The Best Apples for All Your Autumn Needs

From biting into a succulent Fuji apple to enjoying the tartness of a green Granny Smith, apples taste delicious and work any time of day as the ideal grab-and-go snack. And of course, we know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But with so many apple varieties at your grocery store or farmer's market, how do you know which apples you should choose for pie and which are best for your kiddo's lunchbox? Here's your fall guide to the best uses for our favorite types of apples.


While this apple hails from New Zealand, it's readily available throughout the United States. With autumn hints of cinnamon and spice, the tart yet sweet Braeburn tastes wonderful plucked right from the tree (or your kitchen table fruit bowl). However, it also works well for baking, with firm chunks that make the perfect pie or apple crisp.

Apple Tree


This big, chunky apple has juice to spare. Crispins are tart yet sweet and just as crunchy as their name suggests. This is also one of the most versatile apple types, equally yummy in salads, pies, sauces and slices.


These Japanese apples landed in the U.S. in the 1980s, where they immediately became renowned for their low acidity and delectable flavor with hints of honey and orange. Because they're just so darn juicy, Fuji apples are best when you eat them whole. You can also slice them thin to add a punch of sweetness and crunch to your favorite fall slaw or salad recipe. We also love cooking down Fujis on the stovetop and using the jammy results to top vanilla ice cream, yogurt or oatmeal.

Apple cake


You'll notice this versatile apple right away because of its distinctive red and yellow stripes. Also from New Zealand, the Gala is one of the sweetest apples you'll find anywhere. What's more, it works equally well sliced as a snack, reduced into sauce or added to your go-to pie crust recipe.

Granny Smith

This lunch-box classic is distinguished by its bright green hue and tart flavor. Use Granny Smiths in baking to offset the sweetness of sugary cakes and pies. We also love pairing Grannies with a sweet dip like peanut butter or caramel for a low-cal yet satisfying late-night snack. Have an abundance of Granny Smiths? This apple variety also freezes quite well, so you can save them for later.

2 Minute Ritual


This apple variety is a favorite for snacking because of its sweet, white flesh. While delicate McIntosh slices won't hold their shape well in pies and other desserts, this is a great apple to cook down if you've been dreaming about homemade applesauce or even cider to enjoy at all your fall festivities.

Apple crate

Red Delicious

If you picture an apple in your mind, it's probably the Red Delicious. This Iowa variety is the most popular snacking apple in the United States because of its gentle sweetness and satisfying crunch. While this grocery store fave works well for salads and slaws as well as eating whole, it's not the best for baking.

Apple slice cake

The Best of the Rest

Have a special favorite apple that didn't make it into this guide? Here's what we know about the best uses for some of the less ubiquitous varieties:

  • Applesauce: Cortland, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Jonathan, Lodi and Rome apples
  • Baking: Crispin, Cortland, Melrose, Golden Delicious and Winesap apples
  • Snacking: Cortland, Cameo, Empire, Jonathan and Macoun apples
  • Freezing: Baldwin, Crispin, Ida Red and Northern Spy apples

Regardless of which is your preferred apple, you can feel good about adding any of these fruits to your fall food plan. As an autumn superfood, apples are packed with healthy fiber, vitamin C and disease-fighting antioxidants. Plan a trip to the orchard and grab your cookbooks to start experimenting with this fabulous fruit.

5 Replies to “The Best Apples for All Your Autumn Needs”

  1. If your not mentioning the Newtown Pippin apple shame on you. Jefferson said nice things about it. NY, Yellowstone California. and WA state all have good crops. Many other states as well of this fabulous American Apple,. Ugly, tart, cook exceptionally, cans, stores for a crazy amount of time

  2. I find McIntosh to be the best pie apples. Best flavor—who cares if they bake down a bit. Honey crisp are great for apple sauce as no added sugar is needed. Pink ladies are great for just eating out of hand.

  3. Thanks for publishing this list!! I’ve been looking for one for some time, especially for the lesser know varieties like Winesap.

  4. Hi George! Yes, Honeycrisp is also an incredible variety for eating raw and applesauce as well. They have a really delicious flavor… makes my mouth water just thinking of how crisp they are too.

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