The Best Food Pairings for Cider

Cider, a fermented alcoholic beverage made from apples, has become increasingly popular recently. It has a crisp, refreshing taste, making it a perfect drink for any occasion.While cider can be enjoyed independently, pairing it with food can enhance the flavors of both the food and the cider. This blog post will explore the best food pairings for cider and why.

Cider’s low alcohol content and carbonation make it an ideal pairing for various foods, from midweek dinners to celebratory feasts. According to field experts, a general rule when pairing cider with food is “to think of dishes and ingredients that you’d cook with apples.” Also, there are few others that experts use when pairing the cider; 1) the cider and the food should not be contrasting flavors, 2) they must also go together in terms of overall sensory impressions, 3) neither the dish nor the cider should dominate the other but rather complement each other. However, there are methods developed when it comes to pairing cider with food. Matching similar flavors is the most common pairing technique, with fruity ciders pairing well with berry flavors and summer salads. Pairing intensity is another approach, with bold ingredients paired with cheeky ciders or subtle flavors highlighted with dry, structured ciders.

Contrasting flavors can create a unique and impressive pairing, although it is more challenging to achieve. Rather than aligning the flavors of the dish and drink, a contrasting pairing pushes the palate in opposite directions. Cutting rich dishes with acidity is a classic example of using contrasting flavors to create balance in cooking, and the same principle applies to contrast pairings with cider. Cider is a versatile drink that offers a blank canvas for pairing with a wide range of foods, making it an excellent choice for any occasion.

Cheese: One of the Best Food Pairings for Cider

The acidity in cider helps to cut through the richness of the cheese, making it a perfect pairing. Hard, aged cheeses like cheddar, gouda, and parmesan work particularly well with cider. These types of cheese have a bold flavor that can stand up to the complexity of cider. Soft cheeses like brie and camembert can also be paired with cider, as their creamy texture pairs well with the cider’s acidity.

Camembert cheese makes a great pairing for hard cider.


Charcuterie, a platter of cured meats, is another one of the best food pairings for cider. The salty and savory flavors of the meat complement the crisp and fruity flavors of cider. Prosciutto, salami, and chorizo are popular choices for a charcuterie board. When selecting meats, it’s essential to choose high-quality options to ensure the best flavor.


Seafood, particularly shellfish, is another option when looking for the best food pairings for cider. The acidity in cider helps to balance the richness of seafood, making it a perfect pairing. Oysters, in particular, are a popular choice to pair with cider. The saltiness of the oysters’ pairs well with the crisp and fruity cider flavors. Other seafood options that pair well with cider include crab, shrimp, and scallops.

Fresh oysters with lemon on ice.


Pork is a versatile meat that can be prepared in a variety of ways, making it a great food to pair with cider. Cider pairs particularly well with pork dishes that have a sweet or tangy flavor. Pulled pork sandwiches, glazed pork chops, and cider-braised pork belly are great options for pairing with cider. The sweetness in the pork pairs well with the fruity flavors of cider, while the acidity in cider helps to cut through the meat’s richness.

Closeup of pork ribs grilled with BBQ sauce and caramelized in honey. Spicy barbecued pork ribs served with BBQ sauce. A large steaming fragrant piece of baked beef brisket on the ribs

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods may not seem like an obvious choice to pair with cider, but the crisp and refreshing flavors of cider can actually help to balance out the heat of spicy foods. Thai curry, Mexican salsa, and Indian vindaloo are all spicy dishes that pair well with cider. The sweetness in cider can help to cool down the heat of the spices, while the acidity in cider helps to cleanse the palate between bites.

Delicious Thai panang curry

Ham and other cold cuts

Hot or cold. Cider is a good partner for boiled or roasted gammon (and can also be used in the cooking liquid) and is lovely with fat chunks of ham cut off the bone. It’s also good with other pork-based products like patés, terrines, and rillettes (without too much garlic) and brawn or jambon persillé, Melton Mowbray (and other) pork pies, and Scotch eggs. Overall, ham and other cold cuts make some of the best food pairings for cider.

Flat slices of square sandwich ham with herbs.


Cider can also be paired with desserts, particularly those with a fruit or caramel flavor. Apple pie, caramel flan, and fruit tarts are all great desserts to pair with cider. The fruity and sweet flavors in the desserts complement the fruity and sweet flavors in cider. The acidity in cider also helps to balance out the richness of desserts, making them one of the best food pairings for  cider.  

Flan or creme caramel, traditional Spanish dessert


In summary, cider is a fantastic option for pairing with various types of food due to its versatility, low alcohol content, and carbonation. The ability to pair with similar or contrasting flavors and similar intensity levels makes it an ideal beverage to accompany any meal or occasion. Cider can elevate the taste of your food, highlight specific ingredients, and even add lightness to heavier dishes. Its comprehensive pairing options, from a casual snack to a formal dinner party, make it popular among food enthusiasts. Therefore, if you’re looking for a delicious and refreshing beverage that complements your meals perfectly, try pairing cider with your favorite dishes and discover a new world of flavor.