Traditional Turkish Apple Tea Recipe (from fresh apples) – Yum Eating (2024)

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Traditional Turkish apple tea is a refreshing drink, which is perfect for cold winter nights when drank hot or great for summer when you chill it down and add a few ice cubes. Either way, this apple tea is very easy to make and tasty too!

I’ve first come across this traditional Turkish Apple Tea, when I was exploring Northern Cyprus, which is now part of Turkey. Because of that, it has a strong Turkish influence and the food, drinks and culture is very much like being in Turkey.

When I got back home I wanted to recreate the wonderful flavour and taste of this delicious apple tea and after a few trials, worked out a recipe that reminded me the tea I tasted back in Northern Cyprus the most.

Why make this apple tea?

  • Natural – caffeine-free
  • Vitamin C
  • Refreshing drink
  • Great way to use up some apples before they go brown
  • Go easy on the sugar to make the drink even healthier
  • Perfect for any time of the day

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Origins of Turkish Apple Tea

This tea is made from dried apple pieces, which are infused in a hot water with some cinnamon. The tea is traditionally served in small tulip like glasses on a tray with a spoon and sugar cubes on the side.

Coffee and teas are served like that as well and you can see the serving trays and glasses in every tea room or restaurant. It looks very pretty!

I’m always inspired by local food and drink, when I’m travelling, so coming back home I wanted to try to make my own Turkish Apple Tea at home.

You can buy apple tea powder or granules and simply dissolve them in a hot water, but I think it’s nice to make the drink authentically and start from the real ingredients!

I’m sure that other countries would have a similar type of drink.

I remember that we used to dry apple pieces during summer and made them into tea in the winter in exactly the same way. I don’t think we added cinnamon, but that’s the only difference.

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How does Turkish apple tea taste like?

To make the Turkish apple tea authentically, you need to make sure that the apple taste is very strong and intense.

There is also quite a bit of sugar to add sweetness and then lemon (or citric acid) to add zing and a bit of sourness.

Ingredients & Possible Substitutions

Apple

Depending on what type of apple you use, you might get a different flavour finish. I normally go for dark red apples, but green apples are lovely too.

The one that don’t have much flavour are the large floury type of pink apples, you basically want to make sure the apple has a bit of a bite to it and it’s lovely zingy and juicy.

If the apple tastes a bit bland, the flavour can be improved with lemon or citric acid.

Cinnamon

It’s nice to use cinnamon sticks to make this recipe, but they can be a bit pricey. If you don’t have a whole cinnamon, just use about 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon per large cup.

Lemon

You can use lemon juice, lemon zest or citric acid for an authentic taste. Alternatively, you can also use lime juice or concentrated lemon or lime juice, although I find that freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice is always nicer.

Citric or Malic Acid (optional – instead of lemon juice)

As weird as these ingredients sound, these are completely natural ingredients. Made from lemons (citric acid) or apples (malic acid) they come in small containers looking like larger sugar crystals. They are great for adding sharp and zingy flavour (citric acid) and sourness (malic acid).

They are very inexpensive to buy and last a long time, which means it’s quite handy to have them at home especially if you like making lemonades or iced teas. I also often use them for traditional sweet making, fruit curds, jams or marmalade making, so there are plenty of uses for these ingredients.

To use citric or malic acid, just add a few crystals into the hot drink and let and them dissolve. Taste and add more if needed as a little goes a long way and you only want to sharpen the flavour of the apple, but not make it too strong.

Extra Tip

Add the honey first (or your choice of sweetener such as golden syrup or golden syrup alternatives), taste it and then add the lemon to adjust the flavour.

If you to it the other way round, you will not be able to correctly judge how much sugar to add and you’ll probably add way too much.

Somehow adding the lemon first makes the drink impossible to flavour with sugar unless you add a lot of it.

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Seasonal variations for making apple tea

The apple flavour goes well with other seasonal flavour variations, if you are happy to divert from the traditional recipe.

Any of the following homemade spice mixes can be used instead of the cinnamon sticks. Just use 1/4 of a teaspoon ( or even a little less, if you prefer) per large mug (300 ml water).

Another seasonal flavour is a hint of alcohol – something like an apple cider, rum or even dash of whisky would work really well with this recipe.

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How to make Turkish apple tea recipe

Prepare the apples by washing them and chopping them up into small pieces. If using non-organic apples, peel the apple skin first.

Add water to medium-size saucepan and add the apple pieces and cinnamon sticks.

Bring the water to boil, turn down the heat and carry on simmering for a minimum of 10-15 minutes to allow the apples to infuse the water.

Pour the apple tea through a sieve and discard the cinnamon stick and the rest of the apples (these can be used for pancakes or as a topping for breakfast porridge, so don’t throw them out completely)

Mix in some honey and taste to make sure that you are happy with the amount of sweetness.

Add lemon juice or citric acid to bring all the flavours together and taste again. You should get a strong apple flavour with the sweetness of the honey and a sharp lemon flavour too.

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How to serve traditional Turkish hot apple tea

Traditionally this apple tea is drank hot and served in a small tulip shaped glasses. You can of course use any kind of suitable glass mug or regular mug for tea.

You can add fresh slice of apple to decorate the drink and leave the cinnamon stick in if you like. If you want to garnish the tea with fresh herbs, then thyme or lemon thyme works great with the flavour.

I sometimes add a dash of whisky in, especially on a cold autumn evening. It’s the perfect hot drink for late summer or autumn garden parties and of course a great drink for the autumn and winter season.

You can also leave the apple tea to cool down completely, chill in in the fridge (or pour over a few ice cubes in a glass) and serve cold.

Other uses for apple tea

If you happen to make more apple tea than you need, you can also use it as a liquid instead of water in bread or fruit scones or add it to your morning smoothie (especially if it’s non-dairy based as the lemon or citric acid in this apple tea might curdle the milk or yoghurt).

You can also use apple tea instead of water in any pancake recipe and add some cinnamon to apple pancakes.

Serve the apple pancakes with a homemade apple sauce (or some of my apple sauce substitutions) and you have a winning combination for a delicious autumn breakfast.

How to keep and store your apple tea

Ideally you want to drink your tea fresh once it’s made. But if you’ve made to much and you can’t finish the tea straightaway, you can leave it to cool down and then keep it in the fridge (covered) for 2-3 days.

You can drink the tea cold or heat it up on the stove in a small saucepan or in the microwave to drink hot.

What I also sometimes do, is to make concentrated apple tea (basically just half the amount of the water), leave it to cool down and then pour it into a ice cube tray (or ice cube bag maker) and freeze the concentrated tea for later.

I then use one or two frozen apple tea cubes to make a fresh hot (or cold) drink by pouring hot water over it and make it into an instant hot apple drink!

I also use the frozen apple tea ice cubes to make iced teas or add it to my breakfast smoothies.

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What to do with the discarded apples

This traditional Turkish apple tea is made from fresh apples, which only ment to infuse the drink/water and then ment to be discarded. But, by ‘discarding’ I certainly don’t mean throwing in the bin!

What you’ll end up by making this recipe are wonderfully stewed slices of apple infused with cinnamon. They will be soft and ready to eat.

These stewed apples are great as a topping for breakfast porridge, pancakes, oatmeal or to use as a starting point for making fruit fillings for cakes, tarts or puddings.

You can also make them into a wonderful Apple Fruit Curd, homemade apple sauce or simply eat them on their own with a drizzling of honey, maple or other maple syrup substitutes from my healthy sweet syrups list.

The discarded apples can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days (covered and in the suitable container) or can be frozen once cooled down and kept for up to 3 months in the freezer.

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Traditional Turkish Apple Tea Recipe (from fresh apples) – Yum Eating (7)

Traditional Turkish Apple Tea

Magdalena Marsden

Refreshing apple tea based on a traditional Turkish recipe, made with fresh apples, cinnamon and honey.

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes mins

Cook Time 20 minutes mins

Course drinks

Cuisine European

Servings 2 large mugs

Calories 136 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 apples medium to large size sweet red apples
  • 2 cinnamon sticks 1 large one or 2 smaller (or 1 teaspoon of cinnamon)
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons honey or to your taste
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or a pinch of citric acid or 1 teaspoon of lemon peel

Instructions

  • Prepare the apples by washing them and chopping them up into small pieces. If using non-organic apples, peel the apple skin first.

  • Add water to medium size saucepan and add the apple pieces and cinnamon sticks.

  • Bring the water to boil, turn down the heat and carry on simmering for a minimum of 10-15 minutes to allow the apples infuse the water.

  • Pour the apple tea through a sieve and discard the cinnamon stick and the rest of the apples (these can be used for pancakes or as a topping for breakfast porridge, so don't throw them out completely)

  • Mix in some honey and taste to make sure that you are happy with the amount of sweetness.

  • Add lemon juice or citric acid to bring all the flavours together and taste again. You should get a strong apple flavour with sweetness of the honey and sharp lemon flavour too.

  • Traditionally drank hot, but apple tea can be also chilled and dranked cold, if you prefer.

Nutrition

Calories: 136kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 1gFat: 0.4gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.03gSodium: 20mgPotassium: 220mgFiber: 6gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 109IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 58mgIron: 1mg

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

This blog post was originally written on 22 June 2021 and last updated 19 March 2023

Traditional Turkish Apple Tea Recipe (from fresh apples) – Yum Eating (2024)

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