Caramel Apple Cider is an all-natural Starbucks copycat that tastes like warm apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream...in a mug!
Oh my word, y'all. Move over hot chocolate...I have a new favorite warm drink for chilly days! This Caramel Apple Cider is, simply put, amazing.
In fact, I can't really think of a better description than what I wrote in the flowery line at the top of this post. It tastes just like warm, spiced apple pie topped with rich, creamy vanilla ice cream...except in beverage form!
If you've ever had a Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice, you're already familiar with the phenomenon that is apple cider on steroids. Because as delicious as a plain and simple warm apple cider is on a blustery day, sometimes it can't really compete with luscious, decadent hot chocolate. But this drink...this Caramel Apple Cider drink will give regular ol' hot cocoa a run for its money!
Like the Starbucks drink that it mimics, this apple "cider" begins with a base of apple juice, although you can certainly use actual cider if you happen to have some on hand. But unlike anything from Starbucks, this version is made using much more natural ingredients.
It's flavored with a quick and easy Homemade Cinnamon Syrup (which calls for ground cinnamon as opposed to cinnamon sticks, since most people already stock the former in their spice cabinets).
Then it's topped with light, fresh whipped cream and drizzled with a gooey caramel sauce.
I use my 5-Minute, 5-Ingredient Homemade Caramel Sauce because it's, well, ready in five minutes...not to mention the fact that it's eat-with-a-spoon divine. If you decide to make your own caramel sauce as well, just do so a bit ahead of time so that it can cool and thicken a bit and doesn't melt your whipped cream on contact!
How to Make Caramel Apple Cider
Simple yet decadent, this Caramel Apple Cider recipe is a cinch to make!
- Bring apple juice or cider to a low simmer in a small pot set over medium heat. Alternatively, you can heat in the microwave.
- Transfer the warm apple juice to a large mug.
- Stir in a tablespoon of cinnamon syrup, or more to taste.
- Top with a generous dollop of fresh whipped cream.
- Drizzle with caramel sauce.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
You can make the cinnamon syrup, caramel sauce, and whip cream ahead of time for quick assembly whenever a Caramel Apple Cider craving hits.
Or you can buy store-bought cinnamon syrup, caramel sauce, and canned whip cream...I won't tell! 😉
Set Up a Caramel Apple Cider Bar!
And you know what else? This Caramel Apple Cider can easily be multiplied in order to whip up a whole big batch!
Serve it out of a slow cooker at your next fall gathering, Halloween shin-dig, or holiday party as part of a "caramel apple cider bar," complete with a bowl of whipped cream for dolloping and a jar of caramel syrup for drizzling.
That way your guests can dress up their drinks to their liking!
That's it...a Caramel Apple Cider that's beyond simple and scrumptious!
So bring on fall, y'all...I know exactly how I'm going to stay warm and cozy this year. 😉
More Cozy Drinks
- All-Natural & Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer
- Crockpot Hot Chocolate ~ 4 Flavors!
- Warm Pumpkin Spice Drink
- Chai Tea Mix
Caramel Apple Cider
- Bring apple juice to a low simmer in a small pot set over medium heat (or warm it in the microwave). Transfer to a large mug and stir in 1 tablespoon Homemade Cinnamon Syrup (or more, to taste). Top with a generous dollop of fresh whipped cream and drizzle with 1 tablespoon Homemade Caramel Sauce. Serve warm.
- To make a large batch of apple cider in the crock pot, multiply this single recipe by your number of desired servings, keeping in mind the maximum capacity of your slow cooker. Pour the apple juice in the slow cooker and flavor it with the cinnamon syrup. Set out a chilled bowl of whipped cream, a jar of caramel sauce, and a bunch of mugs for people to dress up their drinks.
- To make approximately 2 cups of fresh WHIPPED CREAM, start with 1 cup chilled heavy cream. Use an electric mixer to beat at medium speed until soft peaks just begin to appear. Sprinkle ¼ cup (sifted) powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract over the whipped cream and beat at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat! Whipped cream may be tightly covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. ***This amount of whipped cream is enough to top 4 to 6 servings of Caramel Apple Cider, so reduce or multiply it accordingly, depending on how many servings you wish to make.***
- To set up a Caramel Apple Cider Bar for a party, fill a slow cooker with apple juice/apple cider, and stir in 1 tablespoon cinnamon syrup for every 12 ounces of juice. Set out mugs alongside a big bowl of whipped cream for dolloping and a jar of caramel syrup for drizzling.
Post originally published on October 16, 2014, and updated on December 30, 2020, and October 18, 2023.