Mulled Wine is the perfect cocktail for the holiday season. And making homemade mulled wine in your slow cooker is as easy as it gets. Our spiced wine recipe is full of seasonal flavors using our own blend of mulling spices. It will make you feel so warm and cozy!
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Growing up we always had a mulled wine around the holidays. It was always a mix of apple juice and white wine... but I loved the smell of the mulling spices. After a 2012 trip to Austria during Christmas time, I became a huge fan of the Christmas market's gluhwein. Every region has its own version; gluhwein, wassail, hot wine, mulled wine, spiced wine, or vin chaud. And this is my favorite version of mulled wine!
I like to keep things easy when entertaining and during the busy holiday season. While we love our homemade eggnog, it just isn't practical for all-day sipping or a large crowd. Crockpot mulled wine fits the bill perfectly.
Why we love this recipe:
- Hands on time is less than 5 minutes
- Makes 10 or so drinks but can easily be doubled or tripled for a larger gathering
- Naturally gluten and dairy free
- Can be made extra boozy or non alcoholic
- Guest can serve themselves
- Reheats easily
- Can be served chilled, like a Christmas sangria
One thing more thing to love about homemade mulled wine is that you don't need to buy a fancy mix. You can make it with spices you probably already have in your cupboard. Here is what you need:
- Red Wine
- Cranberry Juice (unsweetened)
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Star Anise
- Whole Cloves
See the recipe card for quantities.
Zinfandel or grenache are the two recommended varietals for mulled wine. You want to purchase a mid-priced younger red wine that is still full of bold fruit flavors.
Mulled Wine Substitutions
Mulled wine typically uses brandy not cranberry juice. Feel free to swap out the cranberry juice for brandy or cognac.
If you can't find unsweetened cranberry juice then you will want to skip the honey. This will make it less sweet.
☕How to Make Mulled Wine in a Slow Cooker
The key to making mulled wine is to not get it too hot. You don't want to burn off the alcohol or reduce it to a syrup. That is why a crockpot is perfect, you don't have to keep an eye on it.
Slice your oranges and discard the ends. Add to the crockpot along with the mulling spices. Pour in the wine and cranberry juice or brandy.
Heat on low for 1 hour until it becomes fragrant. Your house is going to smell amazing. Turn down to the "warm" setting, if you have one, or leave on low if you do not.
Serve in mugs with orange slices and a few cranberries as a garnish.
You can continue to add wine and cranberry juice to the existing batch as a refill.
🥗What to Serve with Mulled Wine
Some of our favorite holiday snacks include duck fat popcorn (especially with the truffle salt!), bacon-wrapped brussels sprouts (OMG the balsamic glaze), and our very festive-looking beet and goat cheese bites.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Add an orange slice and few fresh cranberries to mugs and place next to the crockpot so guest can easily serve themselves.
- If you are worried about the whole spices, especially those tiny cloves, getting into someone's drink you can place the spices in a tea ball or wrap them in cheese cloth before adding to your crockpot.
Non Alcoholic Mulled Wine
For a non-alcoholic version, I like to mix 4 cups of apple juice with 4 cups of unsweetened cranberry juice along with the oranges and spices. Instructions for preparation are the same.
🌡️Storage and Reheating
Leftover mulled wine can be poured into a pitcher or glass mason jar and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Strain out the oranges and spices first.
Reheat in a crockpot or a saucepan on the stove over low heat. I avoid reheating in the microwave because I can't control the heat and it needs to be reheated at a low temperature.
Yes. Cook the mulled wine according to the recipe. Then chill in the fridge before serving over ice.
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Crockpot Mulled Wine
- 2 bottles red wine Zinfandel recommended
- 2 cups cranberry juice unsweetened or sub brandy
- ½ cup honey
- 2 oranges sliced
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
- 8 whole cloves
- Place all ingredients in a crockpot. Turn heat to low and cook until warm and fragrant. About 2 hours.
- Ladle into glasses or mugs and garnish as desired.
- If your cranberry juice is cocktail style (i.e. sweetened) skip or reduce the honey
- Mulled wine can be kept on low for 4 hours. Replenish wine and cranberry juice as needed.
Check out our Slow Cooker Mulled Wine Recipe web story!