Difference Between Apple Juice and Apple Cider 

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Apple juice is filtered and pasteurized to ensure long shelf life, while the apple cider is unfiltered and unpasteurized. This means apple cider is often cloudy from lingering pulp and apple solids.

If you’re a fan of non-alcoholic beverages, apple juice and apple cider must be among your favorites. These apple drinks are not just refreshing but full of potential health benefits too.

What is Apple Juice?

Apple juice is a sweetened apple-based beverage that goes through repeated cycles of filtration and pasteurization. As a result, it gets a crystal clear appearance and thinner consistency. 

Fresh apple juice with zero preservatives doesn’t have a long shelf life. Thus, you should consume apple juice within a week. On the other hand, the one with preservatives doesn’t expire for several weeks or months. 

Apple juice can be prepared with any apple variety. For example, you can choose Gala, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Empire, etc. However, we recommend McIntosh Red apples due to their extra sweetness and health benefits. 


5 Health Benefits of Apple Juice

Apple juice can’t replace a whole apple. Still, apple juice is worth adding to your daily routine for its following five excellent benefits.

  • Plant compounds in apple juice, such as polyphenols and flavonoids, improve your heart health
  • The juice is highly recommended for asthma patients due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. 
  • Since freshly prepared apple juice contains reasonable amounts of carotenoids and dietary fiber, its regular consumption helps manage weight. 
  • This apple-based beverage is a rich source of specific spectrums of polyphenols and other components that may reduce the risk of colon cancer
  • If you’re worried about your skin health, start drinking apple juice as its Vitamin C and antioxidants are proven to enhance skin health. 
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How to Make Homemade Apple Juice

Making fresh and healthy apple juice at home is not a challenge anymore. Follow this recipe and enjoy. 

Step 1: Wash the apples and cut them into slices – no need to peel them but remove the seeds to avoid bitterness in your juice. 

Step 2: Place a large pot on medium flame. Add the sliced apples and enough water to this pot. Don’t add too much water as it’ll dilute the juice. 

Step 3: Let the contents boil for around 20-25 minutes. 

Step 4: Meanwhile, take a glass bowl and place a fine-mesh strainer with a piece of cheesecloth over it. 

Step 5: Once the apples are soft enough to mash, spoon them into the glass bowl through the fine-mesh strainer and cheesecloth. While the fresh apple juice filters through the mesh into the bowl, the apple mush will remain in the strainer.

Step 6: Repeat the above steps until you ladle the entire hot apple and water mix through the strainer. 

Step 7: Let the fresh apple juice cool down a bit. Once done, taste it and add more water to dilute it if it’s still strong. 

Step 8: When all is good, refrigerate the juice. 

Serve this fresh apple juice to your family and friends. 

Tip: Due to the lack of preservatives, refrigerate the apple juice and consume it within a week. Also, you can use apple mush to make awesome applesauce. 

What is Apple Cider?

Another popular apple drink, apple cider, is prepared from pressed apples. Since no filtration process and pasteurization are involved at any stage, apple cider lacks a clear appearance and thin consistency. This is also why it’s often referred to as “unfiltered apple juice.” 

Instead, it’s slightly brownish and thicker due to apple pulp and sediment. It’s worth noting that apple cider is perishable. It has a shelf life of merely 1-2 weeks. 

As apple cider ages, it converts into hard apple cider (the alcoholic version) with hardly any apple flavor left. If left unrefrigerated for long, it transforms into a fizzy apple cider vinegar. 

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Today, apple cider is a common sight on grocery store shelves, farm stands, and farmer’s markets, where you’ll also find a popular cider-based delicacy, Cider Doughnuts


5 Health Benefits of Apple Cider

Here are five reasons to start consuming apple cider if you haven’t.

  • Apple cider is rich in phytonutrients. These prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol and reduce the chances of cardiovascular disease. 
  • If you’re looking for a solution to your constipation problem, Pectin in the apple cider is the answer. 
  • You can prevent dehydration with water-based apple cider. 
  • Similar to apple juice, apple cider is also rich in cancer-preventing polyphenols. 
  • Adding apple cider to your daily routine relaxes your intestines and keeps the digestive system healthy. 

How to Make Homemade Apple Cider

The following process proves how easy it is to prepare apple cider at home. 

Step 1: Place a large stockpot over medium flame and add in enough water, quartered unpeeled apples, cinnamon sticks (3-4), cloves (1 tsp.), and whole allspice (one), and whole nutmeg (one.) 

Step 2: Bring the stockpot contents to a boil until the apples get soft enough to mash. 

Step 3: Use a wooden spoon or masher to mash the mixture. Uncover the pot and let it simmer for another couple of hours. 

Step 4: Once done, strain the liquid in a glass bowl and discard the apple solids. 

Serve apple cider slightly warm or at room temperature. 

Tip: Add a few orange slices to enhance the taste of your apple cider. 

Apple Juice vs. Apple Cider – The Key Differences

The difference between apple juice and apple cider is that apple juice is filtered and pasteurized to ensure longer shelf life. In contrast, apple cider is unfiltered and unpasteurized. Apple cider will often be cloudy from lingering pulp and apple solids.  

Here are the critical differences between apple juice and apple cider. 

Preparation Process

The fundamental difference between apple juice and apple cider lies in how each is prepared. 

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Though both are extracted from pure apples, apple juice involves additional filtration and pasteurization. Apple cider doesn’t include these!


Apple juice is light brown as all the apple solids get removed during filtration. On the other hand, apple pulp and sediment give apple cider a dark brownish color. 


Apple cider has a rich apple flavor due to minimal processing. It may or may not be sweet. 

In contrast, apple juice is sold for its sweet and light apple flavor. Some apple juice brands add sweeteners for taste enhancement. 

Serving Temperature

Apple juice is always served chilled. On the other hand, Apple cider can be served both hot and cold as Hot apple cider and Cold apple cider, respectively. 

Shelf Life

Another noticeable difference between the two apple drinks is their shelf life. Refrigerated apple juice can last for around 7 to 10 days. If stored unopened, it won’t expire for a good two weeks.  

On the other hand, apple cider tastes good for 14 days when refrigerated. After this, it ferments, and you get an apple-based alcoholic beverage like hard cider.

Apple juice Vs. Apple cider – A Quick Comparison 

Apple Juice vs. Apple Cider
Filtered and pasteurized after extraction from fresh apples Process No filtration or pasteurization is performed after liquid extraction from fresh apples
Diluted apple flavor 
Taste Strong apple flavor
Sweetened Sweetened/Unsweetened Unsweetened
Cold Serving Temperature Hot or cold
7 – 10 Days Shelf Life (approx.) 14 Days
Light Brown Color Dark Brown

Which Apple Beverage Will You Choose?

Apple juice and apple cider are the two most popular apple-based drinks with tons of health benefits. Still, certain differences exist in their processing, taste, color, consistency, shelf life, and more. 

Now you know the main differences between apple juice and apple cider. Which one will you choose?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is better – apple juice or apple cider?

Neither apple juice nor apple cider is better. Both are made using fresh apples and contain beneficial polyphenols, essential vitamins, minerals, etc. Both fresh apple juice and fresh apple cider are delicious.

Can I drink apple cider daily?

Yes, you can drink a small quantity of apple cider daily. However, consuming it in large amounts over a long period can result in low blood potassium levels and osteoporosis. 

What Is hard cider?

Hard cider is a widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the United States. It’s prepared from fermented apple juice. 


Vanessa is passionate about written communication, especially after beginning her career as a middle school English teacher. She’s an experienced content marketer as well. Vanessa loves to analyze, compare, and contrast, which is why she writes for ContrastHub. Besides writing, Vanessa is a wife, mom, entrepreneur, spicy food enthusiast, comedy nerd and lifelong learner.

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