Best Apples For Apple Pie

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Jonathan Or Jonagold Apples

The BEST Apple Pie Recipe

Jonathan apples are pretty much your classic apples, with a nice red skin and a pleasant blend of tart and tangy flavor. Jonagold apples are slightly rarer and are the cross between Golden Delicious and Jonathan apples. Together, the two produce a new variety that has both a firm texture and a flavor with hints of sweetness and tartness together. These are a little harder to find but you should be able to find them at Farmers Markets in most areas.

What Is The Best Kind Of Apples For Pie

This apple pie recipe is loaded with over 4 pounds of apples. So what is the best type of apple for baking? You want an apple that is not overly sweet and wont turn to mush when baking. Granny Smiths are a classic apple pie apple. They are tart and have a firm flesh. Honeycrisp add a little sweetness to pie. Jonathan, Winesap and Braeburn are also great choices that you should be able to find in your grocery store.

Pie Apple Test Overview

To do this test, I mixed up the ingredients for my standard apple pie recipe minus the cinnamon. While I do always use some cinnamon in my apple pie, I really wanted to taste the flavor of the apple, and not muddy it up with spices for the taste test. I peeled and sliced each variety of apple and combined 1/3 cup of each with 1 TBSP of filling. I baked all of the testers in a muffin tin and compared each.

Once the testers came out of the oven and cooled completely, I tasted each one. I judged them each on the following aspects:

Flavor Profile: What are the complexities of the flavor profile. Is it sweet or tart or a combination of both? How apple-y does it taste? Strong or mellow? Are there any other notable flavors beside the apple?

Texture: Is the texture firm, soft, or mushy?

Shrinkage & Liquid Content: How much does the apple shrink when it bakes? This affects if there will be a large gap between the filling and crust after baked. How much liquid is released from the apple? Did the liquid thicken up? Will it create a soggy crust?

Final Thoughts: An overview of how my feelings of this apple as an apple pie filling.

Traditionally, apple pies are baked with a variety of apples because each one offers a different characteristic. I wanted to test each separately so I could determine the qualities of each before I started combining. Lets review the results, shall we?!

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Apple Pie Vs Dutch Apple Pie

Traditional Apple Pie has pie crust on the top and bottom, with apples and sugar in the middle.

Dutch apple pie, like so many other American traditions, is a combining of cultures. Basically, its like traditional Apple Pie and Apple Crisp got busy and had a pastry-bottomed, crumb streusel-topped baby. A delicious, glorious baby. Business on the bottom, party on the top. Best of both worlds!

Heres why this Dutch Apple Pie is the best youll ever have:

  • A homemade flaky, tender and buttery pie crust
  • Were using a heck ton of apples for supreme apply flavor
  • The apple filing is cooked on the stovetop to caramel-y perfection. No crunchy raw apples here my friends.
  • a pinch of cardamom rounds out the cinnamon and nutmeg so nicely
  • double the amount of streusel that most recipes call for, because I AM ALL ABOUT THE STREUSEL!
  • its even easier than regular Apple Pie!

What Are The Ingredients For Apple Pie

The Best Apple Pie Recipe

There are a couple of key ingredients for our homemade apple pie.

  • Saigon Cinnamon. Youll want to look for a cinnamon that is labeled Saigon cinnamon. This cinnamon has a higher essential oil content and has a stronger flavor than most cinnamons. Youll pay just a little more for this cinnamon, but the difference it makes in baked goods is worth it!
  • Freshly Grated Nutmeg. Yes, you can buy nutmeg already ground, but if youre looking to add a unique flavor to your pies, try freshly grated nutmeg. You buy nutmeg nuts and a small grater. Simply grate the nut on the grater and watch that freshly grated nutmeg fall into your apple mixture. Its so, so good!
  • Lemon Juice. Dont worry. You wont taste the lemon in this pie. You can actually leave the lemon out if youd like, but we feel it helps add to the fresh flavor of the pie.
  • Flour. Flour thickens up the filling slightly so your pie is not runny.
  • Sugar. We normally use white sugar, but we have made it with brown sugar too!
  • Butter. Before putting the top pie crust on, we dot the top of our pie with butter. Butter adds flavor and richness to fruit desserts.

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How To Prevent Soggy Crust

The biggest trick to prevent a soggy or melting crust is to make sure all your ingredients go COLD into the oven. This includes all 3 components of the pie: pie crust, apple pie filling, and the crumble.

If you added this hot filling into a pie crust right now, it would melt your crust into a sad heap of butter. Your crust will be soggy sad.

So we are taking that hot apple, caramel-y goodness and giving it a chill. Pour the mixture onto a half sheet pan and spread it out evenly. I stuck mine in the freezer to chill for about 20 minutes. You can put it in the fridge, or just leave it in the pan you cooked it in and wait for it to come to room temperature , if you are not in a hurry.

I have an entire post about How to Make Flaky Pie Crust, you are definitely going to want to check it out! The most important thing to remember is to keep your pie crust super cold before putting it in the oven, so after crimping the edges to look nice, toss it in the freezer for a half hour. Dozens of people have sent me pictures of their apple pie crusts literally melting off because they went in the oven too warm. Its about the saddest thing to happen to a pie. Dont skip chilling!

Golden Delicious Apple Pie

Golden Delicious apples are easy to find and make a subtly-sweet apple pie. These apples are best for pie when the peel is still a bit green, as they still have a nice snappy acidity at this point. Use them on their own or blend them with more flavourful apples to create a lovely fall apple blend.

This classic apple pie recipe from the Food Network recommends Golden Delicious apples.

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Whats Wrong With Red Delicious

Believe it or not, there are people out there who enjoy the bland mealiness of Red Delicious applesand thats fine. Different strokes for different folks, we like to say.

But its best to keep that particular variety away from your pies. Theyll break down much too quickly during the baking process, and youll end up with something more similar to applesauce than pie filling.

What Do We Want From Our Apples


With so many different options, you can imagine that there is a great deal of variation in apples taste and texture profiles. In baking, there are some definitions of the right and wrong thing to do but in many cases, the right choices for your apple pie come down to your personal preferences. It is widely understood that a perfect apple pie should contain apples that are still a bit firm after being cooked, that they should not be too mushy, and that you should get a good mix of tart apples and sweet apples. We have put together a list of some of the favorite options and their positive and negative characteristics. When you are putting together the perfect mix, try to find one that stays firm, but creates a complementary blend of tart and sweet for the perfect pie combination!

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The Best Apples For Applesauce

While Macintosh apples generally get too soft for a pie filling, both Samascott and Lyman agree that they’re the perfect apple for making homemade applesauce. They cook down quickly, which means it will be easy to mash the fruit with brown sugar and spices, transforming it into a smooth or chunky sauce depending on your preferences.

Rhode Island Greening Apple Pie

Rhode Island Greening is a tart American heirloom cooking apple perfect for pies and crisp. Popular on the East Coast, it has a firm texture that holds its shape in apple pie while also having a vibrant sharp flavour. Think of it as an American alternative to the Granny Smith!

Rhode Island Greening makes such a great pie apple. You can cook it to your hearts content and know it will hold its shape. Plus, it has more vibrant flavor than the Granny Smith.

The Apple Lovers Cookbook, by Amy Traverso

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Recipe: Classic Apple Pie From New York Times Cooking

Celebrate the holidays with these recipes courtesy of New York Times Cooking, specially chosen for “Sunday Morning” viewers.

We are pleased to share Melissa Clark’s Classic Apple Pie.

In this very classic, cinnamon-scented pie, the apples are sautéed in butter before they’re piled in the crust, ensuring that they’re tender but not mushy. Use firm, crisp apples here, preferably all one kind so the slices cook evenly. Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, Ginger Gold and Granny Smith apples are good options. If using a glass or ceramic pie pan, consider parbaking the bottom crust. Glass doesn’t conduct heat as well as metal, so the crust may not cook through if you don’t parbake.

Classic Apple Pie

Time: 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 ½ pounds firm, crisp apples , peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  • ½ cup/110 grams light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Heavy cream, milk or a beaten egg, for glazing
  • Demerara sugar, for glazing


  • Melt butter in a large skillet set over medium-high heat and add apples to the pan. Stir to coat with butter and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is evenly distributed, about 1 minute.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together sugars, spices and salt. Sprinkle over the apples and toss to combine.
  • Lower heat to medium and cook until apples have softened completely but still hold their shape, about 17 to 25 minutes.
  • Tip:

    The Famed Apple Pie Sauce

    The Best Apple Pie Recipe Ever

    The sauce for this apple pie is the key to all successful deliciousness.

    Butter and flour are cooked together in a simple roux before adding:

    • water
    • brown sugar
    • granulated sugar

    As it simmers for just a minute or so longer, it forms a magical, caramel sauce that not only sweetens the pie, but thickens it perfectly while baking.

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    Apple Pie Filling With Homegrown Apples

    Making apple pie is even sweeter when you grow the apples yourself. If youre interested in growing the best apples for apple pie in your own backyard, just do a close search on our website to find a wide range of apple guides and home growing tips for a bountiful season. You or someone you know might want to try each one!

    Of course, you can always check on Amazon to get some of the top fruit trees for baking, such as the Honeycrisp Apple Fruit Tree or the Pink Lady Apple Tree.

    Belle De Boskoop Apple Pie

    Belle de Boskoop is a firm, tart, and fragrant heirloom apple from the Netherlands. Tricky to find, but well worth it, Boskoop apples are high in acidity and Vitamin C, making them an excellent apple for pie. The flesh holds its shape well when cooked, creating an old-fashioned, rustic European apple pie.

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    Tart Apples To Use In Apple Pie

    Granny Smith

    Why we love a good ol’ granny: It’s easy to find year round, has a strong tart flavor, and when combined with any sweet apple, makes the perfect, iconic, windowsill-cooling apple pie.


    If you want something less tart than the intense acidity a Granny Smith can bring, turn to these. It will still give you a little kick without being too overpowering.


    While it’s true the Braeburn apples come in a variety of sweet and tart, these tend to lean a little more tart. If you only want to pick up one apple that’ll give you the best of both worlds, this is it.


    The crisp white flesh of this variety makes it great for baking, and the mellow tartness is exactly what you need in a pie.


    This apple definitely delivers the tartness, with the added bonus of staying pretty crunchy after baking, making it ideal for pie.

    Coxs Orange Pippin Apple Pie

    How to Make The Best Apple Pie Recipe!

    Coxs Orange Pippin is Englands favourite apple for eating fresh, but it also makes a great pie apple variety. Its sweeter than Bramleys Seedling, but still has a nice tart acidity that works well in pies. Buy a few extra and save them for eating fresh while you make your apple pie!

    Intensely sweet but with a hefty level of sharp flavour, it can be eaten raw and used in cooking and baking too, where it keeps its shape well.

    Apple: Recipes From The Orchard, by James Rich

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    Winesap Or Stayman Winesap Apple Pie

    Winesap and its offspring the Stayman Winesap are both tart American heirloom apples that work very well in apple pie. They have an acidic, astringent-like quality that truly is reminiscent of wine. Use them on their own for a statement pie or add them to a mix of different apples to add depth of flavour.

    This apple pie recipe from the Food Network recommends Winesap apples.

    What To Look For

    So, what qualities constitute a good baking apple? Flavor and firmness. “A good baking apple will have a tart, acidic flavor. The apples also need to cook down to a soft consistency without turning to mush,” says Jake Samascott of Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook, New York. Keep an eye out for universal varieties such as Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, and Granny Smith, all of which make fantastic baking apples. Don’t underestimate Honeycrisp apples either: “They’re what I call all-purpose apples, meaning that they’re great for both eating and baking. Their nickname is the dessert apple because they have a full body of tart and sweet flavors, and their flesh is crispy,” says Lyman.

    If the color of your apple isn’t a vibrant red or an even shade of green, which is often the case for apples picked at the orchard later in October, don’t assume they’re bad. Lyman says the flavor and crispness will be just as good as first-grade, picture-perfect apples and if you’re going to peel the apples for a pie or cobbler anyway, then the color of the peel makes no difference.

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