Apple types – All the common apple types

“For just $45, you can take home $10 worth of apples,” Kate McKinnon said in a Saturday Night Live sketch making fun of apple picking.

“Choose from our varieties like huge softies,” continued Aidy Bryant.

“Little difficult,” McKinnon said.




“And apple,” they both said together.

It’s a pretty accurate representation of what apple picking can feel like. You come home with many different types of apples and have no idea what to do with them. Are you going to make apple pie? Applesauce? Apple cider? Apple crisp? And what types of apples work best for each recipe?

Worry no more. With the help of two apple experts, we have put together this guide to all the common apple varieties. We got in touch with Arnold Wilkerson, who founded the Little Pie Company back in 1985. The New York City bakery is known for their Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie, which is served all year round. “We had to buy apples that would be available in New York year-round,” Wilkerson said. “We were also looking for a nice firm texture and consistency with just the right amount of ripe apple flavor and bright acidity.” They landed on Golden Delicious, a sweeter variety, and Granny Smith, a more tart variety. Mixing tart and sweet apples is good practice when baking because it gives your pie a more complex flavor. These two types also have a firm texture that won’t turn mushy in the oven.

We also reached out to James Rich, author of the cookbook Apple: Recipes from the orchard. He is a big proponent of mixing apples when cooking. “The trick is to get the right mix of flavors that will reduce to a sauce-like consistency and those that will hold their shape and texture for the all-important bite,” he said. “For baking, you want something that will hold its shape. [For applesauce], the best varieties are those that break down and form a creamy, sweet sauce. My personal favorites for snacking on are varieties that are super crunchy and tart.”

Below, learn about 15 common types of apples and what applications they work best for – baking, snacking, sauce, cider and more.

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In terms of sweet versus tart, Braeburn falls squarely in the middle. It has lots of great flavor that can make a rich cider, a great snack apple or a wonderful pie.

Used for baking, cider and snacks.



The Cortland apple is a cross between a McIntosh and a Ben Davis apple, with the appearance of an extra large McIntosh. The flesh is crispy and the taste is sour and soft. Rich uses Cortland and Granny Smith for spiced apple pie.

Used for baking, sauces and snacks.



This yellow-green apple is also called a Mutsu. It has hints of honey and falls in the middle on the sweet sour axis. This means it’s great to use on its own when making an apple pie or streusel.

Used for baking, sauces and snacks.



If texture is your concern when baking apples, definitely include Empire in the mix. It can withstand high oven temperatures without becoming mushy and adds a lovely tart bite.

Used for baking, sauces, cider and snacks.



Envy apples are for people with a sweet tooth. Its candy-like flavor plays well with cheese or in salads. Envy has the added bonus of oxidizing more slowly than most apples, so the flesh doesn’t brown as quickly.

Used for baking, sauces and snacks.



This is another candy-like apple variety. It’s great for baking, but balance it with a tart apple like a Granny Smith. If you like a sugary apple, it also tastes great as a snack. “It’s my favorite apple,” Wilkerson said.

Used for baking, sauces, cider and snacks.



You could call Gala the smartest apples of them all. Why? Its floral hints of vanilla give it a complex taste. It’s also the most widely grown apple in the United States, so you’ll have no problem finding it at the grocery store.

Used for baking, sauces and snacks.


Golden Delicious

A Golden Delicious (which is the best name for an apple) is a sweet apple with a honey flavor. The semi-solid texture allows it to store well and makes it a versatile option for many uses.

Used for baking, sauces, cider and snacks.


Grandma Smith

As Wilkerson mentioned, Granny Smith is often used in pies for its tangy, almost acidic flavor. It also has a firm texture that can withstand high oven temperatures, making them perfect for any baking need. And if you like the extra tartness, this is a great apple to eat as a snack (pair it with a caramel sauce for the best sour-sweet combination).

Used for baking, sauces, cider and snacks.



This red and green variegated apple is super sweet, juicy and large – great for snacking or carving.

Used for baking, sauces, cider and snacks.



The Jazz apple comes from New Zealand and has a tart but sweet taste. Similar to an Envy apple, they can really spice up a salad and last a long time on the counter.

Used for baking and snacks.



Jonathan apples provide a more subtle tartness—not as much as a Granny Smith, but still intense enough to work well with a sweeter variety for a pie, cider, or any baking need.

Used for baking, sauces, cider and snacks.



The McIntosh apple is tart and versatile. Use it in just about any apple application, from salads to sauces to pies. Just don’t keep them too long or they will start to get mushy.

Used for baking, sauces and snacks.


Pink Lady

A Pink Lady apple has a beautiful pink and yellow shade that may tempt you to use them for decoration. They are slow to brown so they make good slices and can hold their texture when baked.

Used for baking and snacks.


Red delicious

This is a dark ruby ​​apple with white spots. It is a little sweeter than it is sour, without much complex flavor. They are best when eaten right off the tree (they can be a little dry at the grocery store).

Used for snacks.

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