Age-Old Wisdom meets Modern Tools
Choosing the Right Apples for Apple Pies and Other Recipes
Not all apples are ideal for cooking! Below is a chart with some of the best apples for baking and cooking—from apple pies and apple crisp to applesauce and cider.
Choosing an Apple Variety
Ever eaten a mushy apple pie? Often, the cause of this is a soft apple variety that doesn’t hold up in the oven. When you use the right kinds of apples for your recipes, your dishes can go from good to delicious!
Below is a list of the best apples for baking and cooking. Note that some familiar apple varieties may be missing because they are best eaten fresh.
If you have apple varieties in your region that aren’t listed here, please comment below and let us know what you prefer to use!
The Best Apples for Baking
|Name||Best Uses||Flavor Characteristics, Appearance|
|Braeburn||Applesauce||Tart, sweet, aromatic, tall shape, bright color|
|Cortland||Pies, Applesauce, 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 Apple Pie & Crisp
Many of us cook apples to use in a pie or crisp. For these baked goods, you need to use “firm” apples.
Even better, use more than one firm apple variety to give the dish different textures and tastes.
We recommend using both 1) a firm “sweet” apple plus 2) a firm “tart” apple for depth of flavor. Examples of firm apples which are “sweet” include: Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, and Jonagold. Examples of firm tart apples are Granny Smith and Northern Spy.
Tip: To 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 Cooking Measurements
When it comes to cooking 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, here are three of our favorite recipes using fresh apples!
Double-Apple Walnut Bread
This double-apple walnut bread is a great seasonal alternative to traditional banana bread. Whether served warm or cold, it makes a great breakfast, snack, or dessert!
Photo Credit: Sam Jones/Quinn Brien
Want more recipes? Check out our Almanac cookbooks!