Apple Juice vs. Apple Cider vs. Apple Cider Vinegar: Know the Difference

apple juice vs cider vs vinegar
iStock: Boarding1Now

As the saying goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Fortunately, there are many ways you can take advantage of the nutrition within apples, including through drinks like apple juice, apple cider, and apple cider vinegar (ACV).

Each of these apple byproducts requires another for its creation.

Apple juice is made by macerating, or soaking in liquid, and pressing an apple. There is nothing better than freshly squeezed apple juice, especially when you have your own juicer.

Apple cider, on the other hand, is made from the apple juice extracted from the pulp of pureed, or mashed, apples. Apple cider vinegar is then made from fermented apple cider.

While each apple-derived beverage has many health benefits, there are differences between them. In this article, we will explore apple cider vs. apple juice and apple cider vs. apple cider vinegar.

We will compare how each apple byproduct is made and what you need know about their nutrition profiles. We will also discuss how the health benefits compare, and whether you can substitute one for the other in recipes.

Apple Juice vs. Apple Cider vs. Apple Cider Vinegar: How Are They Made?

Each apple drink is the result of a unique process. Read on to learn exactly how apple juice, apple cider, and apple cider vinegar are made.

Apple Juice

How is apple juice made? It is made through a process called maceration, which is the softening of the fruit by soaking it in liquid. Then, the softened apple is pressed.

You can make your own apple juice with a slow-speed or centrifugal juicer. Slow juicers are more effective since they extract more juice than a centrifugal juicer. They also crush and press the apple to yield the most juice.

On the other hand, centrifugal juicers generate heat, which destroys many beneficial enzymes.

Concentrated, filtered, and pasteurized apple juice is also made available at your local grocer. However, these juices likely are high in sugar, additives, and preservatives.

Apple Cider

How is apple cider made? Perhaps we should start with the question, what is unfiltered apple juice? Fresh apple cider is simply apple juice that has not been filtered to remove the pulp. It is made from apple juice that has been extracted from the pulp of mashed apples.

It takes about a third of a bushel to make a gallon of apple cider. Once made, apple cider should be refrigerated.

Is apple cider alcoholic? Well, it may depend on where you live in the world. Outside the United States and Canada, the term “cider” refers to an alcoholic drink made from the fermented juice of apples.

Within the North American countries, however, “apple cider” will stay sweet and unfermented for about two weeks, but if left to ferment, it can become fizzy, and therefore slightly alcoholic over time. Then, it is known as “hard” cider.

Apple Cider Vinegar

How is apple cider vinegar made, and what is the difference between apple cider and apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple cider. The sugar in apple cider allows it to be turned into alcohol. After this process, it is fermented again, where it is converted into apple cider vinegar due to acetic acid-forming bacteria—also called acetobacter. Acetic acid and malic acid are responsible for the sour taste of ACV.

What is the difference between apple cider vinegar and vinegar? Both have acetic acid; however, other vinegars also contain amino acids, mineral salts, vitamins, and other acids.

Apple Juice vs. Apple Cider vs. Apple Cider Vinegar: Comparing Nutrition Profiles

In this section, we will compare nutrition profiles of apple juice, apple cider, and apple cider vinegar.

What do you need to know about apple cider nutrition? A cup of apple cider contains 30 grams (g) of carbohydrates, as well as trace amounts of vitamin C, potassium, and iron.

What about apple cider vs. apple juice? One cup of apple juice contains 28 g of carbs, as well as manganese, selenium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, betaine, choline, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Conversely, one cup of apple cider vinegar contains 2.2 g of carbs, as well as manganese, selenium, copper, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and iron.

The following is a table that compares the apple juice nutrition profile with the data of apple cider and apple cider vinegar.

Nutrient Apple Juice Apple Cider Apple Cider Vinegar
Calories 114 120 50.2
Total Carbohydrates 28.0 g 30.0 g 2.2 g
Sugar 23.9 g 30.0 g 1.0 g
Vitamin A 2.5IU N/A N/A
Vitamin C 2.2 mg 3.6 mg N/A
Vitamin B1 0.1 mg N/A N/A
Vitamin B2 0.001 mg N/A N/A
Vitamin B3 0.2 mg N/A N/A
Vitamin B5 0.1 mg N/A N/A
Vitamin B6 0.001 mg N/A N/A
Choline 4.5 mg N/A N/A
Betaine 0.2 mg N/A N/A
Calcium 19.8 mg N/A 16.7 mg
Iron 0.3 mg 0.4 mg 0.5 mg
Magnesium 12.4 mg N/A 12.0 mg
Phosphorus 17.4 mg N/A 19.1 mg
Potassium 251 mg 140 mg 174 mg
Zinc N/A N/A 0.1 mg
Copper 0.001 mg N/A 0.001 mg
Manganese 0.2 mg N/A 0.6 mg
Selenium 0.2 mcg N/A 0.2 mcg

N/A – Not Applicable

Which Is Better? Comparing Health Benefits

Apples are a high-antioxidant food with a significant number of flavonoids. Apples are also considered to have one of the highest total concentrations of phenolic compounds—bioactive substances that include flavonoids.

Beneficial antioxidants in apples also include chlorogenic acid, quercetin, catechin, and phloridzin.

So, apple cider vs. apple juice: what is the difference between the two? How about apple cider vs. apple cider vinegar? This section will compare the health benefits of apple juice, apple cider, and apple cider vinegar.

Apple Juice

In apple juice, the fiber, particularly a soluble fiber called pectin, is removed. The phytochemicals in apples could potentially lower inflammation, prevent oxidative stress, improve pulmonary function and bone health, and reduce the risk of diabetes, heart attacks, and cognitive decline.

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts found that giving mice two glasses of apple juice daily for a month lowered their levels of beta-amyloid—a protein responsible for plaque buildup that leads to Alzheimer’s disease.

A 2008 study published in the journal Planta Medica found that apple juice also reduced the risk of skin, breast, and colon cancer. The vitamin C in apples might also fight free radical damage and help protect cells and DNA from malformation and mutation.

Some commercially made apple juice also contains traces of mountain ash, which is made of 50% potassium carbonate.

Moreover, apple juice could help you manage your weight loss.

Apple Cider

Is apple cider healthier than apple juice? Apple cider has many benefits similar to apple juice. That being said, apple cider contains more polyphenol compounds than apple juice.

The pectin and starch fiber in apple cider are also what make it darker and cloudier than apple juice. The pectin in apple cider has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar, on the other hand, contains its own set of health benefits. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is thought to reduce high blood pressure, improve skin health, and balance your pH levels.

One 2007 study found that two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar can lower blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes. Studies also show that apple cider vinegar can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and other heart disease risk factors.

Apple cider vinegar can also boost gut health, fight fungal infections, benefit weight loss, enhance circulation, treat seasonal allergies, and reduce heartburn and acid reflux.

Can You Substitute One for the Other?

Your recipe calls for apple cider, but all you can find is apple juice. Some people might ask, “Can I substitute apple juice for apple cider?”

The answer here is that you can replace apple cider with apple juice; however, this will depend on the recipe.

Recipes with apple juice will be sweeter than those with the apple cider. This is because the filtration process for making juice will remove some of the bitter and tart flavors present in apple cider.

In this next scenario, all you have is apple cider vinegar, but your recipe called for apple cider. As a result, you may ask, “Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of apple cider?”

The short answer here is no. Basically, apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar, which contains acetic acid and other acids. Adding apple cider vinegar to a recipe would totally change the recipe.

If you are out of apple cider vinegar, but you have some vinegar in your cupboard, you can instead try an apple cider vinegar substitute.

For other ACV substitutes, there are other combinations you can use. Vinegar can be combined with ginger root, turmeric, pomegranate juice, thyme, and more.

Final Thoughts on Apple Juice vs. Apple Cider vs. Apple Cider Vinegar

There is no question that the apple is nutritional superfood. You can do far more with it than bite into it. You can also juice it, make it into cider, or use fermented apple cider to make apple cider vinegar.

Which apple byproduct is better? In this article, we learned about each apple byproduct, along with its own set of unique nutrients, properties, and health benefits.

That being said, when you purchase them, look for organic varieties. Also, when it comes to apple cider vinegar, it should also be raw, unfiltered, and with the mother still intact for the most nutritional benefits.

If you make your apple juice, consider using a slow-speed juicer rather than a centrifugal juicer. Slower juicers extract more juice than the centrifugal variety.

Also read:

“Apple Juice and Apple Cider: What’s the Difference?”;, last accessed May 14, 2018.
“Apple cider vinegar,” WebMD;, last accessed May 14, 2018.
“Apple juice, canned or bottled, unsweetened, without added ascorbic acid,” SELFNutritionData;, last accessed May 14, 2018.
“Vinegar, cider Nutrition Facts & Calories,” SELFNutritionData;, last accessed May 14, 2018.
“Apple Cider 1 cup Nutrition Facts 7 Calories,” SELFNutritionData;, last accessed May 14, 2018.
Collins, K., “Is there a nutritional difference between apple cider and apple juice?” American Institute for Cancer Research;, last accessed May 14, 2018.