How to Make the Best Apple Cider

How to Make the Best Apple Cider

Do you have a favorite apple? Would you like to make your own apple cider with your favorite apple as the only ingredient? Surprisingly, that would not taste very good. Create the best apple cider with a mixture of apples from different groups Tricia makes apple cider at home in our video. She uses six kinds of apples with a crusher and press. The qualities that apple experts consider when classifying apples into groups are sugar (measured by Brix), acidity, and tannin. Mixing apples that carry these various attributes is what gives a homemade cider a robust flavor and satisfying “mouthfeel”.

To get you started, here are some popular apples in each group. Seek out your local apple orchards to find varieties that grow especially well in your area, and create a special blend based on your county’s best apples, and your own preferred flavors. Starting Point for Cider Blending Tricia explains in our cider-making video that a good blending starting point for new cider makers is 50% sweet, 35% sharp, and 15% bitter. SWEET Sugar! These apples make your cider sweet, but they’ll need partners from the other groups: Golden Delicious Fuji Gala Red Delicious Jonagold SHARP Tartness comes with higher acid levels: Gravenstein McIntosh Northern Spy Winesap Liberty BITTER including BITTER-SWEET and BITTER-SHARP/BITTER-TART Bitter-sweets are high in the tannins that add complex flavor to ciders, and high in sugar. Bitter-sharp and bitter-tart are two names for the group of apples that are high in tannins, with plenty of acid. Dolgo Crabapple Cortland Newtown Foxwhelp Porter's Perfection

For more information about apple cider, including making hard cider or vinegar, here's a useful article from the University of Georgia Extension. Let us know what blends of apples you use in your cider!

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Will pouring nearly finished cider over chopped apples(into a glass gallon fermentation jug) add a noticeable amount of flavor? Will perhaps soaking them for a few days, if they are higher quality than the juice help the final flavor? I plan on aging the cider for six months before adding Acidic Acid Bacteria and beginning the vinegar making process.

Tom Rankin

I find it hard to find a full list of apple varieties and what “category” they belong in.
I find many specific to cider apples, but most of us are stuck mostly with what comes from the store (I have a gravenstien tree, but the rest must be store bought). Most of which are definitely sweet (you listed many), but do you know where I can find a full list of all apple varieties?


Jason, here is an article I found that lists more varieties of apples for making cider.

Hope that helps.

Suzanne at

Wheelhat, Jonathan are sweet/sharp, so they can be used in either category.

Suzanne at

How would Jonathan apples be classified? They are really nice for baking; not sure about cider. Thanks


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