People always ask what kind of apples work best in apple pie, and the answer is simple—it’s totally a personal preference! Different types of apples bring different things to the table—some are sweet, some are tart; some are crisp, and some are soft! As Paula always says, it’s all up to what your tongue likes.
Of course, you’re not here to get a non-answer, so we’ll share Paula’s favorite combination with you because Paula never steers us wrong when it comes to cooking and baking! She prefers to use crisp Granny Smith apples paired with either McIntosh apples or Jonagold apples. This gives the perfect combination of tart and sweet and crisp and soft. If you’d like to try a pie with this specific combo, give Mom’s Apple Pie a try.
Granny Smith apples tend to be the most commonly used and commonly loved apple for apple pies, though some people prefer to cut the tartness with a sweeter variety, just like Paula likes to do!
Below, we’ve shared some of the most commonly used apples for apple pies along with their attributes so you can determine which will work best for you.
Pink Lady: This elegant apple has a crisp & crunchy texture and a tart taste than finishes off with a bit of sweetness.
Granny Smith: The most popular option for apple pies, this apple, known for its bright green skin, has a crisp texture and a mouth-watering tartness that is heightened when baked or sautéed.
Rome: A Rome apple is naturally rather mild-flavored, but the flavor starts to increase when it’s baked. The sweet flesh is wonderfully crisp beneath the dark red skin.
Honeycrisp: These apples feature a cream-colored flesh and are very crisp (ahem, in case the name didn’t give that one away) and super juicy with a very sweet flavor.
Jonathan: Dad to one of Paula’s favorite apples for apple pies (the Jonagold), this soft apple is sweet with a tart tang to it. Because of its softness, it can break down during cooking and baking, so it works best when paired with a firmer apple, like a Granny Smith.
Jonagold: The product of mixing Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples, this crisp apple boasts a creamy pale-yellow flesh, a crisp texture, and sweet taste that is balanced with some acidity—almost a tangy sweet flavor.
Golden Delicious: Another very popular option for apple pies is the Golden Delicious variety, with its firm white flesh and sweet crispy flavor. It’s a great all-purpose apple, meaning it works just great when baked, as it won’t break down and it keeps its flavor. Bonus, with its tender skin, you can often go without peeling it!
Braeburn: With a balanced sweet yet tart taste that almost has a hint of cinnamon flavor to it and it’s crispy, juicy flesh, it’s no surprise that this is a popular option for apple pies.
McIntosh: This crispy, sweet, and tart apple is a great all-purpose apple. However, because it doesn’t retain its texture or form well if baked too long, it typically works best to pair with a firmer apple, like Granny Smith.
Now that you’ve had an opportunity to select which variety of apple you’d like to try in a homemade apple pie recipe, you need to know how many you’ll need! So as a final bit of knowledge, we’d like to share this simple yield conversion:
1 pound of apples = 2 large apples or 3 medium apples
2.5 pounds of apples = filling for one 9-inch pie
What kind of apples do you like in your apple pies? Or what apples do you plan to try in your apple pies? Let us know in the comments below!