12 Best Apples for Apple Pie: Selecting the Ideal Apple Varieties for Delicious Apple Pie

Best Apples for Apple Pie: Choose your best apple
18 min reading time

Ah, apple pie—a classic American favorite. As an iconic part of many holiday celebrations and family dinners, making a perfect apple pie requires the right ingredients – and that starts with choosing the correct type of apples! With so many varieties to choose from it can be difficult to know which ones are the best apples for apple pie.

In this blog post, we’ll go over our top picks for creating tasty apple pies with mouth-watering fillings and crispy crusts, along with tips on how to get the most out of each type of fruit. Get ready for some delicious Apple Pie recipes!

Which are the Best Apples for Apple Pie?

When it comes to apple pie, the type of apple you use can make all the difference. Some apples simply don’t hold up to baking, while others are too tart or too sweet to create the perfect balance of flavors. So what are the best apples for apple pie? Many bakers swear by using a combination of sweet and tart apples while some believe in only using a single variety of apple. The bottom line? Experiment with different types of apples to find the flavor and texture that best suits your taste buds – and don’t be afraid to think outside the (apple) box!

1. Granny Smith

Fresh healthy tart green Granny Smith apples in a bowl

Granny Smith apples are one of the best apples for making an apple pie because of their tart, firm, and acidic taste. Their sour flavor is well-suited for pies as it cuts through the sweetness of ingredients such as sugar and cinnamon. Not only does this give a balanced flavor but also helps to catalyze other flavors in the dish. Along with that, these apples have a high content of pectin which helps form a thick jelly-like filling when mixed with sugar and cooked over low heat. This makes them great for creating traditional baked apple pies that won’t be watery or runny in texture after baking.

In addition, their stark green hue offers great contrast against the pale golden crust, adding visual appeal to your dessert presentation. Lastly, unlike some other types of apples that tend to become mushy after cooking, Granny Smith’s signature crispness tends to remain intact even through baking – so you get crunchiness in every bite!

2. Honeycrisp

Honeycrisp apples - one of the best apples for apple pie

Honeycrisp apples are widely regarded as one of the best apples for making apple pie, because of their sweet yet tart flavor and the perfect texture they provide. The Honeycrisp apple has a light and crisp flesh that is ideal for baking in a pie. Its sweetness helps to balance out any additional sugar you add to the recipe, creating an incredibly tasty pie that isn’t too cloyingly sweet. The firmness of the apple maintains its shape while cooking without becoming too mushy or losing its structure.

Additionally, since it’s a high-acid variety with higher levels of malic acid than other varieties, it adds good acidity to your finished product and really brings out all those wonderful flavors from your spices! All in all, this makes Honeycrisp apples an excellent choice when you’re looking to make a delicious and memorable apple pie!

3. Braeburn

raw organic and fresh  Braeburn apples
Source: www.gardeningknowhow.com

This tart and sweet variety of apples offers a perfect balance between texture and flavor, with its crisp flesh and light brown color. It also has a unique tartness that helps to prevent too much sweetness in your pie filling. The Braeburn is truly one of nature’s wonders when it comes to making pies! Its firm but tender flesh holds up its form throughout baking, ensuring that your pie slices will have perfectly shaped pieces each time. Its natural sweetness makes for a delicious filling that will have everyone asking for seconds! But more importantly, its slight acidity helps keep the sugar content lower than other apples – which means you can enjoy an amazing-tasting pie without having to worry about too much sweetness or guilt from added sugar.

Braeburn apples are also incredibly versatile – they bake nicely into tarts, crisps, cobblers, or strudels as well! And because they don’t break down easily while cooking like softer-textured varieties do, you’ll get even slices every time you serve them up!

4. Golden Delicious

Raw fresh ripe yellow Golden Delicious apples as delicious vegetarian or vegan food

Golden Delicious apples are widely acknowledged among bakers as some of the best apples for making apple pies. That’s because they have a pleasant balance of sweetness and tartness, so you don’t need to add much sugar to make your pie taste great. The flesh is soft but still has enough firmness to make sure it holds up well in baking without turning into an absolute mushy mess. Plus, their long-lasting texture keeps them from breaking down the way other varieties do once cooked.

Also, when cooked with their skins on, Golden Delicious apples remain quite white compared to darker varieties like Granny Smiths or Baldwin — which can help keep your pie looking brighter and more vibrant even after baking for hours. All these things combine together to create an ideal apple pie that not only tastes amazing but looks beautiful too!

5. Jonathan

raw fresh and organic Jonathan apples on a white background
Source: minnetonkaorchards.com

The Jonathan Apple’s unique characteristics make it an ideal choice for baking into a pie. The flavor of the fruit combines tartness with a sweetness that intensifies during baking, while its firm texture retains even when cooked thoroughly. When heated, this wonderful variety develops an intense caramel-like flavor that will surely please your taste buds! Furthermore, the Jonathan Apple’s thin skin makes them easy to peel by hand or with a knife and helps minimize waste in your precious ingredients. Additionally, since their sugar content is low compared to other apples like Granny Smiths or Honeycrisps; you can reduce added sugar without sacrificing flavor complexity in each bite.

And lastly, one of the most appealing aspects of using Jonathan Apples for baking is that they are available from August through October—the traditional harvest season for apples used in making pies—making them more accessible than some seasonal varieties that may be difficult to find during certain times of the year.

6. Cortland

Cortland apples - one of the best apples for apple pie

Cortland apples are known to be both sweet and tart, making them perfect for creating a variety of dishes. The sweetness comes from the higher sugar content in the apple flesh, while the tartness is caused by its slightly acidic nature. Because of this balance, Cortland apples make an excellent all-purpose pie filling or topping that will satisfy everyone’s taste buds.

The dense texture of a Cortland apple will also hold up well during baking. This makes them great for pies that require long bake times at high temperatures – such as deep dish pies – because they won’t turn to mush like other lighter textured varieties do after spending too much time in the oven. Its rich flavor also stands out amidst other ingredients when used as a topping or filling so you don’t have to worry about it being lost among competing flavors within your recipe! In addition, many people prefer using Cortlands due to their distinctive color which develops with extended ripening time on trees.

7. Crispin (Mutsu)

Fresh green Mutsu apples in baskets
Source: minnetonkaorchards.com

Crispin apples, also known as Mutsu or Hokuto apples, are an excellent choice for making apple pie. Their sweet and tart flavor makes them perfect for this classic dessert. The crisp texture of the Crispin apple allows it to hold up while cooking without turning to mush like some other varieties often do. Additionally, they are very juicy which means your pies will be full of thick, rich juices and packed with flavor!

Another great reason why Crispin apples make such a good choice is because of their versatility when cooking. Since these apples have slightly firmer flesh than others, they work well in both raw and cooked applications – meaning you can use them for both fresh pies and baked recipes alike. Plus, their firmness also helps create the flaky crust that’s essential for delicious homemade apple pies! Finally, Crispin apples offer multiple nutritional benefits that other varieties do not share. They contain more soluble dietary fiber than many other types of apples which can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

8. Northern Spy

Northern Spy apples on a white plate
Source: www.eatlikenoone.com

The Northern Spy apple is known as one of the best apples for making apple pie and is typically in season during winter months. It is an old-fashioned, tart-sweet apple with a subtle hint of spiciness that makes it the perfect choice for baking pies.

Northern Spies are unique because they can be stored for long periods without losing their flavor or texture, making them an ideal choice for making hearty desserts like pies throughout the cold winter months. They also have a high acid content which helps keep their flavor intact during baking and gives baked goods a bright finish when cooked down into pie fillings or jams/preserves. When used for baking, this variety also lends itself nicely to adding additional spices like cinnamon or nutmeg if desired, thanks to its slightly spicy undertones that pair exceptionally well with these flavors!

9. Pink Lady

Raw Red Organic Pink Lady Apples

Pink Lady apples are one of the top choices for making apple pies, because of their unique combination of sweet and tart flavors. The crisp texture also helps to create beautiful slices that hold their shape when cooked. It has a pinkish-yellow color and is characterized by its sweet taste with slight undertones of tartness from acids such as malic acid and citric acid. After picking, they retain their crunchy texture and flavor for up to nine months when refrigerated properly. This makes them the perfect choice for baking year-round!

Another great advantage is that, due to the higher sugar content, you can lower the amount of sugar used in recipes calling for apples like Granny Smith apples which have less sweetness than Pink Lady apples do – making it easier to create an even better balance between sweet and tart flavors when incorporating this variety into your pie filling! When baking with this type of apple one should bear in mind that some are sweeter than others so if you want an extra bit of sweetness across your entire pie or crumble then using additional varieties can help balance out these differences effectively too! Additionally, Pink Ladies provide more structure than other varieties due to their firmer flesh.

10. Winesap

Winesap apples - one of the best apples for apple pie
Source: www.terhuneorchards.com

The Winesap apple is widely regarded as the best variety of apples to use when baking an apple pie. This is because Winesaps are a great blend of sweet and tart, making them perfect for baking. Additionally, these apples have a dense texture that will hold their shape through the heating process without becoming mushy or soggy.

The combination of intense flavor and firm flesh makes it one of the most popular choices among bakers looking for high-quality ingredients when creating an apple pie masterpiece. Winesaps are also rich in nutrients such as vitamins A and C, dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, and potassium – all necessary components for building strong bones and fighting disease-related conditions like Type 2 Diabetes. In addition to flavor considerations, another benefit to using Winesap apples in your pies is their longer shelf life than other varieties; they can last up to three months if stored properly! This means you can make flavorful pies at any time throughout the year with consistent quality results every single time.

11. Rome

Fresh Rome apples on a white background
Source: specialtyproduce.com

Rome apples are considered the most ideal variety for baking apple pies due to their unique combination of characteristics. The Rome apple is a large, red-skinned apple that has slightly greenish-yellow flesh and a very firm texture. This unique texture makes them incredibly versatile in the kitchen as they can hold up to high levels of cooking temperatures without losing their shape or becoming overly mushy. Additionally, the Rome apples have a sweet and tart flavor that makes them excellent for adding sweetness to your favorite pies while still providing some tartness and balance.

Furthermore, this particular variety is notable because it holds its shape better than other varieties when cooked into a pie. This longer cook time also allows more moisture evaporation which helps thicken up the pie filling nicely while preventing burnt edges on your crusts if you bake them at higher heat settings. As an added bonus, Rome apples also contain good amounts of dietary fiber which aids with digestion in addition to supplying important vitamins like Vitamin C!

12. Gala

Raw Red Organic Sweet Tango Gala Apples

Gala apples are a fantastic variety of apples that are especially well-suited for baking. Not only do they have a subtle sweetness and great flavor, but their texture is ideal for apple pies. They have just the right balance of firmness and crispness so that they hold their shape when baked, while still becoming soft enough to create a smooth texture in the pie.

The tartness of Gala apples also plays an important role in making them one of the best varieties for baking pies. When cooked, they produce just enough acidity which helps to bring out all the wonderful flavors like cinnamon and nutmeg found in most apple pie recipes. Additionally, as opposed to other varieties which can become overly tart if overcooked, Galas retain some of their natural sweetness even after being baked.

What are Some Important Tips to Keep in Mind While Buying Apples for Apple Pie?

When purchasing apples for apple pie, it’s essential to consider factors such as texture, flavor, and how well the apples hold their shape during baking. Start by selecting apple varieties that offer a balance of sweet and tart flavors, as well as a firm texture that won’t turn mushy when baked. Visit your local grocery store, farmer’s market, orchard to find fresh and high-quality apples. Make sure to choose apples that are firm, free of bruises, and have smooth skin without any wrinkles or soft spots. The apples should also feel heavy for their size, indicating that they are full of juice and will provide a flavorful pie filling. Consider buying a mix of different apple varieties to create a unique and delicious pie filling with the depth of flavor and texture.

Can I Use Frozen or Canned Apples for Making an Apple Pie?

Yes, you can use frozen or canned apples for making apple pie, although fresh apples are the ideal choice. If using frozen apples, thaw them completely and drain any excess liquid before adding them to your pie. Canned apples are typically pre-cooked, which may result in a softer texture compared to fresh apples. When using canned apples, be sure to drain the syrup and adjust the sugar content in your recipe accordingly to account for the sweetness of the syrup. While both frozen and canned apples may not provide the exact same texture and flavor as fresh apples, they can still be used to create a delicious and satisfying apple pie.

How to Make Apple Pie at Home? (Step-by-Step Instructions)

Apple pie is a classic favorite that has stood the test of time. Making apple pie from scratch isn’t as difficult as it may seem, and the results are far superior to anything you can buy in the store! We’ll walk through each step so you’ll be making delicious pies in no time.

  • Step 1: Preparing Your Ingredients: Gather 8-10 Apples (you can choose any variety of apples from the ones mentioned above); two 9 inch Pie crusts (homemade or store-bought); ½ cup of sugar; 2 tablespoons of flour; ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon; a pinch of salt; 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes.
  • Step 2: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Prepare your pie dish by lightly greasing it with butter or shortening it and dusting it with flour. Place one pie dough at this point in case you won’t need it later on for decoration purposes. Keep it refrigerated until ready to use. The store-bought dough will need to be thawed completely if frozen before use.
  • Step 3: Peel and core the apples then thinly slice them into a large bowl. Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt and mix together until all ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the apple slices.
  • Step 4: Take out the second piece of pie crust from your refrigerator about 10 minutes prior to rolling out so that it won’t crack when rolling out due to cold temperature. Roll out one pastry sheet enough for the bottom layer onto a lightly floured surface, with a rolling pin, about 16 inches round. Then place into prepared baking dish. Now pour the apple mixture over top in an even layer.
  • Step 5: Cut 4 tablespoons of cold butter into small cubes then sprinkle over top ensuring that some pieces fall around the sides also. Now roll the remaining pastry sheet slightly larger than the pan diameter then place atop the filling covering the entire dish and leaving the edges open approx 1/2 inch
  • Step 6: Using a knife trim off excess pastry allowing only enough for tucking under the outer rim of the plate edge while crimping decoratively with fingers dipped in water keep firm like shape once finished push down gently so that the custard doesn’t seep underneath the baking process
  • Step 7: Brush the top with melted butter or milk whichever is desired, then pierce a few times giving ventilation holes throughout the center portion where the custard is exposed.
  • Step 8: Bake at 350 Fahrenheit / 180 Celsius for 25 -30 minutes depending upon thickness trying not to burn outside yet still bake the interior sufficiently turning occasionally if necessary Once golden brown remove let cool before serving.

How to Store Cooked Apple Pie?

To store apple pie and maintain its freshness, begin by allowing the pie to cool completely on a wire rack after baking. This helps prevent condensation from forming under the crust, which can lead to sogginess. Once the pie has cooled, cover it loosely with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, or use a pie keeper or an airtight container if available. Be cautious not to wrap the pie too tightly to avoid trapping moisture that could cause the crust to become soggy.

For short-term storage, keep the apple pie at room temperature for up to two days, avoiding direct sunlight or heat sources. For longer storage, refrigerate the pie for up to five days, ensuring it remains covered loosely to prevent it from drying out. If you need to store the pie even longer, you can freeze it by wrapping the cooled pie tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and placing it in a freezer-safe container or zip-top freezer bag. Label the bag with the date and type of pie, and store it in the freezer for up to three months.

When you’re ready to enjoy your stored apple pie, reheat it in an oven preheated to 350°F (175°C) for 15-20 minutes if stored at room temperature, or 25-30 minutes if refrigerated or frozen, to restore the crispness of the crust and warm the filling. By following these storage guidelines, you can ensure that your apple pie stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use a combination of different apple varieties in my apple pie?

Absolutely! Mixing different apple varieties can add depth of flavor, texture, and complexity to your apple pie. Experiment with various combinations to find the perfect balance of sweetness, tartness, and firmness that suits your taste.

How do I know when to use sweet or tart apples in my apple pie?

The choice between sweet or tart apples depends on your personal preference and the desired taste of your apple pie. If you prefer a sweeter pie, choose sweet apples like Golden Delicious or Fuji. For a tangier flavor, opt for tart apples like Granny Smith or Northern Spy. You can also mix sweet and tart apples for a balanced flavor profile.

Do I need to adjust the sugar content in my apple pie recipe based on the type of apples I use?

Yes, you may need to adjust the sugar content depending on the sweetness of the apples you choose. If you’re using sweeter apples, consider reducing the sugar in your recipe. Conversely, if using tart apples, you might want to increase the sugar to balance the tartness.

Is it necessary to peel the apples before using them in an apple pie?

While peeling the apples is a common practice in apple pie recipes, it’s not strictly necessary. Leaving the skin on can add color, texture, and nutrients to the pie. However, the skin may become tough during baking, so it’s a matter of personal preference.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, there are many varieties of apples that work well for making the perfect apple pie. Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples are sure to provide you with a juicy, delicious filling with a hint of tartness and sweetness. As always, experiment with different types of apples and find one that makes your taste buds happy! And don’t be afraid to throw in some other seasonings or flavors into your apple pie—you might be surprised by the results! Be sure to also check out other seasonal fruit pies as well, like blueberry and peach. Happy baking!

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