Mulled Cider

Fall is upon us and so is the season for all things pumpkin spice. But if you need a break from this iconic blend, try a Mulled Cider or Hot Buttered Rum instead!

overhead of mulled cider with cinnamon sticks


To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of pumpkin spice. I don’t hate it necessarily, I just much prefer the warm flavors of apples, cinnamon and even squash.

That’s where this mulled cider recipe comes in! It’s very popular to serve for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but you don’t need a special occasion to make it.

side view of mulled cider in glass mugs

I like sipping on it as soon as I feel a chill in the air. And because the recipe is so simple and makes a big batch, it’s no big deal to whip up!

Mulled Cider Ingredients

Mulled cider is really just a fancy name for hot apple cider with lots of spices. Luckily, you probably have some (if not all) of the spices in your cabinet already:

pickling spices
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Cardamom pods
  • Allspice berries
  • Whole cloves
  • Star anise pods
  • Dried orange peel
  • Whole black peppercorns
  • and of course apple cider

All of these spices should be used whole. Besides being super pretty when poured into a mug, they also have a longer shelf life than their ground counterparts. You’ll commonly see them referred to as pickling spices.

mulling spices in a jar

How to Dry Orange Peel

Believe it or not, the peel of an orange is loaded with flavor! That’s why a lot of recipes call for “the zest of an orange.”

You could simply buy dried orange peel from the store for this mulled cider, but it can sometimes be hard to find. Plus, if you make it at home, the rest of the orange doesn’t have to go to waste! Use the juice to make fresh orange juice, or put it in this Orange Crush Cocktail.

dried orange peel mulled cider recipe

So the most important part of making dried orange peel at home is to only cut off the peel. You can leave the white bitter parts of the orange behind. It will make your orange peels bitter but also make them take longer to dry.

If you are making this cider ahead of time and are able to, you could simply let the orange peels dry at room temperature for 3-4 days or until completely dry.

If you’re looking for a quicker method, simply place them in the oven at 200 degrees for 25 minutes. Plus, this method makes your house smell amazing!

close up of mulled cider in a glass mug

Spiked Mulled Cider

If you’d like to take your mulled cider up a notch, try spiking it! It’s great for adult holiday parties like Christmas or Thanksgiving.

My favorite alcohol to use is a spiced rum. But if you aren’t partial to rum, you could certainly use something else!

Try using brandy, bourbon. I just suggest that it’s an amber colored liquor, as they have more body and flavor.

easy mulled cider for pinterest

More fall drinks to enjoy:

straight on shot of two mugs of white hot chocolate

Homemade White Hot Chocolate Recipe

4.43 from 182 votes
Homemade White Hot Chocolate is the perfect drink for warming up on cold days. White chocolate hot chocolate is delicious, quick and easy to make! 
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Almond Hot Chocolate is one of the most delicious white hot chocolate recipes to enjoy on a chilly night. Perfect for serving guests at parties too! #almondhotchocolate #whitehotchocolaterecipes

Almond Hot Chocolate

4.63 from 8 votes
Almond Hot Chocolate is one of the most delicious white hot chocolate recipes to enjoy on a chilly night. Perfect for serving guests at parties too! 
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close up of whipped dolgona coffee

Dalgona Whipped Coffee

4.82 from 16 votes
Dalgona Whipped Coffee is a fast and easy recipe that gives you the jolt of caffeine you need while making you feel like you are in a fancy coffee shop.
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how to make mulled cider for pinterest
easy mulled cider recipe

Mulled Cider

4.38 from 16 votes
Whether you serve it at Thanksgiving, Christmas or a cool fall night, this EASY Mulled Cider recipe is perfect for fall. You can spike it too!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 30



  • Place cinnamon sticks, cardamom, allspice, cloves and star anise in an airtight plastic bag or use a pestle and mortar. Gently grind or roll with a rolling pin until a coarse blend forms.
  • Add orange peel and peppercorns, toss to mix.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of mix to every 1/2 gallon of apple cider, heat gently over medium heat for 5 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature. Some people like the bits, but if you don’t, run it through a fine mesh sieve before serving.
  • This recipe will make about 6-7 gallons of mulled cider.
  • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings.


To make it spiked, add
  • Spiced rum
  • Brandy
  • Bourbon 


Calories: 376 kcal, Carbohydrates: 108 g, Protein: 2 g, Fat: 2 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Sodium: 49 mg, Potassium: 1038 mg, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 85 g, Vitamin A: 43 IU, Vitamin C: 10 mg, Calcium: 144 mg, Iron: 3 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 376
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mulled cider, spiked mulled cider
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica is a contributor to PopKitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Recipe Rating

Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Your Mulled Cider recipe came out perfect. My husband and I loved it and will making again! Thanks for sharing excellent instructions and tips!

    Happy Weekend

  2. 5 stars
    I bet the entire house would smell so delicious while this mulled cider is being made! Glad that we can make it to an adult version, too!