How To Make Cider Without a Press

At our farm we believe everyone should be able to enjoy homemade cider, even without specialised equipment such as a cider press. This guide will show you how to make delicious apple cider or apple juice using items you likely already have in your kitchen.

Written by

martin harris

Published on

  • Table of Contents

DIY Cider Equipment List

To start your homemade cider journey, gather these common household items:

  • Large food-grade bucket
  • Cheesecloth or fine mesh bag
  • Large spoon or potato masher
  • Airlock and rubber stopper
  • Glass carboy or food-grade plastic fermenter
  • Bottles for storing your finished cider

These simple tools will serve as alternatives to a traditional cider mill used for cider making, making the process accessible for beginners and small-batch cider enthusiasts alike.

Selecting and Preparing Your Apples

Choosing the Right Apples for Cider

The key to great cider lies in selecting the right apples. We recommend using a mix of sweet and tart varieties to achieve a balanced flavour. The apples we use can be seen on our farm during a tour. Some excellent choices include:

  • Braeburn
  • Gala
  • Granny Smith
  • Cox’s Orange Pippin

Washing and Prepping Your Fruit

Thoroughly wash your apples to remove any dirt or pesticides. Remove stems and cut out any bruised areas. There’s no need to peel or core the apples, as these parts can add depth to your cider’s flavour.

No-Press Apple Crushing Methods

Method 1: Food Processor Approach

For smaller batches, a food processor is an efficient way to crush your apples. Cut the apples into chunks and pulse them in the processor until they form a coarse pulp.

Method 2: Manual Chopping and Freezing

If you don’t have a food processor, chop the apples into small pieces and freeze them overnight. As they thaw, the cell walls break down, making juice extraction easier.


Extracting Juice Without a Press

The Cheesecloth and Gravity Method

  1. Place your crushed apples in a cheesecloth or fine mesh bag.
  2. Suspend the bag over a large container.
  3. Let gravity do the work – the juice will slowly drip out.
  4. Gently squeeze the bag to extract more juice.

Maximising Juice Yield: Tips and Tricks

To get the most juice from your apples:

  • Leave the pulp to drain for several hours or overnight
  • Gently massage the pulp in the cheesecloth to encourage more juice release
  • Consider adding pectinase enzyme to break down the fruit further

From Juice to Cider: The Fermentation Process

Adding Yeast and Sugar

To start fermentation:

  1. Pour your extracted juice into a sterilised fermenting vessel.
  2. Add brewing yeast according to package instructions.
  3. If desired, add sugar to increase alcohol content (about 50-100g per litre).

Monitoring Fermentation

Attach an airlock to your fermenting vessel and store it in a cool, dark place. Fermentation typically takes 2-4 weeks. You’ll know it’s complete when bubbling in the airlock stops.

Bottling Your Homemade Cider

Once fermentation is complete, carefully siphon your cider into clean, sterilised bottles. If you want sparkling cider, add a small amount of sugar before bottling to encourage carbonation.

Troubleshooting Common Issues in Press-Free Cider Making

Low juice yieldUse riper apples or add pectinase enzyme
Slow fermentationEnsure fermentation area is warm enough (18-22°C)
Off flavoursImprove sanitation practices, use fresh apples

Safety First: Hygiene and Food Safety in Home Cider Making

Cleanliness is crucial in cider making. Always sterilise all equipment before use to prevent unwanted bacteria from spoiling your brew. We recommend using a no-rinse sanitiser for convenience and effectiveness.