Hot Mulled Cider

When the temperatures drop, get this spicy mulled cider steaming on the stove. Its cozy flavors of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg will warm you up quickly!

Hot Mulled Cider
Elise Bauer

'Tis the season to be jolly, and to drink hot mulled cider!

This delicious hot apple cider drink is a specialty of New England.

Spiced with a clove-studded orange, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon, hot mulled cider is the perfect drink to serve during the holidays.

Alcohols That Work With Hot Apple Cider

Add alcohol to a single mug or the batch of cider after cooking so the alcohol doesn't cook off. Try one of these.

  • Dark rum
  • Spiced rum
  • Brandy
  • Bourbon
  • Madeira wine

Choosing the Best Cider for Mulled Cider

This recipe works best with fresh-pressed cider that's sold refrigerated rather than shelf-stable cider, which is basically pasteurized apple juice. If you can get cider at a farmers market or local orchard, all the better.

Apple cider is juice pressed from apples, usually early in the season and often unfiltered. It comes pasteurized or unpasteurized. Pasteurization kills off bacteria and other microorganisms and allows the cider to last longer. Unpasteurized juices have not had the bacteria and other microorganisms destroyed. Some people prefer their taste, saying they taste fresher, but there's a very slim chance they could cause a foodborne illness.

This recipe calls for non-alcoholic apple cider (fresh cider). In the United States, we usually refer to alcoholic apple cider as hard cider to differentiate from the non-alcoholic version, but traditionally cider was always alcoholic.

Making Apple Cider Spice Mix in Advance

To make quick work of putting the mulled cider together, combine the cloves, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, freshly ground nutmeg, and cardamom pods and store them in a tightly closed container for several weeks. In fact, if you're going to make this frequently, make several small containers with pre-portioned spices. Use only whole, not ground, spices for this cider so they are easily strained out.

How to Make Mulled Cider in a Slow Cooker

Add all the ingredients (except alcohol, if using) to a 4-quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 hours. Strain out the oranges and spices. Return to the slow cooker and keep on low so it stays warm for serving.

Mulled Cider Swaps and Subs

  • Never substitute ground spices for the whole spices.
  • Use 1 teaspoon of molasses or honey instead of brown sugar.
  • Substitute equal amounts of honey for the brown sugar.
  • Add some cranberry juice to the cider to give it a tart element.
  • Grate some fresh ginger into the cider when you add the whole spices.

How to Serve Mulled Cider

Serve mulled cider warm or hot, depending on individual preferences. Serve in a mug with a cinnamon stick and a slice of orange.

Perfect Desserts to Serve With Hot Cider

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Hot Mulled Cider

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 8 cups

Add a little booze right before serving, if you like.


  • 1/2 gallon fresh, unfiltered apple cider (non-alcoholic)

  • 1 orange

  • 12 whole cloves

  • 4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

  • 15 allspice berries

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 7 whole cardamom pods

  • 2 tablespoons unpacked brown sugar


  1. Simmer the apple cider with orange and spices:

    Pour the apple cider into a 3-quart saucepan, cover, turn the heat on medium-high.

    While the cider is heating up, take a vegetable peeler and peel away a couple thick strips of peel from the orange. Press about half of the cloves into the peeled part of the orange. (You can also just quarter the orange and add the slices and cloves separately. I just like seeing the orange bob up and down.)

    Elise Bauer

    Place orange, orange peel strips, the remaining cloves, and the rest of the ingredients into the sauce pan with the cider. Keep covered and heat the mulled cider mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes on low heat.

  2. Strain out the orange and spices:

    Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the hot mulled cider away from the orange, cloves, and other spices.

    If you want, you can add a touch of bourbon, brandy, or rum to spike it up a bit.

    Serve hot. Add a cinnamon stick to each cup if desired.

Hot Mulled Cider
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
203 Calories
1g Fat
51g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 203
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 13mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 18%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Total Sugars 39g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 187mg 937%
Calcium 94mg 7%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 538mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.