With the cooler weather approaching, there is no better way to warm up than with a warm delicious apple pie. But choosing the right apples for your apple pie can be a daunting task, especially when there are 7,500 different apple varieties grown throughout the world. Here’s an easy guide to help you select the best apples so that your pie is sure to be a success!

An apple crumble pie on top of a pie box surrounded by apples.{pictured above: Toffee Apple Pecan Crumble Pie}

First, you want to select apple varieties that are firm and will hold their shape during baking. Apple varieties like Red Delicious and McIntosh are great for eating fresh but turn into applesauce when cooked. Part of the appeal of a great apple pie is the layers upon layers of apple slices when you cut into the pie and you want to be able to taste the texture of each tender piece of apple.

A slice of apple pie with ice cream on a white and gold plate.{pictured above: Easy Homemade Apple Pie}

Second, you want a good flavor profile. It’s best to choose a mix of sweet and tart apples. The diversity adds depth of flavor and a 50/50 split will suit most tastes.

A slice of dutch apple pie on a white and pink plate with apples, the rest of the pie and flowers in the background.{pictured above: Dutch Apple Pie}

Here are the top ten best apples for apple pie:

Ambrosia

  • Taste – Sweet and juicy with distinct notes of pear.
  • Appearance – Red-yellow in color and large in size.
  • Origin – British Columbia in the 1980s. Possibly the hybrid of Starking Delicious and Golden Delicious.

Gala

  • Taste – Sweet, crisp and mild in flavor.
  • Appearance – Yellow-orange in color with a red blush. Medium in size.
  • Origin – New Zealand in the 1930s. Hybrid of Kidd’s Orange Red and Golden Delicious.

Golden Delicious

  • Taste – Sweet and crisp with lovely floral notes.
  • Appearance – Pale green to golden yellow in color and medium in size.
  • Origin – West Virginia, 1905. Chance seedling and not related to Red Delicious.

Cortland

  • Taste – Sweet, crisp and mild in flavor.
  • Appearance – Large round shape and mostly crimson in color with a touch of orange.
  • Origin – New York, 1898. A cross between the McIntosh and Ben Davis.

Honeycrisp

  • Taste – Sweet and slightly tart, very crisp with a light berry flavor.
  • Appearance – Large in size with a green/yellow background covered with red-orange.
  • Origin – Minnesota, 1960. A cross between the Macoun and Honeygold.

Jonagold

  • Taste – Sweet and sour with notes of honey.
  • Appearance – Green and red in color. Large in size.
  • Origin – New York, 1953. A cross between the Golden Delicious and Jonathan.

Mutsu (aka Crispin)

  • Taste – Tart and slightly sweet with citrus notes.
  • Appearance – Green and large in size.
  • Origin – Japan, 1948. A cross between the Golden Delicious and Japanese Indo. It’s the Canadian equivalent of the Granny Smith.

Red Prince

  • Taste – Tangy and sweet with a firm texture.
  • Appearance – Dark red in color. Large in size.
  • Origin – the Netherlands in the early 1990s. A cross between the Golden Delicious and Jonathan.

Idared

  • Taste – Tart and mild in flavor with a very subtle hint of spice.
  • Appearance – Medium in size and generally round, with a layer of red over a green background.
  • Origin – Idaho, 1942. A cross between the Jonathan and Wagener.

Northern Spy

  • Taste – Tart and crisp with a high level of acidity.
  • Appearance – Yellow-green background covered with red stripes. Large in size.
  • Origin – New York, 1800s.

For more information about Ontario apples, please visit all the excellent resources at Ontario Apple Growers where you can find everything you need to know about apples. I also would like to thank the Ontario Apple Growers for allowing me to use their apple images in this post.

Here are some fabulous and unique apple pie recipes for you to try:

Other references: The Spruce Eats, Wikipedia, and World Atlas.

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