Making the perfect apple pie depends largely on what kind of apples you choose to cook with. The problem with this is that it depends on preference. We cannot tell you what are the best apples for apple pie, but we can definitely help you choose the perfect type for yours!
It does not matter which one is your favorite to eat as is, the ideal apple for an apple pie needs to hold its shape unless you want an applesauce pie rather than one that you can actually cut and serve easily. So, although McIntosh apples are really popular, they are not firm enough to use in an apple pie and we recommend you choose some other variety.
Also, choosing a mix of different types will help add depth of flavor to your pie. For example, using one type of tart and one type of sweet -or sweet/tart!- apples, will help you achieve a better result. Of course, we are nit-picking and trying to help you find new ideas and combinations, this list is definitely not made to stop you from baking with whatever you have in the kitchen. The truth is that homemade apple pie is a treat, however, you make it!
Best Apples for Apple Pie: Tart Apples
It’s part of the McIntosh family, but it holds its shape much better. The flesh will keep its white color a bit longer, so we prefer to eat it outright! But it is very versatile and great for apple pie if you want a substitute for the Mac.
This one is also a child of McIntosh, mixed with the Delicious variety. It also has a taste similar to the one you find on its parents, very distinct and one could even say pineapply. It is usually grown in the northeast of the USA, especially New York where it was developed in the 40s. As a deep red apple variety, it is very popular, and is part of the top 10 American apples!
Best Apples for Apple Pie: Granny Smith
This type of apple is generally associated with baking and especially apple pie. It is really tart and tangy. It’s firm flesh helps it to hold up in the oven. We recommend pairing it with a sweeter variety, such as honey crisps.
Best Apples for Apple Pie: Sweet/Tart Apples
It is one of the top 5 types of apples produced in the USA, and not for nothing! This variety also holds up incredibly well while baking. It is very firm, but not hard, and stores well. Its flavor is sharp, spicy and sweet, but not sugary at all. Its juiciness makes it refreshing.
Best Apples for Apple Pie: Honey Crisps
This type of apple comes from the Midwest and is only available for a short time each year, so grab it while you can! It is very sweet but still crisp and firm, so it will hold up during baking. It compliments almost all other apples, so it is an amazing option.
This trademarked apple variety is sensational. As such, its quality is very consistent, and we absolutely love that! It is also available year-round because of its long storage life. It has a milder flavor that can let other types of apple shine. We still love its color!
Crispin or Mutsu
This variety is a parent of the golden delicious and has a great sweet honeyed flavor. They are bigger, though! You will need fewer apples in total to get a deep apple pie, so that is a plus -less amount of peeling involved! Baking them as is, is also amazing! It is so versatile you can eat them raw, too. One of our favorites!
We love fuji’s speckled yellow and red skin. Although its sweet flavor is not as remarkable as other varieties, we love how well its flesh holds up while baking. It has a great snap and is crisp and juicy. In looks, it is similar to the pink lady and it can be found in November/December as it is a late bloomer.
The sweetest kind there is! You really need to pair this one with a firmer variety because it is a bit softer than the other ones we have mentioned. Nevertheless, it will help you use less sugar in your recipes. Its amazing yellow skin does not need to be peeled and it can be easily used in other kinds of preparations such as applesauce or apple butter, even in a salad!
There are a lot of different combinations you can choose from here, but depending on what types you have access to maybe you will be able to create other ones. Ask your local grocer if he/she is able to get the kind you need, but do not stress! Experimenting is part of the fun. Remember that part of the point is achieving a pie that holds up when cut, with apple bits that are still a bit firm and not mushy. A pro tip is undercooking your pie a little bit so that the contents do not turn into a soupy mess.
Also, make sure not to neglect your pie crust! It is very important that it can hold the weight of the filling. Do not bake your pie in a pan that is not the right size, as it can overflow in the oven.
Of course, apple pie is not the only dish you can make using these varieties. Apart from eating them as is, you can always prepare different recipes that call for baked apples with them, as they will hold its shape and taste delicious! It all depends on your preference and what kinds you can get a hold of where you live.
Independently of which varieties you use, we are sure that your homemade apple pie will taste delicious – because things done with love are so much better, especially baking! Which one is your favorite kind to use? Has your family got a special recipe that uses these kinds? Tell us in the comments!