A Handy Guide to the Most Popular Apple Varieties and Their Uses

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Since its discovery in 1811 by John McIntosh, the McIntosh apple has gone on to become one of the most popular and beloved apples in the country. It's super-juicy with a tart and tangy flavor and tender, bright white flesh.

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Uses for McIntosh apples

McIntosh apples break down easily, which means that they're best eaten out of hand or in applesauce. They're also great for juicing or turning into cider.

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Fuji

Developed in Japan in the 1930s, Fuji apples didn't catch on in America until the 1980s. They're sweet, crisp, firm, low in acid and have notes of honey and citrus.

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Uses for Fuji apples

Fuji apples are quite dense, so they hold up well when cooked. They work well in strudels and crisps and can also be roasted or baked.

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Red Delicious

Red Delicious are the most widely recognized of all apple varieties, and they originated in Iowa in the 1870s. They're crisp, juicy and have a mild sweetness but can tend to have a mealy texture.

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Uses for Red Delicious apples

Red delicious apples break down easily when cooked, so unless you're making applesauce, you should stick to only eating them fresh. They work especially well in salads.

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Gala

Gala apples originated in New Zealand in the 1930s, and first made it to the U.S. in the 1980s. They're dense, creamy and mildly sweet with a nice floral aroma.

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Uses for Gala apples

Galas are ideal snacking apples due to their delicate flavor and texture and are best when used in fresh applications like fruit salad.

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Crispin

Originally named the Mutsu apple when it was discovered in Japan in the 1930s, these apples were renamed Crispins when they were first brought to the U.S. and the U.K. in the late 1940s. They're big, juicy and super-crisp and have a sweet, slightly tart flavor with notes of honey.

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Uses for Crispin apples

Crispin apples are very versatile as they're both great for eating out of hand but can also be baked, cooked in pies or turned into applesauce.

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Braeburn

Bi-colored Braeburn apples were discovered in 1952 in New Zealand, and today they are one of the top apples produced in Washington state. Their pale yellow flesh is sweet, crisp and juicy with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg.

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Uses for Braeburn apples

Because these apples' sweetness mellows when cooking, they're great for both sweet and savory applications. They hold their shape well when cooked, so they can easily be used in pies and cakes and also make for good baked apples. They're also great when sauteed and served alongside pork.

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Honeycrisp

Honeycrisp apples were developed in Minnesota in the 1960s and have been growing in popularity since first being sold commercially in the 1990s. They're incredibly crisp with a pleasing balance between sweet and tangy.

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Uses for Honeycrisp apples

Honeycrisp apples retain their sweetness when cooked, which makes them ideal for crisps and pies. And because they're so crisp, they're perfect for slaws, salads and sandwiches when raw.

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Jonagold

Jonagold apples were first developed in New York state in 1968. They're big, crisp and juicy with a tart sweetness and notes of honey.

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Uses for Jonagold apples

Jonagold apples are ideal for cooking and can be baked or used in pies, cakes and tarts. Their flavor also lends itself nicely to jams and sauces as well as being roasted along with root vegetables.

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Granny Smith

The Granny Smith apple was discovered by someone actually named Granny Smith; "Granny" Maria Ann Smith found the seedling in the compost pile of her Australia orchard in the 1860s. These popular green apples have a famously tart flavor and are firm and juicy.

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Uses for Granny Smith apples

While Granny Smith apples taste great out of hand, their firmness and acidity means that they're best when used in recipes ranging from pies, tarts and pancakes to soups, stuffing and salads. They also pair well with cheese.

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Empire

Empire apples, which were developed in New York in the 1960s, are actually a cross between Red Delicious and McIntosh apples. They're crisp, juicy and have a nice sweet-tart flavor.

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Uses for Empire apples

Like their parents, Empire apples break down easily when cooked, so they're best suited for eating out of hand or in applesauce.

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Golden Delicious

Golden Delicious apples are actually not related in any way to Red Delicious apples; in fact, these apples are parents of Gala, Jonagold and Crispin apples. They're firm and crisp with a honeylike, mildly sweet flavor.

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Uses for Golden Delicious apples

Because of their lack of acidity, Golden Delicious apples serve as a great counterpoint to Granny Smith when baked alongside them into pies. They're super-versatile and can be juiced, dried, cooked into preserves or used in plenty of classic autumn dishes. They're also great in salads and delicious out of hand.

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Cameo

Cameo apples, which were discovered in Washington state in the 1980s, are crisp and juicy with a bright, citrusy flavor with notes of honey.

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Uses for Cameo apples

Cameo apples don't brown quickly when cut, so they're ideally suited to fresh applications like salads and cheese boards. Their sweetness is enhanced and their texture holds up when cooked, so they're also great for pies, cobblers and pastries.

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Jazz

Jazz apples were developed in New Zealand and have only begun to catch on stateside in the past 10 years. They're dense, firm, juicy and super-crisp. They're low in acid, and the flavor has hints of pear.

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Uses for Jazz apples

Jazz apples' texture holds up when cooked, so they're ideal for pies and tarts. They also work well with savory dishes like root vegetables, pork, roast chicken and cozy autumn soups.

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Macoun

A fall favorite, Macoun apples were discovered in New York in 1923. These apples are super sweet and very crisp with a mild flavor with notes of berry.

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Uses for Macoun apples

Macouns are best enjoyed out of hand, but their sweet flavor also takes well to pies and cheese plates.

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Ambrosia

Ambrosia apples were discovered in British Columbia, Canada, in the early 1990s. These low-acidity apples have a sweet, honey-like flavor, a pleasing floral aroma and plenty of juice.

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Uses for Ambrosia apples

Ambrosia apples are great for use in sweet and savory recipes because they brown slowly and hold their shape when cooked. They can be roasted with root vegetables, sliced raw into salads or incorporated into a perfect fall dinner recipe.

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