25 Types of Apples for Baking, Snacking or Turning into Cider
It’s no mystery why apples are one of the world’s most popular fruits. They’re healthy, widely available and delicious both baked and raw. A type of pome fruit (part of the plant family Rosaceae; they have a core of small seeds and a tough outer membrane, like pears), apples are typically harvested from late July to early November, though it varies from type to type. Speaking of which, there are tons of apple varieties to choose from, and they can range from tart and crisp to sweet and tender. Here are 25 types of apples to look out for at the supermarket, and how to best enjoy them.
Tender and tangy
You likely already know and love these deep red snacking apples with soft white flesh. They break down easily when baked, so you’ll want to opt for a sturdier variety if you’re baking dessert. That said, McIntosh apples are great for turning into applesauce. Look for them from September through May.
2. Granny Smith
Tart and juicy
If you’re a sucker for sour, there’s no beating these bright green beauties. Granny Smith apples work wonderfully in desserts because their firm texture helps them keep their shape—use a mix of sweet and tart apples for pies and other treats to strike just the right balance of flavor. While they’re harvested in mid-October, odds are you’ll always see them at the supermarket.
3. Golden Delicious
Sweet and buttery
The name says it all. These vibrant yellow apples—harvested from September through October, though they’re always available in the produce section—have a sweet, honey-like flavor with some spicy notes that make them great for using in apple cider. They have a soft texture that breaks down easily in the oven, so snack on them raw or use them in recipes that don’t require them to maintain their shape.
Sweet and crunchy
These sunset-colored beauties are beyond versatile and adored for their uber-crisp texture. Their firmness makes them great for tarts, pies, bars and basically any dessert you can think of. Honeycrisps are typically available year-round, but they’re at their most delicious from September to November.
5. Pink Lady/Cripps Pink
Acidic and refreshing
These ruby cuties are so crisp that they have a fizzy, almost effervescent quality to them when you take a bite. Their tart-sweet flavor is tasty to indulge in raw, but they also hold up beautifully in the oven (we’d recommend leaving the skin on). Keep an eye out for them in late fall.
Sweet and firm
This round type of apple invented in Japan is delicious both as hand fruit and in desserts, thanks to its signature firmness. They’re not mealy in texture whatsoever, so they’re super juicy and crisp when eaten raw and can hold their shape in the oven. Since they’re late bloomers compared to some other apple varieties, you’ll likely see them hit shelves in November or December.
Sweet and juicy
This Golden Delicious-Kidd’s Orange Red hybrid hails from New Zealand, where it was named for Queen Elizabeth II before it came to the U.S. in the 1970s. Thanks to its crisp texture and super sweet flavor, Galas are great for snacking on (Psst: Kids tend to love ’em!). Look for the red- and yellow-striped apples in mid-July after they’re harvested.
Crisp and juicy
Invented in New York in the 1960s, Empire apples are sweet and tart in flavor, as well as firm and great for baking. They’re a cross between the tangy McIntosh and the sweet Red Delicious, so it’s no surprise that they’re both tender and crisp. Bake with them or eat them raw in September, though you can likely find them year-round.
Tart-sweet and crisp
Bite into one raw and you’ll be blown away by its tartness and a fruity aroma. Bake a few into a pie and they’ll turn deliciously sweet with a pear-like flavor. A hybrid of Granny Smith and Lady Hamilton apples, Braeburns inherited not only their tartness (which is spicy and slightly citrusy), but also their red-yellow gradient color. Try them between late fall and early spring.
10. Red Delicious
Sweet and juicy
It’s no mystery why these are one of the most popular types of apples in the U.S., as they hail from Iowa and have a very agreeable flavor. Choose Red Delicious for its crisp texture and sweet juice. The dark red apples break down easily when baked, so they’re best for recipes that don’t benefit from the pieces maintaining their shape. (Think applesauce, preserves, apple butter or cake.) They’re also great for salads or snacking.
Tart and creamy
You can pick these stripy red gems out of a crowd easily, thanks to their squat, round shape. While they have creamy, white flesh like McIntosh apples, they’re a bit firmer, so feel free to bake or cook with them. They also don’t brown as quickly as other apples, so they’re great for serving sliced or in a salad. You can find Cortland apples starting in mid- to late September.
Complex and aromatic
They toe the line between sweet and sour, but their real claim to fame is their crisp, sturdy texture and wine-like juice. Since they can hold up to the heat of the oven, their robust flavor is prime for fall recipes or desserts that use warm spices, cranberries or plums. Keep an eye out for the deep red apples from mid-fall to early winter.
Sweet and crunchy
If acidic, tart apples aren’t your thing, keep an eye out for these so-sweet-they’re-almost-pear-like Envy apples. Available from October through May. Envy apples are low in acidity and slightly floral with crisp flesh. A cross between a Gala and a Braeburn, they’re great for snacking on raw or adding to salads or entrees—their high vitamin C content keeps them from browning longer than other apples.
Sweet and tangy
If you love Golden Delicious apples, add these to your list. After all, Jonagolds are a hybrid of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples, hence their sweetness and slight tang. They’re crisp enough to hold up in the oven and sport a red color with streaks of gold or greenish yellow. They’re typically on shelves through early spring—just remember to eat or bake with them ASAP once you bring them home, because they don’t store well.
Sweet and dense
They share the same parents as the Envy apple (so they’re both crispy and creamy), but Jazz apples are more elongated and yellowed than round and red. Its flavor is sweet, sharp and pear-like. Its texture is so dense that we recommend slicing it to nosh on raw rather than simply sinking your teeth in. Find them in the produce section starting in late November.
16. Hidden Rose
Tart-sweet with pink-colored flesh
Despite their yellow-green exterior, these juicy beauties are hiding a gorgeous surprise. Slice a Hidden Rose apple open and you’ll see the blush-colored pink flesh it was named for. Available in October and November, they’re primarily tart and acidic with a hint of sweetness; they can hold their own in desserts.
Acidic and soft
Holsteins are regarded for their hardiness and are considered one of the easiest types of apples to grow at home. Their flavor is spicy and acidic with a hint of sweetness. You’ll be able to spot it on shelves starting in late September by its unique orange-like color. Eat it raw, bake with it or turn it into juice.
Sweet and floral
Fun fact: This hybrid apple just popped up naturally in Canada in the late ’80s, so its exact parentage is unknown (though it’s thought to be a cross between Golden Delicious and Starking Delicious, hence their yellow-red color). Super crisp and refreshing, the Ambrosia variety has fine-grained inner flesh, thin skin and minimal acidity, making them great for slicing or baking with. Keep an eye out for them come mid-September.
Crunchy and tangy
They’re similar to Golden Delicious apples in appearance but are a bit more on the orange side in color. Opals have a distinct crunch to them that makes them a joy to eat raw (their sweet-yet-tangy flavor helps, too), and they’re available from November through early summer. But their real claim to fame is that they don’t brown…like, at all. You can totally cook with them, but we’d suggest using them in salads or slaw if you don’t want to eat them solo.
Sweet and juicy
You’ll spot them on shelves right away, given their dark, maroon-like color. Liberty apples are sweet and juicy like McIntosh apples, but also crisp, slightly sharp and fine-grained in texture. Their balanced flavor makes them great for enjoying raw, but they can also be turned into applesauce or compote. Keep an eye out for them in late fall.
Tangy and sharp
Named for the Japanese province of Mutsu, these large green apples are a cross between a Golden Delicious and an Indo. They’re aromatic, sharp, tart and slightly sweet with an uber crispy texture. Also called Crispin apples, you can find them for snacking or baking from late September to early October.
Intense and creamy
Crisp. Honey-sweet with just a hint of tartness. Unbelievably aromatic. It’s no wonder that there’s an annual fair dedicated to the Gravenstein apple in Sonoma County, California. While you can totally snack on them solo, their crispness also makes them great for cooking with. If you can find some between July and August, try turning them into applesauce.
23. Northern Spy
Tart and crunchy
If you’re all about hand fruit being crisp and juicy, look no further. Northern Spy apples have harder flesh than many other varieties, so they’re extra crisp when eaten raw. They’re tart with a mild honey-like sweetness and are picked in late October and early November. Bonus? They’re very high in vitamin C.
Spicy and tart-sweet
Wondering why you’ve never heard of Baldwin apples? They were one of the most popular varieties in the U.S. until the early 1930s, when a freeze wiped out most of the trees. Nowadays, it’s available in some farmers markets in the Northeast. If you happen to spot some between October and November, use them for snacking, baking or apple cider.
Tart-sweet and crisp
These beauties are prime for eating fresh and using in salads, desserts and more due to their firm, crisp texture that can hold up against heat. Cameo apples tend to have bright red, lightly striped, thin skin and sweet, slightly tart flesh. You might notice hints of citrus or pear when you eat one raw. Look for them from October to April.