Homemade Apple Cider

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Growing up in East Utica, New York, apples were plentiful and making homemade apple cider was a must during the fall season.

We had apple trees in every neighbor's yard on Lansing St., where we lived and of course I often got caught raiding the neighbor's tree.

Luckily, they were actually happy to have me take them off their hands.

Mom would make apple pies, apple cakes and this was an all-time favorite that dad loved, apple cider.

It was pure comfort, a drink we even heated on a cold October day around Halloween.

Those memories are etched in my mind forever, warm and cozy feelings of the 1960s as a little girl.

This was the perfect drink after going to the pumpkin patch in Westmoreland and usually every year Halloween was a frigidly cold night.

Warm apple cider with a cinnamon stick did the trick getting off the hayrides we took.

There is even an adult version spiked at the end.

Making homemade apple cider is much easier than you think and with these step by step easy instructions, you'll never buy it again.

I also recommend you use New York State Apples, of course, I am a little bias but hey I live in Florida and still only use them!!!

Scroll down and print off this simple recipe and HAPPY FALL!

this is a photo of homemade apple-cider in a glass cup with apples in a big pot, mason jar filled with cider and sliced and quartered apples in the photo with a knife to slice them

Homemade and Comforting

There is something more than comforting with homemade apple cider brewing in the kitchen.

The whole house feels like I went back in time when grandma would be making this or mom.

I grew up in a time where everything was homegrown and made from scratch.

Going back to the 1960s, everyone had fruit trees in their yards, dad's garden was plentiful all summer and during the winter months canning and harvesting were always going on in our kitchens.

this is a photo of homemade apple-cider in a glass cup with apples in a big pot, mason jar filled with cider and sliced and quartered apples in the photo with a knife to slice them

Picking the Apples

Even though I don't have apple trees in my yard anymore and reside in Florida, and I still only buy my apples to make cider from Upstate New York, I always look for them grown close to my hometown in the surrounding area, of course, you can use any kind you like.

I prefer using McIntosh and Cortland mixed which are a great combination together.

I've been lucky enough to get them straight from the orchards in my hometown when my husband drives up there for hunting season, late November.

He always brings me back a bushel fresh apples.

a bag of McIntosh apples from the orchard fresh to make apple cider

Here are a few recommendations to use:

  1. For sweeter cider, try Gala, Fuji, Cortland, Golden Delicious.
  2. For more on the tart side, go with Pink Lady, Braeburn, Jonathan, or McIntosh.
  3. A blend of apples from both the sweet and tart can also make a delicious cider.

this is a photo of homemade apple-cider in a glass cup with apples in a big pot, mason jar filled with cider and sliced and quartered apples in the photo with a knife to slice them

Making Applesauce

As I said before you can make applesauce with the leftovers, however, if you really want a lot of applesauce and a little cider, then here's what I do:

Rinse, peel, core, and seed as many apples that will fit in the 4-quart slow cooker.

Add around 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and some cinnamon and pinch of nutmeg if you prefer.

You can leave it plain if you don't want flavored applesauce.

I put my slow cooker on low overnight and in the morning it is nice a mushy. You can strain it and use that juice to drink and it's another method of making apple cider!

Save the amber juice if you're not going to drink it for keeping meats juicy when cooking like baked pork tenderloin or baked pork chops. Great for baking chicken in as a substitute for alcohol and also for added sweetness.

this is a photo of homemade apple-cider in a glass cup with apples in a big pot, mason jar filled with cider and sliced and quartered apples in the photo with a knife to slice them

Methods for Apples

  • If making applesauce, peel, quarter and seed apples
  • I boil the apples first to remove any kinds of chemical impurities whole then quarter then and follow the recipe for cider
  • Always quarter only for best tasting results and if you prefer to leave skins on its ok
  • No need to boil first if the apples are organic just wash first
  • Peeling keeps the bitterness out (as I prefer to do that method)
  • To make 1 gallon it takes approximately 42 apples, a bushel of apples that weighs 40 lbs. will make 3 gallons

whole apples simmering to clean in grandmas big soup pot along with spices in a coffee filter


  • If making applesauce with the simmered apples after sieving, add more spice after straining to taste
  • Quarter apples for best results
  • Always store in the refrigerator
  • Cider will last awhile however, I freeze it if longer than 1 month in the refrigerator
  • You can use this cider in any recipe
  • Add sugar to taste before
  • Always using cooking twine to tie the coffee filters
  • You can add more or fewer spices you like IE nutmeg, cloves cinnamon 
  • I have used whole cloves before but not a fan of the flavor is too strong for me, use either one you like powdered or whole to taste
  • Refrigerate before drinking the cider for at least 3 hours to for flavors to meld
  • Cover the apples with at least 4 inches of water if making a small batch of cider

whole apples simmering to clean in grandmas big soup pot along with spices in a coffee filter

Grandma's Pot

This is the tricky part, I always use grandma's pot, it's around 8 quarts.

After I quarter them I fill the pan just until they are covered with water.

The photos are for the cleaning portion for any chemicals used, I am pretty fussy about pesticides.

If you are lucky enough to get organic apples, no problem rinse, cut, boil.

After the apples are boiled for an hour, cool completely before straining the apple quarters through a cheesecloth.

Grandma's pot is all I ever used handed down to me, she passed away in 1976 at 94 years old so that pan is well over 100 years old.

Check out the adult version recipe using my homemade apple cider below the recipe card.

this is an apple cider drink that an adult version

More Apple Recipes We Love

Apple Caramel Cake 
Dutch Apple Pie
Apple Fritter Fried Cakes

Pin for later Homemade Apple Cider

this is a pin for later on how to make apple cider

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apples, fruits, beverages, drinks
Yield: 10 cups

New York State Apple Cider

prep time: 15 Mcook time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 H & 15 M
Homemade apple cider is the best way to use an abundance of apples with that crisp onset of the fall weather, this will surely be the best drink of the season.
A little sweet and a little tart, warmed or cold, New York State apples make the best cider ever!


  • 10 to 12 cooking apples (I use (McIntosh or Cortland) peeled, quartered and seeded ( if you do that step you can use the apples for apple sauce after straining through the cheesecloth
  • water
  • 1 cup to 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large coffee filters
  • 4 - 1/4  tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • butcher string or cooking twine
  • cheesecloth


How to cook New York State Apple Cider

  1. Start out by boiling the apples in hot water for 5 minutes to remove any chemicals if not organic.
  2. Cool, then peel, quarter and seed the apples and with a sharp knife cut away the core.
  3.  If you don't want to do this and not interested in using the boiled apples for applesauce sauce just add the quartered apples to a pot seeds skin and all.
  4.  The seeds will be caught by the cheesecloth.
  5. Next, add to a large tall stockpot and cover the apples with water so they are underneath the water around when pushed down. It's around 4 to 5 quarts of water for this amount of apples.
  6. Add 1 cup sugar or more. Go ahead and taste it, we like it a little sweeter so I add 1/4 cup more.
  7. Add the spices to the coffee filter and tie tightly with butchers string or twine and add to the water with apples. Again add more spice if you like more of another flavor that's stronger.
  8. Let the water come to a rolling boil and lower to a simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
  9. Cool completely after the hour, if in a hurry and have a large refrigerator you can speed up the process and place in the fridge.
  10. Remove the spices and toss them out.
  11. Using a huge colander placed over a large pot or bowl, line the colander with the cheesecloth.
  12. Carefully add the apples into the colander and remove as much liquid from them as you can into the bowl.
  13. After you have removed all the juice you can from the apples, then strain the remaining liquid.
  14.  Pour into mason jars and seal tightly. You can add to freezer bags and freeze also.
  15. I have saved my juice for up to 1 month in the refrigerator, but it doesn't last that long, the family drinks it faster than I can make it!
  16. This can be used for many cocktails, cake recipes, and taste great.
  17. This can also be done in a 7-quart slow cooker overnight on low.
  18. Note if you peeled and quartered the apples and removed the seeds, I do not throw out the apples since they are soft, peeled and cored, use it for applesauce. Season to taste with sugar and cinnamon if desired.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

Spiked Cider

5 cups Apple Cider
1/2 cup Cinnamon Schnapps
1/2 cup Meyers Rum or other Dark Rum

Adult Spiked Cider Directions:

Mix the cider, rum, and schnapps together in a large pitcher.

Add the shaped ice cubes.

You can make this in a large punch bowl for parties just doubling the recipe.

A nice garnish on the glass would be a sliced apple dipped in caramel with a skewer.

If You Love Apples Try This Recipe That Goes Perfectly with Warm Apple Cider Below:

Do Try My Favorite Apple Blueberry Muffins, they're delicious homemade with fresh apples!

Pin for later Homemade Apple Cider

how to make warm apple cider homemade

Do Watch my Quick Video Clip on Homemade Apple Cider


  1. Dear Claudia, This is perfect for a Halloween party. Blessings dear. Catherine xox

  2. What a fun, delicious autumn cocktail! And such cute ice cubes :) Hope you've had a nice weekend!!!

  3. This sounds yummy. I never knew they made cinnamon Schnapps. I can think of so many recipes to use it in. Those silicone Halloween I e trays are adorable. What will they think of next.

  4. Naughty but nice twist to give delicious apple cider a kick!

  5. Hi Claudia, sorry I'm late in commenting, miss so many of your posting.

    Lovely silicon ice cube tray, so cute! The cocktail look refreshing.

    Have a nice week ahead.

  6. Happy Fall, Claudia! I have never thought of making apple cider at home...what a great idea and I am sure it's way better than the storebought ones.

  7. Such a lovely and heartwarming trip down memory lane and what a great recipe - so easy and very delicious.

  8. Yum! I love homemade apple coder. Who knew it was so easy to make

  9. I grew up with fruit trees in our yard and having delicious apple pies and apple butters were delicious. I love tis warm delicious apple cider especially since it's spiked!

  10. Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday,453. Hope you have a great week and come back to see us soon!
    Miz Helen


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