Tart and flavorful, this super easy Hot Apple Cider Drink recipe is soul-satisfying. With nutmeg and pineapple juice, this non-alcoholic drink is the perfect way to celebrate the holidays with friends and family.
This Hot Apple Cider 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).
Why This Recipe Works
This tasty homemade hot apple cider SCREAMS fall to me. It makes the whole house smell amazing while it cooks away on the stove-top.
It’s sweet with a touch of seasonal spice and is absolutely perfect on a crisp fall or winter day.
This Hot Apple Cider with apple juice is also great for parties since it serves about 16 (½ 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!
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.
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
To a saucepan add 6 cups of apple juice, along with one cinnamon stick.
Bring to a boil on the stove then cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, honey and nutmeg and stir to combine.
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.
Ladle 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.
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.
- This CrockPot Mulled Cider is great to make for your holiday movie binge-watching.
- 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.
Easy Hot Spiced Apple Cider with Apple Juice
- 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.
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.