Spiced Wine | Slow Cooker or Stove Top Mulled Wine Recipe

Spiced wine is on my holiday absolute-must list. I was first introduced to this festive drink (also known as mulled wine or hot wine) at a Christmas market in France, and it’s since been a recipe I look forward to making every single year. If you’re entertaining a crowd, this recipe can be made in big batches in the slow cooker, or you can quickly whip up a batch on your stovetop.

2 clear coffee mugs of Slow Cooker Spiced Wine
Spiced wine is popular throughout Europe, and I was hooked from the first sip. My first cup was in Lyon, France, Ben remembers having German spiced wine on a trip with his family, and I just sipped a delightful cup at a small market in Spain, despite the fact that it was 60 degrees and cold spiced wine might have been more appropriate. Let nothing stop the merry making!

Here in the U.S., outdoor Christmas markets like the one I visited in France are popping up too. Chicago’s downtown Christkindlmarket has been going strong for years, and I’m soooo excited because one just opened in Milwaukee. You best believe sampling the spiced wine for additional holiday inspiration.

Fortunately, no matter where you live, spiced wine is incredibly simple to make in your own kitchen.

I make a batch of homemade spiced wine every season and have been tweaking the recipe over the years to just the right balance of spice, sweetness, and warmth. This recipe is my absolute favorite version of it and has become a tradition my friends look forward to too.

Spiced wine will fill your home with the welcoming scent of citrus and warm spices. It’s as easy as stirring a few ingredients together on the stove or in the slow cooker, and it is guaranteed to make any evening merrier.

festive hot holiday drinks made with spiced wine

What is Spiced Wine?

Essentially, spiced wine is wine (usually red) that is heated with the cook’s preferred mix of spices, along with optional ingredients like apple cider and citrus, along with optional (or not optional) additions like brandy.

Spiced wine 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.

To this day, every sip transports me back to the winding outdoor Christmas market in France where I first tried it all those years ago.

What is Spiced Wine Called?

  • Spiced wine goes by many names—mulled wine, hot wine, grogg, and vin chaud are a few I hear used interchangeably. As far as I know, they all essentially refer to the same drink.

Star anise, cinnamon sticks, clove, and cardamom pods, all ready for making Easy Spiced Wine in a slow cooker

How Do You Make Spiced Wine? 

Spiced wine is one of the most simple, warming, and satisfying drink recipes you can make. Here’s how to make THE BEST spiced wine.

  • Pour the Wine into a Large Pot or, if you are making it for a crowd, the slow cooker.
  • Add WHOLE Spices. I use cardamom, cinnamon sticks, and star anise, and it is perfect. Even if you don’t love anise (I’m not usually a fan myself), the flavor here is subtle, well balanced, and gives this spiced wine an extra note of flavor that you don’t want to miss. I don’t recommend ground spices, as they will float on top of the wine and not incorporate properly.
  • Add 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.
  • Add Citrus. The orange might seem like an odd addition, but TRUST ME. A key to making the best spiced wine is balancing different notes of complementary flavors, and the orange helps do just that.
  • Simmer. You can either heat the wine in your crock pot or on the stove. Simmering allows the spices to infuse the wine with their warmth and the other ingredients to marry into a single, delicious drink.
  • Add Brandy. It’s the final edge this spiced wine needs to reach its peak.

How to Serve Spiced Wine – Slow Cooker or Stove Top?

  • While this recipe can easily be made on the stove, for parties I love making it in the slow cooker. The slow cooker keeps the stove top free and the spiced wine warm, and it’s easy for guests to access for refills.
  • You can also simmer the wine on the stove in a big pot.
  • To serve, slowly ladle the hot wine into fun glasses (I use these glasses, which make any warm drink feel extra festive). Garnish with a cinnamon stick and orange slice.

2 mugs of mulled wine made in a slow cooker

What Wine is Best for Mulled Wine?

  • Choose something dry and full bodied like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. These will stand up to the other flavors and ensure the spiced wine won’t be too sweet.
  • You can be quite economical with spiced wine. Because of the added flavors, this is a good place to make use of a more budget-friendly bottle. Don’t choose the very bottom shelf, but you can save the super good stuff to enjoy on its own.
  • If you aren’t a fan of red wine, you can also check out my recipe for White Spiced Wine.

This time of year, you’ll also see a lot of spiced wine brands selling pre-mixed spiced wine in bottles. Don’t do it. Bottled spiced wine has a tendency to be overly sweet, and its flavor artificially spiced and flat. Homemade mulled wine is so easy to make yourself and so superior, there’s no need to buy it premade.

glasses of spiced wine made in a crock pot, garnished with cinnamon, orange slices and star anise

The Best Slow Cooker Spiced Wine Recipe

While I can’t state authoritatively that this is the most traditional mulled wine recipe (there seem to be as many variations of mulled wine as there are European cafés in which to sip them), I’ve made enough batches over the years to state with confidence that this is the best mulled wine recipe.

This spiced wine is piping hot, smells of cloves and cinnamon, and 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.

Every sip makes me want to take a sleigh ride on a starlit night and then warm myself beside a fire in a quaint European café. On nights when the cold nips my neck and threatens to settle into my bones, nothing warms me to the core like this richly spiced, aromatic drink. I hope it brings the same amount of merry to your holiday tradition as it does to ours.

mugs of Slow Cooker Spiced Wine
5 from 7 votes
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Slow Cooker Spiced Wine

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
Hot Spiced Wine—the best mulled wine with brandy, apple cider, and spices. This traditional mulled wine is festive, easy, and perfect for parties!


  • 750 ml red wine — (1 bottle) — choose something fruity but not too sweet—Merlot, Zinfandel, or Cabernet Sauvignon all work well
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 orange — zested and juiced
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • Orange slices — for garnish
  • Cinnamon sticks — for garnish


  1. Add 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.
  2. Ladle into mugs and serve with an orange slice and cinnamon sticks. 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."

Recipe Notes

  • To make this recipe on the stove: simmer the wine, apple cider, orange zest and juice, and spices in a large pot or Dutch oven the stove over low heat for 30 minutes, instead of heating in the slow cooker. Do not let the wine boil Add the brandy and serve.
  • This recipe scales easily. Feel free to increase the batch size by as much as your slow cooker or pot will hold.
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Easy Mulled Wine Recipe, Slow Cooker Spiced Wine

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 (of 6), about 8 fluid ounces) — Calories: 222, Sodium: 26mg, Carbohydrates: 26g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 26g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…


  1. LOVE the idea of making a spiced wine in your slow cooker!! love this, Erin!

  2. What a great recipe for when you are having a party but don’t have a lot of time to spend on making drinks.

  3. Such an easy way to make spiced wine! I hate spending time on drinks during a party, love that I can get it out of the way ahead of time.

  4. I could see this going over very well on Christmas Eve!

  5. Vin chaud sounds so fancy! I love this!

  6. I love this idea of making this in the slow cooker!

  7. Love this recipe! I’ve always wanted to make spiced wine. So fun!

  8. My husband has been wanting to make spiced wine since September, definitely going to point him here, because this looks absolutely amazing!!

  9. Love this idea, I’ll always take a cup of spiced wine!

  10. I’m going to Paris in a month and I’ll be sure to try mulled wine! I can’t wait!!

  11. Love this story, Erin! It’s so great how a single food or drink item can transport us back to our past. I’m ready to cozy up with some of this mulled wine!

  12. I’m having a Christmas cookie party on Sunday and should totally make this and some cider. Yum!

  13. What a great idea for spiced wine in the slow cooker! I just want to curl up with this :)

  14. This is so lovely Erin. And food is always better when it comes with such great memories attached. This looks like it would warm me up down to the bones!

  15. I love spiced wine! I”m adding this to Pinterest now!!!

  16. I can’t think of a more appropriate winter drink! I feel warmer just looking at the pictures….Just beautiful.

  17. I love mulled wine.. doing it every year.. what a great idea to make it in your slowcooker!! Thanks for inspiring me.

  18. I need to make this asap! Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

  19. This is so gorgeous Erin, I think this would make anyone feel more christmas-y this season!

  20. I am looking forward to trying this slow cooker mulled wine recipe – thanks for all the recipes, all look good and instructions are great!

  21. Hi Erin! So I started making this for a party tonight and mixed in the brandy with all of the other ingredients instead of waiting to stir it in later…eek! Do you think it still will be OK? Thanks for the recipe by the way!!

  22. Does this still have a % of alcohol? or is it cooked out? Just for the pregnant women out there:)

    • This is a great question Melanie! It does still contain alcohol. I can’t give you an actual % because it will vary depending upon the wine you use and how long/at what temperature you simmer the spices, but there will still be some left in the wine, and the brandy stirred in at the end adds some too. Overall, it’s not super boozy, but it is certainly alcoholic.

  23. Made your mulled wine last night for a nice quiet New Years Eve sitting in front of the fireplace…it was delicious and looks to become a new family tradition! We had just the tiniest bit left over (maybe 1 cup) so I saved it and today poured it into a glass loaf pan, placed a pear that had been halved and cored in the liquid and baked it at 400 F for 20 minutes and made the best poached pears in wine for brunch! Served over plain yogurt, sprinkled with toasted, slivered almonds, it was delicious! Thanks for a SMASHING Christmas recipe!

    • Kat, that sounds like such a wonderful evening, and I am so glad that you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks for taking time to let me know. Also, your poached pears sound absolutely divine. I plan to save some wine from my next batch so that I can try it too!

  24. maureen ambinder Reply

    planning to make this tomorrow for my Halloween dinner and will use my Tomasello spiced apple wine in the recipe! :~)

    • Yay! The spiced apple wine sounds so good. Just an idea: if it’s a super sweet wine, you might taste the mixture before you add the honey, just to make sure it’s not too sweet. I hope you love every sip and Happy Halloween!

  25.  I want to make this so bad!  But I can’t find green cardamom pods in any of my local supermarkets.  Will this still taste the same without it or if I use ground cardamom?

    • Oh bummer! Omitting the cardamom will change the flavor somewhat, but it won’t be catastrophic by any means :) You could stir in a few teaspoons of ground cardamom, but it will make the wine a little cloudy. Another idea is just to omit it completely and increase the quantity of the other spices. I’d try adding an extra cinnamon stick or two and see what you think. (Just FYI I found my cardamom pods at Penzeys Spices. Not sure if you have one in your area, but I wanted to let you know, just in case.)

  26. What a great idea–can’t wait to try this!

  27. Looks like the Ingredients I was looking for. Has been some time since I made this, I couldn’t remember what all went into it. My mother used to make something similar from her days visiting Spain and Germany. She would put this in a crockpot and we would go cross country skiing. When we got home the house smelled wonderful and the wine was warm and delicious. thank you for the tip. Will try on the family tomorrow.

    • Ky, thank you for sharing this wonderful memory! A crockpot of spiced wine sounds like the loveliest way to end a day of cross country skiing. I hope your family enjoys this and that it comes close to what your  mother made!

  28. The opening line of the post bugged me a bit, because mulled wine is not a French invention (mulled wine actually was a Roman thing to begin with and is enjoyed throughout Europe during the winter)…but that’s me being nit picky. My husband is from Germany, so I’m going to be making some for Christmas this year!

    • Hi Kelli, France was the first place I ever experienced mulled wine, so that’s what ties it to that particularly country for me. Wherever it began, I’m glad it spread throughout the world now so that we can all have a glass! Wishing you a Merry Christmas, and I hope you and your husband enjoy it.

  29. I’ve never bought brandy before. What should I buy? Any recommendation?
    I hope I can find all the spices at the grocery store. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  30. Hi. When you say ‘apple cider’ do you mean apple cider vinegar, or alcoholic apple cider? Terminology varies from country to country. Thanks.

  31. How do we get the actual recipe. I can’t find the link.

  32. Hi Erin,
    If we don’t finish the wine since there are only 3 of us, will it hold in a container in the fridge and then just need reheating? How long do you think it will last?

    • Hi Brian, I would recommend scaling the recipe down for three people instead of saving leftovers…sadly, it just doesn’t taste the same once reheated. You can also make the smaller batch in a pot on the stove, too, if the slow cooker is too big!

  33. Would organic apple juice work in place of cider? Just trying to get rid of it.

    • Hi Jill! Yes, I think it would work great! I’d recommend adding an extra stick of cinnamon since cider often has a cinnamon flavor of its own.

  34. I need to try this! The fact that you made this in the slow cooker makes me so happy! More giggle juice for all!

  35. This sounds very good.  I tried making mulled wine once, but didn’t know to add things like the apple cider.  My stomach can’t handle wine right now, but I’m definitely saving the recipe for when I can drink it.

  36. Hi there! This looks delicious! I am having a hard time finding star anise. I can find anise seed and ground anise. What would you recommend? 

    • Hi Stacey, I’d recommend leaving it out if you can’t find whole star anise. Some stores have a spice section, often near the produce, that sells spices in plastic bags instead of in glass bottles—I’ve had luck finding it there before!

  37. Can this be doubled? If so, would you double it all including spices or just the liquids?

  38. Recipe calls for 1 whole star anise… but I noticed there’s one in each cup (photo). Do you recommend we use them as garnish too?

  39. I have spiced apple cider. Will that work?

    • Hi Debbie, yes, that will work! Your wine will just be a little more spiced. If you’re concerned it might be too much, you could cut back on the other spices.


  41. Perfect party drink! I bet it makes the house smell so good! Love the new video!

  42. Erin, 
    Really enjoyed this! I have made others and his was one of the best! The warmth and just the right amount of ‘spiciness’, I have saved this and will bring the recipe out again and again ?

    • YAY Sandy, I’m happy to hear you loved the recipe! Thanks so much for giving it a try and leaving this wonderful review. :)

  43. I’d love to sit and reflect with you! And drink wine please.

  44. Saralee M Czajkowski Reply

    After your wonderful scalloped potatoes on Christmas, we are making this spiced wine for our daughter’s graduation party in Saturday night! We had a German spiced wine on Christmas, but I knew the store would be out of it by now. I had remembered this post amd knew it would work!! Thanks again!

  45. My slow cooker just went from my least used appliance to my most used! This took me right back to the alps and went over great with all my thanksgiving guests. You’ve given us a new holiday meal tradition.

  46. I cannot wait to make this for my New Year’s Eve party! I was wondering if you recommend a brand of wine or what wine brands you have used with this as I am not too much of wine drinker and am not sure what to get.

    • Cassie, I think a cabernet sauvignon is a great choice for this recipe. 14 Hands and Josh are two big brands that are generally pretty widely available and that we enjoy!

  47. I made this for my cookie exchange this weekend and they LOVED it! I’m going to make this for my family gathering on Christmas eve. So festive and delicious. I used Cabernet Sauvignon. I served with a cinnamon stick and a star anise floating on top. I have had spiced wine before and never was it this delicious and so easy to serve from the slow cooker. Just the right amount of flavors that compliment each other so well. Thank you for the recipe. This will be an annual holiday tradition!

  48. What would it be like If I add the brandy at the end… So the alcohol doesn’t cook out if it??? (Yes I do like a little festive in my drink…)

  49. Hi there!! Looking forward to making this tomorrow night! I have had one mulled wine I loved before, and its shining glory was that it wasn’t too sweet, which is the main complaint I’ve heard from my family! How sweet would you say this one is, and maybe can I add the honey slowly in increments and test it?

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