Hot Spiced Apple Cider

by Erin @ Food Doodles on October 18, 2020

This hot spiced apple cider uses apple cider or apple juice for a healthy, spicy and easy drink that’s perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas. This recipe is naturally paleo with a vegan option.

During the holidays, or really any type of get together, I always forget about drinks until the last minute. If you’re like me and need something quick (or even if you plan well ahead), then this is perfect! By the way, it makes the house smell amazing

Hot Spiced Apple Cider
It’s so simple but so delicious to warm up with a small mug of this.  It can be fairly strong stuff, so a small serving is just right, or you can water it down slightly.

This recipe calls for orange skin. When I have navel oranges, I use a vegetable peeler to peel them before I remove the white pith and enjoy my orange. 

Hot Spiced Apple Cider Ingredients

Then I leave the skin on a plate on the counter for a day or two until completely dry before storing in an airtight container or bag. 

Sometimes I even grind it up and store it that way to use in recipes that call for orange zest when I have no fresh oranges.  The same amount of dried zest can be used in place of fresh if you’re interested in trying it.

As for apple cider, you want to look for a very minimally processed juice.  The juice at the store that is completely clear has so much of the nutrition removed, you’re much better off finding a murky juice, even one that you can still see little bits of apple pulp floating around in. 

If you live near an apple orchard, that’s your best bet for finding a minimally processed apple juice or cider. If not, look for apple juice with nothing else added, and certainly no extra sugar.

Hot Spiced Apple Cider
We enjoy this hot spiced apple cider without any sweetener in it. We think it’s sweet enough with the natural sweetness from the apple juice. 

But if you prefer, you can use a little honey or maple syrup for a vegan version. 

Hot Spiced Apple Cider in cup
Want to spike it? Add a bit of rum! 2-3 tablespoons per cup (240 ml) of hot spiced apple cider is what we like to use.

I’d love to hear how you all like this homemade apple cider! It’s our go-to holiday party drink recipe.

Need more Thanksgiving recipes? Try these dairy-free mashed potatoespumpkin mac and cheese and mashed sweet potatoes with bacon. These healthy pumpkin brownies also look great! As do these Thanksgiving mocktails.

Hot Spiced Apple Cider Process

Hot Spiced Apple Cider (paleo, vegan)
  • 4 cups (946 ml) apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 large cinnamon sticks
  • 3/4 teaspoon whole cloves
  • a couple whole allspice berries
  • skin of 1/2 a navel orange removed using a vegetable peeler fresh or dried
  • 2-4 tablespoons honey or maple syrup for vegan (might not be needed, depending on how sweet your juice is)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, plus more to sprinkle over top if desired
  • water if desired
  1. In a small pot over medium-low heat add the apple cider, all the spices and the orange skin.

  2. Slowly bring to a boil and then turn down to a very slow simmer for 10-15 minutes.

  3. Remove from the heat and taste before stirring in the honey if needed and let sit to cool slightly if desired. If not, serve immediately, being sure to strain out all the spices and orange peel. Sprinkle a tiny pinch of freshly grated nutmeg over the top, if desired, and serve with a cinnamon stick.

  4. You can also increase the recipe if desired and place in a crockpot on low for 4+ hours if desired. Any leftover hot apple cider can be strained to remove the flavorings and stored in the fridge to be reheated, or even frozen to drink another day or to use in baking.


Leave a Comment

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Debra October 26, 2020 at 02:19

Ok…I never thought I was an apple cider type person….but that has all changed. THis is perfectly spiced and nicely sweet. Delish.


2 Jordan Elbaum | Prickly Fresh October 19, 2020 at 20:10

I can feel the warmth of this through the screen! Such a simple but amazing recipe


3 Carina December 30, 2019 at 12:42

Deliciously warming, would love to try this!


4 Carol Little R.H. @studiobotanica December 8, 2019 at 20:32

Love this recipe. Looking forward to making it asap!


5 Stacey Crawford December 7, 2019 at 10:42

Hot Apple Cider is one of my favorite hot drinks. It is so nice to find a healthy version I can make myself at home. I love that you added some orange zest to it!


6 Donny December 5, 2019 at 15:14

I love all those spices! Plus it makes your house smell great.


7 Jessica December 5, 2019 at 10:50

What a great recipe! I love that this can be made in the crock pot with all whole foods ingredient. And no added sugar – excellent!


8 ChihYu December 4, 2019 at 16:52

So perfect for cold weather! Easy to make and delicious!


9 Heather Harris December 4, 2019 at 16:12

I love how good the house smells when making this. The added orange just make its the best!


10 Jean Choi December 3, 2019 at 22:34

Love that crockpot method! I didn’t realize apple cider was this easy to make!!


11 Heather Harris November 28, 2019 at 04:36

This is going to make the house smell so good! I think I can make this happen today.


12 Charlotte Moore November 26, 2019 at 15:43

I like hot spiced cider but don’t care for cloves in anything.


13 Hollie December 18, 2013 at 21:56

Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that
I have truly loved browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing on your rss feed and I am hoping you write again soon!


14 Brianna October 13, 2012 at 15:49

Can u make hot apple cider without cinamen sticks?


15 Joyce Cooper January 19, 2012 at 12:15

I loooooooove hot apple cider. Never tried adding orange though – thanks for the recipe!


16 K&B N. December 28, 2011 at 21:57

Apple Cider is the best when served hot. We personally prefer home made warm cider over sparkling cider.


17 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen December 23, 2011 at 01:06

Sounds like a wonderful warm and soothing drink. Hope your little girl feels better soon.


18 Baltic Maid December 23, 2011 at 00:13

This season, I haven’t made apple cider yet but this recipe sounds so delicious. I’ll give this a try one of these days. Thanks for this lovely recipe.


19 Richa@HobbyandMore December 22, 2011 at 23:27

love the spices and the flavors in this perfect hot cup of cider.. i think i am going to make some once i get done with my holiday list and finally have a couple of days of cozy movie days!


20 Kelly @ Inspired Edibles December 22, 2011 at 11:45

What a gorgeous idea for a drink. And… anything with the word “simple” in the title works for me (especially this time of year!) – thanks Heidi!


21 brandi December 22, 2011 at 11:11

ooh, love the idea of the orange peel!


22 Sarah Naveen December 22, 2011 at 08:06

perfect for the season ! beautiful clicks !


23 Trevor Allen December 21, 2011 at 20:38

My step one would be to actually make apple cider. There’s none of it down here in Peru! Do you know any easy ways to do that?


24 Snippets of Thyme December 21, 2011 at 17:40

Mmmmm..I didn’t grow up with apple cider either but boy I sure love a steaming hot cup at this time of year!


25 Kathryn * Dramatic Pancake December 21, 2011 at 14:54

Hi Heidi, LOVE your site! I am definitely going to have to spend some more time here. Apple cider is such a nostalgic thing for me, and yours sounds absolutely divine — just the sort of simple, warm comfort I find myself craving this time of year!


26 Nicole, RD December 21, 2011 at 08:46

I just love your photography…so pretty 🙂 Simple recipe, but classic…and amazing photos to accompany 🙂


27 Heather December 21, 2011 at 06:23

I too never experienced Hot Apple Cider until a few years ago when a neighbor prepared a big batch for us – it was so comforting,.

Your version looks wonderful !

I hope your little girl feels better in time for Santa’s arrival


28 Kathryn December 21, 2011 at 02:13

This sounds so wonderfully warming and delicious! I hope your sick little girl gets better soon and in time for Christmas.


29 Kiran @ December 20, 2011 at 23:41

That is one mug of comforting cider. Perfect for cold days when you just want to snuggle under the blanket and watch oldies on TV 🙂


30 Jennifer (Delicieux) December 20, 2011 at 23:20

This looks so warming and comforting…and delicious!

Happy holidays!


31 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen December 20, 2011 at 19:28

Looks so cozy and delicious 🙂 This is a good alternative to hot chocolate every once and awhile, I need to remember to pick some up!


32 Pure2raw Twins December 20, 2011 at 18:11

sounds perfect for these cold days we have been having here. I do not think I really had apple cider growing up as well. it always smells good. I enjoy it now from time to time 🙂


33 shez December 20, 2011 at 16:39

This looks so warming and healthful (and is that creamed honey I see? Delicious!) Hope your little girl recovers quickly and is in bright spirits for the holidays!


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