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Mulled Apple Cider is a delicious fall treat! This spiced mulled cider recipe will warm you from the inside out, and is perfect for the holidays!

Mulled apple cider in glasses

Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and apple cider bubble! Imagine me witch-cackling as I pour this INSANELY yummy, warm fall treat into mugs for your sipping pleasure. Mulled Apple Cider is heavily spiced, incredibly easy, and just the thing we need for the upcoming holiday season!

Growing up my parents threw a fabulous annual Christmas party. I’ll never forget how alive our house felt when it was filled with friends, food and laughter, while Christmas music played on the stereo, and the entryway quickly filled up with bottles of wine and gifts our guests would deposit as they walked through the front door. I was reminded of these memories as the scent of hot mulled cider wafted through my kitchen earlier this week. See, for the party my Mom always kept a pot of water with cloves, cinnamon, and whatever else she found in the spice cupboard simmering, which would fill the house with the most wonderful aroma.

Well, Mulled Apple Cider is like the drinkable version of my Mom’s stovetop potpourri. You know what we call that? An upgrade!

Close up photo of mulled cider in a mug

What’s in Mulled Apple Cider:

  • Apple cider. 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.
  • Cinnamon sticks. What is mulled cider without cinnamon?
  • Whole cloves. A staple in mulled cider and wine recipes.
  • Allspice berries. You can find these right with the other herbs/spices. I buy Tone’s whole allspice.
  • Star anise pods. Star anise smells like licorice and adds just a whisper of licorice flavor to the cider.
  • Orange. A sliced orange is added to give the mulled cider brightness plus an extra layer of holiday flavor.

What Does “Mulled” Mean?

To mull something means to heat and flavor it with spices. To make Mulled Apple Cider all you do is add apple cider to a large pot with the aforementioned ingredients then simmer it for 15 minutes. That’s it! Scoop into mugs then add a cinnamon stick for a festive touch. Feeling a little giggly? I can 100% confirm that a splash of bourbon (I like Bulleit and Maker’s Mark) inside is 100% delicious. You’re welcome!

I have extremely festive visions of us enjoying big mugs of mulled cider while carving pumpkins in a few weeks, but the sky’s the limit in terms of excuses to whip up a steamy batch at some point this fall and holiday season. When will you enjoy?

Overhead photo of mulled apple cider

How to Make Mulled Apple Cider:

  1. Add apple cider, spices, and a sliced orange to a large Dutch oven or soup pot.
  2. Bring to a bubble then simmer for 15 minutes.

Told ya’ it was easy! 😉 Seriously though, look for local apple cider if you can, although any ol’ apple cider will work. I’m dying to try this recipe with Honeycrisp cider.

To the cider add a small sliced navel orange plus cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, star anise pods, and allspice berries. Turn the heat up to bring the cider to a bubble then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. And by simmer I mean the cider should barely be bubbling. Definitely not looking for a rolling boil or anything even close.

Scoop into mugs then garnish with a cinnamon stick, if you please! Like I said, a splash of bourbon sure does take things up a notch – especially as a night cap on a blustery fall evening. However you serve it I hope you love each and every sip of this Mulled Apple Cider! Enjoy!

Mulled Apple Cider with an apple slice and cinnamon stick

Mulled Apple Cider


Mulled Apple Cider is a delicious fall treat! This spiced mulled cider recipe will warm you from the inside out, and is perfect for the holidays!


serves 16

  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 1 small navel orange, sliced


  1. Add all ingredients to a large Dutch oven or soup pot over high heat. Bring to a bubble then turn heat to low and gently simmer (apple cider should not be boiling - just barely bubbling,) for 15 minutes. Scoop into mugs then serve.


  • This recipe is delicious spiked with a little bourbon in your mug!

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

Photo collage of Mulled Apple Cider