Hot Spiced Apple Cider Recipe

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hot apple cider in a glass mug

Why you’ll love this Spiced Apple Cider recipe!

  • Warm and Cozy Drink. Sipping on a steaming mug of cider warms you from the inside out, making it perfect for chilly days or cozy evenings by the fireplace.
  • Perfect for Parties. Hot cider is easy to prepare in large batches. Serve it right from a crockpot to keep it warm throughout the evening.
  • Timeless Beverage. Whether served at autumn festivals or holiday parties, hot cider is a cherished tradition for many families during the holiday season.

Just imagine sitting in front of a roaring fire on a blustery day, your hands wrapped around a mug of hot apple cider, and breathing in the cinnamon spice wafting up out of the steam. I bet you’re ready to grab a mug now, am I right?

ingredients for hot apple cider spices

Ingredient notes

  • Fresh apple cider | Apple cider is naturally sweet and tart, with a rich apple flavor that becomes more concentrated when heated. You may also use unfiltered apple juice.
  • Whole apple | For this recipe, we float a whole apple in the simmering cider to infuse it with additional apple flavor.
  • Whole cloves | Cloves have a strong, aromatic flavor with a warm, spicy-sweet taste that adds a depth of flavor and a hint of warmth.
  • Brown sugar | Light brown sugar is used to sweeten the cider and enhance its flavor.
  • Allspice berries | Whole allspice emits a combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors for a warm and cozy drink. In a pinch, use ground allspice instead.
  • Cinnamon sticks | A few cinnamon sticks add a subtle spiciness to the cider.
hot apple cider in a glass mug

How to make Hot Apple Cider

A big batch of simmering mulled apple cider is like aromatherapy for your home!

STEP 1 | Stud the apple

Take a fresh, whole apple and stud it with cloves by pressing the stems right through the apple peel and flesh.

apple studded with cloves

STEP 2 | Combine the ingredients

In a Dutch oven or a large pot, stir together the apple cider, allspice berries, and brown sugar. Add the apple with cloves and a few cinnamon sticks bundled together with kitchen twine.

hot apple cider with a floating apple

STEP 3 | Simmer and enjoy!

Bring the cider to a boil, then let it simmer with the spices for about 30 minutes to marry the flavors. The longer it simmers, the better the spiced cider will taste.


  • If desired, place all the spices — cloves, allspice berries, and cinnamon sticks — in a square of cheesecloth and tie it with kitchen twine. Then, add apple slices to the cider instead.
  • For an adult version, add one-half cup of dark rum, bourbon, or brandy to the simmering cider.

Variations and substitutions

  • Spice it Up! Add slices of orange, minced fresh ginger, even lemon slices for a bolder hot beverage.
  • Adjust the Sweetness. I like using brown sugar to sweeten my mulled cider, but you can also use maple syrup or a combination. Also, I don’t want my cider to be sugary sweet, so I only use a half cup of brown sugar; feel free to add a bit more to suit your own taste.
  • Make a Hot Apple Cider Float. If you’re feeling a bit more indulgent, try a mug of hot apple cider topped with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream (like a root beer float). Sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon and drizzle with caramel syrup.
  • Apple Cider Cocktail. Ladle hot cider into a mug with a splash of bourbon or spiced rum and garnish with orange peel and a cinnamon stick for the perfect drink!
hot apple cider in a glass mug with whipped cream

Storage and reheating tips

  • Cool any leftover apple cider completely before storing it covered in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to five days.
  • To reheat, ladle into a mug and warm in the microwave until hot and steamy.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between apple juice and apple cider?

Apple cider contains a lot of apple pulp, and unlike processed clear apple juice, it is not pasteurized. Because of this, it’s a good idea always to boil cider before it is consumed by small children or people with compromised immune systems.

What’s the difference between apple cider and mulled apple cider?

Apple cider can be served either warm or cold, while mulled apple cider is always served warm and may or may not contain alcohol. Mulled cider, like today’s hot cider recipe, starts with apple cider that is simmered with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to enhance the flavor.

How do you make store-bought apple cider taste better?

Sure, you could just heat up a cup of apple cider and it would be tasty, but simply adding a few spices and a little sweetener turns store-bought cider into a steamy mug of pure deliciousness.

Common spices to add to mulled cider include cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and sometimes star anise. Cider may be sweetened with a little brown sugar or maple syrup, or a combination. With today’s recipe, however, we’re keeping it simple.

a woman sipping a cup of hot apple cider with whipped cream

Looking for more warm and cozy drinks?

If you love today’s easy hot apple cider recipe, try my Chai Latte Tea Drink Mix and this Ginger Lemon Cinnamon Tea next!

Serving suggestions

  • Ladle warm cider into heat-resistant mugs and garnish with apple slices, orange slices, or cinnamon sticks.
  • Keep hot apple cider warm over low heat on the stove or in a slow cooker for parties. Cut an apple crosswise into 1/4-inch slices and float on top of the warm cider for a festive party feel.
  • Make a hot apple cider float by serving warm apple cider topped with whipped cream and caramel syrup—a delicious, decadent, non-alcoholic hot drink!
hot apple cider in a glass mug

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hot apple cider in a glass mug

Hot Apple Cider

Easy Hot Apple Cider recipe for a tasty non-alcoholic hot drink with cinnamon, cloves, and allspice—lightly sweetened and perfectly spiced.
3.88 from 41 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Beverages
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings
Calories 144 kcal


  • 1 large apple
  • 1 ½ teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • ½ cup brown sugar or other sweetener
  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries
  • 6 – 8 cinnamon sticks


  • Stud the apple with the whole cloves by pressing each clove stem through the apple peel and flesh, evenly spacing them out.
  • Use cooking twine to tie the cinnamon sticks into a bundle.
  • In a large pot over high heat, combine the apple cider, brown sugar, and allspice berries. Add the clove-studded apple and cinnamon sticks. Once the cider comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Serve the cider hot garnished with a cinnamon stick, if desired.


For the slow cooker: Add all the ingredients and heat on high for 1 – 2 hours. To keep the cider warm, reduce the setting to low until ready to serve.
Cool any leftovers completely before storing in the refrigerator.
Serving suggestions:
  • Ladle warm cider in mugs and garnish with apple slices, orange slices, or cinnamon sticks.
  • For parties, keep hot apple cider warm over low heat on the stove or in a slow cooker. Cut an apple crosswise into 1/4-inch slices and float on top of the warm cider for a festive party feel.
  • Make a hot apple cider float by serving warm apple cider topped with whipped cream and caramel syrup—a delicious and decadent non-alcoholic hot drink!


Serving: 1gCalories: 144kcalCarbohydrates: 36gSodium: 13mgFiber: 1gSugar: 31g

Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Keyword apples, cinnamon, easy recipe, Halloween, hot beverage, mulling spices, Thanksgiving
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.

Beyond the recipe

It seems like the leaves in our neighborhood began changing color overnight, and suddenly, there’s no denying that Fall is in the air.

The neighbors have started displaying pumpkins and Fall mums, and it seems that most people are ready to leave the last few months behind and move into a fresh new season.

The nights are chilly, and the sun starts to set a little earlier each day. That means it’s also time to enjoy evenings at home by the fire pit—roasting hotdogs and marshmallows—and warm ourselves sipping hot apple cider.

Since it’s apple harvest time, jugs of apple cider are now plentiful at the market, so it’s the perfect time to make this popular Autumn beverage, hot apple cider.

Sheila Thigpen, blogger

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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