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Sparkling Apple Cider – Homemade

This recipe for sparkling apple cider is an organic juice drink that doesn’t need vinegar or alcohol and can be cheaper than store-bought Martinelli’s.

Two glasses of sparkling apple cider with fresh apples on the table beside them.

Sparkling apple cider brings about thoughtful toasts at festive gatherings. Many people purchase store-bought Martinelli’s Gold Medal sparkling cider. It is a non-alcoholic brand in wine-shaped glass bottles for such occasions.

This recipe for sparkling apple cider is an organic probiotic juice that doesn’t need vinegar or alcohol. It’s economical and can be made right in your kitchen. 

Why I Love Sparkling Apple Cider

Our family homestead has been blessed with all four seasons, and each season brings something unique to enjoy! 

The cooler fall weather brings changing colors of autumn glory. The changing leaves across the mountainside remind me that the harvest season is ending. 

Our family enjoys working together to harvest and preserve as many apples as possible so we can drink this delicious probiotic sparkling cider year-round. (Read this post on my tips for a busy preservation day.)

Picking crisp apples in the cooler days of fall, pressing the juice and making sparkling apple cider is so much fun on our homestead. Josh and I are teaching our children these old-time methods so they can carry the tradition on with their children. (Read this post on homesteading with children.)

We enjoy pressing apples for juice, and we also delight in dehydrating them and making apple-blueberry fruit leather and good ol’ apple pie. Making our own healthy sparkling apple cider is a fun holiday tradition and one of our favorite ways to enjoy the apple season.

Two small children picking apples off the ground and putting them into a wooden crate.

What is Sparkling Cider

Sparkling apple cider is simply apple juice with a small amount of fermented liquid (known as a “starter liquid”). When left in a warm area for about 12 hours, you get a slightly bubbly fermented apple cider that’s a delicious treat.

We love to use fresh pressed apple juice to make this recipe as it gives it that extra something special. If you’ve never tasted the difference between apple juice from the grocery store and fresh-pressed “cider” from an apple press, it’s really worth trying at least once!

Where we live, there’s an apple press where you can take your own apples and get them pressed into cider (which is actually just unstrained and unpasteurized apple juice) and bottle it up to take home.

Apple press with a basket of fresh picked apples tipped over.

Apple Cider vs. Apple Juice vs. Hard Cider

Many people have asked me over the years what the difference is between apple cider and apple juice. It’s the same apple drink with different terminology. 

Adding any starter liquid, such as the juice leftover from my fermented cranberry sauce, homemade kombucha, or whey strained from plain yogurt, is what makes it ferment and “sparkle.” It adds gut-healthy probiotics to the apple juice, making it fizzy, delicious, sparkling apple cider! My children love it.

Since sparkling apple cider is fermented, you may wonder, “Is there any alcohol in sparkling cider?” To clarify, sparkling cider does not have alcohol.

Hard cider is where the confusion comes into play. Hard cider is apple juice that has been fermented for a longer time, becoming alcoholic. Alcoholic sparkling cider has an alcohol content somewhere between 3% to 8%; definitely not the drink you give to children. 

A woman pressing in the sides of a jug of sparkling apple cider to allow for expansion.

Supplies Needed

  • Gallon Size Container with Lid – Glass jars or empty plastic milk jugs work well. Homesteading Hack: This is the only time I’ll probably recommend plastic, but it really helps for the expansion during fermentation. Keep a three-inch head-space at the top of your container, so it has room to expand.
  • Measuring Cup – Largest size needed would be ⅓ cup.
A woman adding kombucha to a jug of apple cider.

Ingredients Needed

  • Apple Juice – Fresh pressed or store-bought, any fruit juice will work great.
  • Kombucha (or other starter liquid) – You can use any fermented liquid. I have used homemade kombucha, the liquid from my fermented cranberry sauce (as shown in this video), whey that develops on top of plain yogurt (not Greek yogurt), and even juice from my Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut, and they all created that fizzy cider.
A woman holding up a glass of sparkling apple cider up to the camera.

Sparkling Apple Cider Recipe

  1. Pour the apple juice into a gallon container. 
  2. Pour out at least three inches of the juice into a cup.
  3. Measure out 2 Tablespoons up to ⅓ cup of kombucha or your preferred starter liquid and add to the apple juice.
  4. Place the lid on tightly and gently shake to incorporate the two liquids.
  5. Place in a warm area in your house for 10 – 12 hours and note the time. 
  6. The plastic container will become firm and expand. The glass container will become fuller and fill the headspace. Homesteading Hack: Do not shake the juice container after it has become fizzy. The explosion can make quite a mess!
  7. Carefully untighten the lid and listen for the fizzy sound.
  8. Pour the sparkling juice over a glass of ice and enjoy right away or chill in the refrigerator for later. Homesteading Hack: You can store the sparkling juice in the container you make it in; just pop it in the fridge! 

Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below, then snap a photo and tag us on social media @homesteadingfamily so we can see!

Also, click here if you’d like to get our FREE Homesteading Family favorite holiday recipes!

A woman and her daughter clinking their glasses of kombucha together.
A woman holding up a glass of sparkling apple cider up to the camera.

Sparkling Apple Cider (Fermented Apple Cider)

This recipe for sparkling apple cider is an organic juice drink that doesn’t need vinegar or alcohol and can be cheaper than store-bought Martinelli’s.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Fermenting Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 16 cups
Calories: 109kcal
Author: Carolyn Thomas

Equipment

  • 1 Gallon-sized container with lid.

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon apple juice (or any other flavor of juice)
  • 1/3 cup kombucha (you can use less, down to 2 Tablespoons per gallon, see notes for other options)

Instructions

  • Pour the apple juice into a gallon container.
  • Pour out at least three inches of the juice into a cup.
  • Measure out 2 Tablespoons up to ⅓ cup of kombucha or your preferred starter liquid and add to the apple juice.
  • Place the lid on tightly and gently shake to incorporate the two liquids (this is the only time you'll shake it!).
  • Place in a warm area in your house for 10–12 hours and note the time.
  • The plastic container will become firm and expand. The glass container will become fuller and fill the headspace. Homesteading Hack: Do not shake the juice container after it has become fizzy. The explosion can make quite a mess!
  • Carefully untighten the lid and listen for the fizzy sound.
  • Pour the sparkling juice over a glass of ice and enjoy right away or chill in the refrigerator for later. Homesteading Hack: You can store the sparkling juice in the container you make it in; just pop it in the fridge and release the pressure as needed! 

Notes

  • You can use any fermented liquid. I have used kombucha, whey that develops on top of plain yogurt (not Greek yogurt), and even juice from my Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut, and they all created that fizzy cider.
  • Do not shake the juice container after it has become fizzy. The explosion can make quite a mess!
  • You can store the sparkling apple cider in the container you make it in; just pop it in the fridge and be sure to release the pressure as needed!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.
A man and wife smiling.

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Josh and Carolyn bring you practical knowledge on how to Grow, Cook, Preserve and Thrive on your homestead, whether you are in a city apartment or on 40 acres in the country. If you want to increase your self-sufficiency and health be sure to subscribe for helpful videos on gardening, preserving, herbal medicine, traditional cooking and more.

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