Cranberry Apple Cider

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Enjoy a warm mug of spiced apple cider combined with two types of juices, pieces of fruit, and plenty of spices for a delicious holiday drink.

A mug of cider with a cinnamon stick in it and silver and blue ornaments around it.

The holidays are coming and that means the weather is getting colder.   I don’t know about you but whenever I’m home on a cold evening I want something hot to drink in order to warm me up.

Some of my favorite cold weather drinks are Spiked Eggnog White Hot Chocolate, Cranberry Ginger Tea, and this Pumpkin Spice Latte.   All of them warm me up and make me ready to face a cold winter day.

When I’m at a holiday party or gathering I usually search out a hot beverage to enjoy before drinking anything else because it gets cold outside.   Sometimes people have tea and coffee which is fine but at the holidays I want something a little more festive and special.

A mug of warm apple cider is always one of my favorites.  Whether it’s just apple cider heated up or there are things added to it I enjoy the sweet warmth of it.  Hot Spiced Apple Cider is a favorite around here.

However, apple cider isn’t just for drinking!   Some people enjoy using it in their cooking like in this Cider Brined Baked Chicken recipe or this Apple Cider Brined Chicken.   Of course it’s super popular in baked goods like Apple Cider Donuts or Apple Cider Pie.

Ingredients for the Cranberry Apple Cider.


  • apple cider
  • cranberry juice
  • orange juice
  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon sticks
  • vanilla bean (optional)
  • apple
  • orange
  • cranberries

To Make the Cider:  Heat everything together in a medium pot over medium heat on the stove top.  Mix occasionally and simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve with additional cinnamon sticks and orange slices.

I had a bag of fresh cranberries in my refrigerator which I knew would be great in a mug of apple cider.  I started looking around to see what else I could put in it to make it the best apple cider I’ve had.

I settled on adding orange juice and cranberry juice to the apple cider.  I thought both of those would give it a bit of a tartness.  While I love apple cider it tends to run on the ultra sweet side so adding in a few other juices helps mellow it out.

A saucepan with apple cider, sliced apples, fresh cranberries, and cinnamon sticks in it.

I also added in some whole cinnamon sticks.  Then I sliced a vanilla bean in half down the center and put that in too.   If you don’t have a vanilla bean just add a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract to the apple cider AFTER you are done cooking it.  You don’t want the vanilla to burn off.

Can I use other juices?

I’m sure you can but you’ll want to test them out before doing so.  Orange and cranberry really compliment apple well so I knew they would work in this recipe.  They both are sweet and tart which is what I was going for. 

Can I add different fruit slices?

Yes!   When it comes to fruit slices you can add oranges, lemons, limes, or apples.   Any of these would be fine in the mixture.

What other spices can I use?

Whole star anise would be lovely in this cider.  It will add flavor and look pretty.  You can also add whole cloves.   Other options would be a sprinkle of allspice or nutmeg.

Can I make this alcoholic?

You sure can!   Adding in a cup of bourbon during the last few minutes of cooking time will help it combine into the cider without it burning off.  If you want to keep some of it non-alcoholic just make the recipe as it is written and add a shot of bourbon to each mug of cider you serve to the adults.

A mug of cider with orange slices in it.

Once everything is finished simply pour into mugs.  Add in a few of the fresh cranberries, a slice of orange, and a cinnamon stick.

If you want to make this and use it on an apple cider bar that would be super fun.   I would double or triple the recipe.   Then put it in a slow cooker on low to keep it warm while people serve themselves.

More Apple Cider Recipes:

Then set up a topping bar for your apple cider.  Have bowls of orange slices and fresh cranberries.   Then containers of cinnamon sticks and whole cloves.  You can even have whipped cream ready to go.

This apple cider is sweet but definitely has some tart notes from the cranberry and orange juices.   The flavors from the spices really come through and the vanilla bean gives it a nice finish. It’s perfect to drink from fall until spring!

A mug of cider with cinnamon sticks, cranberries, and oranges in it.

If you’ve tried my Easy Spiced Cranberry Apple Cider or any other recipe on Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. I love hearing from you! You can FOLLOW ME on:

A mug of cider with a cinnamon stick in it and silver and blue ornaments around it.

Apple Cranberry Cider

Yield: serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Enjoy a warm mug of spiced apple cider combined with two types of juices, pieces of fruit, and plenty of spices for a delicious holiday drink.


  • 4 c. apple cider
  • 3/4 c. cranberry juice
  • 1/4 c. orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 vanilla bean (optional)
  • 1 apple, cut horizontally into slices
  • 1 orange, cut into horizontal slices
  • 1/4 c. fresh or frozen cranberries


  1. In a medium saucepan combine the apple cider, cranberry juice, orange juice, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla bean sliced lengthwise.
  2. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
  3. Add in the apple slices, orange slices, and cranberries and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Divide the mixture between 4 mugs and add a cinnamon stick, apple slice, orange slice, and a few cranberries.


A Hezzi-D Original recipe


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