Apples are one of my favorite things about autumn. We go apple picking, we bring home fresh apple cider, and we commence baking a number of delicious apple-infused treats for the whole family to enjoy. Yet, there is one recipe that I always wanted to try, but hadn’t, until now—boiled apple cider.
Every year I read about this delicious apple cider syrup and want to give it a try, but then I always decide to drink the cider instead. This is, in part, because I love apple cider and was worried I would be disappointed to have wasted perfectly good apple cider.
Two years ago I decided to give it a try, and it didn’t work for me. In hindsight, I now realize this is because I did not wait long enough for my reduction to reach completion. I wanted to give this another try. After some research I learned many recipes suggest longer boil times, so I proceeded with caution.
I wondered if this was going to work for me, and I became convinced I had the wrong apple cider and that the cider was just evaporating and would continue to do so until the pot was empty. I stuck with it, and I’m glad I did because the cider was bubbling away and all of a sudden—success! The boiled cider definitely lived up to the hype. Boiled cider can be used for pancakes, caramel, baking, and more to add flavor to other dishes. Of course, we celebrated this milestone by using it as topping for vanilla ice cream!
I have since made boiled cider multiple times. The apple cider reduces to a dark, thick syrup with an intense but delicious apple cider flavor. Cooking times will vary depending on the heat and the amount of cider used; however, I will share the method that works for me. I use a full gallon for this recipe and buy a separate gallon to enjoy as cider, but if you have more will power than I do you can probably just buy the one gallon for the reduction. Please note, you want to get fresh apple cider for this recipe. You are looking for the cider that needs to be refrigerated, often also sold at local orchards.
Boiled Apple Cider
Start to finish: 2 hours and 30 minutes
- 1 gallon of fresh apple cider
- Stainless steel pot
Pour the apple cider into a large, nonreactive pot (e.g., stainless steel) and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir every 30 minutes and boil the cider for about two and a half hours. Your time may vary depending on the amount of cider used and the level of heat used.
You will know it is done when the cider reduces down to about 12% or one eighth of the original volume. Small, copper-colored bubbles start to form at the surface of the cider. Ultimately, you are looking for a consistency that behaves like warm honey. When you dip a spoon into the pot, the cider should coat the back of the spoon, and this is the method I use to determine when it is done. Be careful that you do not boil the cider for too long because it will thicken too much to be used. To store it, I put my boiled cider in a glass container with a tight lid in the refrigerator. I can tell you it is well worth the effort, enjoy!
Want to learn more? The King Arthur Flour blog has a great overview on boiled apple cider.