How to Cut Pretty Apple Slices, Just Like Mom's

Sliced and Whole Apples
Photo: Jona Baker / EyeEm/Getty Images

It's apple season. Whether you're slicing apples for apple pie or cutting a crispy mid-day snack, the autumnal abundance of apples only begs one question: Should you cut around the core or through it? Those stems and seeds can make this simple task trickier than you'd like, especially if you find yourself slicing in a hurry to get the kids off to school with lunch in their hands. How did our mothers serve consistently even slices back in the day, anyway?

When it comes to whether to cut through the core our around, it's all about personal choice and practice. Here are the three best ways to cut an apple, whether the skin's still on or they're peeled.

How to Cut an Apple

Slicing Around the Core

Possibly the fastest way to get straight pieces, this method is simple. By avoiding the core, your slices won't be exactly the same size, and there may be a little waste near the center. But it couldn't get any quicker.

  1. Remove any stickers, wash, and dry. You may have already done this when you got home from the grocery store, but it's always good to double check.
  2. Place the fruit on a cutting board, stem up. The apple should sit on its own unless the bottom is lopsided. Place your nondominant hand on the apple for balance before cutting.
  3. Cut around the core. Using a sharp knife in your dominant hand, make your first cut all the way through the apple as close to the core as possible without cutting through the core. Make additional cuts in a similar fashion on all sides, turning the apple as you go, until only the core is left. Depending on the size of your apple, this may require three or four cuts to create thirds or quarters. Discard the core.
  4. Cut even slices. Place the remaining chunks skin side up, and cut even slices.

Slicing Through the Core

Have a good sharp knife and a moment to make precise cuts to remove seeds? This methods for you. There's little to no waste when you slice through the middle.

  1. Remove any stickers, wash, and dry. In case you forgot to clean off your produce before storing, it's good to double check. No one likes biting into a sticker.
  2. Place the apple on a cutting board, upright or on its side. Steady the fruit with your non-cutting hand before slicing.
  3. Cut the apple into quarters. Start by cutting the apple in half, right through the center. Then, cut each half in half.
  4. Scoop out the core. Carefully use your knife to remove a small section of any core, seeds, or stem left while preserving as much as the apple as possible.
  5. Cut even slices. Place the quarters skin side up, and cut even slices.

Using an Apple Corer

Avoid the core all together with this this essential fall kitchen tool. With one push down the middle, you don't have to worry about diagonals or digging out seeds.

  1. Remove any stickers, wash, and dry. The essential first step to avoiding gunk, dirt, or sticky residue.
  2. Place the apple on a cutting board, stem up. The apple should sit on its own unless the bottom is lopsided. Place your nondominant hand on the apple for balance before using your apple corer.
  3. Core your apple. Push your apple corer through the middle of your apple. It may take a little wiggling, depending on the shape of your apple. Discard the core.
  4. Cut even apple rings or slices. Place your cored apple on its side and cut even rings. Or, place your cored apple upright, cut into quarters, and slice into pieces.

How Thin Should You Cut Apples

Before you start slicing away, it's good to have an idea of how large of a slice you'd like to cut. While this is somewhat up to personal preference, it also depends on your use. You may want thick, juicy slices if your bagging for a snack. If you're making apple pie, though, the thicker the slice, the longer your filling needs to cook. You don't want your crust to be done while your filling is still raw. Try slicing apples about 1/8-1/4-inches in thickness for a pie filling that will cook just right with your crust.

WATCH: Southern-Style Caramel Apples

How to Keep Your Apple Slices from Turning Brown

Now that you've created perfectly even slices, it's all about keeping them pretty and white. If your cut apples are going to be plated on a cheese board or tossed into a salad where they might be exposed to the open air, try our tested method for preventing oxidization.

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