If you’re new to making hard cider, the first question that probably comes to mind is whether or not you need to pasteurize it. The short answer is that most home brewers choose not to do this step because it can alter the flavor of their cider, and it also adds an extra level of complexity to the brewing entire process.

However, if you are concerned about contaminants like yeast and bacteria in your finished product, then pasteurization may be a good option for you. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what pasteurization is and whether cider makers need it when preparing hard cider.

What Is Hard Cider Pasteurization?

Pasteurization is a process that involves heating liquids to a specific temperature and then cooling them quickly. The reason that this process is performed is to kill bacteria, yeast, and other organisms in the liquid. In addition to killing microorganisms, pasteurization also slows down the growth of spores and molds that can form on cider after it has been bottled or canned.

What is the difference between pasteurized and unpasteurized cider?

The difference between pasteurized and unpasteurized cider is simple: unpasteurized cider is sometimes contaminated with bacteria because it has not been heated to kill these microorganisms. Pasteurized cider, on the other hand, has been heated up to kill off any potentially harmful organisms and slow down the growth of spores and molds that might form on hard cider after it has been bottled or canned.

Pasteurized hard cider will have a slightly different flavor from unpasteurized hard cider because the heating process alters the taste of the fruit. However, many people believe that the difference in flavor is negligible, especially if you are using high-quality apple juice to make your cider. Sweet cider is not pasteurized but the natural yeast in apples does turn apple juice into cider.

How To Make Sparkling Hard Cider?

There are several other steps you need to take when making cider:

1. Select high-quality apples for your apple juice cider:

The flavor and color of your finished product will depend largely on the quality of the apples that you choose, so be sure to shop around at local apple orchards or farmers’ markets before settling on a particular type of apple for your cider making.

2. Ferment your hard cider:

The next step is to ferment your cider using cider yeast, which can be either purchased from a homebrewing store or cultivated from fresh apples that have fallen off the tree seasonally. Once fermentation is complete, strain out any sediment and transfer the cider into bottles or cans for storage.

3. Add sugar and yeast to your bottles or cans:

You’ll need to add a small amount of sugar and wild yeast to each bottle or can before selling it to make the sweet, carbonated cider. This step is crucial, so be sure not to skip it.

4. Allow the cider to ferment or age:

Finally, you’ll need to let your hard cider age for at least a few weeks so that the wild yeast can do its job and create carbon dioxide in each bottle or can. The alcohol content will eventually kill off the yeast. Monitor so that there will not be exploding bottles.

If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to make delicious sparkling hard cider with ease. Just remember to monitor the sugar and yeast levels closely.

How to pasteurize hard cider?

If you want to pasteurize your hard cider, there are a few things you need to do. First, you need to heat the cider up to about 60°C (140°F). This temperature should be held for at least one minute before being cooled rapidly to under 4°C (39°F). Ideally, you want your cider to drop from 60°C (140°F) all the way down to 0°C (32°F) in under a minute.

You can use a variety of methods to pasteurize your cider, but one of the most common is to use a hot water bath. To do this, simply fill a pot or canning jar with water and place your bottles or cans of cider in the water. Then, bring the water to a boil and let it sit for at least 20 seconds before cooling quickly by placing the pot or jar in a bowl of ice water.

Pasteurization temperature and time

It can vary depending on the type of cider and your preference. The temperature for pasteurization is also very important. If the apple cider is heated for too long or at too high a temperature, it can affect the flavor and quality of the finished product. Conversely, if the cider is not heated long enough, there is a risk that harmful bacteria will not be killed off and could potentially contaminate the cider.

The appropriate temperature should be 60°C (140°F) for a determined period of time.

Factors To Consider When Pasteurizing Cider:

When pasteurizing cider, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. They include:

Bottle size, material, and shape

The bottle type, shape, size, and material can all affect how quickly your cider heats up during pasteurization. Glass bottles are the best choice for holding heated cider because they will not impart any flavor or odors on the cider inside. The shape of the bottle can also make a difference, as narrow and tall bottles will heat up faster than wide or short bottles. The size of the bottle is also important to consider, as smaller bottles will heat up faster than larger bottles. There should be keen monitoring to lower the risk of having bottles explode.

The fruit which made the cider

The type of fruit used to make the cider can also affect the pasteurization process, as some fruits are denser than others and will take longer to heat up. For example, apples are typically denser than grapes, so apple juices take longer to pasteurize.

Ph and sulfur dioxide concentrations

Another key factor to consider when pasteurizing cider is the pH level of the cider and the amount of sulfur dioxide present. These two elements can affect how effective the pasteurization process is, as they can alter how much heat is needed to kill off any harmful bacteria. Ascorbic acid or vitamin C act as antioxidants and do not affect the fermentation process.

Cider Pasteurization Equipment: What’s The Best Cider Pasteurizer for Your Needs?

Sponsored by PRO Engineering / Manufacturing Inc. how to tunnel pasteurize hard ciders so they are safe to drink

There are several options for cider pasteurization with a few different types of cider pasteurizers on the market, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The best option is one that will work for your needs to get you the best-pasteurized cider.


This type of pasteurizer is generally much faster than other methods and can be used with most types of cider, although it works best with ciders that are packed in larger containers or kegs. It includes the use of the following:

High pressure

This method uses high pressure to kill bacteria in the cider without using heat. This is one of the newest types of pasteurizers on the market and can be very effective, although it is also quite expensive.


This type of cider pasteurizer uses heat to kill bacteria in the cider, and it is typically very effective. There are several types of thermal pasteurizers including:

Batch pasteurizer

A batch pasteurizer heats the cider to a specified temperature for a specified amount of time in order to kill off any harmful bacteria. This type of cider pasteurizer typically works by heating up the cider in large containers or vats, then slowly cycling it through a series of rollers and pipes that are heated to high temperatures. The cider is held at this temperature for a set period of time to ensure that all bacteria are killed, then it is cooled down before being bottled or distributed.

Depending on the size and capacity of your batch pasteurizer, this process can take anywhere from minutes to several hours to complete. Overall, batch pasteurizers are among the most effective methods for ensuring consistent quality in your hard cider products.

Tunnel pasteurizer

A tunnel pasteurizer is a type of cider pasteurizer that uses heat to kill bacteria in the hard cider. The cider is placed on a conveyor belt that moves it through a series of hot rollers or pipes, where it is heated to a high temperature for a set period of time. After being heated, the cider is cooled down before being bottled or distributed.

Tunnel pasteurizers are typically much faster than batch pasteurizers and can be used with most types of hard cider. However, they are also more expensive compared to batch pasteurizers.


This type of pasteurizer uses sound waves to kill bacteria in the cider. It is a newer pasteurization method that is less expensive than high-pressure processing but can be less effective.   

Less Preferred Methods of Pasteurization:

UV irradiation

This method uses UV light or gamma rays to kill bacteria in the cider. It is a very effective pasteurization method but can be controversial due to the potential health risks associated with exposure to radiation.

Pulsed electric fields

This method uses short pulses of electricity to kill bacteria in the cider. It is a newer pasteurization method that is less expensive than high-pressure processing but can be less effective.

What is the cost of pasteurizers?

The cost of cider pasteurizers can vary depending on the type of pasteurizer, the size and capacity, and the features. For example, a small batch pasteurizer may cost around $1,000, while a larger tunnel pasteurizer could cost upwards of $100,000.

When choosing a cider pasteurizer, it is important to consider your needs and budget to determine the best option for you.

Pro Engineering/ Manufacturing Inc; The Leader in Tunnel and Batch Pasteurizers

Pasteurized hard cider is safe to drink and has a longer shelf life than unpasteurized cider. If you are looking for a cider pasteurizer, Pro Engineering/ Manufacturing Inc is the leader in pasteurization technology, we can help you figure out the best pasteurizer for you based on the size and shape of your bottles, the fruit used in the cider, and many other factors.

We offer a variety of pasteurizers to meet your needs, including batch pasteurizers and tunnel pasteurizers. There is a variety to choose from so you can find the perfect one for your needs. If you have any questions or want more information, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today. We would be happy to help and look forward to hearing from you.

Learn More About Pasteurizing!

If you’d like to learn more about pasteurization in general, pasteurizing unique sodas, or the equipment involved, we’d love to help!

Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you might have, and we’ll do our best to help you. We want you to feel confident in your understanding of this vital process and how you can make it work for you!

For more information on tunnel and batch pasteurization contact PRO Engineering/Manufacturing, Inc. at[email protected]or call(414) 362-1500 and ask for Ed Michalski, CEO.   

Edward A.Michalski Bio  
Ed Michalski started his career in the beverage industry by designing stainless steel, higher flow, spray headers for Pabst Brewing. Along with the header design, he also developed a process to produce the new headers.   Ed, along with his brother David, formed PRO Engineering/Manufacturing, Inc. 

Based on what they learned by re-designing and refurbishing other manufacturers’ pasteurizers, Ed and PRO started to offer the pasteurizer marketplace superior new pasteurizers.  

PRO Engineering/Manufacturing has been designing and manufacturing tunnel pasteurizers and batch pasteurizers for over four decades.  

PRO Engineering and Manufacturing was established in 1977 by Ed and Dave Michalski as a steel fabrication shop. For more than 40 years, PRO Engineering and Manufacturing, Inc. has been delivering solutions for beverage product shelf stability and consumption safety. As leading innovators in post-fill pasteurization, our skilled team offers the best in high-quality pasteurization equipment.

Phone: 414-362-1500 | Email: [email protected]

Location: 11175 W Heather Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53224, USA