This festive slow cooker mulled cider will be a surefire hit for your next holiday get-together! It’s also just about the easiest beverage you’ve ever made, thanks to your trusty Crock Pot!
Something warm and festive to drink always makes any holiday occasion just a little more special doesn’t it? Of course, there’s always hot chocolate, but this is a great alternative to that if you want to try something a little different. You could even have both if you want. 🙂 I love the idea of making this slow cooker mulled cider because you can prepare it ahead of time and have it ready to enjoy when everyone comes back in from cutting down the tree or ice skating.
Side note: Every once in awhile we have a year where the creek is really high when the freezing temperatures hit and it makes for a perfectly smooth ice skating track right behind our house. It looks like this might be one of those years! Skating in your own backyard is definitely a mulled-cider-worthy event. 🙂
Choosing the Right Cider
The cider that you want to use for this recipe is the non-alcoholic variety. This is the real, fresh cider. It’s often called unfiltered apple juice and it’s darker and more richly-flavoured than the clear light yellow juice that you usually find on grocery store shelves.
If you can find freshly pressed cider from a local orchard, that will be the absolute best, but you can also find some pretty great cider in the refrigerated section of the produce department of most grocery stores at this time of year.
If the juice is kind of a brownish color and cloudy, that’s what you’re looking for.
We can’t get enough of this stuff in our house and we really do look forward to buying cider at the fall fair for months before. Mulling the cider makes it even better, if that’s even possible. 🙂
You’ll of course need the fresh cider that we just talked about but you’ll also need mulling spices, your Crock Pot, and a few garnishes for extra festiveness.
Some ideas for garnishes:
- Fresh orange slices
- Fresh apple slices
- A handful of fresh cranberries
- Cinnamon sticks
- Whole star anise
You can either use store-bought mulling spices or you can easily make your own! I shared a simple recipe for homemade mulling spices recently if you need some guidance there.
How to Make Slow Cooker Mulled Cider
Basically, like all wonderful slow cooker recipes, you really just need to put everything in the Crock Pot and walk away. I’m going to go ahead and say that another mandatory step is to make sure you wander back into your kitchen every now and then to enjoy how great this mulled cider makes your house smell. I always say that a nice smelling house feels so much cleaner, and this is a pretty fabulous way of going about achieving that.
Start out by pouring your cider into the crock pot and turn it on low.
When it comes time to add the spices, you have a couple of options:
- You can just toss the spices right in and let them mull about (pun intended!) until it’s time to serve the cider, at which point you can strain the spices out as you pour the cider into a big punch bowl. The spices look really pretty floating around in there, which is a great thing if you’re going to have friends and family sneaking a peek at what you’re making.
- You can tie your spices up in a little sachet made out of cheesecloth or even a coffee filter and dunk it into the cider. This is super convenient because you can just pull the sachet out when it’s time to serve, although it might look a little weird to have a little packet made out of a coffee filter floating around in there.
Either way you choose, you’ll want to use about a half-gallon of cider to four tablespoons of store-bought mulling spices, or one full recipe of my DIY mulling spices.
If you want to save your dried orange slices for decorations or for mulling spices that you’re giving as gifts, you can just slice up some fresh oranges and toss them in there. 🙂
How to Serve the Slow Cooker Mulled Cider
Since this mulled cider is made directly in the Crock Pot, that is the perfect vessel to serve it in as well! You may want to dress it up a little once you remove the mulling spices and you can do that by simply adding in a few slices of orange or apple, and maybe a few cranberries as well. If you want to pour the mulled cider into a punch bowl, the same garnishes work of course.
You might prefer to ladle the cider into mugs first and then bring them out to your guests on a tray instead. Try to use clear mugs (or even just mason jars) if you can to show off the beautiful color of the cider. You can dress each mug up with any of the above mentioned garnishes and you’re all set for a festive good time!
I love this recipe because it’s great for the whole family. Kids will love it, and you can also set up a little bar with it so people can spike their own cider as well if they like it that way.
Here’s the full printable recipe!
This festive slow cooker mulled cider will be a surefire hit for your next holiday get-together! It's also just about the easiest beverage you've ever made, thanks to your trusty Crock Pot!
- 1/2 gallon Fresh cider or unfiltered apple juice
- 4 tbsp Mulling spices
- 2-3 slices Orange (if your mulling spices don't already have dried orange in them)
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 2-3 hours, or until ready to serve. Mulling spices can be tied up in a little cheesecloth or coffee filter sachet, or tossed right into the cider to be strained out before serving.
Serve the mulled cider straight from the slow cooker or serve it in clear mugs or mason jars garnished with orange slices, cinnamon sticks, apple slices, or cranberries.
Do you make mulled cider for the holidays? Have you ever tried doing it in the slow cooker?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.