Glass mug of spiked hot apple cider topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce with fall decorations behind all on a wooden surface (with logo overlay)

Easy Spiked Hot Apple Cider with the Crockpot

Spiked Hot Apple Cider is a hit at any holiday party, and is perfect for a crowd since each cup can be customized by the drinker.

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During the holidays, when we go to any party with a potluck, I get an overwhelmingly positive response to my Hot Apple Cider. This is a perfect fall cocktail on a chilly day or can be made to celebrate during the holiday season. It’s an easy recipe, made in the slow cooker, and assembled individually to each person’s liking.

The first time I had this was at my aunt’s house many years ago. I’m not sure where she got the recipe from, but I got it from her. When I lived in Florida, I had a hard time finding true dulce de leche. But now, living in Texas, I was able to find the correct ingredient near the Hispanic foods.

Dulce de leche is also a type of caramel, but I like using both that and a regular caramel topping. The dulce de leche topping drops down into the cider while the caramel sauce stays on top of the whipped cream.

Of course, you can make it however you want. For example, if you want a non-alcoholic version, then you don’t add alcohol to your cup. You can add or remove anything you’d like, and the cider is delicious on its own as well.

To me, nothing is better than having a large batch of this hot cider going while decorating the house for Christmas. We make some sugar cookies with the family and maybe eat a few Christmas sandwiches while we’re at it. All with my Trans-Siberian Orchestra holiday playlist blasting throughout the house.

Spiked Hot Apple Cider Ingredients

Apple Cider

I purchased the regular apple cider that comes in a 1-gallon jug. It’s usually near the apple juice at our grocery store. You can buy spiced apple cider, but I like adding my own flavors. I can only find it during the holidays as our stores don’t seem to sell it any other time of year. If you live near an apple orchard, this would be even better with fresh apple cider.

Cinnamon Sticks

I know my recipe says 3 sticks, but I have put more than that in before, especially if you like the flavor of cinnamon. It adds a lot to the plain apple cider. Make sure to get the whole cinnamon stick into the cider so they don’t float at the top the whole time. 

Cinnamon Schnapps

There are multiple options for your cinnamon schnapps. You can get Goldschlaggers with gold flakes, a cinnamon-flavored spiced rum, or your other favorite liquor for the holidays. 

Whipped Cream

Buying the canned whipped cream works best so you can squirt it on top of the drink. Make sure this stays cool when you are serving the drinks. I suggest putting it in an ice bucket. 

Dulce de Leche

Dulce de leche is a type of caramel. It’s thicker and heavier, though, so it falls down into the cider to add flavor to the drink. 

Caramel Topping

Caramel topping is light, so it will stay on top of your whipped cream to add flavor to the first sips of your hot apple cider recipe. 

Additional Toppings & Options

There are so many things you could add to your hot spiked apple cider recipe. 

Ideas to add to the cider in the slow cooker:

  • Orange slices
  • Apple slices
  • Whole cloves
  • Whole star anise

Ideas for additional toppings/mix-ins:

  • Dark rum
  • Caramel vodka
  • Maple syrup
  • Orange juice
  • Fresh apples
  • Apple brandy
  • Irish whiskey
  • Your favorite bourbon

Spiked Hot Apple Cider Step by Step


  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 16 oz cinnamon schnapps
  • 1 can whipped cream
  • 1 carton dulce de leche
  • 1 bottle caramel topping
Apple cider with cinnamon sticks in a slow cooker with a bottle of cinnamon schnapps, a can of dulce de leche, a bottle of caramel topping, and a can of whipped topping in front all on a wooden surface


Start by heating the apple cider in the slow cooker with a few cinnamon sticks. Cooking it on low for about a couple hours before you want to serve it is enough to heat the cider.

Apple cider with cinnamon sticks in a slow cooker on a wooden surface

Once it’s heated through, the cider is ready to serve. This is great for serving a crowd because the cups are made individually.

When you are ready to serve, I suggest the following:

  1. Fill a cup 3/4 of the way with apple cider
  2. Add a shot of cinnamon schnapps
  3. Top with whipped cream
  4. Drizzle with both dulce de leche and caramel topping
Glass mug of spiked hot apple cider topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce with fall decorations behind all on a wooden surface (vertical)

Hot Apple Cider Leftovers

Storage: The best way to store any leftover homemade apple cider is in a spill-proof container in the refrigerator. It will stay good for 2-3 days.

Reheating: For the best results, reheat in a slow cooker or in a saucepan over medium-low heat until warmed through.


Originally Published On: December 10, 2018

Last Updated On: December 16, 2023

Glass mug of spiked hot apple cider topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce with fall decorations behind all on a wooden surface

Spiked Hot Apple Cider

Spiked Hot Apple Cider is a hit at any holiday party, and is perfect for a crowd since each cup can be customized by the drinker. 
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
apple cider
Servings: 16 cups
5 from 6 votes


  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 16 oz cinnamon schnapps
  • 1 can whipped cream
  • 1 carton dulce de leche
  • 1 bottle caramel topping

Recommended Equipment


  • Put cider and cinnamon sticks in crock pot and warm for about 1-2 hours or until warmed through
  • To serve: Fill a cup 3/4 full with apple cider
  • Add an ounce cinnamon schnapps to the cider
  • Top with whipped cream, dulce de leche, and caramel
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Nutrition Facts
Spiked Hot Apple Cider
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 214
% Daily Value*
Sodium 9mg0%
Potassium 241mg7%
Carbohydrates 38g13%
Sugar 33g37%
Vitamin C 2.1mg3%
Calcium 25mg3%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutrition content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.

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65 thoughts on “Easy Spiked Hot Apple Cider with the Crockpot”

  1. 5 stars
    This is my favorite drink this time of year! I haven’t tried making it with cinnamon schnapps before so I can’t wait to try making it this way!

  2. I was JUST thinking the other day that I need to stop and pick up some whipped cream for hot chocolate and the like. Thanks for the recipe, will try it as soon as I get the creamy goodness!

    1. I would think so. I’ve only ever lived in the south, there is no ice skating or skiing where I live. But even on our cold nights it’s great, and it’s not even below freezing here most of the time.

  3. That’s an awesome recipe and just what I needed. Every night, we are having something warm while listening to Christmas songs. This will be made Friday night.

  4. My family is doing something different this year and are going to have a Christmas buffet. This would be such a great addition!

    1. We usually have a Christmas buffet of appetizers and snacks on Christmas Eve at my grandparent’s house. Friends and family all come over to spend time together. It’s a wonderful way to get together!

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