Difference between Apple Juice and Apple Cider

By: | Updated: Dec-21, 2017

What is the difference between apple juice and apple cider? Supermarket product labels do not clarify the issue. Also, there is always the marketing strategy and the way in which producers will say almost anything only to get the product off the shelves. They still need to make some specifications about the product on the side and you could read those. But how do you interpret them? How can we tell whether we are drinking cider or juice?

Summary Table

Apple juiceApple cider
Is made from the processing of pressed applesIs made by macerating and pressing fresh apples
The starch and pectin are removedThe starch and pectin are kept
Enzymes are added and the beverage is clarifiedThe fruit pulp remains are left in the beverage
Is clear and it has a light colorIs opaque and it has a slightly darker color
Sugar may be addedNo sugar is added
Has a long shelf life and a wide distributionHas a very short shelf life and is mainly consumed locally



Apple juice is produced through the maceration and the pressing of the fruit. The starch and the pectin are removed, and the juice can also be treated with enzymes to clarify it. For storage purposes, it can be pasteurized and turned into a concentrate to have a longer shelf life and to avoid fermentation. Also, some products even get added sugar to make it taste better.

You can usually buy apple juice in stores. It comes in glass bottles, plastic containers, or cardboard boxes. It has a pretty long shelf life but it needs to be stored in special conditions, away from direct sources of heat and light.

Apple cider is made from the maceration and pressing of the fruit. All the pectin, starch and pulp of the fruit is kept. While this is what people in North American and Canada understand by the term “cider,” people in other parts of the world define it as the alcoholic beverage resulting from the fermentation of apple juice. The alcoholic version of North American apple cider is hard cider.

Apple cider is unsweetened, unpasteurized, and untreated in any way. Therefore, it must be consumed as is and quickly. Its shelf life is very short as it ferments really fast. This means that real cider is only available in stores near production facilities and during harvest seasons.

Apple Juice vs Apple Cider

So what is the difference between apple juice and apple cider?

To best understand the difference between them, you should first understand the connection. Apple cider is made from the maceration and pressing of apples. The resulting unaltered beverage is cider. Once producers remove the starch and the pectin, start adding enzymes, and clarifying and pasteurizing the beverage, it becomes apple juice.

Apple cider has a very short shelf life and it should be consumed briefly after production. On the other hand, apple juice has a long shelf life. Apple cider is mainly found in the vicinity of production facilities during harvest season, whereas apple juice can be shipped anywhere and can be consumed all year long.

Also, the taste of apple cider is supposed to be all natural. Apple juice, on the other hand, can have added sugar.

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