A certain crispness in the air brings about craving for apple cider. If you’ve ever visited an apple orchard in the fall, sipping fresh apple cider is just as vital to the experience as picking the apples themselves.
There are three kinds of cider, which can make matters confusing if you’re shopping for a recipe. Here’s a quick guide.
- Fresh cider is the juice of fresh apples. Usually it’s unfiltered and sometimes it’s unpasteurized. It needs to be refrigerated.
- Hard cider is fermented into an alcoholic beverage. It’s fizzy. You buy it in cans or bottles. Some are quite sweet, while others are pleasantly dry, almost Champagne-like.
- Processed cider is nothing but mass-produced apple juice. It’s sold on shelves in bottles and keeps for months, if not years. Very occasionally it’s carbonated (think Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider).
Most of these recipes call for fresh cider. You’ll find warming drinks, cozy bakes, and savory entrees. Cider season is fleeting, so get cooking! However, there’s a workaround to fresh apple cider’s short shelf life: it freezes very well, allowing you months of enjoyment.
Apple Cider Glazed Donut Holes
Apple cider goes into the glaze and dough of these sugary, craggy donut holes. You scoop the dough straight into the frying oil, so there’s no rolling.
Roasted Root Vegetables With Cider Vinaigrette
Roast root vegetables while you simmer cider down for a warm vinaigrette. Toss the vegetables in the dressing and serve for a lovely symphony of fall flavors.
Apple Cider Muffins
Not everyone can get to the orchard to sample the glories of just-fried cider donuts. And what home cook wants to mess with all the oil and spatters of deep-frying? Roll these easy, stir-together muffins in cinnamon sugar and you’ll have an autumn ritual at home that’s just as satisfying as the “authentic” counterpart.
This is a sweet and sour apple butter, but if you prefer something with a less sharp flavor profile, sub apple cider for the cider vinegar. This stuff only gets better and better as it ages.
Chicken Thighs With Cider and Sweet Potatoes
If you bought a big jug of cider only to discover your household is slow in drinking it, think beyond the glass and pour cider into your dinner. Here, seared chicken thighs and diced sweet potatoes are braised in cider for a sweet and tart fall supper.
Hot Mulled Cider
The aroma of mulled cider warmly welcomes guests before they even take one sip. Mulled cider makes any occasion feel more special, yet it is so simple to make. I like to let mine infuse a slow cooker, then serve it straight from the cooker, which keeps it warm.
Easy Apple Cake
Making this cake is a simple stir-together affair, but the flavor and mega-moist crumb are a festival of complexity. Diced fresh apples and applesauce go into the batter, while a glaze of reduced cider goes on top of the just-baked cake.
Slow Cooker Cider Pulled Pork
This recipe is deeply personal to author Summer Miller, who makes it for the giant outdoor fall bash her family throws every year. The pork is perfect for making ahead and reheating—a rest makes it even more succulent—and it freezes beautifully.
Apple Cider Hot Toddy
Cider, spices, and bourbon come together for this apple-fied take on the classic hot toddy. You can swap whiskey for the bourbon, or leave the booze out for a not-toddy.
Pomegranate Mimosa With Hard Cider
Bubbly hard cider stands in for Champagne and pomegranate juice plays the orange juice role in this mimosa. You could use non-alcoholic sparking cider for an alcohol-free drink.
Cider Glazed Salmon
Cook salmon fillets in a skillet with a little cider. The cider reduces and creates the eponymous glaze. Serve with mashed rutabaga for a change of pace from mashed potatoes.
Chai-Spiced Spiked Cider Punch
Tea punches are a festive and enlivening addition to celebrations. Did you know that party punches predate cocktails? This old-fashioned blend of brandy, cider, and lemon gets a modern twist from the addition of brewed chai.
France’s Normandy region is known for apples, plus the brandy and hard cider made from them. A little cream takes the edge off the fresh apples and hard, dry cider that flavor this traditional dish. Hard cider might be hard to come by, so if you like, sub fresh cider and dry white wine.
Cranberry and orange juice plus cider (hard or fresh) meet cinnamon in this cheerful punch that’ll fit right in at most any party.
Sauerkraut With Bacon and Apples
Use two cups of apple cider as the cooking liquid for this bacon-laced sauerkraut. Serve it with pork chops or pork roast.