Choose the best variety for your favorite recipe.

By Lisa Cericola
August 26, 2020
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The variety of an apple really matters when you are cooking it—perhaps more than any other type of fruit. Whether you’re at a farm stand or the grocery store, there are so many to choose from—and you’ve got to choose wisely. An apple that tastes great eaten out of hand might break down in the oven and become too mushy for a pie filling, for example. Here are our Test Kitchen’s best apple picks for whatever dish you’re baking.   

Best for Savory Dishes

Although Golden Delicious apples are often overlooked, their mild flavor complements grilled cheese sandwiches, roasted proteins like pork and chicken, and green salads. This type of apple will also hold its shape fairly well, making it a nice addition to roasted vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and fennel.

Best for Pies

Typically, we like to use a mix of apples in a pie filling for a more complex flavor and nice amount of texture. But if the Test Kitchen were to choose just one type, they’d pick Granny Smith apples. This tart variety tastes great with brown sugar and warm spices like cinnamon and ginger, and has a firm texture won’t break down during longer cook times.

Best for Baking Whole

True to their name, honeycrisp apples are crunchy and sweet and will also hold their shape when cored and baked. Fill them with brown sugar, chopped nuts, apple pie spice, and butter for a fantastic fall treat.

Best for Baked Applesauce

If you’ve never turned roasted apples into applesauce, you’re really missing out. Roasting will caramelize the apples, bringing out their natural sweetness. We recommend McIntosh apples for applesauce, whether you make it in the oven or stovetop. When cooked, this variety has a smooth, almost creamy texture that’s ideal for applesauce.