How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar


Success in making apple cider vinegar at home is dependent on three factors: good yeast, supplying enough oxygen to the mixture by stirring and maintaining a stable temperature between 60 and 80 degrees. Lower temperatures do not reliably produce a good vinegar; higher temperatures interfere with the action of the yeast. You do not have to use a starter yeast, but the fermentation will take longer and be less reliable without it. Use a special vinegar yeast, called a “mother”, to start the vinegar. You can find vinegar mother yeast at brewer’s supply stores. Do not use baker's yeast. Always use a glass, plastic, enamel or stainless steel containers for making vinegar. Aluminum and other reactive metals will corrode in the acid environment.

Step 1

Make or purchase a good quality fresh cider made from fall apples. Thoroughly wash the apples, crush the pulp and strain the juice through cheesecloth.

Step 2

Crumble 1 cake of vinegar yeast into 1 quart of cider to make a yeast starter for 5 gallons of vinegar. If making more or less than 5 gallons of vinegar, made a proportionate amount of starter.

Step 3

Mix the starter with cider to make 5 gallons. Mix well and pour into containers, approximately 3/4 full. Place the lids loosely on the containers, but do not seal.

Step 4

Store the containers at 60 to 80 degrees F for 3 to 4 weeks, until the fermentation is complete. Stir or shake the containers daily to oxygenate the cider.

Step 5

Taste the vinegar when you begin to notice a vinegar smell. Taste a sample daily until the vinegar reaches the desired strength.

Step 6

Filter the vinegar through a coffee filter to remove the sediment. Use immediately or pasteurize for long-term storage.

Step 7

Pasturize the vinegar by heating it to between 140 and 160 degrees before pouring the vinegar into sterilized jars and sealing the caps.

Tips and Warnings

  • Homemade apple cider vinegar varies in strength and should not be used for preserving or canning.

Things You'll Need

  • Apple cider
  • Vinegar mother yeast
  • Cheese cloth
  • Quart container
  • 5 gallon container
  • Containers for fermenting
  • Coffee filter
  • Sterile jars and lids


  • Ohio State University Extension: Making Cider Vinegar at Home
Keywords: apple cider vinegar, make cider vinegar, homemade cider vinegar

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and content around the web. Watkins has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.