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Which Apple Makes the Best Pie? Your Guide to Each Variety and How to Use Them

Updated

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It wouldn’t be fall without Pumpkin Spice Lattes, flannel shirts, and dragging your significant other or willing friends to the apple orchard.

While some apples are long gone from the trees, many of the most popular kinds are still waiting to be plucked or can be bought at your local grocery store. 

Even if you’re going to the orchard simply for the Instagram, it’s beneficial to know which kinds are best for snacking and which should be sliced and diced for pies galore. From what to pair with slices to recipes to use up the bushels you bring home, know before you go with our guide to picking the perfect apple.

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Granny Smith
Perhaps the most recognizable kinds given its color, these are known to be crisp, extremely tart, and they hold their shape when cooked — making them perfect for baking. Though they’re also good to pair with cheeses and salty foods, another idea is to stuff them inside of scones like chef Robert Irvine does. You can also dice ’em up raw and throw them in guacamole…though you guys gave us a hard time about that.

 

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Braeburn
With the perfect balance of sweet and tart and a shape that holds up to heat, this kind is also makes for incredible apple pie. Chef Alex Guarnaschelli also suggests baking them whole, which gives them an almost fluffy texture. Try swapping them out for Granny Smiths in these individual Salted Caramel Apple Pies (baked inside of an apple.)

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Red Delicious
Whether they’re actually delicious or not is up for debate, but the lunchbox staple can be enjoyed raw or sliced and baked as apple chips — the choice is yours, but steer clear of them for apple pie. If you have them on hand and want to put them to good use, try them alongside our rich toffee dip.

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McIntosh
An apple crisp comes together beautifully with McIntosh apples because their consistency bakes down into the perfect texture while their juiciness adds flavor to the dish.

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Gala 
More sweet than tart, these apples are great raw, but don’t hold their shape when cooked. This makes them not ideal for pie, but absolutely perfect for applesauce.

RELATED: How to Turn an Apple into a Mini Salted Caramel Apple Pie

WATCH THIS: Bizarre But Delicious: Richard Blais’ Yogurt & Cheese Apple Pie

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Jazz
This cross between Braeburn and Gala has gained popularity in recent years not only for its fun name, but because they have a just-tart-enough and not-too-sweet flavor. Cook’s Illustrated found that they’re perfect for snacking and baking, but don’t break down enough when used for applesauce. Try them in this Quinoa Salad with Apples & Cashews.

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Fuji
Eat them straight from the fridge (or the tree!) since their strong, sweet flavor tastes best raw. If you’re looking to bake a dessert with your Fujis, try these cinnamon-spiced Fuji apple biscuits from Joy the Baker.

RELATED: Hungry Girl: My Apple Pie Sangria Is Festive, Fancy and Perfect for Fall

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Cripps Pink (also known as Pink Lady)
If you tend to go apple picking later in the season, this kind should still be abundant as they are grow into the early winter months. They’re also great for roasting, like in this pork chop dish, or chopping up to toss in a salad.