Apple cider is the perfect thing to sip during fall—warm or cold, spiked or straight—but these sweet and savory apple cider recipes prove it’s also great for cooking with in every course. (A neat trick to pull for your next fall dinner party.)
If you can get local cider from a farmers’ market or other source, that’s always preferable for the best flavor, but (more so for the savory recipes) be sure you’re buying plain cider, not spiced.
And if you’ve ever been confused about exactly what you’re getting at the grocery store, read up on the difference between apple juice and apple cider. Then get cooking—or baking, or breaking out the cocktail shaker…or all three.
Brining a turkey ensures perfectly moist meat and our recipe includes 2 cups of apple cider in the mix to help infuse the bird with flavor. Be sure to thaw the turkey with plenty of time to spare, and see our tips on how to cook turkey for more pointers. Since the turkey’s so juicy, you can save the cream gravy for your mashed potatoes. Get our Brined Turkey with Cream Gravy recipe.
Pork and apples (in every form) are perfect partners, so our tender pork loin’s creamy sauce contains both nonalcoholic apple cider and very alcoholic apple brandy. The sweet cippolini onions and salty pancetta pair beautifully with all the warm, rich flavors too. Get our Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cider Calvados Cream Sauce recipe.
Related Reading: Don’t Confuse Pork Loin with Pork Tenderloin—Here’s Why
There are lots of secret chili ingredients out there, apple cider vinegar being one of them, but why not try actual apple cider when it’s abundant in fall? Fresh apples end up in the pot too (but beans do not). Get the Apple Cider Chili recipe.
Apples can even work with seafood, like sweet, tender scallops. Gastrique sounds super fancy, but it’s basically just a savory caramel sauce—and here, it’s made by simply cooking down apple cider until it’s more like a glaze. Get the Scallops with Apple Cider Gastrique recipe.
To bridge the gap between savory and sweet, we love apple butter. Our recipe calls for tart green apples, 2 cups of apple cider, warm spices, sugar, and vanilla. You cook it in a Dutch oven for several hours (but you can also make it in a Crock-Pot), and then the possibilities are practically endless. Get our Apple Butter recipe.
Related Reading: Inventive Ways to Use Apple Butter Beyond Toast
Making caramel isn’t as scary as you might think, and these soft, chewy caramel candies are infused with apple cider and warm spices for a classic old-fashioned treat that never goes out of style. Get the Apple Cider Caramels recipe.
This easy cake is full of sliced Granny Smith apples, cinnamon, and heavy cream—and has a full cup of apple cider in the batter too. The sweet-tart glaze has another cup of cider in it for extra apple goodness, but both times, the cider is reduced to intensify its flavor and make it a bit more syrupy. Get the New England Apple Cider Cake recipe.
There are tons of awesome ways to eat apples for breakfast, but apple cider doughnuts might be one of the best. You can bake your own in the classic style, but for something a little fancier, try these piped and fried French crullers with a warming chai spice glaze. Get the Mulled Apple Cider Chai French Crullers recipe.
Fear of frying? These easy apple cider doughnut holes from Jessie Sheehan are fantastic, and make use of your mini muffin pan. Reduced apple cider, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, and vanilla make them taste like fall; a dip in melted butter makes them taste like fried doughnuts. Get the Easy Apple Cider Donut Hole recipe.
Want to change up your pumpkin pie routine? Our pumpkin chiffon pie has a much lighter, airier texture than the usual dense custard, and calls for a bit of apple cider (or bourbon) in both the spiced filling and the fluffy whipped cream topping. It’s all cradled in an easy press-in vanilla cookie crust. Get our Pumpkin Chiffon Pie recipe.
Related Reading: The Best New Baking Books for Fall
This breakfast casserole is honestly sweet and rich enough for dessert (especially if you add a scoop of vanilla ice cream), and it’s designed to be prepped the day before. The bread soaks in a custard of apple cider, buttermilk, vanilla, and cinnamon overnight, and is then layered with apples and dulce de leche before baking. Serve while still warm and gooey, whatever time of day you eat it. Get our Caramel Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Casserole recipe.
We can’t neglect cider-based libations, of course. Warm apple drinks are wonderful, but cold, crisp ones make for great fall cocktails too. For this one, you combine sweet cider and smoky mezcal with a dash of orange liqueur. The glass is rimmed with an autumnal mix of cinnamon, sugar, and allspice—basically, everything nice. Get the Honeycrisp Crush Apple Cocktail recipe.
That said, if you need something toasty to ward off a chill, try this take on the hot toddy with unfiltered apple cider, honey syrup, dark rum, and a little of the acquired-taste liqueur, Fernet-Branca. Get our Fernet Apple Hot Toddy recipe.
Fernet Branca, $18.98+ on Drizly
This Italian herb and spice liqueur is pretty bitter, but apple cider and honey help it go down easy.