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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Hailey, Honeycrisp is considered sweet and gravenstein is on the list above for sharp.

Suzanne at

How would honecrisp apples be classified? Also same to gravenstein. Thank you


Michael, I was not able to find out any information on the apple Ruskin. But if it is a sour or tart apple, or even a bitter apple, you can include it in the mix for apple cider. I would not use it as the only apple, the best apple cider is a blend of apples.

Suzanne at

I have a tangy apple that we call a “rusty-coat.” I believe it is a Ruskin. It is small, less than 3" diameter, and tangy to the point of being sour. Would it work as a cider apple? It is probably our best bearing tree, but our friends and family do not seem to like it, so I’d love to find some use for it.


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