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What do you need to make apple cider at home?

When the leaves begin to turn and the days get chilly and short, your thoughts naturally turn to seasonal food and drink that remind you of harvest time. One of the most characteristic drinks of fall is apple cider. Whether served chilled on a sunny fall day or warmed with a cinnamon stick by the fire, apple cider is autumn captured in a glass.

But you don’t need to wait for fall to have this sweet drink! Chances are, you have almost everything you need to make apple cider already.

Apple cider vs. apple juice

While the basic taste of the two is similar, apple cider and apple juice have some significant differences.

  • Apple cider: This is typically easier to make at home because it is fresh, unfiltered and unpasteurized. It is cloudy in appearance and much darker than juice. It has sediment and may also have pieces of pulp.
  • Apple juice: This juice is filtered and pasteurized for a clear final product. It has a longer shelf life than cider and can be sweeter. It has no sediment and does not need to be shaken before drinking.

Why make your own apple cider at home?

Fresh apple cider is available at farm stands and in markets, so why bother to make your own at home? Here are a few reasons why:

  • You know exactly what’s in it.
  • You can customize the type of apples and spices for the exact flavor profile you enjoy.
  • It’s a fun family activity that starts with picking apples in the orchard and ends with a warm mug of cider around the fire.
  • It’s often more economical to make your own cider.

How to make apple cider at home

  • Choose your apples carefully. Apples with stronger flavors — like Granny Smith — produce a stronger cider.
  • Prepare apples by washing, removing the cores and cutting into slices with a knife or apple slicer. There is no need to peel them.
  • Add apples to a large stockpot. You can also add additional flavoring spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove or oranges and sugar to taste.
  • Cover with water. Aim for 2 inches above the level of apples.
  • Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for two hours.
  • Remove any whole spices or oranges and mash with a potato masher.
  • Simmer uncovered for an additional hour.
  • Using a cloth bag or fine mesh strainer, strain the apples. Press with a wooden spoon to get all the juice.
  • Refrigerate and drink within two days for the freshest flavor.

Everything you need to make apple cider at home

best T-fal Stockpot

T-fal Stockpot

This holds 8 quarts of liquid and is perfect for processing large batches of apples into sauce and cider. It is coated inside and out with durable non-stick and is dishwasher- and oven-safe up to 350 degrees.

Sold by Amazon

best Kukpo Stainless Steel Potato Masher

Kukpo Stainless Steel Potato Masher

The wider, grippy handle is ergonomically designed for easier, more efficient mashing. The flat surface is best for mashing fruits. It does not require much grip strength to use and is good for people with hand pain.

Sold by Amazon

best Organic Korintje Cinnamon Sticks

Organic Korintje Cinnamon Sticks

Top off your mug of hot cider with these cinnamon sticks. They are certified organic by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and work well to flavor cider during the cooking process and as you sip the finished product.

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best FastRack Glass Water Bottle

FastRack Glass Water Bottle

This 1-gallon glass jug has an old-fashioned feel and comes with a metal cap to keep your cider fresh. It works for storing fresh cider but can also be used to ferment and process hard cider and other beverages.

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best LiveFresh Large Fine Mesh Strainer

LiveFresh Large Fine Mesh Strainer

It’s the perfect size for processing fresh apples into cider. The stainless steel fine mesh catches seeds and pulp and cleans up easily in the dishwasher. It is rust-resistant and has a comfortable handle for a stable grip.

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best Oxo Good Grips Apple Corer

Oxo Good Grips Apple Corer

The handle is easy to grip and apply pressure to remove apple cores with one push. The blade is sharp but safe, and this tool is dishwasher-safe. It has a convenient hole on the end to hang for storage.

Sold by Sur la Table

best Oxo Good Grips Wooden Corner Spoon

Oxo Good Grips Wooden Corner Spoon

This corner-style slanted wooden spoon helps you mash every bit of juice from the apples. The handle is large enough to hold comfortably and the long handle and straight sides keep hands well away from hot liquids.

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best Libbey 15 1/2-Ounce Tapered Mug

Libbey 15.5-Ounce Tapered Mug

This six-pack of 15.5 ounce mugs is perfect for serving warm cider to a crowd. The clear glass highlights your cider’s rich color. They are dishwasher safe and sturdy.

Sold by Amazon


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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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