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Easy Hot Apple Cider Recipe Your Kids Will Love


This super easy Hot Apple Cider recipe is tart, flavorful and soul-satisfying. With nutmeg and pineapple juice, this non-alcoholic drink is the perfect way to celebrate the holidays with friends and family.

Overhead shot of small white mugs on a table with hot apple cider.
Let’s make this easy hot apple cider recipe.

Why hot drink recipe works

This Apple Cider from apple juice is a family recipe. And by “family recipe,” I mean I’m sure it came off of a can or out of a cookbook at some point and we adopted it as our own.

Not maliciously, I assure you. But you know how things go. It gets passed around over the years and made as a holiday tradition. And recipe credit gets diluted.

At least it wasn’t purposely stolen (like my grandma did with this Blue Cheese Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe).

This tasty homemade hot apple cider SCREAMS autumn to me. It makes the whole house smell amazing while it cooks away on the stove-top.

Related: Crockpot Mulled Spiced Cider

It’s sweet with a touch of seasonal spice and is absolutely perfect on a crisp fall or winter day.

This quick apple cider with apple juice is also great for parties since it serves about 16 (1/2 cup) portions. And trust me, this is meant to be sipped and enjoyed, not guzzled.

While, of course, you can spike this recipe, it’s non-alcoholic and great for kids! Mine love how sweet it is and it is one of those drinks you will crave!

Printable pages on top of an image of kitchen gadgets with text next to it.


Ingredients to make hot spiced apple cider on a counter.
Here’s what you need to make warm apple cider.

Scroll down to the end of the post for a printable recipe card with full measurements and more detailed instructions.

The ingredients for this warm cider are simple and readily available. They’re even easy to keep on hand during the holidays to ensure you can whip up a batch whenever you need it.

Store-bought apple juice or apple cider (from the shelf-stable juice aisle, not the flavored seasonal varieties you can sometimes find in the refrigerated section) is the base of the drink.

Although Simply Apple Juice is found in the refrigerated section, it has simple ingredients and no extra spices. I think it has a little bit more apple flavor so it’s my favorite brand to use, but this recipe is fine with any plain apple juice.

The pineapple juice adds sweetness to the drink and also another layer of flavor. The thing I love about pineapple juice is that it really gives a general fruity flavor as opposed to a specific pineapple flavor. It helps to make this rich and wonderful.

That’s why so many dump cake recipes use canned pineapple.

Lemon juice, zest, cinnamon and nutmeg really jazz everything up. These ingredients add a little zing and give it that holiday feel.

And honey adds a natural sweetness that blends perfectly with all the other flavors.

And if you want to garnish your finished cider, you can slice an orange and lay the slices in whatever you’re serving it in. Orange is another flavor that pairs well and looks pretty. But if you don’t have one, no worries.

How to make Spiced Apple Cider

Saucepan on a counter with apple cider next to a cinnamon stick.

Step 1

To a saucepan add 6 cups of apple juice, along with one cinnamon stick.

A covered sauce pan on the stove.

Step 2

Bring to a boil on the stove then cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Spices and honey in small bowls next to a saucepan.

Step 3

Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, honey and nutmeg and stir to combine.

Hot apple cider boiling in a sauce pan on the stove.

Step 4

Simmer for 5 more minutes.

This photo is more of a boil so be sure to check your heat and turn it down if you need to.

Overhead shot of small white mugs holding hot apple cider on a table with napkins and cinnamon sticks.

Ladle the simple hot apple cider recipe into heat-proof mugs and garnish with orange.

At this point, your house will smell so good. You’re probably going to want to put on some sweatpants and watch a Hallmark holiday movie.

If you are serving this hot apple cider drink at a holiday party, you can also pour it into a heat-proof pitcher to make serving super simple.

Or you can even serve it in a crock pot to keep things warm. A mini-sized crock pot is also great for keeping dips, like this Hot Bacon Cheese Dip warm throughout a party.

Close up shot of hot apple cider in small white mugs.

Make it Wassail

Wassail is a hot mulled cider and usually is spiked with alcohol. You can use this apple cider base and add whiskey, spiced rum or even hard cider to turn this into an adult-friendly beverage.

Just make sure your kids know that this version is off-limits. Otherwise, that would turn into a holiday you all would never forget.

How to Store Hot Apple Cider

Once the cider has cooled completely, store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

It should last for 1-2 weeks. Because there aren’t any additives to preserve it, it won’t last for as long as a store-bought variety might.

How to reheat the cider

This recipe for the best hot apple cider can be made ahead of time making holiday party prep easy. To reheat the whole batch, just return it to the stove and heat it until warm.

If you’re just making it for your family to enjoy throughout the season, ladle a serving into a microwave-proof mug and reheat it for about 1 minute in the microwave.

  • Sometimes you just need a quick and easy Hot Green Tea with Vodka. Your favorite tea gets a little kick and is even better for helping you to relax.
  • YUM! It’s not the holidays without Orange Cardamom Hot Chocolate. It’s a quick recipe with so much flavor. It’s a fun twist on a winter favorite.
  • Make some White Hot Chocolate for a rich and decadent drink to sip whenever the temperatures start to drop.
  • Spiced Cranberry Juice is a great drink base to use! Serve it to kids as is or with a little club soda or use it in a cocktail!
  • An Apple Cider Mule with Whiskey is so tasty! It’s a must-try all season long.
  • A lemonade stand is great way to get kids involved in an activity that gives to others! Check out this lemonade stand recipe!
Close up of an overhead shot of hot apple cider in a small white cup.

Easy Hot Spiced Apple Cider with Apple Juice

Cinnamon and nutmeg make this tart, flavorful easy Hot Apple Cider drink a favorite holiday tradition to sip when the temperatures drop.
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Calories: 78kcal
Servings: 16 servings



  • To a sauce pan add apple juice and cinnamon stick. Heat until boiling, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add lemon juice, lemon zest, honey and nutmeg. Stir and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and ladle into heat-proof mugs or a punchbowl if serving for a party.
  • Garnish with orange slices or quarters if desired.


This recipe is essentially foolproof! It’s so simple to make and is great for a crowd!


Serving: 0.5cups | Calories: 78kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.03g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 144mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CupcakesCutlery or tag #cupcakescutlery!

Originally posted October 31, 2011. I updated the post to include better photos, a printable recipe card and more detailed instructions to make this delicious drink.

Click to share!


  1. 5 stars
    Well my kids haven’t tried it yet but *I* think it’s delicious! Thank you!

  2. Becky Mansfield says:

    5 stars
    I always wondered how to make hot apple cider – it’s so much easier than I thought. I love the idea of pineapple, too. I would never have thought to include that. We can do this over the weekend. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. There is something so special about the pineapple juice. It makes this hot apple cider so unique!

  3. Melanie C says:

    5 stars
    I’m not gonna lie, I sneaked in some spiced rum to your simple hot apple cider recipe – it was so good. Made me throw on my pajamas and slippers and snuggle on the couch!

  4. Marye Audet-White says:

    5 stars
    I love this simple hot apple cider recipe! I’ve never made it with pineapple before but it’s just SO good.

  5. I can’t wait for the weather to cool off! This simple hot apple cider recipe makes me crave sitting on my front porch with a mug and a blanket!

  6. First of all, I have the exact same pot as pictured in this post! (It was my Mom’s…) And, second this simple hot apple cider recipe looks so yummy. I would have never thought of adding in pineapple juice.

  7. 5 stars
    The minute the weather breaks, we start looking for hot apple cider to drink in the evenings. Your recipe is my all-time favorite. My family raises honeybees so we even have our own honey to use in the apple cider recipe.

    1. That’s amazing! This hot apple cider is SO flavorful! I can’t wait to make it this year.

  8. 5 stars
    Every fall, I look forward to enjoying spiced cider, and this simple hot apple cider recipe does NOT disappoint! I love the addition of honey and pineapple! Adds a unique sweetness!

  9. One Crazy House says:

    I love this simple hot apple cider recipe! Before I saw this, I had never added honey to my cider before, but it really adds a lot of flavor!

    1. Yes! The honey and pineapple make this hot apple cider a little bit unique. It’s my favorite!

  10. 5 stars
    I never would have thought to add pineapple juice to make cider, but this is, by far, our favorite simple hot apple cider recipe! We made it using some fresh apple cider that we got from the orchard over the weekend and it was amazing! We’ll definitely be making it again throughout the fall.

5 from 8 votes (1 rating without comment)

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