In a world of pumpkin spice everything, I am going rogue. This year, my inspiration is a simple trendgredient we all know and love: the humble apple. So, instead of adding to the pumpkin spice insanity, I am going to spend the fall celebrating apples! There is no better way to begin my deep dive into the world of apples than to introduce you to my favorite autumn drink: The Best And Easiest Homemade Hot Apple Cider Recipe.
It is not only a comforting hot drink, but it is the base of many of my fall recipes, including my Chicken Thighs with Savory Apple Cider Sauce and my Gooey Apple Cider Caramel. I also love using my cider in these recipes from the Food Network: Apple Cider (Baked) Donuts and Apple Cider-Glazed Salmon. This homemade apple cider is a wonderful ingredient to have on hand in the refrigerator. It also freezes beautifully for use later in the season.
A Hug in a Mug
When the weather turns chilly at night, there is nothing better than a hot cup of steamy goodness. Sure, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and pumpkin spice lattes warm most cold hands during winter. However, there is something about the sweet and spicy combination in homemade hot apple cider that makes my heart sing. It communicates comfort in a way that the aforementioned drinks do not. When I drink apple cider in the winter, I feel like I'm being hugged.
Why Stove-top Homemade Apple Cider?
There are many recipes which use a slow cooker and they are perfectly fine! In fact, I have made this recipe in a slow cooker in the past. However, my preference is to cook my cider on the stove-top. Cooking this recipe is an EXPERIENCE. This recipe introduces the smells of fall into your home the way a crock pot cannot.
On the first day that feels like fall, I love making this homemade hot apple cider recipe. I wake up, open my windows to let in the brisk air, and I pile ingredients into my large stockpot. Usually, I choose a day I am able to enjoy the spicy aroma as it wafts through the air. My favorite day: the day I decorate my house for fall! I gleefully place fall leaves and pumpkins on every visible surface of my home. When I'm finished, I treat myself to a steaming mug of spicy, apple-y deliciousness. Welcome, Fall! We have missed you!
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All of my posts contain my recommendations for essential tools. I have researched these tools. Many of them are already in my kitchen. The ones that are not come highly rated. I do the research so you don’t have to and I only recommend high-quality tools.
If you are just starting to furnish your kitchen with tools or if you are looking to expand your kitchen toolkit, be sure to reference Expert Guide: Equip Your Kitchen for Less Than $200. This guide contains links to all of the equipment items I recommend for a basic kitchen set up.
My essential tools when making this recipe include the following:
- IMUSA USA Stainless Steel Stock Pot 20-Quart, Silver
- Mercer Culinary Millennia Chef's Knife, 8 Inch
- KitchenAid Gourmet Stainless Steel Wire Masher
- Cuisinart Set of 3 Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers
The Best Homemade Spiced Apple Cider
- 1 3 lb bag sweet apples, quartered I use Gala or Fuji
- 1 3 lb bag tart apples, quartered I use Granny Smith
- 1 orange, zested, peeled, and then sectioned (be sure to peel your orange - your cider will be less bitter!)
- 4 whole cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 3 cloves star anise
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
- ¼ to ½ cup light brown sugar to your personal preference
- Place apples, orange, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, nutmeg and brown sugar into a large stockpot.
- Pour water into the stockpot until the ingredients are covered and begin to float. Don't overfill your pot with water - it could boil over!
- Begin by bringing the water to a boil over high heat on the stove. Once boiling, decrease to medium-low heat and simmer for 2 hours.
- When the mixture has cooked for 2 hours, use a large spoon or spatula to gently mash the ingredients together. The apples should be soft at this point.
- Continue to simmer the mashed mixture for another 1-2 hours.
- Pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl or pitcher. Using a spoon, gently mash and squeeze all liquid from the solids as they pass through the sieve. Discard the remaining solids. Strain one more time through the fine mesh sieve to be sure there are no solids in the cider.
- Enjoy hot from the stove or refrigerate for up to a week. You can also freeze this cider for up to 6 months. Reheat/defrost in a pan on the stove set to medium heat until the mixture is warmed through.