A sweet and tart Apple Cider is quintessentially Fall.
Make it in the Instant Pot and it is SUPER easy too. Adding Citrus, berries and spices elevate the drink to a new level!
Fall is here and we totally love this season. Full of warm spices, drinks and all the best festivals, this is the BEST season of them all!
While there us a lot of emphasis on pumpkins for Fall, let us ignore the other delicious produce this season offers. Apples, pears, sweet potato, beans and cranberries are as much Fall as are pumpkins. And personally, I love all of these for my Fall recipes.
Come September we make a LOT of apple picking trips. As we drive to the farm, we never come back with less than ten pounds of varied apples. And when there are so many apples, we make some yummy recipes. Today I am sharing our ultimate favorite recipe using apples.
If you went picking this weekend or are planning to go soon, this is a recipe you must make using the apples. However, even if you did not go, you can make this with store bought apples.
A crisp and fruity drink to enjoy through Fall, plus a great drink for the Holiday season; Apple cider is perfect to keep you warm through the winter months!
What is Apple Cider
A cooked version of apple juice; Apple cider is a popular drink in the US. It does have some other fruits, berries and spices but the first ingredient is always apple and thus the name.
It is evident that every family and store has their version of the drink. The spices, proportion of fruits and kinds of fruits used vary but the final version is always delicious!
Typically I like to use a mix of apples in the recipe so it has the sweet and sour notes at once. Additionally, it is a great way to use the various apples from the farm.
When compared to apple juice, cider will be opaque. As we include the peels and flesh of the fruits in the cooking, they tend to pass through the fine mesh when filtered. This is what gives the cider the opacity.
This recipe of Apple Cider
- Is easy to make in the Instant Pot. No more stirring or waiting by the stove. It is a perfectly hands-free recipe which is quick too. However, the same recipe can be made on the stove top too.
- Has a mix of cranberries, apples, oranges and spices giving it a lot of warmth. Add the extra fruits or leave them to use just apples, the choice is yours!
- This drink is best enjoyed warm. However, it tastes great chilled too. Chill it overnight or just for a couple of hours if you like it cold.
- I have used brown sugar to sweeten the drink. However, it can also be sweetened with dates, honey, maple syrup or regular sugar.
- Moreover, this drink is easy to spike with some red wine or rum for the festive season. This version also works fantastically well for Christmas!
I have made the exact recipe for a few years now and we have been loving it. Our friends and family also like this version a lot. We generally enjoy this through Fall and then when it is December, this is our go-to drink while watching Christmas movies!
Ingredients to make this Apple Cider
Apples: I used a mix of Granny Smith, Red Delicious and Fuji apples. Mixing them helps get a sweet and tart taste in the cider. But pick the sweeter ones if you like your cider sweet.
Oranges: Adding a LOT of tang to the cider are oranges. They make the cider very flavorful. I like to add them with their peels. However they can be left out if you do not like them.
Cranberries: I like to add cranberries to all Winter drinks. Fresh or frozen ones will work here. I like to get these berries for all my recipes.
Sweetener: Sugar, dates, honey or maple syrup is great to sweeten the cider. I have used brown sugar. Moreover, leave out the sweetener if you want a natural, unsweetened version.
Spices: I have added cinnamon, star anise and cloves in the recipe for warmth and spice. Plus, adding fresh or dried ginger, nutmeg and black pepper works great too.
Step by Step Instructions to make
1- Wash and cut the apples and oranges. Cut them into wedges, slices or pieces. Leave the peel on the fruit. In a thick orange slice pierce the cloves; making it easy to fish them out after cooking. Then place all the fruits in the instant pot.
2- Next, add the spices and sugar.
3- Pour in water to almost submerge the fruits when pressed down.
4- Close the Instant Pot lid and set mode to pressure cook. Set time to 15 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then release the remaining pressure.
5- Open the Instant Pot and remove the spices.
6- Next mash the fruits using a potato masher. Or use an immersion blender.
7- Strain the cider using a fine mesh or muslin cloth, extracting as much juice as possible.
8- Finally serve topped with some apple slices or cranberries.
Using the Instant Pot to make the cider
Traditionally made using a pot, Apple cider needed to be boiled for hours to make it flavorful. However, intermittent stirring is required to ensure the fruits do not settle down.
The instant pot on the other hand cooks everything faster. Because it is hands free and a dump and start recipe, we love making cider this way.
Holiday season is busy and this method makes the cider stress free! I love using the instant pot to make the recipe while I make something else on the stove.
The same recipe can be made using a traditional pressure cooker or pan too.
Tips and Notes
- Pick a mix of green and red varieties of apples. They tend to give a sweet and tart balance in the drink. If you cannot find green apples or do not like them, make the drink with whatever you have at hand.
- Add more spices like pepper, nutmeg or ginger for warmth. If making them for kids, reduce the spices to make it more fruity.
- Sweeten the drink with a sweetener of your choice. Alternatively; maple syrup, honey, sugar or even dates work. Use an amount that you are comfortable with. Skip for a natural version.
- The drink can be enjoyed warm or even after refrigerating it for a few hours. It tastes great warm, but can be enjoyed cold too.
Love Fall recipes? These are some amazing ones to try:
- Turmeric Milk: A great drink for Fall and throughout the year, Turmeric milk has a perfect blend of spices, fresh turmeric and milk. Works so well for flu season too.
- Pumpkin Ricotta Stuffed Shells: A great way to enjoy a Fall worthy pasta, these jumbo shells are filled with spiced ricotta and pumpkin and baked in a creamy sauce. Plus, it is a meal by itself!
- No-knead Pumpkin Rolls: Shaped like chic pumpkins, these rolls are SO good through Fall and for Thanksgiving dinner!
Instant Pot Apple Cider
- 5 medium Apples (mix of granny smith, fuji and red delicious)
- 1 Orange (sliced thick)
- ¼ cup Cranberries
- ¼ cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Star Anise
- 2 Cinnamon
- 5 Cloves
- 5 cups Water
- Wash and cut the apples and oranges. They can be cut into wedges, slices or pieces. The peel can be left on the fruit.
- In a thick orange slice pierce the cloves; making it easy to fish them out after cooking.
- Place all the fruits in the instant pot.
- Add the spices and sugar.
- Pour in water to almost submerge the fruits when pressed down.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and set mode to pressure cook. Set time to 15 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and release the remaining pressure.
- Open the Instant Pot and remove the spices.
- Mash the fruits using a potato masher.
- Strain the cider using a fine mesh or muslin cloth. Extract as much juice as possible.
- Serve topped with some apple slices or cranberries.
- Pick a mix of green and red varieties of apples. They tend to give a sweet and tart balance in the drink.
- Add more spices like pepper, nutmeg or ginger for warmth.
- Sweeten the drink with a sweetener of your choice. Maple syrup, honey, sugar or even dates work.
- The drink can be enjoyed warm or even after refrigerating it for a few hours.