All About Apples

Do a lot of baking over the holiday season? Then, peruse our comprehensive guide to apple varieties and discover which ones are the best for your stuffing, bread, pie or even chopped salad.
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Do a lot of baking over the holiday season? Then, peruse our comprehensive guide to apple varieties and discover which ones are the best for your stuffing, bread, pie or even chopped salad.

With thousands of apple varieties to choose from, it’s tough to know which ones to grab for your favorite holiday recipes or just for a healthy snack. Here are nine types of apples to look for on your next holiday food shopping trip. Since apples are on the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list, we recommended buying organic whenever possible.


Golden Delicious

Available fall through summer

With a rich, sweet and slightly tart flavor, Golden Delicious apples have a semi-firm texture making them an excellent choice for eating fresh out-of-hand or adding to salads. Also a good choice for baking, add these to your favorite pies, crisps, and tarts. Try our Apple Pie with Pecan Oat Topping for a clean version of this holiday favorite.



Available in the fall. If stored, best when eaten by Christmas.

These tart, spicy and tender apples are a must-try when you’re putting together a festive cheese board or baking a delicious, clean treat like our Whole-Grain Zucchini Apple Bread. Also great for holiday pies, Jonathan apples pair nicely with Granny Smith, Fujis and other dense apple varieties.



Available mid-fall to early winter.

Snap up these juicy, dark red apples that get their name from their spicy wine-like flavor. Their firm texture makes them a great option for baking, roasting, and adding to stuffings. Try diced Winesaps in our Barley & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash for a nutrient-rich holiday main or side dish.



Available late summer through mid-winter

Bite into a sweet, green Crispin (also known as Mutsu apple), but be sure to save a few for baked desserts too. These crisp, juicy apples are just perfect in our Apple Cobbler with Golden Raisins and Nuts recipe. They also stand up to robust and sharp cheeses and mix well into salads.


Granny Smith

Available year-round

Bright green Granny Smith apples are easy to find, and these tart, juicy apples go with almost anything. Their firm texture makes them a great variety to use in pies and baked goods, as well as salads like this Bulgur Waldorf Salad, our cleaned up version of the traditional Waldorf.



Available fall to early winter

Tart and tender Empire apples are a great seasonal choice for snacking and so much more. Try them in your favorite baked apple dessert or as a flavorful topper to a savory main dish like our Apple-Dijon Salmon with Roasted Broccoli Rabe.



Available year-round

Sweet and juicy Fujis are excellent in sauces and jams and make a great base for refreshing holiday mocktails. Serve up our Spiced Apple Fizz at your next gathering for a spicy, antioxidant-rich beverage that is sure to be a hit.



Available late fall through early winter

Great for eating fresh as well as for baking, try these crisp, sweet-tart tasting apples in our recipe for these elegant Individual Apple Pecan Crumbles. This clean take on a holiday favorite will impress even the most discerning dinner guest.



Available fall through early winter

Both red and green in color depending on the time of the season they’re picked, McIntosh apples are juicy with a sweet-tart taste and go well with both sweet and savory dishes. Try McIntosh apples in these Apple Almond Squares, a tasty, gluten-free snack loaded with almonds and raisins.