Making Simple Cider

Simple Cider Recipe
A Simple Recipe for Making Hard Cider

I’m frequently asked for a simple hard cider recipe. I published “My First Cider” recipe several years ago, which was intended to help guide the first time cider maker. However, I recognize that it may not be considered the simplest or easiest recipe. In fact, it’s less recipe and more methodology. It is simple in that I wrote it to minimize the equipment you need to purchase and it’s easy in that it should answer almost any question you might have making your first cider. It isn’t simple if you’re looking for a list of quick steps and instructions. “Simple Cider” is my answer to anyone who just wants to make a batch of cider and isn’t worried about all the details.

I created my usual downloadable PDF recipe page for Simple Cider to make is easy to follow and printable for those who like paper. I also added this easy cider recipe to my Recipe Page. Click on the following links to head directly to the Simple Cider recipe page or the broader recipe page. You can also keep reading for a little more insight into this recipe and why it’s not easy or simple to create a simple cider recipe.

There are a few challenges to making the simplest hard cider recipe. The first is the juice source, the second is the equipment, and the third is the yeast. Let me try to explain these challenges simply.

Juice Source: One reason people often want to make hard cider is that they have a tree that suddenly produced an abundance of apples. They simply have too many apples. The challenge is how do you convert your apples into juice. Luckily, you found, your source for all things cider. I have several articles on how to convert apples to juice. There are articles that cover grinding and pressing, freezing, juicing, and even using a washing machine. You can read my tips for pressing apples or if you have a juicer, you can jump to my article on using a juicer. But to make a recipe simple, I need to understand where you are starting. Are you using apples or juice?

Equipment: If you have apples, you need some way to convert those into juice. That takes some equipment or a kit as my British friends might say. Above I noted some ideas on using tools that you might have around the house. However, you also need vessels. You need a container to ferment your juice. I recommend FerMonsters, you can find links for them on my recommended products page. You can also use glass carboys, buckets, or even old plastic soda bottles. The challenge is usually size. Each 16-20 pounds of apples will create about 1 gallon of juice (about 2Kg per 1 liter for my metric using readers). Remember that fermentation creates CO2, which must escape or will create large amounts of pressure in your container. You can use a balloon with a pin-hole, a loose cap, or even a cloth to cover your container though most people use an airlock. Remember, we are talking simple and not best. The greatest challenge is post-fermentation. Ideally, you have a hose you can use to siphon off the cider or you can try pouring it. But, you want to leave behind the sediment and pouring makes that difficult. You also need something you can store it. Ideally, this won’t be long-term storage as that’s not a simple recipe. Remember that oxygen is not your cider’s friend so you want to limit the amount of exposure it has to air. Just consider how you will transfer the cider from your fermenting container to your storing/serving container and how big of a container you will need.

Yeast: The simplest recipe might use the yeast naturally on the apples and in your building. But that might also be the most complex. If you define simple as open a package and dump yeast into the container, buy some EC-1118 yeast and do just that. It’s the cheapest yeast you will probably find. If you define simple as not doing anything, don’t add any yeast. Remember, if you are using store bought juice, you will need to use yeast. The bottling process will most likely have included pasteurization, which killed the yeast. If the juice includes sorbic acid (not ascorbic acid, which is Vitamin C) the juice has been chemically sterilized and won’t ferment, even if you add yeast. Don’t use juice with sorbic acid or other preservatives. Use juice that is fresh or pasteurized only.

See, there really is no simple cider recipe but I hope you will appreciate my try at making Simple Cider.

Here are the latest hard cider recipes from Prickly Apple Cider.

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2 thoughts on “Making Simple Cider

  1. G’day,

    I am just writing to say that your simple cider recipe takes you to a “page not found” link on your website.

    Cheers for the great info. 


    As an added bonus, please find attached a photo of the original “Pink Lady” (Cripp’s Pink) tree.


    1. Thanks! I forgot to check them after they first got published. The temporary links I include for unpublished pages never seem to work and I have to go update them. I forgot to do that when they published and only updated them a few hours later. Please check again and let me know if there is an issue. I just checked everything and it seemed to work.


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