What’s Fresh: The best and worst apples for eating, cooking & baking

By: Hilary Meyer  |  Wednesday, September 15, 2010

All apples are not created equal—at least when it comes to cooking vs. eating them fresh. But regardless of variety, they’re all good for you. A medium apple (3-inch diameter) contains 4 grams of fiber; a large apple (3 1/4-inch diameter) has 5 grams of fiber. Apples also offer a bit of vitamin C and potassium.
Related: 25 Delicious Fall Apple Recipes
So what apples are best for your lunchbox and what apples are best suited for your apple pie? Well, that depends.
Related: Find out how to choose the best apples for cooking and eating with our Apple Buyers Guide.
For Cooking and Baking
The Best
In the EatingWell Test Kitchen, we’re partial to McIntosh and Granny Smith for baking. When the softer McIntosh mixes with the more toothsome Granny Smith, presto! You’ve got yourself the perfect apple pie.
McIntosh: The tender white flesh is crisp when freshly harvested, but soon adopts a softer consistency, making it perfect for cooking into pies or sauce. Macs are sweet and juicy with a pleasant tanginess.
Granny Smith: This apple is sharp and tart and its flavor holds up well in recipes with spicy notes; the flesh is firm enough to retain its shape when cooked.
The Worst
Red Delicious: These apples are sweet, crisp and grainy. They lack a tart element and a rich apple flavor, which is what makes apple pie so great. You’re better off leaving them out of your pie.
Related Link: 10 Apple Recipes For Better Heart Health
For Eating
The Best
So, what is the best apple to pack away for that perfect snack? That depends on personal preference, but I like Honeycrisp.
Honeycrisp: This apple has exceptionally crisp, juicy, sweet-as-honey flesh with just a hint of tartness that makes it a tasty treat any time of the day. (You can also use it for baking, but with its sweet juicy flesh, I find I eat them so fast there’s never any left for my pie.)
The Worst
Red Delicious: Some people (like myself) actually like their texture—when eaten fresh, not cooked. Most apple connoisseurs may turn their noses up at this plain Jane variety for either application, but I stand by the Red Delicious as a decent snack.
Have fun experimenting with apples to find the one you like best.
Related Link: Easy Healthy Fall Recipes