Apples are an incredibly versatile fruit. You can cook and bake with whole apples or you can use processed apple juice or apple cider.
But what is the difference between apple juice and apple cider? While they are both made from the same tasty fruit, these liquid apple products vary in their flavor, creation process and shelf life.
In this guide, we explain everything you need to know about the differences between apple juice and apple cider.
What Is Apple Cider?
Made from freshly pressed apples, apple cider is raw, unfiltered and unpasteurized. It doesn’t contain any added sugar.
A good apple cider undergoes only very little processing to preserve the original taste of the apples. Typically, apple cider is a little bit darker than classic apple juice.
With most apple cider, you can see residue at the bottom of the bottle because it hasn’t been filtered. Without any preservatives, apple cider usually has a relatively short shelf life.
Over time, this type of non-alcoholic cider can ferment into alcoholic cider and apple cider vinegar.
What Is Apple Juice?
Unlike apple cider, apple juice is heavily processed because it has to be turned into a drink. Apple juice is traditionally filtered after the apples have been pressed.
This filtering process is the reason why apple juice is transparent without floating sediments at the bottom of your glass or bottle.
However, many apple juice brands also contain a large amount of sugar and sweeteners to make them more palatable.
In addition, apple juices also have a lot of preservatives to make them last longer. This means that you can store your open, pasteurized apple juice in the refrigerator for three weeks.
Key Differences Between Apple Juice And Apple Cider
Although apple juice and apple cider are both made from freshly pressed apples, there are a number of differences between these tasty apple products.
One of the main differences between apple juice and apple cider is how they are made and processed.
While they both used fresh apples, apple cider is essentially raw apple juice that hasn’t undergone any form of filtration process to remove sediment or pulp.
This means that apple cider is cloudy and golden with floating particles. It is the raw form of apple juice and, confusingly, sometimes also called cloudy apple juice.
Apple cider also contains natural yeasts which can result in fermentation over time causing your apple cider drink to be alcoholic and fizzy.
On the other hand, pure apple juice undergoes several filtration stages to remove any particles. This makes it look clear and transparent.
Another major difference between these delicious apple products is their taste. While both of them have a distinctive apple flavor, apple juice is more diluted, so it has a slightly more watery consistency.
However, this smooth texture of apple juice allows you to enjoy a refreshing and crisp drink on a hot summer day.
In comparison, apple cider is a much more full-bodied drink that works well with delicious spices, such as cinnamon and turmeric. This makes it more suitable as a spicy, warm drink in the cold winter months.
Due to the many floating particles in apple cider, it has a dark golden color that sometimes looks orange or even brown.
You will notice some pulp inside the clear apple cider bottle and you also can’t see through apple cider.
However, apple juice is very different in color from cider. It has a beautiful golden and yellow appearance. You can easily see through the juice because it doesn’t contain any sediment.
Apple cider is a raw apple juice that hasn’t been processed. This means that it has a similar shelf life to apples themselves.
If you don’t keep apple cider refrigerated, it quickly ferments. In fact, you can store your apple cider in the fridge for only two weeks and then the quality will start to go down.
Plus, if you leave apple cider out on the counter at room temperature, then this speeds up the fermentation process making your cider turn bad faster.
If you want to ferment apple cider into alcoholic cider, then it is important to stick to certain timings and temperatures. Just leaving out the cider in direct sunlight won’t achieve the delicious results you expect.
On the other hand, apple juice is pasteurized and heavily processed, so it preserves its taste for much longer, even outside of the fridge.
While many apple juice brands are available all year round, apple cider is much more difficult to find during winter.
The reason for this difference is the shelf life of each product. Apple juices in bottles, juice pouches or boxes can last for months, while apple cider only lasts for a few weeks.
Both apple cider and apple juice are very popular products that you can enjoy as a drink or in your baked goods.
However, they differ in their flavor, consistency and shelf life, so keep this in mind when you need to choose between apple juice and cider.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, apple cider is considered a healthier alternative to apple juice because it contains the beneficial polyphenol compounds of apples.
On the other hand, apple juice is processed and it contains a lot of preservatives, artificial sweeteners and sugars.
Apple cider usually tastes much better than processed apple juice. Cider is made with freshly pressed apples that are much more refreshing than the sugar-loaded juice.
Plus, apple cider also isn’t pasteurized which means that it preserves a lot more apple flavor than the juice.
Yes, absolutely! You can replace the same amount of apple cider with apple juice in your baking and cooking recipes.
Just ensure that you use unsweetened apple juice which helps you preserve the original flavor from the apple cider.