Not only is this Crock Pot Mulled Apple Cider recipe seriously easy, it’s also quintessentially autumn and winter. It looks cozy. It tastes cozy.
This mulled cider, with all its wonderful spices, makes the entire house smell like a palace of coziness. (That can be a thing, right?)
It warms you up after an hour or two of kicking around in the fall leaves or picking out that perfect pumpkin or trick-or-treating on a perfectly frosty night when you can see your breath.
And then, basically all of December is spiced apple cider season.
I make mine one of two ways: Crock Pot or stovetop. I have to say I prefer the slow cooker method over stovetop just because it’s so easy to just pour everything in, walk away, and come back in four hours to mulled cider goodness. Plus, you can just switch it over to the “warm” setting and have hot apple cider on the ready all glorious evening long. Perfect for when you have company over, when you’re busy decorating the Christmas tree, or you just want a steady stream of goodness at the ready.
Crock Pot Mulled Apple Cider Ingredients
This spiced cider is special because it takes only four whole ingredients – no special mulling spices required. We’ve got:
- Apple cider – can’t have spiced apple cider without that!
- Cinnamon sticks – because apple cider and cinnamon are BFFs.
- An orange – yep, it’s true! Trust me.
- Whole cloves – you stick them in the orange and float it in the cider.
My favorite part about this spiced apple cider recipe is, in fact, the clove-studded orange. It just looks so festive, and the tiny amount of orange juice that comes out, the oils from the peel, and the cloves impart the most wonderful, heady flavors – both into your cider and wafting about your home.
(Oh, and for the adults, you can add a perfect extra little warming factor for spiked apple cider: RUM.)
How To Make It in the Crock Pot
- Grab an orange.
- Stick some cloves in it.
- Throw it in your slow cooker along with a few cinnamon sticks and a bottle of apple cider.
- Turn it on.
- Wait four hours.
You have Hot Apple Cider! The mulled cider of your dreams. A wassail wonderland. (And your house smells wonderful, too.)
How To Make It on the Stovetop
- Grab an orange.
- Stick some cloves in it.
- Add it to a large pot set over low heat, along with a few cinnamon sticks and a bottle of apple cider.
- Cover and keep the cider just below a simmer for about 30 minutes
Is this the same thing as mulled cider or wassail?
Yes! Hot Apple Cider is so delicious, it goes by many, many names. 🙂
Why don’t you slice the orange in your recipe?
Because the pith of the orange makes for a very bitter mulled cider, I’ve found. Using a whole orange poked with cloves helps release the oils in the peel for that amazing orange flavor – without cooking the pith and making your cider bitter. If you must have sliced orange (and I agree, it does look pretty!) just use it as a garnish!
Do I peel the orange before poking in the cloves?
No, leave the peel intact. It’s those glorious oils in the peel that give it the wonderful mulled cider flavor. Slicing the orange exposes the pitch and can make the batch bitter.
If I double or triple the recipe, do I need to add more than one orange?
Nah, one orange should do it! I would add a few more cloves to the orange for oomph though.
Can I make hot apple cider beforehand then reheat when I want to serve it?
Yes, absolutely. When we do this, we either just cover the cooled Slow Cooker crock with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge or we will even pour the cooled cider back into the cider bottle to store it.
If I want to make this a spiked apple cider recipe, can I add rum or brandy before I heat it up instead of after?
Rum or brandy are delicious in this spiced cider! But please wait until AFTER you heat your cider before adding or most of your spirits will evaporate. I like to add any alcohol to the mugs when serving.
More Cozy Fall & Winter Drinks
- For a straight-up spiked situation, you can’t go wrong with Glühwein, a festive hot spiced wine with red wine, brandy, the classic clove-studded orange, and cinnamon.
- Slow Cooker Cranberry Orange Mulled Wine is so cozy and comforting. Hygge to the max!
- I love how these Slow Cooker Gingerbread Pumpkin Lattes bridge the gap between fall and Christmastime. Perfect for a crowd!
- Rosemary lends a welcome herbal note while cranberries color this Rosemary-Cranberry Mulled Cider the most gorgeous shade of pink.
- If you like your warm winter drinks caffeinated and cocktail-esque, this Amaretto Coffee should hit the spot!
Crock Pot Mulled Apple Cider
- 2 quarts apple cider (64 ounces or 8 cups)
- 6 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
- 1 orange (medium; I prefer naval oranges and I tend to go with organic)
- 2 tablespoons whole cloves
- Rum (optional; spiced rum is especially good in this!)
- Additional cinnamon sticks for serving (optional)
Make Your Clove-Studded Orange
- With a toothpick, poke holes all around the orange, about 1/2 inch to 1 inch apart. Carefully poke the cloves into the toothpick holes in the orange. Set aside.
Hot Apple Cider in the Crock Pot
- Pour apple cider into a 2.5-quart or larger Crock Pot or other slow cooker. Add cinnamon sticks and your clove-studded orange.
- Cook on low until hot and fragrant, about 4 hours.
Hot Apple Cider on the Stovetop
- Place a 3-quart or larger pot on the stove. Add apple cider, cinnamon sticks, and your clove-studded orange.
- Cover and cook over low heat, keeping the cider just below a simmer (boiling your cider can cause the solids to cook and separate). Heat gently until spiced through, warm, and fragrant, about 30 minutes.
- Ladle into mugs along with an ounce or so of rum if using. Place a cinnamon stick in each glass if desired and serve.
- If you and yours aren't drinking it all at once, you can keep your hot spiced cider warm by flipping your slow cooker setting to low or keeping your pot on the very lowest setting on your stovetop.