Best Apples for Baking, Eating, Making Applesauce, and More

Vegetarian or Vegan Shopping for apples, natural nutrients for health and wellness lifestyle concept.

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Vegetarian or Vegan Shopping for apples, natural nutrients for health and wellness lifestyle concept.
somboon kaeoboonsong/istockphoto

Let's Hear a Round of Apple-ause

Apples are one of those stalwart fruits that are so timeless and classic that they're entangled with Adam and Eve and are to this day one of the calling cards of autumnal cuisine. Seriously, we can't think of a fruit that's transcended time better than the apple. (There's also plenty of fun and surprising apple trivia.)

But what are the best apples for pie? Which apples should you grab to dip into caramel or peanut butter for a snack? We've honed in on which apples are best suited to different culinary approaches.

Classic American apple pie.

1. Best Apples for Baking

Apples with bursting, tart flavor and firm flesh that doesn't disintegrate or turn mushy when exposed to high temperatures are what you want when it comes to baking, according to Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Best apples for pie 

Apple pie is the quintessential baked good when it comes to apple delicacies, and to get a truly delicious pie, you've got to choose the right variety, like Granny Smith, Jonagolds, Melrose, Honeycrisp, Cortland, or Braeburn (which have pale green skin with red and orange streaks).

Best apples for apple crisp or apple cobbler 

When it comes to decadent apple crisp and ooey-gooey apple cobbler, you'll want to choose apples that are tart in flavor and crisp in texture, like Honeycrisp or Granny Smith.

Healthy Organic Raw Apple Sauce

2. Best Apples for Applesauce

The best apples for baking are those that stay firm after being exposed to the heat of the oven, but the best apples for applesauce should do the opposite. Since you're after a pureed texture for your end result, the ideal applesauce apples have supple, tender flesh that breaks down easily during cooking. 

Golden Delicious apples are notorious for their soft skin and mellow flavor, so the yellow-skinned apples are ideal for applesauce. McIntosh and Fuji varities also lend themselves well to applesauce.

Apple jam

3. Best Apples for Canning

There are plenty of ways to preserve apples, which is a great way to make the most out of peak apple season. Slice and preserve apples with firmer flesh so they will keep their shape and texture, like Braeburn, Crispin, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Mclntosh, or York Imperial.

Thinking about preserving apples? Here's everything you need to get started with home canning.

Homemade cider from ripe apples

4. Best Apples for Juicing

Interested in making your own apple juice or apple cider? There's an apple for that! If you want your juice or cider on the sweet side, go for Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, or Fuji apples. 

If you prefer your apple juice or cider tart, opt instead for Pink Lady (which has a reputation as one of the healthiest apples due to its high level of flavonoids), McIntosh, or Granny Smith. 

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Cinnamon Apple Skillet

5. Best Frying Apples

The best frying apples are going to remain firm during cooking, like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady. But if you really want a sweet-tasting fried apple, try using Fuji apples.

Related: Creative Apple Recipes to Savor the Season

Salad. Fresh fruit green salad with feta cheese, apple, pomegranate, pecan and lettuce on white plate. Idea for healthy delicious winter Christmas salad. Healthy balanced eating. Top view.

6. Best Apples for Salads

Apples can bring a burst of flavor and the best bite of texture to a salad. Slice them up over a bed of lettuce joined by feta cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, and poppyseed dressing and you've got yourself a masterpiece of a salad. 

Just make sure you use a crunchier apple that doesn't brown too quickly once it's sliced, like  Honeycrisp, Fuji, Pink Lady, Jazz, Envy, or Empire.

Mature athletic woman eating an apple after exercising in health club.

7. Best Eating Apples

Admittedly, the best eating apples are really just relative to what you like in an apple. If you're looking for an apple that's as sweet as it is nutritious, Red Delicious is a contender. 

If you like a milder tasting apple, Fuji or Gala might be more up your alley. And if you prefer your apples tart and crisp, Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith are your best bet.