Mulled cider is a warm spiced fall classic perfect for chilly days and holiday parties ~ make it on the stove or in the crock pot.
I’m not in the mood for mulled cider most of the year, but the minute October hits, the craving hits. Hard. I’ve learned never to pass up a jug of fresh cider when I see it, so I can make this warm spiced drink whenever I get the urge. I’m sharing my super simple recipe, which isn’t really a recipe at all, more like a method. Once you get the idea, you’ll fly with it all season long. And by the way, mulling isn’t specific to apple cider. Try it with other juices like pear and pomegranate. And wine…definitely wine!
ingredients for mulled cider
- fresh apple cider
- it’s cloudy and sold refrigerated. And yes, you can make your own cider, it’s easy!
- whole mulling spices: cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, and anise
- optional: sliced oranges or apples
what’s mulling all about, anyway?
To ‘mull’ means to heat, sweeten, and spice a drink. The mulled cider we make has roots stretching back to Georgian England and a drink called wassail, which was made from roasted crab apples and mead (alcohol made from honey) steeped with spices and oranges. In Britain ‘cider’ is an alcoholic drink, whereas in the States, it’s not (alcoholic cider is sold as ‘hard cider’.) Mulled cider is so popular now that we have a national mulled cider day!
can you use ground spices for mulled cider?
No! Don’t do it ~ ground spices will add a slight but unappealing ‘sandy’ texture to your cider. Whole mulling spices are easy to source, and they’ll last a long time in your pantry, check it out, below.
where to find mulling spices or a mulling spice mix
Whole spices can be found in the spice section of most large supermarkets. Grab cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, cardamom pods, and star anise. It will be a one time expense that will last you years. Among other things I use my whole spices for Slow Cooker Mulled Wine and Easy Mulled Cranberry Jelly.
Tip: If you only mull cider or wine once or twice a year, I’d suggest a convenient packet of mulling spices. The blend is put together for you, and all you need to do is add a tablespoon or two to your cider. Most grocery stores will carry this, look for it with the spices, or with the teas.
more harvest time recipes
- Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts ~ New York Times Recipe
- Apple Cider Doughnut Loaf Cake
- How to Cook Any Type Of Winter Squash
- How to Roast Squash Seeds ~ five ways!
- Perfect Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Fudge
- Apple Skillet Cake
Mulled Cider Recipe
- large Dutch oven pot or slow cooker
- muslin spice bags, optional find them here.
- 2 quarts fresh apple cider
- apple slices
- orange slices
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1 tsp whole allspice berries
- 6-10 cardamom cloves, lightly crushed (don't lose the seeds!)
- 1/2 nutmeg
- 3 star anise
- Put everything into a large Dutch oven or similar sized pot and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn off the heat, and let steep for 15 minutes. Note: do not boil your cider, which can alter the flavor, just bring it to the point where little bubbles are forming around the edges and it is steaming.
- At this point you can strain the cider and put back in the pot. You can garnish with fresh apple and orange slices if you like. Or you can leave all the spices in, and strain each glass as you serve it. Note: if you want to avoid the whole straining issue, wrap your whole spices in a piece of doubled cheesecloth or muslin.
- Keep the cider on low on the stove top for serving, or transfer to a slow cooker set on the keep warm setting.
- Serve garnished with apple slices and a cinnamon stick.
to make in slow cooker
- Put everything in the slow cooker and cook, covered, on high until the cider comes to a simmer. Uncover, stir, and turn the machine to 'keep warm' for serving. Note: you can either strain the cider or not. If not, strain each glass as you serve it.