Mulled Apple Cider is a warm, cozy, and flavorful fall treat! This mulled cider recipe is infused with a blend of apple cider, spices, and citrus and simmered to perfection. You’re going to want this easy, festive drink at all of your holiday gatherings!

There’s not much better than cozying up to a mugful of piping hot mulled apple cider on those chilly fall and winter days! The seasonal blend of spices, apple cider, and citrus is sure to warm you right up from the inside out!

I grew up drinking my fair share of mulled apple cider (sometimes called Wassail) every holiday season. My mom loves the stuff and would make it every winter in a giant pot on the stove. Not only would we have a warm, flavorful drink to sip on for the entire day, but it would also fill the house with the most wonderful aroma! I still think of her every time I enjoy a cup of it. 

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Packed with your favorite seasonal flavors. There’s just something special about the combination of apple cider and exotic spices that really makes it feel like the holidays.
  • Great for entertaining. This recipe for mulled cider serves 20 people, makes your house smell amazing and will be the hit of any holiday party! 
  • Easy. Hot mulled cider is simple to make with very little hands-on time needed. You can get this simmering in 10 minutes, with only a handful of ingredients needed.
Mug of mulled cider with a cinnamon stick.

Ingredients needed

This recipe for mulled apple cider only requires several simple ingredients. We recommend using the highest-quality version of these ingredients that you can find. The best apple cider yields the best mulled cider! Here’s what you need:

  • Apple cider. Take note that apple cider is different than apple JUICE. Apple cider is basically strained mashed apples with pulp, while apple juice is filtered to remove all the pulp. Look for a cider with no added sugar or spices. You can typically find this in the refrigerated section at your grocery store. 
  • Fresh ginger. Adds peppery, sweet and fragrant flavor to your drink.
  • Star anise. Star anise smells like licorice and adds just a whisper of licorice flavor to the cider. I really enjoy the taste it adds, but it can be expensive and some people don’t care for the licorice flavor, so feel free to omit.
  • Orange. A sliced orange is added to give the mulled cider brightness, plus an extra layer of holiday flavor.
  • Cinnamon sticks and spices. You can’t have mulled cider without cinnamon sticks! They add a warm festive flavor to the beverage. We’re also adding in whole cloves and whole allspice berries, which are staples in this recipe.
A drink with cinnamon sticks and orange slices in a large pot.

How to make this recipe

When the temperature drops, get this spicy mulled cider steaming on the stove. Its comforting flavors of cinnamon, clove, and allspice will warm you up quickly! Here’s the simple method:

Find the full, printable recipe in the recipe card below.

  1. Simmer ingredients. In a large pot over medium-high heat, mix everything together and bring to a gentle simmer. Let cook on low for about an hour. You can then turn the heat down as low as it will go in order to keep it warmed, if needed.
  2. Serve. When ready to serve, garnish with fresh cranberries and/or orange slices and, if you’d like, spike with your favorite alcohol. I use about 1/2 of a shot per cup, personally. ENJOY!
Mulling apple cider in a large pot with spices and orange slices.

Tips for recipe success

This recipe is pretty straightforward, but here are some tips to make sure your drink turns out perfect every time!

  • Whole spices. For the best flavor, we recommend using whole spices, so they slowly infuse the liquid as it simmers on the stovetop.
  • Garnish. For an extra festive presentation, garnish the cider with fresh cranberries, sliced oranges, whole cloves, allspice berries, star anise and/or a cinnamon stick.
  • Spike it. A splash of bourbon definitely takes things up a notch, especially as a night cap on a blustery fall evening!
  • Slow cooker mulled cider. If you’d like to make this in your Crockpot, grab my Slow Cooker Mulled Cider recipe. This works well for entertaining because you can keep it warm, set out a ladle and some mugs, and guests can serve themselves.
  • Leftover cider. I suggest straining out all of the spices before storing, as they can make the cider bitter if they sit in the liquid for too long.

Frequently asked questions

What does it mean when cider is mulled?

Mulled cider is a festive drink heated with spices and citrus fruit. The term mulled means to heat, sweeten, and flavor (a beverage like cider or wine) with spices.

What is the difference between apple cider and mulled apple cider?

Apple cider is usually enjoyed cold with nothing added to it. Mulled apple cider is a drink that is served warm or hot after it has been simmered with spices and fruit. Alcohol is also commonly added to a mulled apple cider.

What does mulled cider taste like?

It has a lovely rich, spicy flavor that complements the warmth of the drink. The strength of the drink will depend on how long you choose to cook it.

What alcohol is good with apple cider?

Apple cider pairs really well with dark spirits, like rum, whiskey, bourbon, and brandy. However, you can also combine it with other spirits, liked Vodka (regular or flavored) or even Mezcal or Tequila.

Storing leftovers

Store leftover mulled cider in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can reheat the cider over a low heat on the stovetop or in the microwave for about 1 minute.

Mulled cider drink garnished with star anise and a cinnamon stick.

As usual, PLEASE PLEASE let me know if you end up making this recipe (or any of my recipes!). I love when you tag me on Instagram @foodwithfeeling!

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Mulled cider served with a cinnamon stick.

Mulled Apple Cider


  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: serves 20 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Mulled Apple Cider is a warm, cozy, and flavorful fall treat! This mulled cider recipe is infused with a blend of apple cider, spices, and citrus and simmered to perfection. You’re going to want this easy, festive drink at all of your holiday gatherings!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 gallon of apple cider
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin strips
  • 2 star anise (optional if you don’t have them)
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon of whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of whole allspice

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, mix everything together and bring to a gentle simmer. Let cook on low for about an hour. You can then turn the heat down as low as it will go in order to keep it warmed if needed.
  2. When ready to serve, garnish with fresh cranberries and/or orange and spike with your favorite alcohol. I use about 1/2 of a shot per cup, personally. ENJOY!
  3. Store leftovers in an airtight container. I suggest straining out all of the spices before storing as they can make the cider a bit bitter if they sit in the liquid for too long.

Notes

Store leftover mulled cider in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can reheat the cider over low heat on the stovetop or in the microwave for about 1 minute.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 104
  • Sugar: 24.7 g
  • Sodium: 48.3 mg
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 26.1 g
  • Protein: 0.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: mulled cider, mulled cider recipe, hot mulled cider