How To Cook With Cider

Sweet or dry, the spicy depth of cider complements everything from cakey donuts to rich braises. And whether you enjoy it over ice in summer or mulled in winter, the sweet and fruity nature of this apple or pear based drink means it can be used in sweet and savoury recipes to great effect. 

Cider makes an excellent cooking liquid as its slight sweetness, fruitiness and balance of acidity shares so many characteristics with wine. Just be sure to look for a cider without added sugar such as Rochdale, so as to prevent burning, over caramelisation and to highlight the cider's flavour. 

Rochdale is made from pure glacial water, by a family-owned company, the McCashin brewery, in Nelson, New Zealand and is free from gluten, added sugars or preservatives. 

Pork, apple and cider pies 

rochdale cider 2
rochdale cider 3

Makes 4

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
500g pork mince
2 Tbsp plain flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup Rochdale apple cider

150g shredded red cabbage
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated
1/4 cup chopped sage, plus 4 leaves, extra
4 sheets store-bought shortcrust pastry
2 sheets store-bought puff pastry
1 beaten egg, for glazing


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the onion and garlic and
    cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the mince and cook for 4-5 minutes, until browned. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the stock, Rochdale apple cider, cabbage, apple and sage and cook for 4-5 minutes or until thickened. Allow to cool.
  3. Cut 4 x 16cm rounds from the shortcrust pastry and use to line 4 x 9 1/2cm lightly greased pie dishes. Spoon in the pork.
  4. Cut 4 x 13cm rounds from the puff pastry and place on the top, pressing edges to seal. Trim the excess pastry and cut a slit in the top of the pies.
  5. Brush with the egg, top with a sage leaf and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and golden. 

Pear Cider donuts

rochdale pear cider donut
rochdale pear cider donut

Makes 12

2 cups Rochdale pear cider
3 cups flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled Vegetable oil for frying 

Cinnamon sugar: 
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon


  1. In a small saucepan, bring Rochdale pear cider to a boil and cook until reduced by
    about half. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  2. Whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cardamom,
    cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, butter, and cider. Stir into the dry ingredients.
    It will be sticky. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Make the cinnamon sugar by stirring together sugar and cinnamon.
  5. Divide dough in half on a well floured surface. Roll each portion to just over 1cm thick
    and cut with doughnut cutter.
  6. Heat oil to 185°C Fry doughnuts, a few at a time, for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes on each side.
    Drain on paper towels. Toss hot doughnuts with cinnamon sugar mixture. 

Optional: Instead of tossing in cinnamon sugar, you can make a donut dipping sauce/cider glaze by mixing boiled-down Rochdale apple cider, butter, and confectioners' sugar. 

rochdale pear cider donut 2