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Apple Guide | How to Match the Apple to the Recipe

Apple Guide | How to Match the Apple to the Recipe
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Apple varieties are as individual as people, with their own quirky flavors, textures, and strengths. Some perform best in desserts, others in salads. You can’t tell by simply looking at them. I’ve taken some of the guesswork out of this process by organizing dozens of popular varieties into four simple categories in this apple guide. Learn which correspond to their best uses in the kitchen: firm-tart, firm-sweet, tender-tart, and tender-sweet.

These apples, which hold their shape when cooked, are best in rich baked desserts like pies or pastries—anything that benefits from a bit of acidity.
Calville Blanc d’Hiver
Esopus Spitzenberg
GoldRush *
Granny Smith
Northern Spy
Rhode Island Greening
Roxbury Russet
Sierra Beauty
Stayman Winesap *

These apples work best in sweet and savory baked dishes that need a firm fruit with more sweetness.
Black Oxford
Blue Pearmain
Ginger Gold *
Golden Delicious *
Pink Lady
Sweet Tango

These apples break down easily during cooking, which makes them best for soups and sauces.
Cortland *
Empire *

I use some of these in salads, dessert sauces, and the occasional quick-cooked dish, but mostly enjoy them right out of my hand.
Cox’s Orange Pippin
Fuji *
Gala *

* apple variety that doesn’t brown quickly when sliced; a good choice for salads

Download the Printable Version of the Apple Guide.

Amy Traverso


Amy Traverso


Senior lifestyle editor Amy Traverso oversees Yankee's Food and Home & Garden departments and contributes articles to the magazine. Amy book, The Apple Lover's Cookbook (W.W. Norton), won an International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) cookbook award for the category American. Follow !
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