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The Best Slow Cooker Mulled Wine Recipe

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Fast and foolproof, this Slow Cooker Mulled Wine Recipe will warm your spirit this winter! Make it with a full-bodied red wine like merlot, or you can even make it with alcohol-free wine to include the kids. This is the best way to keep your mulled wine from boiling when heating it up. Perfect for a holiday party this holiday season!

Close up of a glass of mulled wine with orange slices and whole star anise.

This post was originally published on November 14th, 2021.

Christmas time is full of joy and cheer! Spending time with family and strolling through Christmas markets with a hot drink on a chilly night is my favorite way to get into the holiday spirit. There’s just nothing quite like it.

This simple mulled wine recipe is one of my favorite holiday drinks. It’s so easy to throw together and can last as long as needed in the slow cooker. I love how the slow cooker keeps it warm! You can even serve it outdoors in the crockpot if that’s where your festivities are taking place. Pro tip: non-alcoholic red wine is perfect for this recipe too! I like to add a little fresh ginger to give that fiery sensation.

❤️ Why you will love this easy slow cooker recipe

  • It’s easy! The hardest part is slicing the oranges and peeling and slicing the ginger. It’s really not difficult at all!
  • It needs minimal prep. It takes about 5 minutes to get everything together for this crockpot mulled wine.
  • You can prep it ahead of time. Toss all of the ingredients into the crockpot, and switch it on an hour and a half before you want to drink it.
  • It tastes and smells delicious! The fruity flavors will make your home smell like Christmas, and this wine cocktail just tastes like a festive hug.
  • It won’t overheat and boil. You want to avoid boiling mulled wine because that will boil the alcohol out of it. Using a slow cooker prevents that as it doesn’t get quite hot enough to boil out the alcohol, but as it cooks over a longer time, the flavors are more powerful.
  • You can make it non-alcoholic. I often use alcohol-free merlot when making this recipe, which makes it kid-friendly. I initially made this recipe when I was pregnant, and used non-alcoholic wine at that time as well. It’s a great way to include everyone at your holiday parties.
  • You can make it on the stove too. The traditional way! If you’re strapped for time it’s a little quicker, but cooking it in the slow cooker allows the flavors of this festive holiday drink to develop more, plus you can keep it warm without keeping the stove on.

🗝️ Key ingredients

  • WIne: One bottle of fruity red wine or non-alcoholic red wine. The best wine for this recipe in my opinion is merlot, but cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, or malbec would work well too.
  • Orange: One whole orange (with the orange peel!) is sliced and added to the crockpot. Orange is a seasonal winter fruit and it adds a delicious hint of citrus to this recipe.
  • Ginger: Fresh ginger brings in extra warmth. It’s especially important if you’re making alcohol-free mulled wine as it adds a slight burning sensation to your throat, just like an alcoholic beverage would.
  • Juice: I’ve used both apple and pineapple juice in this recipe, depending on what I have on hand. They are both great options, however, I would choose apple juice as my preference. Cranberry juice or orange juice are also great alternatives. If you want to make it boozier, try apple cider.
  • Whole spices: The mulling spices include whole cloves, allspice, whole star anise, and cinnamon sticks. Amazing aroma! Ground spices could be used in a pinch, just pop them in a tea ball or reusable tea bag so that the final drink doesn’t taste gritty.
  • Vanilla: Vanilla brings out the sweetness of the wine and fruits and adds some warmth. It’s so good!
  • Honey: This is entirely optional, but if you want to add a little extra sweetness, honey is the way to go with this delicious drink. I prefer having it in my non-alcoholic mulled wine but tend not to add it when using alcohol. Pure maple syrup is also a good option.
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🥣 How to make Slow Cooker Mulled Wine

1. Add all of the ingredients: Combine wine with warm spices, juice, vanilla, orange, honey, and ginger in the crock pot.

Ingredients for mulled wine being added to a slow cooker.

2. Heat and cover: Turn the slow cooker on high heat, and place the lid on it. 

Lid on the slow cooker with mulled wine ingredients inside.

3. Check: Check the mulled wine after 1 hour. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes if it’s not hot enough.

4. Lower the heat: When it’s hot enough, switch it onto a low heat or the warm setting and serve. 

Ladle serving mulled wine from a slow cooker.

5. Serve: Enjoy the warm cocktails in a warm wine glass or paper cup with sliced orange and rosemary sprigs to garnish if desired. 

Close up of 3 glasses of mulled wine with orange slices, cinnamon sticks, whole star anise.

⌛ How long will homemade mulled wine keep?

Mulled wine will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Allow it to cool completely before pouring it into an airtight container and putting it in the fridge. Reheat it in a pot on the stove or in the slow cooker until warm. The flavors may intensify so add a little extra fruit juice or wine if desired.

🔥 Can I reheat this recipe?

Yes, absolutely! Either reheat it in the crockpot for an hour (or less depending on the volume), or if there isn’t much left I usually just reheat it in a pot on the stove for about 10 minutes, until it’s warm but not boiling.

🪄 Recipe Notes and Tips

  • Add more alcohol: If you’re needing this drink to be a little bit boozier, add in a cup of brandy, apple brandy, or apple cider instead of the juice.
  • Make a bigger batch: Big holiday parties call for big batches of mulled wine! Double or triple the recipe.

🫧 Why should you not boil mulled wine?

Boiling mulled wine will remove some of the alcohol content and it will also be too hot to drink. If you’re using alcohol-free wine then you don’t have to worry about it boiling so much, just allow it to cool a little before drinking it.

💸 Can you use cheap wine?

Yes, this is the perfect way to use up cheap wine, in fact, I recommend not using a nice, expensive bottle of wine at all. There are plenty of decent cheap options out there, and you will be enhancing the flavor with fruit and spices, so there is no need for the actual wine to taste incredible.

🍷 Why is it called mulled wine?

When you heat wine with sweetness and spice it’s called a “mull”, hence “mulled wine” is hot wine heated with fruit juices (sweetness) and spices.

Overhead shot of three glasses of slow cooker mulled wine with orange slices, cinnamon sticks, whole star anise.

😋 More festive recipes to try

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Close up of a glass of mulled wine with orange slices, cinnamon sticks, whole star anise.

📖 Slow Cooker Mulled Wine

Yield: 4 people
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Fast and foolproof, this Slow Cooker Mulled Wine Recipe will warm your spirit this winter! Perfect for a holiday party this holiday season.

Ingredients

  • 75cl bottle red wine or alcohol-free red wine
  • 90ml (1/2 cup) apple juice (See notes 1 and 2 from more options)
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2-3" piece fresh ginger, peeled & sliced
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp whole allspice
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp honey or maple syrup, to taste (optional)
  • orange slices to garnish, (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to the crockpot. *see notes Ingredients for mulled wine being added to a slow cooker.
  2. Turn the slow cooker on high, and place the lid on it. Lid on the slow cooker with mulled wine ingredients inside.
  3. Check the mulled wine after 1 hour. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes if it's not hot enough.
  4. When it's hot enough, switch it onto a low or "keep warm" setting and serve. Ladle serving mulled wine from a slow cooker.
  5. Enjoy with sliced orange to garnish if desired.

Notes

  1. Apple juice: Instead of apple juice, try pineapple juice, orange juice, or cranberry juice.
  2. Add more alcohol: If you're needing this drink to be a little bit boozier, add in a cup of brandy, apple brandy, or apple cider instead of the juice.
  3. Make a bigger batch: Big holiday parties call for big batches of mulled wine! Double or triple the recipe.
  4. You can stick the cloves in the orange if you want to. It looks nice and makes serving easier but doesn't change the flavor.
  5. Store: Mulled wine will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Allow it to cool completely before pouring it into an airtight container and putting it in the fridge.
  6. Reheat it in a pot on the stove or in the slow cooker until warm. The flavors may intensify so add a little extra fruit juice or wine if desired.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215Total Fat: 0.9gSaturated Fat: 0.2gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 15mgCarbohydrates: 18.3gNet Carbohydrates: 15.3gFiber: 3gSugar: 8.6gProtein: 1.2g

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