The Best Apples for Apple Pie

Scenes of fall are all around which means it’s time to tackle one of the season’s best dessert recipes – apple pie. I usually make my annual apple pie for Thanksgiving and prefer to use several types of apples in one giant pie. That way, the finished result is a flaky crusted pie with a medley of fall flavors including sweet and tart apple notes with cinnamon spice.

With so many types of apples available at grocery stores in the fall, it may not be obvious which ones are the best apples for apple pie, or baking in general. The most important attribute in a good baking apple is that the fruit’s flesh doesn’t break down from high oven temperatures, which creates an unappealing mushy experience and a recipe failure. For that reason, Red Delicious is one apple that isn’t recommended for baking. Though most apples are multi-purpose and can be used for baking, there are some apples that standout in the kitchen. In this post, I’ve identified 5 of the best apples for apple pie. Each is a well-known apple that will be easy to find at a grocery store near you during the fall and winter months. Use one type to create a mini apple pie, or try a trio of apples in order to create a unique and flavorful twist on this classic dessert.

The Best Apples for Apple Pie:

Golden Delicious Apples:

This classic American variety has a beautiful yellow skin and mellow sweet flavor that makes it one of the best baking apples. The flesh of Golden Delicious is somewhat silky in texture and won’t break down during the higher temperatures needed to bake an apple pie.

Piñata® Apples:

Stemilt’s signature apple variety, Piñata, brings a trio of apples together in one. Piñata was bred in Germany in the 1970s through traditional cross-pollination methods. Its parents are Golden Delicious and two heirloom varieties from Europe, Cox’s Orange Pippin and the Duchess of Oldenburg. The same great baking texture from Golden Delicious makes Piñata a great baking apple. Cox’s Orange Pippin adds a juicy and acidic flavor to Piñata apples that Golden Delicious is otherwise lacking. For those who like a sweet and tart apple pie, Piñata is a great choice to use as a standalone or alongside other baking apples.

Rome Beauty Apples:

Nicknamed the “Baker’s Buddy,” Rome is the most difficult-to-find apple variety on this list, and mainly used for baking. The sweet and tart flavors of Rome apples deepen when the apple is cooked and Rome is among the best apples at holding its shape to cooking temperatures. Rome apples also keep very well, which means you can buy them now and bake your apple pie in a week or so and still have great results.

Granny Smith Apples:

This type of apple is famous for its lime green color and tart flavor. While tartness isn’t a quality that many love in an apple pie, Granny Smith works great because of the added sugar that most apple pie recipes call for. This one takes me back to my childhood because it was the preferred baking apple that my Mom used for making her delicious apple pies. I try to be a bit more adventurous in my own apple pies today by mixing and matching varieties, but do like to incorporate at least one Granny Smith apple. The variety holds its shape when baked and adds a great tartness to any apple pie.

Pink Lady® Apples:

With Granny Smith parentage, Pink Lady is another great variety to use for baking an apple pie. This apple is well-known for its vibrant pink skin, but also has a balanced sweet-tart flavor and effervescent finish. Pink Lady apples are a bit smaller in size than other varieties since they are the last off the tree each fall and so it may take more apples and peeling to make a pie, but the unique flavor it offers certainly makes this one worthy of putting into an apple pie.

Which types of apples are your favorites for using when baking an apple pie? Do you prefer a sweet or tart apple pie, or something in-between?