Slow Cooker Mulled Apple Cider with a Twist!

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The twist with this Mulled Apple Cider recipe is the addition of five-spice powder, rather than classic pumpkin pie spices. It adds a little something special to an already great tasting combination. A cup of this hot cider drink makes everything better when you come in from the cold!

This post is part of Create the Holidays (formerly Create Christmas) – a series of festive recipes, crafts, printables and more on The Purple Pumpkin Blog!

Two glasses of hot apple cider each with a cinnamon stick and star anise inside. Additional spices are scattered around the glasses. Text overlay says"Mulled Apple Cider with a Twist!" Images of the same drink featured throughout with different text overlay unless otherwise described.

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Mulled 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. Images in this post are for illustrative purposes only.

If you’re looking for a tasty non-alcoholic hot drink to enjoy on cold winter nights, then you simply must make this mulled apple cider recipe!

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!

Mulled Apple Cider in the Crock Pot

One of the best things about this delicious recipe is the warm and wonderful aroma that fills your home every time you make it.

It’s a great way to welcome your family home after a long day or to create a cozy atmosphere on a chilly fall or winter weekend afternoon.

For added ambiance at your next gathering or get-together, whip up a batch to have quietly simmering in the background – your guests will thank you!

While this is a slow cooker recipe, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t make this warm cider drink in a saucepan on the stove, as all you are doing is imparting the spices and flavorings into the apple cider.

When creating a mulled drink (such as mulled wine or cider) the combination of spices varies, but it usually consists of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg, and can also contain other ingredients such as dried fruits. You may find bags of mulling spices at your grocery store.

However, in this recipe, there is a twist, and instead of the traditional flavors, we are using five-spice powder which is used a lot in Chinese cuisine.

The five flavors of the spices (sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and pungent) refers to the five traditional Chinese elements and contain: cinnamon, fennel seeds, star anise, Sichuan peppercorn and cloves.

Ingredients Used In This Beverage

For your convenience, I’ve linked any specialized ingredients needed for this recipe to Amazon below.

Slow Cooker Mulled Apple Cider

More Hot Drinks To Make

Need some more winter warmers to sip on? Try these out!

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How Do I Make Mulled 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!).

Mulled Apple Cider Recipe

Mulled Apple Cider

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 5 minutes

The twist with this Mulled Apple Cider recipe is the addition of five-spice powder, rather than classic pumpkin pie spices.


  • ½ gallon fresh apple cider (cloudy apple juice)
  • 1 medium orange, sliced
  • ½ c. fresh orange juice
  • 3 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 10-15 whole cloves
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp five-spice powder

Optional Garnish

  • Fresh orange slices
  • Whole cinnamon sticks
  • Whole Star Anise


  1. Add all ingredients to a slow cooker pot and stir to combine.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7. When finished, remove and discard cinnamon sticks and cooked orange slices. Alternatively, simmer in a saucepan over low heat for 30-60 minutes.
  3. Ladle warm cider into large mugs and serve with additional orange slices, cinnamon sticks, and star anise if desired.
  4. Enjoy!
  5. Mulled Apple Cider Recipe

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 130Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 6mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 6gSugar: 24gProtein: 1g

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.

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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!

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