Not all apples are ideal for cooking! Below is a chart with some of the best apples for baking—from apple pies to applesauce.
Ever eaten a mushy apple pie? Often, the reason for this is a soft apple, such as a McIntosh. Have no fear! When you use the right kind of apple, you may find you actually like apple pie!
Below is a list of the best apples for cooking and baking. Note: Some familiar apple varieties may be missing because they are best eaten fresh out of the hand.
If you have apple varieties in your region that aren’t listed here, please comment below! We all learn so much from our Almanac community.
Best Apples for Baking
|NAME||Best Uses||Flavor Characteristic, Appearance|
|Braeburn||Applesauce||Tart, sweet, aromatic, tall shape, bright color|
|Cortland||Pies, Applesauces, Fruit Salad||Tart, crisp, larger than ‘McIntosh’|
|Fuji||Baking||Sweet and juicy, firm, red skin|
|Gala||Dried, Cider||Mild, sweet, juicy, crisp, yellow-orange skin with red striping (resembles a peach)|
|Granny Smith||Baking||Moderately sweet, crisp flesh, green skin|
|Jonagold||Pie, Applesauce||Tangy-sweet, Yellow top, red bottom|
|Jonathan||Applesauce||Tart flesh, crisp, juicy, bright red on yellow skin|
|McIntosh||Applesauce||Juicy, sweet, pinkish-white flesh, red skin|
|Newtown Pippin||Pie, Applesauce, Cider||Sweet-tart flesh, crisp, greenish-yellow skin|
|Rhode Island Greening||Pie||Very tart, distinctively flavored, grass-green skin, tending toward yellow/orange|
|Rome Beauty||Baking, Cider||Mildly tart, crisp, greenish-white flesh, thick skin|
|Winesap||Applesauce, Pie, Cider||Very juicy, sweet-sour flavor, winey, aromatic, sturdy, red skin|
Here’s a fun video to help you see what each apple looks like!
Best Apples for Pie
Many of us cook apples to use in a pie or crisp. You need to use “firm” apples. Also, we advise using more than one apple, such as a firm “sweet” apple plus a firm “tart” apple for depth of flavor.
- Examples of firm apples which are “sweet” include: Golden Delicious and Jonagolds.
- Examples of firm apples which are “tart” include: Granny Smith,
Tip: Keep the apples firm so they fill the crust, try pre-baking the apples for about 10 minutes, cooling in your fridge, and then adding to the pie plate.
Apple Baking Measurements
Note: When it comes to baking with apples, it may be helpful to know the following:
- 1 pound of apples = 2 large, 3 medium, or 4 to 5 small apples
- 1 pound of apples = 3 cups peeled and sliced apples
Have you ever made apple cider before? Learn all about apple cider pressing.
As we’re talking about cooking apples, we would be remiss if we did not share a few apple recipes!
Photo Credit: C. Quinnell.
Do you love to bake? Find more great recipes in our very own Old Farmer’s Almanac Everyday Baking Cookbook!