Which Apples are Best for Baking

Melissa Bahen

Apples are one of the most beloved ingredients in fall baking, but not all apples are created equal. Do you know which apples are best for baking?

Apples are one of the most beloved ingredients in fall baking. Who doesn’t love to indulge in a fresh, warm baked good filled with sweet apples and warm spices?

Pastries, cakes, crisps, and crumbles - I love them all! Apple treats and desserts are some of my favorites, and I look forward to apple season (and the yumminess that comes with it) all year long.

But different apples are best suited to different uses. Some apples are best for baking, while others do best in applesauce or eaten fresh.

Do you know which apples are best for baking? Follow along!

Deep Dish Apple Tart Photo

A Brief History of Apples

Apples are native to Asia and have been cultivated across the world for centuries. Archaeologists have found evidence suggesting that humans have been eating apples for over 8000 years!

European settlers brought seeds and apple tree cuttings to the Americas in the 1600s.

Thanks to the work of John Chapman, who we all know as Johnny Appleseed, apple orchards popped up on farms all over the United States.

During World War II, the phrase “as American as apple pie” was born.

Even though the apple pie is thought to have originated in Europe in the 14th century, this delicious baked good has come to represent American patriotism.

Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats Picture

What Characteristics Make An Apple Good for Baking?

Whether you’re baking an apple pie, apple upside-down cake, apple cinnamon muffins, or even apple cinnamon rolls, you want to pick an apple variety that is firm and holds it’s shape when baked.

In this case, you don’t want your apples to turn to sauce! I also like to look for apples that have a nice balance of tart and sweet flavors when I make apple baked goods.

Apples that taste delicious when eaten fresh make baked goods delicious too!

Deep Dish Apple Tart Picture

Which Apples Are Best for Baking?

So, which types of apples are best for baking? My favorite apples to bake with include:

  • Honeycrisp
  • Jonagold
  • Granny Smith
  • Pink Lady
  • Gala
  • Braeburn

These apple varieties are best for baking because they hold their shape well when cooked, and have plenty of sweet-tart apple flavor that shines through in spiced cakes and pies.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes Picture

What’s the Best Time of Year to Pick Apples?

The earliest varieties of apples start to ripen in late summer. Apples need to be picked before freezing weather arrives, so September and October are peak apple picking months.

We are lucky to have so many amazing varieties of apples available to us in grocery stores and supermarkets all year long.

But the very best apples for baking are usually found at your local orchard or farm stand in the fall.

They’ll have delicious types of apples you’ll never see in the grocery store, so take advantage of them while you can.

Gluten Free Apple Upside-Down Cake Image

How to Select the Best Apples for Baking

As mentioned above, different varieties of apples are well-suited for different things.

Some apples are best for baking (see the list above!) while others are best for turning into applesauce or cider, or eating fresh.

Regardless of what variety of apple you buy, make sure to choose fruit that is firm with smooth, unwrinkled skin.

Stay away from apples with soft spots or dark bruises.

Apple Pecan Streusel Muffins Photo

Easy Apple Desserts

The possibilities for baking with apples are endless, but I am especially fond of easy apple desserts.

A classic apple pie is always a good idea, or mix things up and try these No-Bake Mini Apple Pie Cheesecakes or Apple Pie Taquitos.

In the mood for apples at breakfast? You can’t go wrong with an easy Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Braid or a batch of Apple Muffins with Crumb Topping.

And don’t forget those apple-filled desserts, like Caramel Apple Blondies (yum!) and Quick Apple Crisp!

Quick Apple Crisp Picture

We’ve already gone apple picking 3 times this fall, and have made so many delicious baked goods with the apples we picked.

I can’t wait to use the rest of our Gala and Granny Smith apples to bake another delicious treat!

Tags: , , , ,
Melissa Bahen

About Melissa

Melissa is an author and blogger living with her husband and four kids on a darling hobby farm in western Oregon. Her cookbooks, Farmhouse Weekends and Scandinavian Gatherings, and her blog, Lulu the Baker, celebrate her love for food and modern country life.