The Best Apple Varieties for Eating Fresh

Fresh whole and cut apples

Patrizia Savarese / Getty Images

Planning to load up on apples while they're in season? Here's a list of the best apples for eating fresh. All of these varieties are juicy, flavorful, and crisp.

Sweet Apples

Sweet apples are great for snacking, healthy desserts, and balancing with salty and savory foods, notes There's an Apple for That, a website that's all about apples. Some of the best sweet apples are:

  • Crispin (Mutsu)
  • Fuji
  • Golden Delicious
  • Gala

You'll often see sweet apples paired with sharp cheeses on a cheeseboard. 

Tart Apples

If you love acidic flavors, then tart apples are for you. They're easy to find in most markets and include varieties like:

  • Granny Smith
  • Braeburn
  • McIntosh

Tart apples are great with peanut butter or tossed into salads.

Sweet/Tart Apples

There are the apples that fall somewhere in the middle; not quite sweet and not quite tart, including: 

  • Cameo
  • Ginger Gold
  • Honey Crisp
  • Liberty
  • McIntosh

These are great baking apples.

Best apples to eat fresh
 The Spruce / Jie En Lee

Heirloom Apples

Many of the apples that you find at the grocery store, including Red Delicious, have been bred to look good and ship well—taste is a mere afterthought. So, if you want a flavorful apple, seek out the heirloom varieties. Visit a local farm or farmers' market to discover varieties that never make it to the grocery store.

If you happen upon a variety that you really love, consider planting a few in your backyard. It takes some time for an apple tree to start producing, but after that, you'll be set.

Storing Apples for Winter

Many apple varieties will stay fresh for months, refrigerated, or during the cooler months, at room temperature, so it's definitely worth stocking up if you find a good deal on an apple that you enjoy. As a general rule, late-season (harvested in October or November), thick-skinned, tart apples store best.

Ask a farmer to recommend a variety or select apples that will stay good all winter. You'll be glad you did when you're still eating tasty apples in January.

Apples for Other Purposes

Seems like there's an individual apple for every purpose! Planning to make apple butter? You'll want different apples for that. Try other recipes such as apple pancakes, donuts, muffins, and crisps.

As the colder days approach, set some time aside to learn how to make applesauce. Not only is it healthy and delicious, it'll keep the comforting smell of cooked apples in your kitchen throughout the winter.

And last, but certainly not least, don't forget to have the kids deliver a couple of apples to their favorite teacher!