September 10, 2019

How to Make Hard Cider

How to Make Hard Cider

If you are already making beer or you make wine at home, the jump to cider making is simple. The equipment is exactly the same.

Spoiler Alert: it's actually easier than brewing beer! If you're brand new to the world of craft beverage making, we will give you a step-by-step guide to help you make your first batch of cider at home! All you need is juice, yeast, some basic cider equipment, and an hour of time.

 The basic steps to making hard cider are as follows:

Step 1:
Gather Supplies
Step 2:
Clean & Sanitize
Step 3:
Mix Juice & Yeast

1. Gather Equipment & Ingredients

  • Juice. Store-bought apple juices make great hard cider as long as you avoid those that are stabilized. Read the label. If the juice contains sulfite, sorbate, benzoate or other chemical-sounding ingredients, it most likely will not ferment. Instead, select a juice that is pasteurized as it ensures there is no living or wild yeast present in the jug.
  • Glass carboy or brewng bucket to ferment your cider. 
  • rubber stopper and fermentation airlock to keep air out of your fermentation vessel.
  • Brewing Cleaner & Sanitizer 
  • Cider yeast
  • Corn sugar for fermenting and carbonating your cider

If you want to skip the steps of gathering all your equipment and ingredients, the experts at Northern Brewer have created a Hard Cider Making Kit with everything you need to make cider at home.

Hard Cider Making Kit

Northern Brewer Hard Cider Making Starter Kit

2. Cleaning and Sanitation

Whether you're making cider, mead, wine, or beer, this is the most important step of your brew day. Cleaning helps to remove any organic soils from your cider making supplies, and sanitation helps to kill any kind of living yeast or microorganisms that could be harmful to the flavor of your cider. Note: do not use dish soap for cleaning/sanitation. The oils in the soap could leave a film that leaves a nasty taste in your cider.

Find our recommended cleaners and sanitizers here.

3. Make Cider by Mixing Juice & Yeast

Once you've thoroughly cleaned and sanitized your equipment, mix the yeast in with the juice and sugar and let science turn it into a smooth libation.

  • Mix your juice, yeast, and sugar (adding sugar raises the ABV)
  • Place the stopper and airlock into the bucket or carboy. Ferment for 10-14 days.
  • Carbonate and bottle in your choice of beer bottle.
  • Crack open a cold one and savor the moment!

Adding Flavor to Hard Cider

This step is optional. Toss some fresh fruit or spice into the fermenter. Many fruit puree products pair well, as do vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, coriander, anise or crystallized ginger.


For a sweeter cider, see Brewing TV – Episode 67 for a great tutorial on back-sweetening.

Check out our Hard Cider 101: How to Make Hard Cider at Home class for in-depth info on making hard cider.

Watch this video for a DIY overview on making hard cider.

Begin or continue your homebrew education with Northern Brewer University and our Homebrew Video Courses.