Talk about comfort in a cup! This warm, spiced Caramel Apple Cider is packed with some of the best flavors of fall… apple cider, pumpkin pie spice, and delicious, silky caramel. Best of all is your slow cooker does most of the work for you while it fills your house with amazing autumnal aromas!
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Caramel Apple Cider
The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions and to ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required as well as understand the steps and timings involved.
This recipe for Caramel Apple Cider is non-alcoholic – so non-drinkers and kids can enjoy it.
Now, if you are British, you may be thinking, “but cider is alcoholic!”. And yes, you would be right. However, apple cider as described in this American recipe is not.
Let me explain!
Cider vs Apple Cider vs Hard Cider
Just in case this is your first visit to my blog, you may not know that I am British and live in the UK. I have a split audience, with a lot of my readers in the USA, as well as in the UK and the rest of the world. This can have its challenges when it comes to recipes and ingredients, and even words!
And here we are with one of those words: CIDER.
Here in the UK, cider is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of apples. Part of England known as the West Country is like the spiritual home of cider, especially in Somerset! According to Wiki, the UK has the world’s highest per capita consumption, as well as its largest cider-producing companies.
Now, over in the USA, cider refers to unfiltered apple juice, traditionally made with a distinct sweet-tart taste. The closest thing that I think we could get in the UK is cloudy apple juice.
What we Brits call cider, the Americans call hard cider. Then to add even more confusion, Canada uses the terms “cider” and “apple cider” interchangeably. (Although they generally refer to alcoholic and juice beverages, respectively. )
After several vacations to the US, I have become used to using the term hard cider to talk about the alcoholic beverage! Any time I use alcoholic cider in mixed drinks, I will refer to it has hard cider to avoid any confusion! In non-alcoholic drinks I will use apple cider/cloudy apple juice and hope that everyone understands!
Ingredients Used In Caramel Apple Cider
There are three elements used for making this drink – caramel sauce, whipped cream topping, and the apple cider itself. All which are made from scratch and the directions are of course in the recipe card.
You can simplify this recipe quite a bit with the use of store-bought caramel sauce and whipped cream.
However, for a truly decadent experience without all the artificial ingredients, give the homemade versions a try at least once! I promise you it is worth it!
The ingredients are pretty standard and should be found in your local supermarket or grocery store.
Make sure you use 100% pure maple syrup as anything less is just made up of corn syrup. And grab a few extra cinnamon sticks so that they can be used as stirrers as well as go into the slow cooker when you make the apple cider.
If you can’t source pumpkin pie spice, it’s really easy to make your own blend:
How Do I Make Pumpkin Pie Spice?
Stir the following spices together and store in an airtight jar in a cool, dry place. Use as required in recipes. You can adjust the levels of spices to your own personal preferences if you like.
- 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- 1 Tbsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp ground allspice
- 2 tsp ground cloves
More Mocktails To Make
Want to make more cocktails? I think you’re going to love these ones:
- Warm Autumn Fruit Punch
- Pumpkin Juice – Harry Potter Copycat Recipe
- Berry Peach Non-Alcoholic Sangria Mocktail
How Do I Make Caramel Apple Cider?
Just check out the recipe card below with full ingredients and instructions. You can print the card out too (don’t worry, any pics don’t print to save your ink!).
This would be great to serve at a party or gathering – simply double or triple the ingredients to make a bigger batch. You can keep it warming in the slow cooker pot for guests to serve themselves and provide the additional toppings as required.
For the Caramel Sauce
- ½ cup heavy cream (double cream)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 Tbsps water
- 4 Tbsps unsalted butter
For the Maple Whipped Cream
- 1 pint heavy whipped cream (double cream)
- 1-2 Tbsps real maple syrup
For the Apple Cider
- ½ gallon apple cider
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 Tbsps pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tsp real vanilla extract
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- ¾ cup. homemade caramel sauce, divided, recipe below
- Maple-whipped cream, recipe below
- To make the caramel sauce, warm the cream in a small saucepan over low heat. (You’ll want to slightly warm up the cream to prevent curdling when it is added to the hot liquid).
- Add the sugar and water to a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir to combine. Set the spoon aside and do not stir the sugar mixture again.
- Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. If sugar crystals remain on the sides of the pan, gently brush them back down with a moistened silicon baking brush.
- Continue boiling until the mixture turns a nice amber color. Do not overcook. If the mixture gets too dark at this stage, you will need to start over. If a dark spot forms on one side due to uneven heating, lift the pan and gently swirl until the color is even again. Return pan to the burner and reduce heat when the desired color is achieved.
- Slowly whisk in the warmed cream until thoroughly incorporated. Be very careful while doing so because the sugar mixture will be extremely hot and will bubble up when the cooler cream is added.
- Remove from heat and add butter. Stir with a clean spoon until butter is totally incorporated into the mixture.
- Cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To make the maple whipped cream, blend 1 pint of heavy whipping cream with a hand or immersion blender until it doubles in size and changes texture. Then, drizzle maple syrup into the bowl and continue blending until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- To make the apple cider, add the apple cider, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and cinnamon sticks to a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours.
- After 2½ hours, stir in ½ cup caramel sauce. Cover and allow the flavors to mingle for the remaining 30 minutes.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks and discard.
- To serve, ladle the hot cider into mugs and top with maple whipped cream and drizzle with additional caramel sauce.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 465Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 125mgCarbohydrates: 85gFiber: 1gSugar: 78gProtein: 2g
This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
Make It A Meal!
The beverage is covered, but what about other dishes to make this recipe into a full meal? Here are my suggestions!
- Appetizer: Fall Harvest Soup
- Main Dish: Bratwurst Skillet with Apples and Vegetables
- Side Dish: Creamy Cauliflower Cheese Casserole with Bacon
- Dessert: Baked Apple Cinnamon Crisp
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy! Please feel free to check them out too.