Best Apples for Every Kind of Apple Pie

Apple Pie
Apple Pie. Mark Edward Atkinson/Tracey Lee/Blend Images/Getty Images

Gearing up to make an apple pie, but not sure which apples to use? Firm, dry apples usually work best in a pie because they soften, but don't turn mushy when baked. For the best flavor, opt for a mix of tart and sweet apples. A 50-50 split works well.

The following apples are widely regarded as being some of the very best to use in apple pies. Just pick some apples from the tart list and some from the sweet list (or cheat and pick some off of the sweet/tart list), and you're sure to get great results.

But really, it's pretty hard to go wrong with a homemade apple pie, so if you have a big pile of apples sitting in your kitchen, and they aren't on this list, don't let that stop you from making a pie. The difference is nothing a scoop of vanilla ice cream can't cure.

Tart Pie Apples

Cortland
Empire
Goldrush
Granny Smith
Gravenstein
Jonathan
Northern Spy
Stayman-Winesap
Suncrisp

Sweet Pie Apples

Crispin (Mutsu)
Fuji
Golden Delicious
Red Rome
Jonagold

Sweet/Tart Pie Apples

Braeburn
Cameo
Cox’s Orange Pippin
Honey Crisp
Pink Lady
Spigold
Yellow Transparent

How Many Apples Will I Need for a Pie?

Figure on 2-1/2 to 2-3/4 pounds of apples per pie. A lot of recipes call for a specific number of cups of peeled, cored and chopped apples, and that can make it tricky to know how many pounds of whole apples you need to buy to arrive at the prescribed number of cups. A good rule of thumb is to buy a pound of apples for every three cups of apples called for in the recipe.

If you are picking your own apples, or buying them somewhere where you can't weigh them, Kercher's Orchard says a pound of apples is roughly the equivalent of four small apples, three medium apples or two large apples. By that math, it would take around 5-6 large apples, 8 medium apples or 10-11 small apples to make a 9 or 10-inch pie.

Of course, it doesn't hurt to buy a couple extra, just in case.

While the apples listed here will do great in a pie, they may not be as well-suited to other recipes. Here's some help picking out the right apples for every task:

More Things to Make While Apples are in Season: