This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

With its warm spices and cozy flavor, this Mulled Wine recipe is on my must-have holiday cocktail list. I was first introduced to this festive drink at a Christmas market in France, and it’s a recipe I look forward to making every year.

mugs of stovetop Spiced Wine with cinnamon

Why You’ll Love This Easy Mulled Wine Recipe

  • The BEST Recipe. I’ve made enough batches over the years to state with confidence that this is the best mulled wine recipe! I make a batch of homemade spiced wine every season and have been tweaking the recipe over the years to have just the right balance of spice, sweetness, and warmth.
  • Tastes Like the Holidays. Traditional mulled wine smells of warm holiday spices, like cinnamon and cloves. It tastes of the childhood nights my sisters and I spent singing unsolicited Christmas carols to our neighbors and convincing my dad to light our wood-burning fireplace: cozy, welcome, and somehow familiar.
  • Stovetop or Crockpot Options. If you’re hosting a holiday gathering, this mulled wine recipe can be made in big batches in the slow cooker for a crowd, or you can quickly whip up a batch on your stovetop. (Crockpot Hot Chocolate is another cozy slow cooker drink option for a get-together.)
mulled wine with brandy and apple cider

5 Star Review

“This is my favorite mulled wine. I do add a little more apple cider and a little more brandy at the end. I also use Merlot and I garnish it just as in the picture. Big hit in my house always.”

— Janice —

What Is Mulled Wine?

A traditional mulled wine recipe consists of wine (usually red) that is heated with a mix of whole warming spices and other optional ingredients like apple cider, citrus, and brandy.

Mulled wine tastes like a big, fruity red wine crossed with a spicy batch of apple cider, with a hit of spirit and a sprinkle of holiday magic. It’s wonderful.

This time of year, you’ll also see a lot of wine brands selling pre-mixed spiced wine in bottles. Don’t do it. Bottled spiced or mulled wine has a tendency to be overly sweet, and its flavor is artificially spiced and flat.

Homemade mulled wine is so easy to make yourself; there’s no need to buy it premade!

Other Names for Mulled Wine

Mulled wine goes by many names—spiced wine, hot wine, glögg, glühwein, and vin chaud are a few I hear used interchangeably. As far as I know, they all essentially refer to the same drink, although the spices and booze of choice may vary depending on the region.

How to Make Mulled Wine

The Ingredients

  • Red Wine. A dry and richly flavored red wine is perfect for this recipe. If you aren’t a fan of red wine, you can also use white wine (check out my recipe for White Spiced Wine).
  • Apple Cider. Where most spiced wine recipes use sugar, I love using apple cider instead. It gives the hot wine a seasonal flavor that tastes just right for this time of year.

Substitution Tip!

If you don’t have access to apple cider, apple juice can also be used in this mulled wine recipe.

Note: Apple cider is NOT the same thing as apple cider vinegar. Do not mistake these two ingredients, as the results will be very disappointing.

  • Honey. A touch of sweetness.
  • Orange. A key to making the best spiced wine (and Brandy Old Fashioned) is balancing different notes of complementary flavors, and the orange juice and orange slices help do just that.

Ingredient Note

While we prefer to stick to just orange in our house, for an additional burst of citrus, you can add slices of lemon or lemon zest to mulled wine too.

  • Spices. I use cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, and star anise for my classic mulled wine spices. Even if you don’t love anise (I’m not usually a fan myself), the flavor here is subtle and gives this spiced wine an extra note of flavor that you don’t want to miss.

Substitution Tip

Other spice options include allspice berries or whole nutmeg.

  • Brandy. The final edge this spiced wine needs to reach its peak.

The Directions

a pot of a mulled wine recipe simmering
  1. Add the Wine. Pour the wine into a large pot or slow cooker.
wine cooking in pot with mulling spices
  1. Simmer. Add WHOLE spices, apple cider, and orange citrus. Simmer to allow the spices to infuse the wine with their warmth and the other ingredients to marry into a single, delicious drink. Add brandy. ENJOY!

Crockpot Mulled Wine

While this mulled wine recipe can easily be made on the stove, I love making it a mulled wine crockpot recipe for parties. The slow cooker keeps the stove top free and the spiced wine warm, and it’s easy for guests to access for refills.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. This mulled wine recipe is best enjoyed the day that it is made, but you can refrigerate it for up to 1 day. Let it cool completely, pour it into an airtight storage container and refrigerate.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm mulled wine in a large pot on the stovetop over low heat, or pour leftovers into your slow cooker and reheat on LOW until warm. If you choose to reheat your leftover refrigerated mulled wine, be aware that the flavors may not be as vibrant as they are when it’s freshly made.
  • To Freeze. You can freeze mulled wine, then blend it later to turn it into sorbet. First, you will need to cook off all the alcohol. Bring your mulled wine to a boil, and keep it on a rolling boil for around 5 to 6 minutes, so the mixture becomes syrupy, and the alcohol burns off. Let the wine cool completely, then carefully pour the leftovers into the cavities of an ice cube tray and place them in the freezer. Pop the cubes into a food processor with full-fat yogurt, then blend. You also can freeze the wine without cooking off the alcohol; it won’t freeze hard but can be used to make slushies.
mugs of hot mulled wine with orange and anise

What to Serve with this Mulled Wine Recipe

  • Dutch Oven. A deep, wide-rimmed Dutch oven is the perfect vessel for warming this mulled wine recipe on the stovetop.
  • Programmable Slow Cooker. This one switches to “keep warm” once the cooking time is done. For crockpot mulled wine, I set it to low or keep warm, depending on the wine’s temperature.
  • Ladle. The easiest way to serve your mulled wine.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t Buy the Cheapest (or Most Expensive) Wine. You can be quite economical when making this mulled wine recipe. Because of the added flavors, this is a good place to use a budget-friendly bottle. Don’t choose the very bottom shelf, but you can save the super good stuff to enjoy on its own.
  • Choose the Right Varietal. The best wine for mulled wine is dry and full-bodied, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Zinfandel, or Syrah. These will stand up to the other flavors and ensure the spiced wine won’t be too sweet.
  • Use Whole Spices. I don’t recommend ground spices, as they will float on top of the wine and not incorporate properly. If you don’t want to invest in big bottles or bags of dried spices, visit a grocery store with a bulk section that has spices, or a spice store that sells smaller quantities.
  • Don’t Let It Come to a Boil. You’ll cook off the alcohol!
mug of easy mulled wine with spices

Mulled Wine Video

YouTube video

Mulled Wine Recipe

4.99 from 104 votes
The best mulled wine recipe with brandy, apple cider, and spices for the stovetop or slow cooker. A festive spiced wine for the holidays!

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 35 minutes

Servings: 6 servings



  • Add wine, cider, honey, orange zest and orange juice to a Dutch oven or similar large pot and stir to combine.
  • Add the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick, and star anise. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer gently for 30 minutes; do not let the wine boil.
  • Stir in the brandy. To serve, ladle into mugs and garnish with an orange slice and cinnamon sticks.



  • DOUBLE BATCH: This recipe scales easily. Feel free to increase the batch size by as much as your pot will hold.
  • TO MAKE IN THE CROCKPOT: Add the wine, cider, honey, orange zest, and orange juice to a 3-quart or larger slow cooker. Stir to combine. Add the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise. Cook on low until warm, 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your slow cooker. Stir in the brandy and serve. To keep the wine warm, leave the slow cooker on the “Keep Warm” setting. If your slow cooker does not have a warm setting, alternate between “Low” and “Off.”
  • TO STORE: Let your mulled wine cool completely, then pour it into an airtight storage container and place it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm mulled wine in a large pot on the stovetop over low heat, or pour leftovers into your slow cooker and reheat on LOW until warm.


Serving: 1(of 6), about 8 fluid ouncesCalories: 228kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 1gFat: 0.3gSaturated Fat: 0.04gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.04gPotassium: 312mgFiber: 2gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 57IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 1mg

Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

Create an account to easily save your favorite recipes and access FREE meal plans.

Sign Me Up

Related Recipes

More festive cocktails perfect for the holiday season:

Did you try this recipe?

I want to see!

Follow @wellplated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

You May Also Like

Free Email Series
Sign Up for FREE Weekly Meal Plans
Each includes a grocery list, budget, and 5 healthy dinners, helping you save time, save money, and live better!

Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

Leave a Comment

Did you make this recipe?

Don't forget to leave a review!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


Leave a comment

  1. I made a big batch of this mulled wine when I had some people over for dinner. Everyone loved it. Perfect for a winter’s night. I have made it subsequently just for myself when I feel like a warm drink that isn’t tea or coffee and it works out wonderfully every time!5 stars

  2. I always wanted to make Mulled Wine and I’m so glad I did. This recipe was delicious! Not too sweet, but very flavorful. I didn’t have cinnamon sticks or star anise (I was at my parents house) so used ground cinnamon and aniseed. It was still amazing! I will definitely make again for a big crowd using the correct ingredients. Yum!5 stars

      1. HI Marianne, I haven’t tried it myself but it would be 1/2 teaspoon. If you do not want seeds in your wine, then yes you would need to strain it. You could also try using a cheese cloth pouch. That way you just toss the pouch. Enjoy!

    1. I’m so confused, because I see it on my end, Don. The recipe is in the recipe card, right above the area where you commented. You can also click the “jump to recipe” button at the top of the screen to help get you there faster. Could you please check again!

  3. Erin, I’ve always wanted to thank you for this recipe. I’ve now made it several years running and if I DIDN’T make it I’d catch holy heck from our friends and family. :-). Still dialing in just the right wine and liquor (for me) but everything I’ve tried so far has been a huge hit anyway, and we enjoy it in our thermos cups while walking around our city’s holiday festival. Happy happy holidays to you and yours!!5 stars

  4. I have never had mulled wine before, so I have no official frame of reference, but this is DELICIOUS!!! To save money I bought the milling spices in a packet from an online retailer we all know and love, and I just ordered more so I could make this again! It is so warm and fragrant and christmassy—I would not change a thing, and will be making this on repeat this holiday season!!! Thank you for the delicious recipe!!!5 stars

  5. I recently participated in a Christkindl market where they served Grog which was very enjoyable! This weekend I’m hosting a holiday Open House and wanted something festive to serve and settled on your recipe. WHAT A WAY TO RING IN THE HOLIDAY SEASON! It’s delicious!!!! Perfectly spiced and just the right amount of everything! Thank you! Have a sweet holiday season!5 stars

    1. Steven, you can leave out the honey; it might taste a little less balanced, but it’s personal preference. Or try maple syrup!

  6. Hi there I made this following the recipe except for the brandy, it’s overwhelming bc of the apple cider. Is this because I didn’t add the brandy? Do you have to simmer for a certain time period so the apple cider isn’t so strong?

    1. Hi Amy, maybe it was the brand of apple cider that made it strong? Which brand was it? I am not sure why it would be overpowering with the red wine and other ingredients added. This can easily be made without the brandy so that shouldn’t change the time it simmers.

  7. OMG the best yet! Having taken a trip to Europe this year, we were jonesing for the old world Christmas taste. This was such a perfect layering of cozy flavors, with a brightness of the fresh citrus, easy to adjust sweetness, and just hit the spot. We used a big bottle of Cab from Costco and doubled the recipe in a crockpot. Just heat, not even to a simmer before switching to warm. Made 4 smaller bottles (IKEA Korken) as gifts and they were a hit.5 stars

  8. Top notch recipe – saw the requirements for orange zest in this and knew this would be foodie enough! We used a fruity Merlot wine box – no need for anything expensive. The honey was orange flower blossom, which we think really helped. Our supermarket was out of allll the Christmas spices, but they had “mulled spice” bags – we added 8! Substituted the apple cider for apple juice and it was splendidly yummy, without the fizz. Double the recipe for four guests worked a treat, with plenty of refills. Much appreciated, Erin!5 stars

  9. I made this for Christmas dinner. I didn’t have apple cider so I cored and sliced an apple to add to it. I also added the zest and juice of a lemon along with the orange. It was delicious! I plan to make it again for a New Year’s party that I am going to.5 stars

  10. Is the only reason to use cardamom pods instead of ground cardamom due to the texture/residue that is would be present? I always have ground cardamom on hand…but not pods. Ha.

  11. Hello! I could only find cardamom seeds and not pods.. Can this be made with the seeds instead of pods? If so, how many seeds? I read there’s typically 15-20 seeds per pod. And ideas?

    1. Hi Lisa, sure you can make it with seeds. I read that it is more like 5-12 seeds per pods (according to Spices, Inc). I wouldn’t put more than 20 seeds total unless you are thinking it needs more. If you decide to experiment with the seeds, I’d love to know how it goes!

Load More Comments