Best Pumpkin Cider: A Pulp-Free Guide to Liquid Pumpkin Pie

Autumn has a magical way of casting a warm, cozy spell over everything it touches. The air feels crisp, leaves change to vibrant hues, and our taste buds yearn for flavors that embody the essence of the season.

One of the most captivating tastes that autumn brings is pumpkin cider, a perfect fall drink that combines the rich taste of pumpkin with the tangy sweetness of apple, all wrapped up in a warm, spiced brew.

Whether you’re a fan of store-bought seasonal ciders or prefer to concoct your own pumpkin-infused elixirs at home, this blog post will guide you through the enchanting world of pumpkin cider.

From its unique taste and essential ingredients to various preparation methods and gluten-free options, we’ve got you covered. So, grab your favorite mug, get comfy, and let’s dive into the alluring world of pumpkin cider.

Key Takeaways

  • Pumpkin cider is a sweet and savory seasonal favorite that can be made in your own kitchen with apple cider, pumpkin puree, spices & more.
  • Enhance the flavor of pumpkin cider by using whole spices like cinnamon sticks or cloves.
  • Get creative with fall flavors, try out recipes for pear or apple cinnamon ciders!

The Essence of Pumpkin Cider

Pumpkin cider is a delightful twist on classic apple cider, boasting a rich pumpkin flavor that perfectly complements the sweet tang of apple. It emerges as a seasonal favorite around mid-September, just as fall begins to work its magic.

Many popular cider brands, such as Ash & Elm, offer their own renditions of pumpkin cider, crafted with real pumpkin and a harmonious blend of hand-ground baking spices, including pumpkin spice, for that quintessential autumn taste. Some even source their ingredients from a local pumpkin patch, ensuring the freshest flavors.

But why limit yourself to store-bought options? With a few simple ingredients and a bit of creativity, you can brew your own delicious pumpkin cider right in your kitchen. Whether you’re a fan of slow cooker pumpkin cider or prefer an Instant Pot variation, we’ve got the recipes and tips to help you master this seasonal sensation.

Pumpkin Cider Ingredients Breakdown

In order to brew the ideal pumpkin cider, a select few seasonal ingredients are necessary. The key components that make this drink truly special include:

  • Apple cider
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Allspice berries
  • Whole cloves
  • Star anise
  • Fresh fruit
  • Brown sugar

However, keep in mind that not all ingredients hold the same value. In the subsequent subsections, we’ll investigate the subtle distinctions between pumpkin puree and real pumpkin, apple cider and apple juice, along with the spices that amplify this fall favorite’s flavor.

Pumpkin Puree vs. Real Pumpkin

In the process of making pumpkin cider, opting for pumpkin puree or real pumpkin can influence the beverage’s flavor and consistency. Pumpkin puree offers a strong, distinctive flavor, while real pumpkin brings a more subtle, squash-like taste with a hint of herbs. Using pumpkin puree results in a smooth, velvety texture, while real pumpkin may yield a thinner consistency.

Worry not, pumpkin enthusiasts! Preparing your own pumpkin puree is quite straightforward. Here’s how:

  1. Grab a couple of small pumpkins.
  2. Cut them in half.
  3. Scoop out the seeds and pulp.
  4. Blend the pieces in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  5. Store the puree in a food-safe container or refrigerate for later use.

Apple Cider vs. Apple Juice

Selecting either apple cider or apple juice can considerably alter your pumpkin cider’s flavor. Here are the differences between the two:

  • Apple cider is made from freshly pressed apples with minimal processing.
  • Apple juice is more processed and typically made from concentrate.
  • Apple cider usually contains more sugar than apple juice, resulting in a sweeter and more flavorful pumpkin cider.

If you find yourself without apple cider, don’t worry – apple juice can serve as a suitable substitute in a pinch. The primary consideration is to make sure the apple element harmonizes with the pumpkin flavors and spices, resulting in a balanced, fall-infused concoction.

Spices to Enhance Flavor

Your choice of spices can significantly impact the success of your pumpkin cider. Cinnamon sticks, cloves, and pumpkin pie spice are essential ingredients that impart warmth and depth to the drink. These spices not only bring their own unique flavor profiles but also enhance the natural sweetness of the apple cider and pumpkin.

Whenever feasible, choose whole spices over ground ones. Here are some reasons why:

  • Whole spices provide better flavor and freshness compared to ground ones.
  • Whole spices allow for customization, as you can adjust the amount and intensity of flavor by crushing or grinding them yourself.
  • Whole spices look great floating atop your pumpkin cider, adding a touch of rustic charm.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cider Recipe

Eager to prepare your own slow cooker pumpkin cider? With a few straightforward steps and the ingredients we’ve detailed, you can concoct a cozy, heartwarming fall beverage that is bound to amaze your loved ones.

In the following subsections, we’ll discuss pointers on blending ingredients in the slow cooker, the appropriate cooking time and temperature, as well as how to filter and serve your delightful concoction.

Combining Ingredients in the Slow Cooker

Pour the apple cider and water into your slow cooker first. Then, add the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar. To make it even easier, you can mix the pumpkin puree with other ingredients like brown sugar, spices, and water in a saucepan before pouring the mixture into the slow cooker. Finally, add the remaining ingredients, such as apple cider, cinnamon sticks, and fruit slices, and give it a good stir to combine everything.

With all the ingredients combined in your slow cooker, you’re well on your way to crafting a delightful pumpkin cider. Now, it’s time to focus on the cooking process.

Cooking Time and Temperature

To achieve optimal outcomes, it is advisable to simmer your pumpkin cider for 4 hours on a low heat setting. The cooking temperature significantly influences the flavor and consistency of your pumpkin cider.

  • Higher temperatures yield a more intense flavor
  • Lower temperatures produce a milder taste
  • The cider’s consistency may also change, becoming thinner when hot and thickening as it cools.

To prevent your pumpkin cider from burning or scorching, refrain from cooking it on a high heat setting. Instead, allow it to simmer gently on low heat, letting the flavors develop and meld together beautifully.

Straining and Serving Tips

Once your pumpkin cider has reached its perfect state, it’s time to filter and serve it to ensure optimal flavor and presentation. A fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth is ideal for this task, ensuring that your cider is smooth and free of any unwanted solids. If you don’t have cheesecloth on hand, you can also use:

  • coffee filters
  • a fine wire sieve
  • a clean linen towel
  • thick paper towels

as alternatives.

After straining, serve your pumpkin cider warm for the ultimate cozy experience. The enticing aroma and rich flavors will transport you and your guests to a world of autumnal bliss.

Instant Pot Pumpkin Cider Alternative

If you favor an Instant Pot over a slow cooker, you can still whip up a delicious pumpkin cider by slightly modifying the procedure. Follow the same steps as for slow cooker pumpkin cider, but cook the liquid mixture on high for 15 minutes and then do a natural release.

The Instant Pot offers several advantages over a slow cooker, such as quicker cooking times, automatic temperature control, and easy cleanup. So, whether you’re a slow cooker devotee or an Instant Pot enthusiast, you can enjoy a perfectly crafted pumpkin cider this fall season.

Hard Pumpkin Cider: Adding a Kick

For those seeking an additional hint of warmth in their pumpkin cider, consider transforming it into a hard cider by incorporating alcohol. Spirits like brandy, bourbon, or rum can be added while your cider simmers in the slow cooker, giving it a bold, boozy kick.

Experiment with different types of alcohol to find the perfect balance of flavors for your hard pumpkin cider. The key is to choose a spirit that complements the pumpkin, apple, and spice notes without overpowering them. Raise a glass and toast to the season with your very own hard pumpkin cider.

Storing and Reheating Pumpkin Cider

To maintain your pumpkin cider’s freshness and taste, appropriate storage and reheating techniques are crucial. You can store leftover pumpkin cider in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, ensuring it’s covered or stored in an airtight container. If you need to store it for longer, pumpkin cider can be frozen for up to 3 months.

When it’s time to reheat your pumpkin cider, transfer it to a pot or saucepan and warm it on the stove until it reaches your desired temperature. The enticing aroma and rich flavors will come back to life, making it just as enjoyable as the day you first made it.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cider Options

If you have dietary restrictions, you’ll be glad to learn that classic pumpkin cider is naturally devoid of gluten. There are also numerous gluten-free pumpkin cider brands available, such as Harpoon Pumpkin Cider and Woodchuck Hard Cider, which have been tested and certified as gluten-free.

Always read the label or contact the manufacturer to ensure a pumpkin cider product is gluten-free. This way, you can enjoy the delightful flavors of pumpkin cider without any concerns about gluten.

More Fall-Inspired Cider Recipes

If you’re interested in broadening your selection of fall beverages, there is an abundance of other autumn-inspired delicious cider recipes to discover, including seasonal cider options. Apple cinnamon cider and pear cider are popular choices that capture the essence of the season.

To make apple cinnamon cider, simply combine apple cider and cinnamon sticks in a pot or saucepan, simmer for 15-20 minutes, remove the cinnamon sticks, and serve warm. If you happen to have any leftover cider, store it in the refrigerator for future use.

For a delightful pear cider, simmer fresh pears, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, water, and optional star anise in a stockpot until the pears are soft and the flavors have melded. Sweeten the pear cider with maple syrup or brown sugar to taste, and serve warm.


Pumpkin cider is a quintessential fall drink that brings together the rich flavors of pumpkin, apple, and spices in a warm, comforting beverage.

With various preparation methods, such as slow cooker pumpkin cider or Instant Pot pumpkin cider, and options for a gluten-free or hard pumpkin cider, there’s a version to suit every taste.

As the leaves change and the air turns crisp, gather your friends and family to celebrate the season with a mug of homemade pumpkin cider. Whether you’re toasting with a classic pumpkin cider or sipping on a fall-inspired apple cinnamon or pear cider, embrace the warm, cozy flavors that autumn has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a pumpkin cider?

Yes, Harpoon Pumpkin Cider is made with real pumpkin and freshly pressed apples with seasonal spices, making it a natural and gluten-free cider.

What is pumpkin cider made of?

Warm up with a glass of slow cooker pumpkin cider – made with apple cider, brown sugar, mulling spices and real pumpkin. Enjoy the delightful aromas that fill your home all day long!

What are the ingredients in Docs pumpkin cider?

Celebrate the autumn season with a glass of Docs pumpkin cider! This tasty concoction is made with roasted pumpkins, cinnamon, allspice, fresh ginger and nutmeg for a rich, hearty flavor. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the changing of the seasons and the flavors of fall. Plus, it’s a great way to support local businesses and farmers.

What percent is Downeast pumpkin cider?

Downeast Pumpkin Cider has an ABV of 5.1%, making it a light and refreshing beverage to enjoy.

What is the difference between pumpkin puree and real pumpkin in pumpkin cider recipes?

Pumpkin puree has a stronger flavor and smoother texture, while real pumpkin is more subtle and has a thinner consistency.

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