How to Choose Apples for Apple Pie

By Heidi Almond

Apple pie is the very definition of classic. Here's a guide to picking out the best apples for baking this wholesome dessert.

Close-up of homemade apple pie on cooling rack
credit: nicolesy/iStock/GettyImages
How to Choose Apples for Apple Pie

Apples range in color from maroon to pink to buttery yellow to emerald green. Choose any of them as long as they're smooth and free of blemishes. The fruit should be firm, without any soft spots.

Tart apples are commonly used in pies, crisps and cobblers. Baking releases the sugars in the apples and sweetens them naturally, while still retaining the sharp, tart bite. Tart apples like Cortland, Granny Smith, Northern Spy, Cameo and York Imperial are all great choices. If you prefer a sweeter, less tart apple pie, try Fuji, Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp or Pink Lady. All-purpose apples like Gravenstein, Jonathan, Jonagold, Pippin and Crispin work, too. But don't feel obligated to stick to a single variety. Mix and match sweet and tart apples for a unique, complex taste.