Thursday, October 21

What Are the Best Apples for Baking?

raw apples

There are nearly 100 apple varieties sold commercially in the U.S. How do you choose the best ones for baking?

The key is to consider both flavor and texture. The apples you choose should be firm so they'll maintain their shape and not turn to sauce when cooked, and they should be slightly tart since you’ll sweeten them up with sugar and spices.

People have regional preferences for apple varieties such as MacIntosh in New England and Fuji in Washington. When possible choose fresh, locally grown apples, which will be more flavorful and allow you to brag -- “I baked this pie with apples I picked this morning!” Also, many bakers agree that the tastiest apple pies come from mixing sweet and tart apples. 

Here is run-down on the best apples for baking:

Best for pies: Sturdy, thick-skinned apples with a sweet-tart flesh. Braeburn, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Jonagold, Jonathans, Pink Lady, Pippin, and Winesap.

Best for baked goods such as muffins, scones, and cakes: Firm apples with a sweet-tart flesh. Fuji, Gala, Empire, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, and Rome Beauty.

Best for applesauce: Softer, sweeter apples. Ambrosia, Cameo, Cortland, MacIntosh, and Macoun.

What are your favorite apples for baking?

Here are more apple recipes you might enjoy from Food Blogga:
Homemade Apple Sauce recipe from Food Blogga
Tuscan Torta di Mele (apple cake) recipe from Food Blogga
Apple- Maple Walnut Breakfast Quinoa recipe from Food Blogga

Here are more apple recipes you might enjoy from the blogosphere:
The Ultimate Caramel Apple Pie recipe from Kopiaste
Southern Fried Apple Pies recipe from Confabulation in the Kitchen
Apple, Walnut, Gorgonzola Rustic Tart recipe from Simply Recipes


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

A good apple for baking here in BC is Jonga Gold. Ebery area would have their special apples that you can't seem to find elsewhere.

féenoménale said...

My favorite ? Simply "Warmed Spiced Apples and Maple Syrup". Delicious !

Chelsea @ said...

This is such a helpful guide! I've bookmarked it so I can reference it whenever I need!

Kevin said...

Braeburns are my go-to apple, and my favorite dessert is apple crisp.

Lori White said...

Thanks for this, Susan. I am about to tackle an apple cake and this was incredibly helpful!

Monica said...

I like northern spy apples!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

val-We get Jona Golds sometimes too. They are really good for baking.

feenomenale-Good answer! ;)

chelsea-Oh, good. I'm so happy to hear it!

kevin-I like Braeburns as an eating apple too. And who doesn't love apple crisp?

lori-Yay! Perfect timing!

monica-I have never had a Northern Spy. I feel deprived. ;)

homegrown countrygirl said...

What a great guide... thanks for sharing!

The Urban Baker said...

I love this post. This is going to be very handy info as I head into fall and start all my holiday baking!! I make these yummy apple "pop tarts" and generally use a little sweet and a little tart! However, when I just want to eat an apple, it is always a fuji!

Rachel said...

I love, love, LOVE Granny Smith apples for baking and Jona Golds and Braeburns.
Love this post!

This is hands down my favorite apple dessert:

(also, I really do hate to leave links in comments, especially the first one!)

:-) forgive, please :-)

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Great guidelines. I've been in a New York State apple kind of mood myself lately ...

Strawberry Cake said...

Living in Michigan we have many varieties of apples available, but Spy or Northern Spy are my favorite pie apples.