Last updated on September 10, 2020 by Liza Hawkins
Worry no more, apple fans! This post answers the common question: What’s the difference between cooking apples and eating apples?
Have you ever been plagued by this question while standing in the produce isle, staring at a farmers’ market stand, or walking through an apple orchard?
I really want to bake an apple pie, but which kind of apple should I choose? Or apples — should I get more than one type???
Tell me it’s not just me.
I know I can’t be the only one who gets confused by apples and what kinds are good for pies, what other varieties are best for salads.
The last thing you want is an apple the breaks down to mush when you’re baking a pie.
But what about applesauce?
A mushier apple might make good sense.
And how about blending the two?
Some baked apple recipes, like honey cardamom apple pie, taste better when you mix the taste of a sweet apple with a tart apple.
And then there’s savory dishes, like chicken sausage and apple rigatoni, which beg for sweet apples to counter other saltier, tangy ingredients and that also stay intact through the sautéing process.
The Difference Between Cooking Apples and Eating Apples
There are so many different varieties at the grocery store and the farmers’ market, it’s hard to decide which type of apple to pick! This list includes many of the common varieties, but keep scrolling to see a resource from the US Apple Association and some of my favorite apple kitchen tools!
Goldens have a pale yellow skin, sometimes with a red blush.
Mellow and sweet, all-purpose Goldens are great for eating, baking and salads.
Their crisp, pale yellow flesh resists browning, making them a good choice for salads and other dishes.
This sweet, crispy, juicy apple varies in color from striped red to solid midnight red.
This apple is best eaten fresh or in salads.
Grannys are known for their distinctive green flesh, which sometimes bears a red blush, and their very tart flavor.
An all-purpose apple, Grannys work equally well as a snack or in pies and sauce.
Juicy, tangy tart McIntosh has a tender, white flesh.
It’s best used for snacking and applesauce, but some people enjoy its tart flavor in pies as well.
This crispy, juicy, very sweet apple is ideal for snacking.
Galas can vary in color, from cream to red- and yellow-striped.
This variety’s popularity is skyrocketing, thanks to its sweet flavor and firmness.
Fuji apples are bi-colored, typically striped with yellow and red.
And, you know what would be nice? A big chart with all the apples, when to use them, and how they taste.
Read more about the life of an apple from orchard to grocery via the U.S. Apple Association.
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Here are some of the tools I use for baking with apples: