Every apple has a purpose, but some apples are better when baking pies and crisps.

By Patricia S York
September 05, 2020
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It is finally autumn, and you will soon be purchasing crisp juicy apples from farmers’ markets and u-pick farms. Just as you did with seasonal summer produce, you will probably buy too much and will be left wondering what to do with all that beautiful fruit. Use them in an apple crisp, one of the easiest fall desserts to bake. Digging into that sweet-tart, cinnamon-flavored apple filling sprinkled with a crunchy topping is one of the joys of fall baking. When making an apple crisp, choose the right apple– a crisp, tart variety that will stand up well when baked.

The Best Apple Varieties for Making an Apple Crisp

The best apples for baking keep their structure under heat, which prevents the chunks of fruit from turning into mush after baking. The firm and crisp Granny Smith and Honeycrisp varieties are popular apples to use in apple pies and apple crisps. Golden Delicious is another great choice for a crisp. You can use just one variety or, for added depth of flavor, use an assortment of varieties when baking your apple crisp.

Here are other sweet-tart favorites that hold up well under heat:

Jonagold. This sweet variety doesn’t store well so use them quickly once you buy them.

Braeburn. A popular apple for desserts because it bakes up juicy but not mushy. Its intense flavor can hold its own when blended with fall spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

Crispin. Less tart than other baking apples, Crispins, also known as Mutsus, hold their structure and are great for recipes such as pies and crisps that call for gentle cooking.

Baking is one of the many pleasures during the fall months. Cooler weather means you can pull out the cookbooks, heat up the oven, and create delicious pies, cakes, and breads.

Test Kitchen Tips for Baking the Best Apple Crisp

Pick the Right Tool. A sharp paring knife or great peeler is called for when making apple desserts.

Make Even Cuts. To ensure consistency in size of apple slices, cut each apple into quarters, and then each quarter into four pieces. Having uniform chunks of apple in your crisp is key so that they cook at the same rate.

Don't Waste. It is fine to use overripe apples in an apple crisp, so go ahead and use those up if you’ve got them.