Apple pie is undoubtedly one of life’s greatest pleasures (especially in the fall!). But when it comes to baking the perfect specimen in your own kitchen, it begs the very important question: what are the best apples for apple pie?
Which are the best apples for apple pie?
With over 7,500 types of apples (2,500 varieties in the United States alone!) to choose from, there are plenty of different options for your apple pie. Experimenting with various regional types can prove a very joyful and delicious undertaking. But some apples are known to perform spectacularly in pie form.
Here, we’ll discuss five of the best apples for pie, including what makes them so well suited to being baked in a perfectly flaky crust. It’s a great reference before you stock up your pantry for a fall baking project!
1. Granny Smith Apples
With a bright chartreuse exterior, slightly dry interior and tart bite, Granny Smith apples are the perfect complement to the sugar and spice in a classic apple pie recipe. Their assertive flavor can stand up to the butter and spice and still impart a distinctly apple flavor. But it’s not just about the flavor contrast: Their firm, crunchy texture holds up when baked, so your filling will be soft, but not mushy.
2. Newtown Pippin Apples
Pippin apples come in a variety of types, but the Newtown Pippin works particularly well for pie. It may look like Granny Smith apple, but has a more subtle flavor and juicier texture. Firm enough to hold their shape in baking, they have just the right amount of “bite” and add a pleasing piquancy to your pie without making it too tart.
3. Honeycrisp Apples
With a pleasantly rounded shape and a red exterior with yellow and green highlights, Honeycrisp apples are pleasingly crispy and crunchy, with a sweet, bright flavor. While they don’t necessarily offer a ton of contrast to pie spices, they work in tandem with them to deliver a tender-textured, sweet apple pie.
4. Jonagold Apples
These primarily red apples have yellow-green highlights and are made as the result of cross-pollinating the spicy-sweet Jonathan apple and the mellow Golden Delicious apple. Jonagolds offer the best of both worlds: They offer the classic, quintessential apple flavor that comes with Golden Delicious apples but with a more firm texture and slight tartness from the Jonathan apple.
5. Braeburn Apples
Characterized by a vibrant red color with yellow speckling and streaks, Braeburn apples have a sturdy, firm texture. These apples don’t fall apart when baked. They have a pleasant, spicy-sweet flavor that works well with pie spices, yielding a pie with a classic taste.
Can’t decide? Use a mixture of apples!
Three cheers for variety! Many seasoned bakers have discovered that to truly create the pie of your dreams, it takes a village — of apple types.
Just one type of apple won’t give your pie much nuance. Try mixing it up for a more well rounded flavor.
For instance, a McIntosh apple isn’t a great fit for making pie (because it can become mushy and mealy). But when combined with Granny Smith apples, they can even out each other’s flavors and textures. So go ahead, explore combining apple types in your next pie and see how you like the results.
Can’t get enough of that crave-worthy fruit-and-pastry combo?
Check out the new Craftsy course King Arthur Flour’s Fruit Pies. Along with King Arthur Flour pastry instructor Melanie Wanders, you’ll experiment with new fillings, learn whole grain and nut crusts and create impressive embellishments for bakery-worthy fruit pies.