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Mulled Apple Cider

Mull it over.

Let’s make this your coziest, sweetest apple season yet. This hot mulled apple cider recipe takes minutes to make, and comes with just the right amount of sweetness and spice. 

glass mugs of hot mulled apple cider with pot

Meet This Mulled Apple Cider Recipe

There is something perfectly autumnal about a mug of hot mulled apple cider. This mulled apple cider recipe combines just the right combination of mulling spices for a delicious and quintessential seasonal drink. Best of all, this cider is an easy “dump and stir” recipe that practically cooks itself. 

What mulling spices go in hot spiced cider?

Combinations my vary. But this spiced apple cider recipe calls for the following apple cider mulling spices:

  • A hint of bright orange
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger
  • A little pinch of cloves

I also like to add a bay leaf for good measure.

pot of apple cider with mulling ingredients oranges cinnamon sticks ginger gloves

What’s the Difference: Mulled Apple Cider vs. Apple Cider vs. Apple Juice

Apple cider is made from whole apples that have been ground into a mash, then pressed through a cloth. That’s it. No filtering, no boiling, no preserving. Just raw, pressed apples strained into a juice. Apple cider’s perishability means that it’s hard to find year round. This is why cider is primarily found during apple season.

Apple juice, on the other hand, is a more refined product. Apple juice is fully filtered until clear, and then pasteurized. This, along with vacuum-packaging, gives it a long, shelf-stable life. 

Apple cider’s flavor tends to be more complex and round, with tart and earthy notes. Apple juice tends to taste more simple and sweet. 

Mulled apple cider is apple cider that has been cooked, or “mulled” with the addition of various spices and herbs.

glass mugs of cider with basket of donuts

Kitchen Notes: This Hot Mulled Apple Cider Recipe

  • Mulled cider needs about 10 to 15 minutes simmering on the stove to marry the flavors together. Longer is even better. 
  • Before serving, strain your cider to remove any larger particles of ginger or spice 
  • To garnish, try cinnamon sticks or very thin slices of apple. Topping with whipped cream and a dash of powdered cinnamon never hurt, either.

How to Make Spiked Apple Cider

If you want to turn your hot mulled cider into a warming cocktail, make this into a spiked apple cider recipe. The best alcohols to add to cider are generally dark spirits. Think rum, whisky, and bourbon. 

You can also find apple cider cocktails like cider mimosas made with sparkling wine and cider, shandies (beer), and even margaritas. Hey, no judgment. Point is: Enjoy cider season however you like. 

How long will mulled apple cider keep in the refrigerator?

Once made and strained, mulled apple cider will keep for several days in the refrigerator. Just warm it up again before serving.

glass mugs of hot mulled apple cider with pot

Love hot mulled apple cider? You’ll also like these apple recipes:

hot mulled apple cider with pot

Hot Mulled Apple Cider

A perfect spiced, hot mulled apple cider recipe that's wonderfully sweet and takes little time to make.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Course: beverage
Cuisine: American
Keywords:: apple cider recipe, apples, autumn recipes, cider, drinks, fall recipes, hot apple cider, mulled cider recipe
Servings: 2 quarts cider


  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1/2 orange
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, or 1/4 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger, or 1 rounded teaspoon of fresh-grated ginger
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, optional


  • Pour the cider into a pot. Squeeze the juice from half an orange into the cider, and add the juiced rind to the pot as well.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, except the brown sugar, if using.
  • Bring the cider to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer on low for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste to see if you would like it a bit sweeter and if so, add the brown sugar.
  • Strain and serve, garnished with orange zest, thin apple slices, or cinnamon sticks.


Fresh apple cider with a lovely combination of mulling spices makes this the best, coziest fall drink around. This hot mulled cider recipe will keep for several days in the fridge. Just be sure to strain it first so the mulling spices do not over-steep in the apple cider.


  • 5 stars
    🙂 Loved it!

  • Francesca P.

    5 stars
    This is a great recipe. Very much apple cider, but enhanced with the right combination of other flavors like spice. I did not need the brown sugar; it tasted perfectly sweet as-is.

  • 5 stars
    Delicious. I loved it! Felt like fall.

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