Apple Cider

Picture of Apple Cider
Apple Cider is a delicious treat that's easy to make. Basic apple cider is simple: juice a bunch of apples, add some spices, and serve! There are a lot of ways to make cider more interesting, however. In this instructable, I share my recipe for a simple apple cider that uses a variety of apples for an interesting (but classic) flavor. I also added a bit of orange and lemon.

Note: This is a basic apple cider instructable. For more ideas, see Hot Ginger-Spiced Apple Cider by ewilhelm or Home Brew Hard Cider from Scratch by actsofsubterfuge.
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Step 1: Apple Cider vs. Apple Juice

Picture of Apple Cider vs. Apple Juice
You may be wondering "If I'm basically just juicing apples, what's the difference between apple cider and apple juice?" Well, as it turns out, there's no widely agreed-upon distinction. I tend to think that cider is simply unfiltered and spiced, whereas juice is just the juice. Here are few other explanations, from The Straight Dope:

"(1) There is no difference at all. (Source: large midwestern bottler.) Uncle Sam confirms that there is no legal distinction. In other words, it is all marketing booshwa. But see below."

"(2) The store-bought stuff is juice, the homemade stuff is cider. (Source: East Coast conglomerate; also, the old edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.) The product you buy from roadside stands usually has not been pasteurized. Consequently, it ferments over time, giving it a mildly alcoholic kick. What you buy in the store, in contrast, is pasteurized soon after crushing, preventing fermentation and resulting in a pleasant but kickless taste. The manufacturers call their product cider in the fall for marketing purposes."

"(3) Cider is made from apples that are picked early. (Source: Washington State outfit that claims to be the country's largest maker of juice and cider.) Early-harvest apples supposedly have higher acid and lower sugar content, producing a drink with a tangier taste. Thus true cider remains cider after processing because pasteurization doesn't affect the acid/sugar content. Therefore, the company claims, it's possible to make not only frozen cider concentrate, contrary to your assertion, but also "sludgy"--i.e., unfiltered, hence cloudy--apple juice. The guy I got all this from says his company is quite scrupulous about monitoring the acidity of its product and changing the labels accordingly."

Step 2: How Ya Like Them Apples?

Picture of How Ya Like Them Apples?
Apples are the base of your cider. You can add spices or blend in other juices (like I did) and you can even ferment the cider to make it a "hard cider." However, it's amazing how much you can vary the flavor of your cider simply by choosing the right apples.

I did my shopping at the Berkeley Bowl, a food market that is famous for its variety of produce. I ended up with a mix of apples, mostly inexpensive ones:

  • 3 lbs of Red Delicious apples (the apple-y base)
  • 2 lbs of Granny Smith apples (for tartness)
  • 2 lbs of Shinko apple pears (for an interesting pear-y sweetness)

I also picked up four juice oranges and four lemons, to add a hint of citrus.

Step 3: Rinse, Cut, and Juice

This step went very quickly because I was able to use a juicer. I rinsed off the skins, quartered the apples, and fed them into the juicer. The citrus was quartered, peeled, and them fed into the juicer.

If you don't have a juicer, this step will be a bit more time consuming, but still tons of fun. Just wash the apples and then core them (you don't want apple seeds and their cyanide in your cider!) Now, you can use a food processor to puree them smooth, like apple sauce. Then, you pour the pureed apples into a piece of cheesecloth over your container, wrap it up, and carefully squeeze the juice into the container below. The oranges and lemons can be juiced by hand with a citrus reamer or another hand juicer.

Step 4: Blending and Seasoning

Picture of Blending and Seasoning
As you juice, you should sample the resulting cider. I juiced a handful of apples, mixed the juice into a big punch bowl, and took a little taste. Then, I'd add more juices from different apples and the citrus until I had the taste I wanted. The cider will change flavors in really nice ways as you craft your blend. I wanted mine full-bodied and very apple-tasting, but tart. The tartness is why the Granny Smith apples were used. The orange juice and lemon juice gave it that lighter, citrus flavor.

I grated in some a fresh clove and then added cinnamon and nutmeg. There was about a teaspoon or two of each, which added a subtle spicy flavor. Experiment!

The spices may clump up a bit, but a wire whisk made short work of them.

Step 5: Done!

Picture of Done!
I ended up with about a gallon and a half of delicious cider, which I set out in a punch bowl for a big meal. For a bit of garnish, you can add a cinnamon stick or let people spice or spike their concoction to taste.
StarB9 months ago

I love apple cider

SIRJAMES093 years ago
I personally refuse to drink anything with alcohol in it or that has been fermented into an alcoholic drink...

Having said that, I love non-alcoholic cider...apple juice, I can take it or leave it.

One thing I have noticed through the years is that non-alcoholic cider has bits & pieces of apple in it..very small bits & pieces. does this add to the flavor? I have no idea, but I think it adds to the experience of enjoying the cider.

TY Sir for sharing!!
looks like I'm going shopping tomorrow!! :)

I think 10 - 15 pounds of apples should make enough cider to last me a while...LOL

id use gala and fuji apples for sweetness and some granny smith's for the bitter/sour to balance it out. ALSO you could throw in an asian pear... i love asian pears :D
Graham564 years ago
From the Chambers Dictionary---- Cider (noun) an alcoholic drink made from fermented apple-juice. We buy the stuff you have made from are local store and it's called Spiced apple juice ?.
nagutron (author)  Graham564 years ago
Just looked this up, again. See the reply I made to punkzombiehunter:

"Wikipedia makes a distinction between "Cider" and "Apple Cider", with only the former being alcoholic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_cider

So, it's just language, but using "Apple Cider" to describe the non-alcoholic drink is certainly a common usage.

Now you know!"
This side of the pond cider is alcoholic and juice isn't. All depends on where you are buying your ingredients, that and mulled cider is a great traditional drink.
You're right nagutron. And here is a more reliable source than wikipedia, the Merriam-Webster dictionnary:


We learn something new everyday! I was also convinced that cider has to be fermented...
Kryptonite4 years ago
Mm, delicious! I love apple cider, nice Instructable!
hawkeyejr4 years ago
As the instructable states "cider is made from early picked apples" so you cannot make cider from ripe apples Ie the acid /sugar content,this is the difference between cider and juice.Also this is the reason that you can get "fresh" cider when the apples are ripe it does take a little time to make cider in bulk. If you use store bought or "market apples you are just juicing,as per the standard practice of cider making.Fresh unpasteurized cider will start to turn "hard" in 4-6 weeks on it own,but if this is what you want it is best to use a fermentation lock for this purpose. and if you want it "harder" you can add sugar and brewers yeast,but that is really just muddy wine.
Cider is alcoholic. Juice isn't. Cider is fermented. Juice isn't.
nagutron (author)  TerminalDragon4 years ago
Wikipedia makes a distinction between "Cider" and "Apple Cider", with only the former being alcoholic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_cider

So, it's just language, but using "Apple Cider" to describe the non-alcoholic drink is certainly a common usage.

Now you know!
good old american's taking a good english word and tainting it ;) well I learn something new everyday :D
b1russell5 years ago
Fabulous - now how do I turn this into apple cider vinegar?!? Another instructable in the future, perhaps? Thanks!
First you have to ferment the sugars to alcohol by yeast.
Then you ferment the alcohol to acetic acid by acetobacter.

In plain words: Make hard cider and let it go bad ;-)
ledskof5 years ago
I've eaten thousands of apple seeds.  It would take a ridiculous amount of apples seeds all in one sitting to even register as toxic.  It's really not worth even bringing up that apple seeds contain cyanide.
nagutron (author)  ledskof4 years ago
Yeah, good point. I read up on it and I think you're right: http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/apples.asp
zombiefire5 years ago
use cotton
mrfoltz5 years ago
 We get our apples from my mother-in-law's trees. I usually throw the whole apple in (saves the time pealing) my  juicer has a large enough opening, and then oranges or other fruit (mangos, pineapple, strawberries etc). I strain through a strainer, then boil my juice to kill any germs at a slow boil for about 10-15 minutes then add Nutmeg, cinnamon and after cooled, some Grand-Marnier. YUMMY!  We usually get a ton of apples so I freeze the juice/cider in 4 litre milk jugs.
I take the pulp left over and boil with water for about an hour to pick up the apple zest and strain and ad same as above, also sugar... I sometimes use the pulp left over in a pie (store bought shells) or tarts...  mmmm
This is not cider sry.
cider is an clear, alcoholic drink en this is just apple jus.
It has about 4 to about 7 % alcohol in it if is was real thing.
End is wood haven taken weeks to make.
End is wood bubbles like champagne.

this is noting like it
false. That's just your association, because you're USED to fermented apple cider. Or "hard cider". But this IS cider.
brentonl5 years ago
I was under the impression that cider is from pressed apples.  Apple juice is from making apple sauce (stewing and mashing) then filtering.
cd416 years ago
now i want to do this but need to find/get a cheesecloth, never heard of it(!)
the_butler cd415 years ago
Muslin is cheese cloth
SpiroExDeus6 years ago
In the UK the difference between Apple Cider and Apple Juice is that Apple Cider is Alcoholic. We don't have to call it 'hard' cider we'd just call it 'cider'. This sounds more like a smoothie to me. :D
BgRdDragon6 years ago
I just made this and it turned at very good =-). the only downside is that its hard to get all that mush stuff out....
does apple cider taste good?????????
it tastes like a superb version of apple juice,with a texture too
nagutron (author)  QueenRocks1916 years ago
It does. Wow, that was an easy question to answer.
funky monk6 years ago
Don't you have to season cider?
About how long does this take though?
nagutron (author)  HisDivineShadow6 years ago
It took me about an hour. Maybe an hour and a half.
Is this the "alcaholic" apple cider? I need to know so i might make it (Im 15...)
nagutron (author)  HisDivineShadow6 years ago
Alcoholic. No, it's not. What you're looking for is "hard" cider. I have a link to one of those instructables in the first step of this one.
no... I was hoping there wasnt alcohol... Thanks anyway...
urbosssez6 years ago
wow, i just made some that was the best cider ever! ...cept it wasn't carbonated
doommeister6 years ago
This looks nice. However round these parts we would call this apple juice plain and simple. Cider being yer booze of choice for west country gentlemen in the rough form, or teenage girls and wino's in the sweet form. Going though something of a resurgence though.
ChrysN6 years ago
Looks tasty, I picked up a variety of apples from a farmers market so I'll have to try it. Adding citrus fruits sounds interesting.