Traditional Wassail

Recipe for Traditional Wassail
Sam Jones/Quinn Brein


5 to 6 large baking apples, peeled and cored
1 cup sugar
2 quarts beer or ale
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half, or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
zest of 1 lemon
1-1/2 cups sherry or sweet red wine


Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the apples into thick slices, and arrange in layers in a covered casserole dish, sprinkling a few teaspoons of sugar over each layer. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. (The apples will get puffy and soft.)

While the apples bake, combine the beer, spices, lemon zest, and remaining sugar in a large saucepan. Heat slowly, bringing just to a simmer. (Don’t let the mixture boil.) When it is hot, add the sherry and keep heating until the mixture reaches a simmer again, still not boiling. Place the hot baked apples in a punch bowl, and pour the hot wassail over them. Serve hot.

Wondering which kind of apples to use? Check out our Best Apples for Baking page to learn more!


Serves 8 to 12.


Reader Comments

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Great recipe

Thank you so much for publishing this recipe; it's the first one for Wassail that actually tasted like the ones I used to drink at UK Christmas markets!

The only difference I made was to use dry red wine as I'm not such a fan of very sweet drinks, and it was perfect.

Wassail recipe

What? No cloves? I have an old recipe that is alcohol free that we've been making in our family for over 50 years.

wassail recipe

The Editors's picture

Hi, Tanya. We do have another recipe for wassail that includes ground cloves. Just click here.


Not being a drinker is there something that could be used in place of alcohol. Cider etc

wassail recipe

The Editors's picture

Hi, Nancy. We do have a non-alcoholic wassail recipe here.

Lamb's Wool Wassail

From what I've researched, Toast was floated on top of the wassail, this is what gave the appearance of lamb's wool.