and you can pretty much choose any variety you love with the exception of very tart apples, which can make the cider a bit sour. I would stay away from Granny Smith and go for a good sweet apple. I used Honeycrisp. Some people like to add one or two tart apples into the mix, and that works great to give the cider a little kick.
- blender or food processor
- I used my Vitamix and it really does the job perfectly.
- jelly bag or nut bag
- This is for straining your pureed apples. This is the one I use.
how to make homemade apple cider, step by step
This method works best for small batches of fresh apple cider. You don’t need a fancy apple press or a juicer, and the result is exactly the same as the cider you get at the apple orchard. Pretty sweet, huh?
step 1. wash, core, and rough chop your apples
Use fresh fruit without any major blemishes or spoiled parts. Wash them well with water. You’ll need to core them to remove the seeds, but other than the seeds we’re using the whole apple.
step 2. load your blender
Fill your blender to the top with chopped apples. You may need to do this in batches. I like to add about 1/2 cup water to make it easier to get everything going.
step 3. blend the apples
I run the machine until the apples start to break down, and then add more so they can all blend together.
step 4. blend until completely smooth
Blend, using the tamper to push the apples downward so everything gets completely pureed. You will still see tiny bits of red peel.
step 5. pour into a jelly bag or nut bag to strain
A nut bag or jelly bag is simply a nylon mesh bag that will allow the cider to flow through while trapping the apple solids. It’s like a very very fine mesh strainer.
step 6. squeeze to extract the juice
Squeeze gently at first, and then firmer as more juice is extracted. When you can get no more liquid out, discard the solids. (Save your bag, it can be washed and used again and again!)
step 7. heat the cider to 165F to pasteurize
Heat your cider in a pot on the stove top to 165F. Use an instant read thermometer for accuracy. This will be just before the cider comes to a simmer. If you don’t have a thermometer, bring the cider to an actual simmer and you’ll be good. Note: this is an important step as fresh apple cider may contain bacteria that cause illness, such as E. coli or Salmonella.
step 8. enjoy!
Your homemade apple cider is ready to enjoy hot or cold. Since you already have it on the stove, why not add some whole spices to it and let it steep for 30 minutes for an amazing mulled cider. Or let it cool and then refrigerate for up to a week (it’ll be gone way before then!)
preserving homemade apple cider
Homemade cider should be promptly refrigerated, where it will keep about a week. For longer storage you have two options:
CANNING APPLE CIDER
Apple cider can be canned in a boiling water bath canner: Sterilize jars by placing right side up on rack in boiling water canner. Fill the canner and jars with hot (not boiling) water to 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Boil 10 minutes. If cider has cooled, heat to simmering. Pour into the hot, sterile jars and process in a boiling water bath: 5 minutes for pints and quarts; 10 minutes for half gallons. After processing, take canner off heat. Remove lid and wait 5 minutes before removing jars. (Source: Oregon State University.)
FREEZING APPLE CIDER
To freeze, pour hot cider into plastic or glass freezer safe containers, be sure to leave 1/2 inch headspace to allow for expansion during freezing. First refrigerate the bottles until cold, and then pop them in the freezer.
homemade apple cider faqs
- why do you need to pasteurize homemade cider?
- Because cider is made from unpeeled apples there is the chance it can contain harmful bacteria that can make you sick. To be safe it’s advised that you heat the cider to kill the bacteria. The flavor is not affected.
- are apple seeds poisonous?
- It’s not a good idea to eat apple seeds because they contain a compound call amygdalin, which is toxic. This is why you need to core apples to remove the seeds before juicing or crushing for cider or apple juice.
- how long can apple cider stay at room temperature?
- Cider can stay at room temperature no longer than 2 hours, according to the USDA.
- what’s the best way to wash apples?
- Usually a good rinse and scrub with a vegetable brush is enough. The FDA does not recommend using soap or commercial vegetable washes because studies have found they’re no more effective than plain water.
- I don’t have a jelly bag or nut bag, what else can I use to strain the cider?
- You can use a muslin bag, a muslin cloth, or other clean thin cloth.
- Is cider alcoholic?
- Properly stored fresh apple cider is not alcoholic, but if raw apple cider is left at room temperature it will begin to ferment within about 24 hours ~ it uses the natural yeasts and bacteria present on the apple skins and in the air! The process of making hard cider is a bit more complicated, but that’s how it begins.
- Can you make apple cider vinegar from this cider?
- Yes, it will take 4-6 months. Pour the fresh apple cider into a clean crock. Leave a good amount of space on top because your cider will foam up during fermentation. Cover with a light kitchen towel or cloth napkin and tie it down with string. Store in a cool dark place like your basement or garage. Taste it after 4 months. If you like it, then strain it through a nut bag, jelly bag, or cheesecloth. Then pasteurize the vinegar by heating it to 160F. Store in sterilized bottles. If the vinegar is too weak after the first 4 months, test it every week until it’s a strong as you like. Get more details here.
we love cider!
- Mezcal Cider Cocktail
- Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts ~ New York Times Recipe
- Make Ahead Cider and Sage Gravy
- Apple Cider Doughnut Loaf Cake
- Hot Buttered Apple Cider
- Pomegranate Mulled Cider ~ and giving up alcohol
- Wild Rice Salad with Maple Cider Vinaigrette
- Mulled Cider Jelly
Homemade Apple Cider
- a full sized blender or food processor (I used a Vitamix blender)
- 3 lbs fresh unblemished apples
- Wash your apples. Remove the cores and rough chop them. You can use a handy apple corer, or just cut around the core. The main issue here is that you don't want the seeds…everything else is fair game!
- Add as many of the apple pieces as you can to your food processor or blender. You may have to work in batches.
- Add about 1/2 cup of water to the blender. This is going to help jump start the blending process. Start blending or processing until the apples start to break down. If there is room in the blender at this point, add the rest of your apples.
- Continue to blend until the apples are completely pureed. When in doubt, keep blending.
- Arrange a jelly bag or nut milk bag in a large bowl and pour the apple mixture into the bag.
- Gather up the nut bag and squeeze, gently at first, to allow all the cider to drip out. You will need to squeeze harder as more juice is released. Be patient and get every last drop out. When you can squeeze nothing more out, discard the solids.
- Your fresh cider needs to be pasteurized to be safe to drink. Heat it in a pan until it reaches 160F. An instant read thermometer is helpful here, but if you don't have one, bring the cider just to a simmer.
- Transfer the hot cider to clean jars. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer storage freeze or can. See instructions below.