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20 Different Types of Apples and Their Uses

Apples 101

A lunchbox classic and the foundation of the beloved American dessert, apples are among the most popular fruits enjoyed around the world, with some 76 million tons produced globally every year. Most supermarkets carry at least a few different varieties (Red Delicious and Granny Smith, we’re looking at you)—and if you head to a farm stand or greenmarket, you’ll likely see many, many more, from fan favorites to never-heard-of-’em local cultivars, depending on where you live.

Sorting these fruits, however, isn’t black or white (or apples to apples, for that matter). That’s because while you can divvy up types of apples by sweetness, peel color, ripening season, and the ideal way to incorporate them into your cooking, many of them overlap—and many of them can fall into multiple categories (we love a good multitasker).

But before we get into the types of apples out there, dip into the health benefits of apples and how to select the right apple.

Health Benefits of Apples

One thing all types of apples have in common is that they’re as good for your body as they are for your taste buds. Among the health benefits of apples: They’re a good source of fiber, they’re high in vitamin C, and they’re filling, due to their generous fiber and water content. (Keep the skin on for maximum benefits! That’s where much of the fiber lies.)

Alas, the saying isn’t exactly true: According to a 2015 study, an apple a day doesn’t actually keep the doctor away—but people who do actually eat an apple a day appear to use fewer prescription medications.

How to Tell If an Apple Is Bad

Start with the obvious: Look at the apple and see if there are big bruises. Small nicks and bruises don’t affect the overall quality of the apple, but if you’re looking forward to eating it out of hand you’ll want to avoid those with large bruises.

Gently press the fruit—you’re looking for a firm apple that doesn’t indent easily. If you wind up with a batch of softer apples, they’re probably still good (unless they look visibly rotten), but they might not have that crisp flesh you’re after. Use softer apples in cooked dishes, such as pies or roasted with pork. You can also tap the side of the apple and listen to its sound—a ready-to-eat apple will have a hollow tone, while a mealy or mushy apple will have a dull quality.

20 Types of Apples and Their Uses

Just as important as picking a perfectly ripe apple is selecting the right apple for the task. Here’s a rundown of 20 of the most commonly harvested types of apples in the United States. Ultimately, let your own taste be your guide—and have fun sampling the amazing array of apple varieties out there.

1. Ambrosia: A low-acid snacking apple

These apples have a honeylike flavor, reminiscent of pears. And they’re low in acid, making them a great choice for those with sensitive stomachs.

2. Braeburn: Jack of all trades

A lovely balance of sweet and crisp, Braeburns work everywhere from baking to salads to snacking.

3. Cameo: A citrusy, thin-skinned snacker

Cameos have a bright, lemony flavor that will appeal to fans of cherries, kimchi, Sweet Tarts, and other lip-puckering treats.

4. Cortland: An all-purpose gem

Similar to McIntosh, these squat-shaped apples have a creamy white interior and a sweet-tart flavor. It’s an accomplished multitasker, so you can bake it, cook it, or eat it raw.

1. Ambrosia: A low-acid snacking apple

These apples have a honeylike flavor, reminiscent of pears. And they’re low in acid, making them a great choice for those with sensitive stomachs.

2. Braeburn: Jack of all trades

A lovely balance of sweet and crisp, Braeburns work everywhere from baking to salads to snacking.

3. Cameo: A citrusy, thin-skinned snacker

Cameos have a bright, lemony flavor that will appeal to fans of cherries, kimchi, Sweet Tarts, and other lip-puckering treats.

4. Cortland: An all-purpose gem

Similar to McIntosh, these squat-shaped apples have a creamy white interior and a sweet-tart flavor. It’s an accomplished multitasker, so you can bake it, cook it, or eat it raw.

5. Cripps Pink, aka Pink Lady: An ideal snack apple

This tasty apple is a cross of Golden Delicious and Lady Williams, with a nice pink blush and a pleasant flavor.

6. Empire: Does it all: pies, applesauce, lunchboxes

Here’s another cross, this time Red Delicious and McIntosh. The result: a crisp, juicy apple that’s adept at almost anything.

7. Fuji: The popularity contest winner

These sweet, firm apples are typically bicolored, with alternating red and yellow hues. They’re one of the most popular varieties out there right now—one bite and it’s easy to see why.

8. Gala: The snack apple for crunch seekers

This variety is a cross between Kidd’s Orange Red and Golden Delicious—crisp, juicy, and very sweet.

5. Cripps Pink, aka Pink Lady: An ideal snack apple

This tasty apple is a cross of Golden Delicious and Lady Williams, with a nice pink blush and a pleasant flavor.

6. Empire: Does it all: pies, applesauce, lunchboxes

Here’s another cross, this time Red Delicious and McIntosh. The result: a crisp, juicy apple that’s adept at almost anything.

7. Fuji: The popularity contest winner

These sweet, firm apples are typically bicolored, with alternating red and yellow hues. They’re one of the most popular varieties out there right now—one bite and it’s easy to see why.

8. Gala: The snack apple for crunch seekers

This variety is a cross between Kidd’s Orange Red and Golden Delicious—crisp, juicy, and very sweet.

9. Golden Delicious: The non-tart apple for pies and beyond

If you prefer your apples sweet and mild, this is the one for you. It’s also fantastic in pies and crisps mixed with tart varieties, such as Granny Smith.

10. Granny Smith: The tart, firm apple with legions of fans

This ubiquitous apple is known for its distinctive green hue and very tart flavor. It’s great whether you’re looking for a snack, baking a pie, or making applesauce.

11. Honeycrisp: The popular newcomer

With a honeyed, mild flavor and a wonderful crisp texture, these apples are terrific snacks. They’re also wonderful in salads, and they store well.

12. Jazz: A Honeycrisp alternative

Sweet like the Honeycrisp, this delicious-smelling apple with hard flesh is available year-round.

9. Golden Delicious: The non-tart apple for pies and beyond

If you prefer your apples sweet and mild, this is the one for you. It’s also fantastic in pies and crisps mixed with tart varieties, such as Granny Smith.

10. Granny Smith: The tart, firm apple with legions of fans

This ubiquitous apple is known for its distinctive green hue and very tart flavor. It’s great whether you’re looking for a snack, baking a pie, or making applesauce.

11. Honeycrisp: The popular newcomer

With a honeyed, mild flavor and a wonderful crisp texture, these apples are terrific snacks. They’re also wonderful in salads, and they store well.

12. Jazz: A Honeycrisp alternative

Sweet like the Honeycrisp, this delicious-smelling apple with hard flesh is available year-round.

13. Jonagold: A baking and snacking apple with a taste to match its size

These big apples start sweet and end tangy, and work well in a range of uses, from baking to snacking.

14. Macoun: A quintessential fall apple

Macouns have hints of warm, spiced flavor in their sweet-tart flesh. They’re very juicy and wonderful sliced with cheese for an appetizer or dessert.

15. McIntosh: The classic pie apple

These aromatic apples are juicy, tangy, and tart, with a tender, white flesh. They cook down easily, so if you’re using them in pie, cut the slices thick or add a thickener such as cornstarch.

16. Mutsu: A Granny Smith stand-in

These apples are super tart and similar to Granny Smiths. Want to make a salad or slaw including apples? Mutsu is a great choice, thanks to its crisp texture and tangy flavor.

13. Jonagold: A baking and snacking apple with a taste to match its size

These big apples start sweet and end tangy, and work well in a range of uses, from baking to snacking.

14. Macoun: A quintessential fall apple

Macouns have hints of warm, spiced flavor in their sweet-tart flesh. They’re very juicy and wonderful sliced with cheese for an appetizer or dessert.

15. McIntosh: The classic pie apple

These aromatic apples are juicy, tangy, and tart, with a tender, white flesh. They cook down easily, so if you’re using them in pie, cut the slices thick or add a thickener such as cornstarch.

16. Mutsu: A Granny Smith stand-in

These apples are super tart and similar to Granny Smiths. Want to make a salad or slaw including apples? Mutsu is a great choice, thanks to its crisp texture and tangy flavor.

17. Opal: The least likely to turn brown

Bright yellow with a crunchy texture, these apples were bred to resist oxidation—so they’re a fab addition to salads, as they don’t turn brown quickly.

18. Paula Red: The earlier ripener

If you like tart apples, definitely try the Paula Red, which is one of the earliest varieties to be harvested in the fall.

19. Red Delicious: The apple everyone knows

These widely recognized apples are sweet, crispy, and juicy. The best way to enjoy them? Out of hand.

20. Rome: A perfect baking apple

With their softball-like size and glossy skin, these apples are perfect for pies. Their mildly tart flavor develops when heated, and they have a thick skin and soft flesh that hold their shape well.

17. Opal: The least likely to turn brown

Bright yellow with a crunchy texture, these apples were bred to resist oxidation—so they’re a fab addition to salads, as they don’t turn brown quickly.

18. Paula Red: The earlier ripener

If you like tart apples, definitely try the Paula Red, which is one of the earliest varieties to be harvested in the fall.

19. Red Delicious: The apple everyone knows

These widely recognized apples are sweet, crispy, and juicy. The best way to enjoy them? Out of hand.

20. Rome: A perfect baking apple

With their softball-like size and glossy skin, these apples are perfect for pies. Their mildly tart flavor develops when heated, and they have a thick skin and soft flesh that hold their shape well.

Delicious HelloFresh Recipes With Apples

When you sign up for a HelloFresh meal kit service, you’ll get the right kind of apple for the recipes you choose. Here are three of our favorite recipes featuring apples:


Want more wholesome dinner recipes? Subscribe to HelloFresh today!

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