Instant Pot Apple Cider is a delicious drink to enjoy throughout the fall and holiday season. It comes together easily and is made with only fresh fruit and whole spices. Using an electric pressure cooker allows you to quickly infuse the flavors of apples, citrus fruits and spices while maintaining the rich, authentic taste of cider. This homemade cider is vegan, low carb and gluten-free.
The Instant Pot works great for making beverages, like green tea and hot cocoa. Instant Pot Apple Cider is one of my favorite seasonal drinks to make in an electric pressure cooker during the chilly days of autumn. Enjoy it with homemade apple cider bread, pumpkin muffins, Instant Pot pumpkin bread or cranberry bread to bring those Fall vibes full swing. Or maybe some chewy pumpkin cookies or apple nachos!
This homemade apple cider is an easy recipe- the prep boils down to only roughly cutting your fruits and dumping them into the pressure cooker with whole spices and water. Turn on the pressure cooker, let it cook, then strain out the solids and you have a huge batch of flavorful wholesome apple cider ready to go! You can also make the same recipe using your slow cooker if you'd rather go that route.
Enjoy this homemade Instant Pot apple cider throughout the festive Fall season and serve for holiday dinners. It's a delicious drink to take camping, to holiday potlucks, to sip on while nestled around your outdoor fire pit or snuggled on the couch watching holiday movies. Apple cider can be used in a variety of other recipes too, like in my homemade apple bread or seasonal muffins, cakes and other baked goods.
Why You'll Love Homemade Instant Pot Apple Cider
- It's a healthy wholesome drink that is great for a variety of diets- it's gluten free, low carb, vegan and diabetic friendly.
- There is no added sugar! Traditional apple cider recipes are sweetened all naturally, as is this Instant Pot apple cider.
- It's quick and simple and you won't find any sneaky ingredients as you might in store bought apple ciders.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Apples: Gala and Fuji apples are my favorite for making sweet homemade ciders. Granny Smith apples are an instant hit for those who love tart ciders.
- Oranges: popular navel oranges are perfect for cider recipes. No fresh oranges? Use ¼ to ½ cup orange juice as a replacement.
- Whole spices: star anise, nutmeg, allspice berries, cinnamon sticks and cloves. While I recommend using whole spices if you can, ground spices can be used. Use 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon per cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon ground allspice per 3-4 berries and ½ teaspoon ground cloves per teaspoon of whole cloves. Ground spices will create a more cloudy cider. The taste shouldn't be affected, but if you're looking for a clear appearance, keep this in mind.
- Sweetener (optional): mulled apple cider is not sweetened with any type of sugar so I don't use any. The sweet fruit and spices give it all the sweetness it needs, and it truly does turn out sweet in the end. But, if you really enjoy your apple cider sweetened, you can add ¼ to 1 cup of brown sugar, white sugar, coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup. Start out small and continue adding sweetener as desired after tasting.
How To Make Apple Cider In An Instant Pot
STEP 1: Wash the fruit and cut it into halves or quarters, leaving the skins on. Discard the apple cores.
STEP 2: Put the oranges and apples in the inner pot of the pressure cooker. Pour in the water and add the whole spices (star anise, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries). Close the lid and seal. Set to pressure cook/manual on high for 15 minutes.
STEP 3: Allow the pot to complete a full natural release of pressure. Remove the lid and use a potato masher to press down on the apples and oranges. They will easily mash, releasing more flavor into the liquid.
STEP 4: Place a fine mesh strainer over a large heat-safe bowl. You can also place a cheesecloth over the strainer to catch as many fruit solids and spice residue as possible. Carefully pour the contents of the Instant Pot into the strainer to filter out the solids.*If adding sweeteners such as brown sugar or maple syrup, add it to the hot cider after straining out the solids.
STEP 5: Transfer the cider into a glass or otherwise heat-safe jug. Serve warm or store for later use.
How To Store Homemade Apple Cider
Apple cider will keep for about 10 days in the fridge. You can freeze it in freezer-safe storage containers for about 6 months.
- Add sweeteners: for those who love extra sweet apple cider recipes, add brown sugar, maple syrup or honey. Do this in small amounts because even without it, this recipe is pretty sweet.
- Add other fruits: Fall ciders are delicious with pears as much as they are with apples. Even peaches and plums make great additions!
- Alternative citrus fruits: instead of oranges, you can make this with lemon or lime.
- Add cranberries: add 1-2 cups of fresh cranberries to the cider to take advantage of fresh seasonal fruits.
- Add a dash of lemon: a few squeezes of fresh lemon can work to take some of the sweetness out of your cider if it turns out a little sweeter than you wanted.
- Leave out the star anise: star anise gives cider a slightly sweet and licorice-like taste so if this isn't for you, leave it out.
The variety of apples you use depends on if you want a sweet cider or a tart cider. For sweet ciders, stick with Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious or Red Delicious apples. For a more tart cider, opt for Pink Lady, McIntosh, Jonathan, Braeburn or Granny Smith apples. Feel free to use a combination of apples or a combination of sweet and tart apples to make a sharp sweet-tart cider.
Yes, but this method will take longer than using an electric pressure cooker. Here's how:
1. Place the fruits and spices in a large pot. Add enough water to cover by about an inch. Bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 1.5 hours, or until the apples are soft and mushy. Stir occasionally.
2. Once the apples are soft, use a potato masher or a large spoon to mash them in the pot to release more flavor and juice. Continue to simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool slightly. Once it's cool enough to handle, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a clean container or another pot.
3. Return the strained liquid to the stove and heat it over low heat. Add the optional sugar and stir until it dissolves. Taste and adjust the sweetness if needed by adding more sugar. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes, then cool and serve.
Yes! Follow the instructions here to make apple cider in a slow cooker instead.
Mulled apple cider is made with whole spices that infuse the entire drink with it's signature flavor. Water is heated with the spices and fruits, which sweeten it and give it an intensely cozy and aromatic earthy flavor. It's meant to drink warm or hot, whereas apple cider is meant to be drank cold.
Instant Pot Apple Cider
- Wash the apples and oranges and cut into halves or quarters, leaving the skins on. Discard the apple cores.
- Put the oranges and apples in the inner pot of the pressure cooker. Pour in the water and add the whole spices (star anise, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries). Close the lid and seal. Set to pressure cook/manual on high for 15 minutes.
- Allow the pot to complete a full natural release of pressure. Remove the lid and use a potato masher to press down on the apples and oranges. They will easily mash, releasing lots more flavor into the liquid.
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a large heat-safe bowl. You can also place a cheesecloth over the strainer to catch as many fruit solids and spice residue as possible. Carefully pour the contents of the Instant Pot into the strainer to filter the solids out. Discard solids. *If adding sweetener, add it to the hot cider after straining out the solids.
- Transfer the hot cider into a glass or heat-safe jug. Serve warm (or cold).