What are the Best Apples for Baking?
I come from a background of apples. I still remember taking a bite of the very first honeycrisp I ever tasted. And, if you’re like most people, you know that with every crunchy-sweet bite, it surely stands out from the rest.
Apples were in our fridge year-round growing up. Considering my dad has been farming his entire life, he lives and breathes apples. From honeycrisp, to gala, fuji, reds, and more – I’m convinced he knows them better than the back of his hand.
I thought I’d throw in a few of our annual apple photos we took as kids…
Of course I couldn’t take a picture without a few nibbles first.. and just look at how cute those overalls are?! I had to.
There are many types of apples in the supermarket, and if you don’t know much about them, it can be hard to find the best type for baking.
It’s important to have a good quality apple when baking anything such as pies, crisps, crumbles, and (most importantly!) my Salted Caramel Apple Butter Bars. The last thing you want is a mushy/ tart apple after slaving in the kitchen for hours.
So, I put my dad to the test and asked a few basic questions to get to the answer: what are the best apples for baking?
Honeycrisp’s are well known for their sweet tasting, juicy bite. They are a lighter (less-dense) apple that surprisingly have a hint more acid than most, resulting in a “sweet-tart” taste that I find a perfect balance in baking. Honeycrisp’s also retain their crunch more and don’t break down in to a mushy mess after baking in the oven for 1+ hours. Since harvest is mainly in early and late fall, this makes it the best apple for baking during the holidays.
The sweetest of the three, but not necessarily second-class. If you’re not baking a pie for the holidays, or you are, these apples are a great option year-round. Their soluable solid content (sugar content) is much higher than honeycrisp or gala, therefore it is preferred to use less sugar when baking with fuji’s. This is a great option for my Salted Caramel Apple Butter Bars, which are only sweetened with pure maple syrup.
The perfect apple for early fall baking. Gala’s are the first to be harvested and are a favorite among experts as a tree ripened apple. Gala’s are very similar to honeycrisp for density and crunch, with a nice balance of sweetness. Looking to make an apple crisp for football Sunday? Use a gala!
Really, there’s no going wrong with these three options. If you’re sensitive to sweet, try a gala. If you love a crunch, try honeycrisp. If you love the natural taste of a sweet apple, go for a fuji.
What’s your favorite of the three to bake with? Let me know in the comments below!
Meanwhile here are some fun apple recipes to try out this holiday season….
Kate Wood never fails to make baking look easy, especially with this Caramel Apple Pie.
And for a healthier treat…. my Salted Caramel Apple Butter Bars.
Try this delicious spin on Apple Galette.
Ambitious Kitchen really does make the “Best Healthy Apple Crisp Ever!“
This Apple Bavarian Torte can be eaten for breakfast, dessert, a snack, a late lunch, a midnight snack… really any time of day.
Don’t forget about a healthier Thanksgiving breakfast!