Different varieties of apples have distinct flavors, colors, and textures.
So, it isn’t surprising that they also bake differently.
All apples aren’t equally suitable for baking.
Apple pies, cakes, and other baked items will be more delicious and flavorful when you pick the right apples for the job.
So, here’s a list of the best apple varieties for baking experiments.
Which Apples Are Best for Baking?
Apples are a staple ingredient in many baked goods, like pies, tarts, crumbles, and cakes.
However, not all apples are good for baking.
The best apples for baking have a firm texture and hold their shape at high heat without breaking down.
The flavor of the apple also plays a significant part in deciding the taste of a dish.
Let’s look at some of the best baking apples.
1. Granny Smith Apples
Granny Smith apples are undoubtedly one of the best baking apples.
These beautiful green apples have various attractive traits that make them perfect for baking.
They’re widely preferred by professional chefs for high-quality apple pies and desserts.
The complex mix of sweet and sour flavors works beautifully in all types of baked goods.
You can use them in pies, tarts, cakes, and various other baked goods.
These apples are also crisp and firm. They don’t disintegrate during cooking and baking.
They have just the right amount of moisture to add softness to baked goods without becoming too soggy.
Their easy availability throughout the year is another factor that adds to their appeal.
2. Honeycrisp Apples
Honeycrisp apples are sweet apples that were developed by the University of Minnesota by cross-breeding Honeygold apples and Macoun apples.
They have red skin with yellow stripes on the surface.
Honeycrisp apples are one of the sweetest apple varieties and are widely preferred for eating raw.
They have a crisp and juicy texture.
They hold up well during cooking and baking and don’t release too much liquid.
Honeycrisp apples are very versatile.
They work well in a variety of dishes, including apple pies, dumplings, and cakes.
3. Golden Delicious Apples
Golden Delicious apples are naturally sweet and juicy apples that are perfect for making sweet baked items.
These apples have soft yellow skin.
The flesh is silky soft, and sweet, and it releases moisture during baking.
These apples break down easily and release their flavors.
Although sweet, the flavor is mellow and not overpowering.
It tastes great in pies and is a good choice for soft and sweet dessert recipes.
These apples also work well in dishes where you need a variety of apples to create a complex flavor.
Since these apples are very sweet, the dish will need less added sugar in a recipe.
4. Braeburn Apples
Braeburn apples have characteristic red and orange vertical streaks on yellow or green skin.
These apples are juicy and crisp with strong, bold flavors.
Their taste ranges from sweet to slightly tart with a hint of cinnamon and spice.
They have an excellent zesty, almost citrusy flavor that works well in baked goods.
The sharp sweetness and tartness reduce with cooking.
These apples don’t lose their shape and hold their texture during baking.
Hence, they’re a good choice for pies, cakes, and tarts.
Their spicy tones also make them taste good in apple cobbler, crumble, and apple crisp.
They also work well in savory dishes, where their spicy tones add more depth of flavor.
5. Fuji Apples
Fuji apples are medium to large yellow apples with red streaks on their skin.
They’re good for baking because they hold their shape and don’t disintegrate during cooking.
These apples were developed in Japan but are now available all over the world.
They release a lot of moisture during cooking and hence may not be the best choice for recipes with limited liquid content.
These apples are firm but juicy. Their flesh is sweet and crisp, making them an ideal snacking apple.
However, the sweet flavor also works well in baked items.
The best way to use Fuji apples is in tarts, pies, and muffins.
6. Jonagold Apples
Jonagold apples are a cross between Jonathan apples and Golden Delicious apples.
They’re large apples with yellow and red skin.
These apples have a fluffy but crisp texture.
They have a nice mix of sweet and tart flavors with a honey-like sweetness.
These apples also hold their shape and don’t release too much liquid during cooking. So, they’re good for baking.
Jonagold apples taste good in pies, cakes, and tarts. They’re also widely used for roasting with other vegetables.
These apples don’t keep well for too long in storage. Hence, you should ensure that you use them quickly.
7. Empire Apples
Empire apples are good all-purpose apples for cooking as well as eating.
They’re a cross between Macintosh and Red delicious apples and have the attractive attributes of both varieties.
These apples have dark red skin and distinct white flesh.
They have a complex mix of sweet and tart flavors, which enhances the taste of different dishes.
The flesh is tender but doesn’t turn into mush during cooking. Hence, you can use them for baking.
These apples are also good for roasting. They do well in apple pies, tarts, and muffin recipes.
8. Winesap Apples
Winesap apples are small to medium-size apples with rich cherry red color skin. They have bright yellow flesh.
While these apples are widely used for making cider, they’re also good for cooking and baking.
Their firm flesh doesn’t break down easily.
Instead, the apples hold their shape when heated and are hence a good choice for baking and cooking.
Additionally, Winesap apples have exciting flavors that add complexity to baked goods.
They have a bold sweetness with hints of tartness shining through.
Winesap apples are good for making apple pies. You can also use them to make fruit custards.
9. Pink Lady Apples
Like Granny Smith apples, Pink Lady apples are mostly used for baking.
These apples originated in Australia and are a cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams apple varieties.
This apple has a rich flavor with both sweet and tart tones shining through.
The flesh is crispy and holds its shape without disintegrating during cooking.
Hence, it’s good for cooking or baking at high heat.
The complex blend of sweetness and tartness makes it a good apple for various baked dishes like pies and tarts.
10. Cortland Apples
Cortland apples are derived from the Macintosh variety.
They were developed at the Cornwell University in New York as a cross between Macintosh and Ben David apples.
These apples have a flush of crimson color on pale yellow skin with dark red stripes and green dots.
Cortland apples are delicious with a complex flavor that has both sweet and sour tones.
Their crisp and juicy flesh doesn’t break down completely during cooking.
They’re good snacking apples, but you can also use them for baking.
Due to their complex flavor, you can even use them as the lone apple in an apple pie.
11. Rome Apples
Rome apples are specialty medium to large apples with thick and glossy skin.
These apples have yellow skin with red stripes all over the surface and white pores.
The flesh is pale white, crisp, and firm.
These apples are deliciously crispy and have strong tangy flavors that make them good for baking.
Rome apples are some of the best baking apples because of their ability to retain their shape and flavor in various dishes.
They’re widely used for making pies, cakes, bread, and cookies. They also make a good filling for apple tarts.
12. Ida Red Apples
Ida Red apples were developed by the University of Idaho in Moscow as a cross between Jonathan and Wagener apples.
They have dense white skin, and the flesh holds its shape during cooking and baking.
However, the main reason why Ida Red apples are good for baking is their delicious old-fashion taste.
These apples have distinct yellow-green flesh, and they don’t brown easily.
So you can easily prep them for baking without worrying about the flesh becoming discolored.
This is the perfect baking apple for pies and cakes. You can also use them to make apple sauce.
Their complex flavor allows them to work alone and in combination with other apples in various recipes.