They say that an apple a day can keep the doctor away. But what type of apple? Granny Smith? Red Delicious? Golden Delicious? Clearly, it can get a little confusing, so we’re helping you figure out what type of apple is right for you. Since we can’t get to them all – sorry Jonalicious and Uttwiler Spätlaubers – we’re sticking to the most common apples you can find in regular grocery stores.

Follow this guide and you’ll know the right apple for your pie, cider, or favorite teacher.

Braeburn apples image from Specialty Produce

Braeburn – known for their red/orange vertical streaky appearance, Braeburn apples have a spicy-sweet flavor that is perfect for eating directly or using in baking

Cortland – these medium to large red/green striped apples are known for their crisp, juicy bite that delivers a mildly sweet flavor; Cortland’s are also slightly resistant to browning, making them a good apple to serve as slices or in a salad

Empire Apple image from Erin Nudi

Empire – red, juicy and sweet is the best way to describe these apples (aside from also referencing Times Square); since it’s firmer than other varieties, it makes for a good cooking apple

Fuji – originally developed in Japan, these reddish yellow apples are known for their extremely sweet flesh; Fuji’s can be eaten straight or as a base for apple sauce, thanks to that natural sweetness

Jonagold apple image from Sabreean

Jonagold – this thin, smooth skinned apple, identified by its red body with yellow speckles is a jack of all trades of apples and can be used in pretty much any recipe

Gala – taller than it is wide (usually), Gala apples are known for their reddish gold skin and yellowish interior; Gala’s are semi-sweet, crisp and juicy making them a good apple to snack on

Golden Delicious – known for yellow skin, Golden Delicious apples are the second most commonly grown apples in the US; since they are thin-skinned, they spoil easily and should be used for preparations that involve cooking or canning

Granny Smith apple image from Home Cooking Memories

Granny Smith – not to be confused with Golden Delicious apples, Granny Smith’s are those bright green, extremely tart apples that you probably would never want to eat alone; the almost lemony apple pairs well with cheese/salty foods and is a good cooking apple

Macintosh – usually half green, half red, Macintosh apples have a fairly soft flesh that isn’t super appealing on the palate for a raw apple; think about using them in recipes like apple sauce or butter – they’re a little to soft to use in pie recipes

Red Delicious – probably the most iconic and distinguishable apple (give it to your teacher), Red Delicious apples are the quintessential snacking apple

Winesap – there are several varieties of regional Winesap apples, which are known for their tart flesh which is perfect for juicing, cooking and eating fresh

Now that we’ve helped you on your next trip to the grocery store, here are a few recipes for the apples that are good for cooking. The rest.. well just eat em.

1. Apple Pie

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While this may not be your grandma’s recipe (please send her recipe if you do have it), it’s a great basic recipe to make your first homemade Apple pie. Get our Apple Pie recipe.

2. Apple Butter

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If you haven’t tried apple butter before – a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty – you don’t know what you’re missing; it’s tart, sweet and perfect on toasted bread. Get our Apple Butter recipe.

3. Apple Sauce

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Store bought applesauce is OK but homemade applesauce is light years ahead and will make you think twice about buying the readymade stuff again. Get our Apple Sauce recipe.

4. Bacon, Apple and Blue Cheese Omelet

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Tart apples, crisp bacon and blue cheese are the base for this indulgent breakfast omelet. Get our Bacon, Apple and Blue Cheese Omelet recipe.

5. Apple Stuffed Pork Chops with Cider Sauce

Our pork chops with cider sauce our brimming with fall flavors – there are apples, pumpernickel, and fresh herbs like sage and thyme. Get our recipe for Apple Stuffed Pork chops with Cider Sauce recipe.

6. Apple Chestnut Soup with Parsley Croutons

Sweet and nutty, this soup is a great starter for any fall meal. Get our Apple Chestnut Soup with Parsley Croutons recipe.

7. Vegan Tofu Apple Spring Rolls

These vegan spring rolls, with orange-ginger tofu and tart apples, prove that you can still have big flavors without any meat. Get our Vegan Tofu Apple Spring Rolls recipe.

8. Campfire Baked Apples

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Sort of like an apple pie without the crust, apples are filled with dried fruit, walnuts, spices and butter then baked over an open fire. Get our Campfire Baked Apples recipe.

9. Spiked Apple Galette

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Our free form apple tart is swimming in apple flavor, with cinnamon spiced apples and a sauce made with apple cider and brandy. Get our Spiked Apple Galette recipe.

Header image: apple orchard from Daisy Hill Living

Dan McKay is a Canadian actor, film director, screenwriter, and musician—oh wait, that’s Ryan Gosling. Dan is a Philly-based freelance writer, photographer, and digital marketer. He has written for Eater and Thrillist, in addition to other publications. Outside of work, you might run across him in the Asian market or in one of Philly’s local drinking establishments.
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