Hot Apple Cider (Mulled Apple Cider)

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This delicious hot apple cider (also know as mulled apple cider) is an easy recipe that can be enjoyed by all. Made with apple cider and spiced to perfection, it’s the perfect drink for fall.

mulled apple cider pinterest image

Hot apple cider (also known as mulled apple cider) is an absolutely delicious beverage to serve during the fall. While it can also be enjoyed any time of year, there’s something about the crisp autumn air that makes me absolutely crave cider.

In fact, in my humble opinion, one of the yummiest tastes and aromas of the season is a batch of mulled apple cider warming in a slow cooker or saucepan. Made with fragrant and flavorful seasonal spices, it’s sure to warm you up from the inside out.

After you discover the joy of putting together your own mulling spices, you will really enjoy making mulled apple cider. It’s easier than you think, and the result is a warm cup of the flavors of fall!

Apple and cinnamon are the quintessential flavors of fall. This drink is the ideal thing to serve at parties or when you want to curl up in a blanket and read a good book (or watch a Hallmark special—I won’t judge).

mulled apple cider with mulling spices

I also love to brew this mulled apple cider when I have guests over because it fills my kitchen with the most amazing aromas.

When you’re serving your hot apple cider, be certain your mug is designed to hold hot beverages. A coffee mug or glass tea mug works well.

how to make apple cider in a slow cooker


There are only a handful of simple ingredients in this classic homemade hot drink. Here’s what you need to have when you make it:

  • Apple Cider: In the fall, you can usually find gallons of it in the produce section, but I like to buy it from the local farmer’s market.
  • Mulling Spices: Either make your own (highly recommended) or buy some pre-made mulling spices.
  • Garnishes: Dried apple slices or dried orange peel are beautiful as garnishes.
filling a glass mug with hot apple cider

How to Make

When it comes to hot apple cider, many people like to add spices for seasonal flavor and flair. That’s where mulling spices come in handy. I wrote all about mulling spices here and shared my recipe so you can make them at home.

small dish of mulling spices

To make mulled apple cider, you simply place the spices in the cider while it is warming up. This will give the cider a wonderful depth of flavor.

It’s important to note that while we want the flavor of these spices, we don’t want to actually drink them, similar to how you don’t want bits of coffee grinds in your morning brew.

There are a few different ways you can filter out the spices. First, you can add them to the cider in a fine mesh bag (how I usually do it). Or secondly, you could use a sieve over the mug when you are serving to filter out any bits of spice.

crockpot of hot apple cider

Don’t have any spices on hand? If you don’t have any at all, you can still make your hot apple cider a bit more special by just adding apple and orange slices, plus a few cinnamon sticks.

cinnamon sticks garnishing mulled apple cider

I promise those simple additions will amp up the flavor.

ladling hot apple cider into a mug
spiced cider drink for fall

When it comes time to serve the mulled cider, have bottles of a few complementary alcohols nearby such as bourbon or brandy. Then you or your guests can add whatever they’d like to turn that hot apple cider into an easy fall cocktail.

mulled apple cider cocktails on a tray

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions people often ask when it comes to making the best hot apple cider. If you don’t see your question in this list, please leave it in the comments.

Is hot apple cider alcoholic?

Yes and no – you can serve hot apple cider with or without alcohol. I recommend warming your fresh apple cider without adding any alcohol to it. (Warming hard cider or cider mixed with alcohol is likely to burn off some of the alcohol, which sort of defeats the purpose of it.)

What kind of alcohol goes in hot apple cider?

You can use whatever liquor you prefer. However, the most common ones for hot apple cider seem to be bourbon, brandy, spiced rum, and tequila. Personally, I like bourbon – Four Roses has become my go-to recently.

If none of those strike your fancy, I think a caramel vodka would be delightful, too!

alcohol being poured into cup of mulled cider

How do you warm up apple cider?

I recommend using a heavy saucepan on the stove or a slow cooker.

If you’re looking to make plain hot apple cider, just pour the apple cider into the vessel you’ve chosen. If you’d like, you can toss in sliced apples to dress it up.

What’s in mulling spice?

These spices are a blend of seasonal ingredients, such as cinnamon, clove, allspice, and orange zest. Once you have a batch of mulling spices put together, you can use it to add flavor to things like apple cider, mulled wine, and even seasonal baked dishes.

You can grab my easy recipe for homemade mulling spices right here.

hot cider bar set up

With all of that information, I think you’re ready to serve up this delicious fall beverage in whatever way YOU like it! And if you are looking for the ideal hot drink to serve at fall parties, this should be your go-to. It’s simple and tasty and makes your entire house smell like fall.

So whether you have plain hot apple cider or get spicy with mulled apple cider, enjoy a cup as we toast the beauty of autumn!

a. big pot of apple cider with orange and apple slices floating on top

If you liked this recipe, you’ll love these too:

Whether you call it mulled apple cider or hot apple cider, I hope you give this recipe a try. If you do, please leave a comment and a 5-star rating below. 

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The BEST Hot Apple Cider / Mulled Apple Cider #mulled #hot #applecider #fall #cocktail #recipe

Hot Apple Cider (Mulled Apple Cider)

Hot Apple Cider (also known as Mulled Apple Cider) is a delicious beverage to serve during the fall. Often made with fragrant and flavorful seasonal spices, it’s sure to warm you up from the inside out.
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cider, hot apple cider, mulled apple cider, mulled cider


  • 1/2 gallon fresh apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons mulling spices
  • apple slices, orange slices, and cinnamon sticks for garnish


  • Pour fresh apple cider in a heavy-bottom saucepan (or slow cooker) and set on medium-high heat.
  • Place your mulling spices in a fabric bag and toss it into your pot. Stir occasionally, squeezing the bag of spices with a spoon like you would a tea bag.
  • Heat the cider until it is hot and flavorful; then set the temperature on warm.
  • Optional: Garnish the pot with apple and orange slices. Serve in a mug, garnished with a cinnamon stick.
mulled cider in mugs that say forever fall

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  1. So…you must have tons of props for your photos and all of them exquisite. Would you be able to do a post on how you store and organize them? I’m thinking that in your spacious new house you must have a great place for that. Inquiring minds want to know. Thanks!

    1. That would be a great idea! However, right now things aren’t stored exactly the way they should be. Lol. I’m making progress, but stuff is still a bit scattered. I’ll definitely keep this in mind though. Thank you!!

      xo Michael