Apple Cider vs. Apple Juice: Understanding the Varied Tastes of Apples

Are you aware of the difference between apple juice and apple cider? It can be difficult to distinguish between the two based on appearance alone. In fact, their packaging and labeling may not show any significant differences.

Apple juice

While both apple juice and apple cider are delicious and nutritious, they have different taste and texture profiles and may be better suited for different purposes. Apple juice is great for drinking on its own or as a mixer for cocktails, while apple cider is perfect for cooking, baking, or enjoying as a warming fall beverage.

What Is Apple Juice?

Apple juice is a liquid made up of pressed, sweetened, and compressed fresh apples. Sometimes, people even add some preservatives to the juice to provide stability. You will find it to be a little translucent and has a light golden color.

What Is Apple Cider?

Apple cider is made from fresh apples, but it is not sweetened. It is raw and unfiltered, without any added sugar, and undergoes minimal processing. Unlike apple juice, it is not pasteurized. It is a bit darker than apple juice, usually one or two shades. Because it is unfiltered, it may appear slightly opaque and leave some residue at the bottom.

As you know, apple cider does not contain any added preservatives, and the shelf life of apple cider is much shorter than that of apple juice. It will slowly begin to ferment into alcoholic cider or apple cider vinegar.

Apple Juice vs. Apple Cider

There is no proper legal set of rules to be followed while labeling apple juice and apple cider. But the three most common approaches are:

1. Process

Apple juicing

Almost every country has described the process for preparing both drinks quite similarly. But if we explain it in simple terms, apple cider is unfiltered, raw, and unsweetened apple juice. No step is taken to remove the pulp and sediments in the apple cider. But apple juice is filtered and sweetened, along with adding preservatives. You have to pasteurize it to keep it fresh for a longer period.

Apple cider is the actual fresh juice that is highly opaque and is just like the perishable drink we get at farms and in the market during the fall season. It is completely unfiltered and does not undergo pasteurization, so there is a high chance of fermentation of this drink by the yeast present in the cider. So, the drink can become alcoholic or frizzy over time.

But the apple juices are much cleaner and pasteurized, and you can even store them for a longer time.

2. Picking up apples


In general terms, apple cider is the juice prepared from the apples picked at the very start of the season.

3. Consumer preferences

Most companies serve the same thing as both apple cider and apple juice. They use the word apple cider to attract customers with the help of the traditional name of apple juice. The only difference you will find is in the labeling of the two products.

What Apple Cider Isn’t?

Yes, we agree that the labeling of apple cider and apple juice is quite confusing. But you should also know what apple cider isn’t. Outside of the USA, people consider cider to be a fermented alcoholic beverage. Americans call it hard cider. You might also come across a few spiced apple cider bottles available on the market. These apple ciders contain some spices as well, mainly the mulling ones, like nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. All these help add flavor to the apple cider.

What Should You Try?

Whether you should purchase apple cider or apple juice completely depends on your taste and preferences. If you like a sweeter, cleaner drink, then you must go for apple juice. Still, if you want a more natural and raw taste with a pulpy nature, I prefer apple cider, as it gives fresh and raw apple juice and feels like an apple directly plucked from a farm.

If you want to add apple cider to any recipe but are unable to get apple cider in your locality, if you get apple juice in any nearby store, don’t drop your plan; instead, use it in place of apple cider. You must always initially look for unlabeled apple juice, but if you are unable to find it, then you can purchase the most opaque juice available in the nearby store. If the juice is opaque, it means it is unfiltered.

If you want to convert apple cider into apple juice, you will lose some necessary nutrients in the process. But the general amount of sugar, calories, and nutrients is almost the same in both drinks. But if you are buying apple juice, then there is a high chance that it contains extra sweetness and preservatives. So, if you strictly want to drink apple cider only, then you must make sure it is unfiltered.

How Do You Use Apple Cider and Apple Juice?

You will find the use of apple cider in many recipes when it comes to cooking. Apple cider is the most preferred alternative, as it provides a more natural and authentic taste to your dish. But mainly on the North Coast, both apple cider and apple juice are unfiltered, so both can be used interchangeably.

Apple-inspired and apple-flavored dishes are mostly prepared in the fall season, but apple juices and apple cider can be used at any time of the year. You can even warm up with an apple-hot teddy. You can prepare this green apple smoothie in no time, and it is an excellent addition to your savory dishes and desserts. It is an amazing choice for you if you want an additional, robust apple flavor.

How to Store Apple Cider and Apple Juice?

Apple juice in fridge

If you have already pasteurized juice, then it has a long shelf life, which can last up to months. You do not have to keep it in a refrigerator until it is open. But if your apple juice is not already pasteurized, then you have to refrigerate it. If you do not refrigerate it, then it might perish very soon. It can stay good for up to seven to ten days. You must also check the dates specified on the labels to enjoy your beverages amazingly.


Q. Is it apple cider juice or alcohol?

Apple cider is unfiltered apple juice. But the best part is that it contains all the amazing juices, nutrients, pulp, and sediments of an apple. If you want to convert apple cider into alcohol, you can do it by adding yeast to convert sugar into alcohol.

Q. Is apple cider hot or cold?

It is completely dependent on a person’s choice. You can consume it directly after removing it from the refrigerator or warm it up a little. You can consume it with additional fall spices or cinnamon sticks. Some people even choose to drink it after heating it to 160 degrees.

Q. Can kids drink apple cider?

Yes, toddlers and babies can drink apple cider, but it should be pasteurized.

Final Words

What you choose for yourself completely depends on your personal preferences. If you want a sweet drink, then apple juice is the one for you. But if you are looking for a more earthy and natural taste, you should try apple cider.

So you must always check the label containing the information, along with checking the color of the drink. But in general terms, unfiltered apple juice is also similar to apple juice. If you are unable to see through the drink, then it is, for sure, apple cider.


My name is Emily, and Review Ark is where I share best home and kitchen appliances reviews to make a healthy lifestyle more easily attainable for everyone.

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