Our easy homemade Instant Pot Apple Cider is sweet and spicy with just the right amount of heat. Delicious served hot or cold, spiked, or non-alcoholic. Bursting with fresh apples, oranges, pomegranate, and mulled with warming spices for an immunity boosting fall drink.
Cozy Fall Vibes
There is nothing better than wrapping your cold little fingers around a mug of hot spiced apple cider to put a smile on your face. Naturally sweet with a little tongue-numbing anise, warming cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger is just what you need to thaw out in the cooler weather. Happily; gluten-free, dairy free and vegan. You can skip the fall aroma candles as this mulled apple cider is going to make your home smell amazing!
Whether you are looking for a little something special for the holidays, hayrides, campfires or just a lazy weekend afternoon, this quintessential apple cider drink recipe and some of our fall favorite recipes are sure to please.
If you can’t get out to the cider mill and apple orchards this autumn, no worries. We’ll show you step by step and with video illustrating how to make old fashion apple cider in the instant pot (pressure cooker) right at home. All you need to do is dump everything in the instant pot, set it and forget it! The instant pot does all the work.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Spices - Fresh and whole spices are always best. However, you can also use ground spices for this cider recipe too. We used fresh ginger, cinnamon twills, star anise, dried ground allspice and nutmeg in this recipe. If you can’t find whole star anise, you can substitute with ground Chinese Five Spice Powder and reduce some of the other spices to taste. Five Spice powder’s main ingredient is star anise along with cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns and fennel seeds.
Another delicious idea is to exchange all the spices in this mulled cider recipe with a dried ground pumpkin spice mix or pumpkin spice syrup instead.
Apples – We like to use an assortment of apples to make the cider sweet, tart and have depth of flavor.
- Sweet apples - Gala, Fuji, Jazz, honey Crips, golden delicious and Ambrosia all work well.
- Tart apples - Granny Smith, Goldrush, Crispin (Mutsu) and McIntosh are some examples.
Oranges – you can use a navel orange or mandarin orange. However, you MUST remove the peel. Otherwise, the orange peel will make the apple cider bitter while it is cooking on high temperature in the instant pot.
Sweetener of Choice – We love using no-refined sweeteners like maple syrup or honey. However, you can also use brown sugar, keto sugar alternatives, rock sugar or even date paste. If you are feeling a bit under the weather, try adding a little honey to help with sore throats and you may enjoy our Whiskey Honey Lemon Cough Syrup.
Pomegranate seeds – Completely optional but love that little kick from this delicious superfood. Did you know that pomegranates can have up to three times more antioxidants than green tea? So, why not add a few to garnish with too.
Step by Step Instructions
Learning how to make our instant pot apple cider recipe is super easy. These dump and go recipes are some of our favorites, especially when you are super busy or during the holiday season.
1. Slice or roughly chop apples
2. Remove the orange peel from the oranges and roughly chop. It is important to also remove the pith (the white part next to the rind) from oranges as when this cooks, the pith can become bitter.
3 & 4. Place the prepared apples and oranges in the instant pot. Peel and add about 1 inch knob of fresh ginger too.
5 - 8. Add star anise, cinnamon, maple syrup or sweetener of choice, cloves, and nutmeg to the instant pot. Add enough water to cover the apples. You can use either whole spices or dried ground spices. We really like using fresh ginger especially during the cold and flu season.
9 & 10. We love that extra antioxidant sweet and sour boost from fresh pomegranate seeds – Totally optional but delicious. Seal and set your instant pot/pressure cooker to high for 15 minutes and let it naturally release for about 10-15 minutes and then carefully release.
11 & 12. Remove any whole spices and then mash the spiced apple mixture.
13 & 14. Strain and enjoy!
Spiked Mulled Cider
Who says the kids get to have all the fun?! Our instant pot cider is delicious all on its own. However, you may want to kick it up a few notches spike with your favorite alcoholic beverage. Some of our favorite additions are…
- rum (Spiced Captain Morgan’s is quite nice)
- Fireball cinnamon whiskey and apple cider (spicy and delivers a punch)
- Vodka (if you are looking to watch your carbs)
- Apple cider hot toddy
- Mulled wine with homemade apple cider. Yes, please!
Feel free to change up this DIY homemade cider recipe with these fun variations.
- Rooibos or black tea and old fashion apple cider served hot (½ tea and ½ apple cider)
- Apple cider iced tea
- Frothed dairy or non-dairy for a delicious latte. Add a little dollop of Homemade Coconut Whipping Cream on top.
- Apple cider and pomegranate juice or add more pomegranate seeds to the recipe.
- Add puree pumpkin and pumpkin spice to make a pumpkin apple cider.
- Stir in a little caramel for a special treat.
- Add in fresh or frozen cranberries for a special holiday treat.
Instant Pot - We used a 6-quart instant pot, and it makes approximately 6 to 8 servings of spiced apple cider. If you do not have an instant pot, no worries, we have you covered with quick and easy stove top and crockpot (slow cooker) instructions in the recipe card below.
Potato Masher – or a spatula to break up the apples
Colander and Fine Mesh Strainer or cheesecloth
- The best method for straining apple cider is to first pour your apple cider mixture through a regular colander to grab the big portions of fruit. You can pitch that, as it’s the apple skins and things you don’t want.
- Then, we take the strained cider juice and little by little add it through a fine meshed strainer to give you a clearer beverage. You could also use a cheesecloth if this is something that you have at home. After you are done with the second straining, don’t throw out the apple pulp (sauce). We love adding apple sauce to Chewy Caramel Apple Pie Cookies, pancakes, and muffins to give them extra spice and keep them moist. This is one of our favorite perks of making apple cider from scratch.
- Adjust the amount of sweetener up or down as desired. If you like it sweeter, add more. On the other hand, if you like it less sweet, add less.
- Are you out of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves? No worries! Substitute with ground all spice as ALL of these spices are in the dried ground all spice blend.
Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Instant pot apple cider can be stored for up 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer.
Apple cider and apple juice are both made from apples, but the processing is different. Fresh apple cider has NOT gone through a special filtration process to remove the smaller pulp particles. On the other hand, apple juice goes through a special filtration process to remove most all the pulp particles resulting in a clearer beverage.
Yes, our cooking method uses fresh apples that are pressure cooked in the instant pot at a very high heat level, cooled and then immediately stored in the refrigerator in a clean container. The heating to a high temperature pasteurizes or kills organisms that may be on the fresh apples.
Traditional sweet apple cider that you buy at the apple cider mill uses fresh apples that are pulverized to make a pulp and then the finally juiced to make apple cider.
Some cider mills pasteurize the cider, and some do not. Babies, toddlers, and those with weakened immunities should not drink unpasteurized apple cider from the cider mill. However, they can drink pasteurized apple cider. Most of the apple cider that is purchased at the supermarket has been pasteurized. However, make sure you ready the label to confirm.
Delicious Autumn Treats
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Instant Pot Apple Cider
- Instant Pot
- Potato Masher or spatula
- Fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth
- 6 to 8 medium apples about 2.5 to 3 pounds - we used a mixture of Gala and Granny Smith.
- 2 medium oranges
- 1 knob ginger fresh - 1 inch knob (or¼ teaspoon dried ground)
- ⅓ cup maple syrup (or brown sugar, honey, dried dates, or sugar alternative of choice)
- 4 whole cinnamon twill sticks or 1 tablespoon dried ground cinnamon
- 3 Star Anise (or ½ teaspoon of 5 spice powder)
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds (arils) or up to 1 cup. optional fresh seeds from whole pomegranate (reserve some for garnish)
- ½ teaspoon dried ground cloves use ¼ to ½ teaspoon dried ground depending on your preference. Can also use 3 to 6 whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon dried ground nutmeg (or ½ whole nutmeg)
- Water enough water to cover apples and oranges or about 6 cups.
- rum, whiskey, Fireball or alcoholic beverage of choice optional (if the adults in your crew are starting to whine about weekend leaf removal add as needed)
- cinnamon twills, slices of apples, oranges, star anise and pomegranate seeds. Optional Garnishes
- Slice apples in quarters. Remove the apple core and seeds and roughly chop. You could even just roughly chop and leave the seeds and the core, if you do not plan on using the apple puree for any other recipes.
- Remove the orange peel from the oranges and roughly chop. It is important to also remove the pith (the white part next to the rind) from oranges as when this cooks, the pith can become bitter.
- Place the prepared apples and oranges in the instant pot. In addition, add the fresh or dried ginger, maple syrup or sweetener of choice, cinnamon twills or ground cinnamon, Star Anise or 5 Spice powder, pomegranate seeds, cloves, nutmeg, and enough water to cover the apples. (Pomegranate seeds are optional)
- Seal and set your instant pot (pressure cooker) on high pressure for 15 minutes and let it naturally release for about 10-15 minutes and then carefully release. You can also just leave it naturally release completely if you wish. Please note that it can take up to 30 minutes for the temperature of the instant pot to pressurize.
- Remove any whole spices and then mash the spiced apple mixture.
- The best method for straining apple cider is to first pour your apple cider mixture through a regular colander to grab the big portions off fruit. You can pitch the parts of fruit that the colander caught as it is mostly the apple skins and things you do not want.
- Then, we take the strained prized spiced cider juice and little by little add it through a fine meshed strainer (or cheesecloth) and strain to give you a clearer beverage. Check out our video to see how we did this.
- Enjoy mulled apple cider hot or iced. We like to garnish with apple slices, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, star anise and pomegranate seeds. For the adults, add a shot of your favorite whiskey, rum, fireball, or favorite alcoholic drink as desired.