Hard Apple Cider From Juice

How to make hard apple cider from juice - perfect for beginners

Using store-bought apple juice is the easiest way to make hard apple cider. This simple recipe is so delicious and easy to customize. Best of all, homemade apple cider is sulfite free!




  1. Be sure to sanitize anything that is going to touch the cider. If you are fermenting in a store-bought jug of apple juice, then you will only need to sanitize for racking and bottling.
  2. Remove 1/2 cup of juice from the jug. This will leave enough room to prevent the fermentation from bubbling over. I recommend testing the sugar content of your apple juice using a hydrometer. It needs to be at least 1.050. Feel free to add up to 1 cup of sugar. This will increase the potential alcohol content and/or sweeten the cider (depending on the length of fermentation).
  3. Add the yeast nutrient and the yeast. Put the cap back on your bottle of juice and give it a good shake to mix everything up.
  4. Remove the lid and top the bottle with an airlock.
  5. If you are using unfiltered apple juice, then you will need to rack the cider to a clean jug after 1 week. If you are using filtered apple juice, then racking isn’t necessary.
  6. Allow the cider to ferment for 2-4 weeks (1-3 weeks after racking) prior to bottling. Exactly how long you leave the cider to ferment will depend on your personal taste. If you like sweet cider, bottle after 2 weeks. Wait 4 weeks for a dry cider. 
  7. If there is a lot of sediment in your fermentation jug (dead yeast), then rack prior to bottling.
  8. To prime the carbonation, add mix the 1/8 cup of white sugar or dextrose in 1/4 cup of boiling water. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Then mix the sugar-water into the cider just before bottling. 
  9. Leave the bottled cider to ferment at room temperature for another 1-2 weeks, until it is carbonated. Then store the cider in the fridge and enjoy within 2 months. Because this recipe is a sulfite-free recipe the cider is not shelf-stable and will continue to ferment, even in the fridge. So if you like sweet cider, drink it within 1 month.


Keywords: apple cider, berry cider, fruit cider, hard, alcoholic, simple, store-bought juice, spring, summer