How To Cut Pretty Apple Slices

Make the most out of apple season.

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

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-shaped slices back in the day, anyway?

When it comes to whether to cut through the apple core or around it, 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 peeled.

3 Methods For How To Cut An Apple

Slicing Around The Core

Possibly the fastest way to get straight pieces, this method is simple. Avoiding the core will make your slices different sizes, 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 double-checking is always good.
  2. Place the fruit on a cutting board, stem up. The apple should sit on its own unless the bottom is crooked. Place your non-dominant 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 similarly 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 apple chunks with the skin side up, and cut even slices.

Slicing Through The Core

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

  1. Remove any stickers, wash, and dry. Even if you clean off your produce before storing it, it's good to double-check. No one likes biting into a sticker.
  2. Place the apple on a cutting board. Keep the apple 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 of the apple as possible.
  5. Cut even slices. Place the apple quarters with the skin side up, and cut even slices.

Using An Apple Corer

Avoid the core altogether with 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. This first step is essential to avoid 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 crooked. Place your non-dominant 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 to cut even rings. Or, place your cored apple upright to cut it into quarters, then slice it into pieces.

How Thin Should You Cut Apples

Before you start slicing away, knowing how large of a slice you'd like to cut is good. While this is up to personal preference, it also depends on your use. You may want thick, juicy slices if you bag them for a snack. If you're making apple pie, the wider the slice, the longer your filling needs to cook. You don't want your crust to finish baking while your filling is still raw. Try slicing apples about one-eighth or one-quarter inches thick for a pie filling that will cook ideally with your crust.

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 crisp. 

If your cut apples might be exposed to the open air when plated on a cheese board or tossed into a salad, try one of these methods to prevent oxidation

Salt Water

After slicing an apple, soak it in salt water to prevent oxidation from turning brown. Use a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt for every cup of water.

Lemon Water

Adding fresh lemon juice mixed with water is another way to avoid browning since citrus acid is a natural antioxidant. Try using a one-half teaspoon of lemon juice with one cup of water.

Honey Water

Like lemon juice, honey deactivates the oxidation enzyme in apples, which causes browning. Try mixing one teaspoon of sugar or honey and one cup of water. 

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