8 Apple Varieties That Make Us Love Fall—Plus Exactly How to Cook With Them
This handy guide matches our favorite apple varieties, from Pink Lady to Honeycrisp, with flavor-packed recipes that showcase their unique charm.
September 10, 2018
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Types of Apples
As the weather gets cool and the crispness of apples signals the sweet, fleeting passage of fall, it's time to get cooking. You'll likely find eight types of apples for sale in a good grocery store these days, and a dozen or more in a big farmers' market. Luckily, apples are a great cooking fruit. We matched some favorite apple varieties to recipes designed to unlock the flavor potential and personality of each one.
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Pink Lady Apple
Crisp and tangy-sweet, the Pink Lady is very good for eating raw or baking. They also work wonderfully well in applesauce or purreed soups.
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A cross between a Jonathan and a Golden Delicious apple, this variety is crisp and sweet yet balanced with acidity. Jonagolds are good for both raw and cooked applications.
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Balanced sweet-tart flavor make Liberty apples great for eating raw. They also hold up well to being sautéed for compotes.
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Slightly crisp, sweet, and low in acid, this variety is slow to oxidize, so the flesh will stay white longer in raw applications. For a delicious and satisfying alternative to dessert, make a Liberty apple and cheese plate to enjoy after dinner. It will be a light and healthier alternative to the typical post-dinner fare.
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This mild-tasting variety is best for baking because the raw flesh can sometimes be soft or mealy.
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Every bit as sweet and firm as the name suggests, this juicy apple is great for raw uses but also holds its shape very well and develops complex flavor when baked.
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This sweet juicy hybrid variety is descended from McIntosh apples. It's a good all-purpose apple, suitable for baking, sauces, or eating raw.
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The candy-sweet, crisp Fuji is best for raw uses. In our recipe for Brie, Apple and Arugula Quesadillas, they offer a crisp counterpoint to the rich, creamy cheese.
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Apple Pick: Honeycrisp apples
If you're baking a whole apple, choose carefully. We baked nine varieties for one hour at 350° and found that the firm Granny Smith apple (the mess, right) collapsed and turned to complete mush. The Honeycrisp, however, retained its shape and had a pleasing, slightly firm texture and full apple flavor, faring the best of the nine varieties. Other varieties that kept their shape: Rome, Jonagold, and Spartan.
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Apple Upside-Down Cake
Apple pick: Rome apples
You can't go wrong with the gorgeous Apple Upside-Down Cake. Mild Rome apples are great for baking this scrumptious upside-down cake, however, you can also use Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, or Jonagold apples. Dollop the cake with a bit of whipped cream, if desired.
Take a break from classic tomato salsas and opt for a fruitier, seasonal option. This sweet-tart condiment features crisp, slightly acidic Spartan apples, though Fuji, Jonagold, and Liberty apples would also work nicely. This fresh, fruity salsa is the perfect addition to any Fall menu or fun occasion, and it's super easy to make. Eat it straight out of the bowl, snack on it with chips, or serve with pork or roast chicken. Serve it immediately, or let it sit overnight to let the flavors incorporate.
Sweet Pink Lady apples hold up well to being sauteed for the compote in this comforting French toast. Fuji, Liberty, or Jonagold apples would also work. Challah is a rich, traditional Jewish bread; substitute Hawaiian bread if challah isn’t available.