Buttered Apple Cider

published Nov 17, 2023
Buttered Apple Cider Recipe

This fall drink takes apple cider to the next level by whisking in spiced brown butter.

Serves4 to 6

Makes4 1/3 cups

Cook15 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Head on view of two glass mugs of buttered apple cider topped with whipped cream and cinnamon sticks resting in the cups.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Julia Choi-Rodriguez

I grew up — and still reside — in the Northeast, so nothing gets me more excited than the arrival of fall. These days, my husband and I spend weekends taking our kids apple picking, pumpkin picking, and on scenic drives between farms in search of the best apple cider donuts. Our constant companion through it all: a steaming mug of hot apple cider

This year, I decided to jazz it up by taking cues from hot buttered rum, a personal fave of mine. Meet: buttered apple cider. Here, a mixture of nutty brown butter, dark brown sugar, and apple pie spice gets whisked into warm apple cider. The festive drink is topped with whipped cream, a cinnamon stick, and a sprinkle of more spice. It’s the perfect fall beverage for adults and kids alike! 

If You’re Making Buttered Apple Cider, a Few Tips

  • Be flexible with the spices. You can use whatever you have handy here, whether it’s homemade or store-bought apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice. If you don’t have either on hand, you can throw together a quick mix of equal parts ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, and ground cloves. 
  • Get the good cider. Although this recipe works with unfiltered apple juice, it tastes best with high-quality apple cider. 
  • Spike it if you like. To transform it into an adult beverage, add one ounce of rum, whiskey, or applejack to your mug. 
  • Top the drink with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick. While you can use ready-serve whipped cream, I personally prefer the flavor and texture of homemade whipped cream. While whipping the cream, I like to add a splash of maple syrup to play up the fall notes. Finishing with a cinnamon stick adds aromatics, but it also serves as a nifty stirrer for blending the cider and whipped cream into one smooth drink. 

Buttered Apple Cider Recipe

This fall drink takes apple cider to the next level by whisking in spiced brown butter.

Cook time 15 minutes

Makes 4 1/3 cups

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup

    packed dark brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    homemade or store-bought apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice, plus more for sprinkling

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 4 cups

    apple cider or unfiltered apple juice

  • 2 cups

    whipped cream, for serving (optional)

  • 4

    (4-inch) long cinnamon sticks (optional)


  1. Cut 4 tablespoons unsalted butter into a few pieces. Melt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally and scraping up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan, until the butter has a nutty, fragrant aroma and is a toasty-brown color, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Scrape the brown butter into a small heatproof bowl and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pour 4 cups apple cider into the same medium saucepan (no need to wash) and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

  3. Add 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, 2 teaspoons apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice, and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt to the cooled brown butter and whisk to combine. Add the brown butter mixture to the apple cider and whisk to combine. Remove from the heat.

  4. Divide between 4 or 6 mugs. Top with whipped cream and garnish each mug with a cinnamon stick if desired. Sprinkle with more apple pie spice. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat until warmed through.