Exploring cider and food pairing

With a variety of traditional ciders to choose from, knowing which to pair with the food you have around is no easy task. That’s why we’ve made a list of different food types we think would go well with different varieties of cider, giving you an insight into where to start with matching cider and food.

Written by

martin harris

Published on

  • Table of Contents

A quick summary:

SubcategoryCiderFoodWhy It Works
MeatDry CiderGrilled Pork ChopsSweet and smoky pork pairs well with tangy cider
MeatSparkling CiderBaked Salmon with HerbsFizzy cider complements fatty salmon for a fancy meal
MeatTraditional CiderApple Cider Braised ChickenCider’s acidity tenderizes and enhances chicken flavour
VegetarianSemi-Sweet CiderButternut Squash RisottoCider’s sweetness complements the risotto’s earthy notes
VegetarianStill CiderSpicy Thai Tofu CurryCider’s crispness balances the heat of the curry
VegetarianFruity CiderBlue Cheese and Pear SaladCider’s fruitiness enhances the creamy, tangy cheese
DessertSemi-Dry CiderCaramel Apple TartCider’s tartness balances the tart’s caramel sweetness
DessertSweet CiderCinnamon Spice Pumpkin PieCider’s sweetness harmonizes with the pie’s warm spices

The Best for Dry and Sparkling Cider

Dry Cider and Pork

Dry cider, known for its crisp and sharp flavour, pairs exquisitely with grilled pork chops. This is a classic example of matching food and cider to create a perfect harmony of flavours. The pork tastes sweet and smoky from the grill, and goes well with the tangy traditional ciders.

Sparkling Cider and Salmon

Sparkling cider, with its lively bubbles and refreshing taste, is an ideal companion for baked salmon with herbs. The fizzy cider complements the fatty salmon, showing how cider and food can enhance each other for a fancy meal

Other Meat and Seafood Pairing Options

Knowing why some food and drink combinations taste good can greatly help you enjoy the rich flavours more. If you can cook food with apples, it’s probably a good idea to pair it with cider. Traditional cider with apple undertones pairs nicely with chicken and pork dishes, enhancing their milder favlours. On the other hand, beef dishes, robust and hearty, can overpower the delicate balance of cider.

You can pair light fishes with apple sauces with cider. Stronger or oily fish need a drink that can match their intense flavours. This could be a bold red wine or a hearty beer. So, when pairing cider with meat or fish, it’s all about how well the flavours dance together.

Apple Cider Braised Chicken

Consider apple cider braised chicken, where the cider’s fruity notes infuse the meat. This shows how pairing food with the right cider can tenderize chicken and enhance its state by matching acidity. 


Cider Steamed Mussels

Cider-steamed mussels are a testament to the flexibility of matching cider with seafood. The sweetness of the cider pairs well with the mussels, while the seafood juices in return enrich the cider’s flavour.

Vegetarian and Vegan Options with Cider

In most cases we’ve found that most popular vegetable and fruit based dishes are going to go well with cider. We have found cider pairings that cater to vegetarian and vegan choices without sacrificing flavour or experience

Butternut Squash Risotto and Semi-Sweet Cider

The creamy, earthy notes of a butternut squash risotto find a sweet ally in semi-sweet cider. This pairing is an example of how matching food with cider can create a comforting and indulgent experience.

Spicy Thai Tofu Curry and Still Cider

For vegans, a spicy Thai tofu curry with apple cider is a delicious combination. The crispness of the cider complements the heat of the curry, creating a perfect harmony of flavours.

Fruity Cider with Blue Cheese and Pear Salad

A cider with fruit flavours goes well with a salad made of blue cheese and pears. It demonstrates the enjoyment of cider with fancy food. The cider’s fruitiness enhances the creamy, tangy blue cheese, while the pear adds a fresh, sweet contrast.

Sweet Cider Pairing Options

Apple-based desserts and sweet dishes pair wonderfully with cider. The dessert and cider have similar apple flavours that combine to make a tasty and enjoyable taste.

Caramel Apple Tart and Semi-Dry Cider

A sweet apple tart with buttery crust and spiced filling is tastier with slightly dry cider. The cider’s sweet and tart flavours go well with the caramel notes of the tart. It also has a slight dryness that balances the richness, creating a pleasant contrast when you eat or drink it.

Cinnamon Spice Pumpkin Pie and Sweet Cider

For a classic autumnal treat, try pairing a cinnamon spice pumpkin pie with a sweet cider. The spices in the pie, like cinnamon and nutmeg, go well with a sweet apple taste of the cider. This combination creates a cozy, comforting experience, ideal for chilly evenings or festive gatherings.

A Quick Look at Cider and Cheese Pairings

Cider and cheese go well together. You can pair traditional ciders with various types of cheese, such as sharp cheddars and creamy bries. The right cider can make cheese taste even better. For more information on these we have a complete guide already.

Want a custom cider tasting with food of your choice?

At Butford Organics we have a cider tour and tasting but on request can provide custom food options if you contact us here.