Best apples for pie

Full bodied, cider-like flavor with a perfect sweet-tart balance. Flesh softens when baked but holds its shape. Ripens: Oct-Nov


A buttery flavor that gets more pronounced after baking. Slices hold their shape & turn enticingly soft. Ripens: Sept-Oct

Golden Delicious

As grandma's say, "Spies for pies." Grown widely across the Midwest and Northeast. Cider & pear flavors, holds it shape when baked. Ripens: Oct-Nov

Northern Spy

If your grocery store has limited options, try Honeycrisp. Mild, honey-like flavor with hints of rose or melon when baked. Tart & hold shape.


A very flavorful apple-spice taste. Completely falls apart when baked, but doesn't turn grainy. Add 1-2 in a pie for increased flavor (if you like the saucy texture) Ripens: Aug-Sept


Granny Smith

Tart without much apple flavor.  Often recommended but can turn mushy due to modern commercial storage.  Ripens: Oct-Nov

Pie-baking tests

Over 30 common & uncommon varieties tested.  Get more tasting notes on the best (and worst) apples for pie.