Skip to Content

Mulled Cider Recipe

I’ve included some videos below for those who prefer to watch rather than read.

Mulled cider is a warm, cozy drink that’s perfect for fall and winter. This flavorful beverage is made by heating apple cider with a blend of spices like cinnamon, cloves, and star anise.

You can use a stovetop, slow cooker, or even an Instant Pot to make it, and it’s easy to customize with your favorite ingredients. Whether you want to enjoy it as a family-friendly treat or spiked with a little rum for the adults, it’s a surefire way to make your gatherings special.

So grab your favorite mug, and let’s dive into the best ways to make mulled cider right at home. It’s simple, delicious, and sure to warm you up on a chilly day.

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

To make delicious mulled cider, you will need a few key ingredients. Here’s a basic list and some possible substitutes.

Basic Ingredients

  1. Apple Cider: This is the main ingredient. Substitute: Apple juice (though cider is preferred for a richer taste).
  2. Cinnamon Sticks: Adds warmth. Substitute: Ground cinnamon.
  3. Whole Cloves: Provides a spicy kick. Substitute: Ground cloves, but use sparingly.
  4. Star Anise: Gives a slight licorice flavor. Substitute: A small amount of fennel seeds.
  5. Nutmeg: Adds depth. Substitute: Ground nutmeg.
  6. Allspice Berries: Enhances the spice mix. Substitute: Ground allspice, in smaller amounts.

Optional Additions

  • Orange Slices: Adds citrus notes. Substitute: Lemon slices.
  • Brown Sugar, Honey, or Maple Syrup: Sweetens the cider. Substitute: Any preferred sweetener.
  • Cranberry Juice: Adds tanginess. Substitute: Pomegranate juice (for a different twist).


  • Cinnamon Stick: Adds flair and extra warmth.
  • Apple Slices: Decorative and edible.


  • Toasting spices before adding them to the cider can make their flavors more intense.
  • For a richer flavor, let the cider simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  • It’s a good idea to taste your cider as it simmers and adjust spices or sweetness to your liking.

Using these ingredients, you can make a cozy and flavorful mulled cider perfect for any gathering.


1. Prepare Your Ingredients
Gather apple cider, oranges, ginger, and mulling spices like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and star anise.

2. Toast The Spices (Optional)
In a pot, toast your spices over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. This releases their flavors and makes your cider even more fragrant.

3. Combine Ingredients in a Pot
Add the apple cider to the pot. Next, add sliced oranges, ginger slices, and your toasted spices.

4. Slow Simmer
Turn the heat to low. Let the mixture simmer just below a boil for at least 30 minutes.

5. Strain and Serve
Pour the mulled cider through a fine strainer into another container. This removes any solid spices or orange pieces.

6. Keep Warm in a Slow Cooker (Optional)
To keep your cider warm for a party, transfer it to a slow cooker on the “low” or “warm” setting. Guests can serve themselves easily.

Ingredient Quantities

Apple Cider1 gallon
Oranges1 medium, sliced
Ginger1.5 inches, sliced
Cinnamon Sticks3-4 sticks
Whole Cloves5-6
Allspice Berries6-7
Star Anise1-2

Enjoy your warm, spiced mulled cider with friends and family!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh apple cider, whole spices, and good-quality orange zest make a big difference in the flavor.

Toast Your Spices: Toast spices like cinnamon, cloves, and star anise for 2-3 minutes on medium heat until they release their aroma.

Slow Cooker Method: Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and let it simmer on low for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Stovetop Method: Bring your cider to just below a simmer on low heat. This lets the flavors meld without boiling off too much liquid.

Strain the Spices: Before serving, strain the cider through a sieve or use a cheesecloth to remove the spices and fruit chunks.

Storage: Store leftover mulled cider in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Reheating: Gently reheat the cider on the stove over low heat. Avoid boiling it to keep the flavors intact.

Sweeten to Taste: Add sugar, honey, or maple syrup if you prefer a sweeter drink. Start with a little and adjust to your liking.

Add a Twist: Experiment with flavors by adding a splash of cranberry juice or a handful of fresh berries during cooking.

Serving Suggestions: Garnish with a cinnamon stick or an orange slice for an extra touch.

MethodTimeSpecial Tips
Stovetop30 minutesSimmer, don’t boil
Slow Cooker3 hours on low heatStir occasionally

By following these tips and tricks, you can make and store delicious mulled cider with minimal effort.

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

Experimenting with mulled cider can be fun and rewarding. Here are some ideas to help you make the most of this delicious drink.

Recipe Variations

  • Citrus Twist: Add thin slices of oranges, lemons, or both to your cider for a zesty flavor.
  • Spice Mix: Adjust the spice mix to your taste. You can add cardamom or nutmeg to the traditional cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise.
  • Sweeteners: Choose the sweetener that suits you best. Honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar are all great options.
  • Alcoholic Version: For an adult twist, add a splash of rum, brandy, or bourbon to the mix.

Serving Suggestions

  • Garnishes: Top each mug with apple slices, orange wheels, or a cinnamon stick for a decorative and tasty touch.
  • Mugs: Serve your mulled cider in heat-safe mugs. Clear glass mugs can showcase the beautiful colors of the drink.
  • Accompaniments: Pair your cider with snacks like gingerbread cookies, cheese platters, or roasted nuts for a cozy treat.

Storage Tips

  • Refrigerate: Mulled cider can be kept in the fridge for up to a week. Reheat it gently on the stove or in a slow cooker before serving.
  • Slow Cooker: Prepare the cider on the stove, then keep it warm in a slow cooker set to low for easy serving over several hours.
Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.