Cooking Apple Varieties

Not all apples taste alike, and certain varieties are favored for their flavor after being cooked. Of those apples, some have even been labeled as ideal for certain types of dishes, thanks to their sweetness or tartness, firmness or softness. Pies, tarts, sauces and baked apples all feature subtleties in taste depending on which apples they contain.


University of Minnesota horticulturalists in 1960 created this hybrid, which is a combination of Macoun and Honeygold varieties. The Honeycrisps' skin is a mottled red with a yellow background. They are known for their crispness, which helps them maintain their integrity and sweet-tart taste during cooking. Distribution has been limited because the variety is protected by the U.S. Plant Patent Act, with the University of Minnesota solely distributing licenses to growers, but it has been increasing in recent years as the fruit’s popularity has spread.

Golden Delicious

Golden Delicious apples are prized for their sweet, crisp flavor. Their skin is golden in color and so tender that it doesn’t necessarily require peeling for many recipes. The flesh is white and firm. According to the University of Illinois Extension, it is the preferred all-purpose cooking apple, “since it retains its shape and crisp, mellow flavor when baked or cooked.” It also has a longer shelf life, making it more readily available to consumers who want to make everything from apple sauce to apple butter, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services explains.


Gala is a good baking apple, suitable for prize-winning pie recipes and apple sauce alike. It is heart-shaped and has attractive reddish-orange skin with red stripes. This variety was created in 1934 in New Zealand as a cross between Kidd’s Orange Red Delicious and Golden Delicious.

Granny Smith

The tartness of Granny Smith apples makes them most appealing. Granny Smiths have green skin with a slight blush. They have a crunchy, sturdy white flesh that is more than suitable for fresh eating and for baked goods. Slices can be mixed with sweeter apple varieties to produce a more complex dessert or sauce.


Rome apples produce an excellent flavor when cooked, with their mild flavor bursting forth with richness as they are baked or sautéed. This variety has bright-red skin and flesh that is somewhat juicy.


Fuji apples are best used for baking and to make applesauce, although many enjoy them to eat fresh. Their white flesh is crisp and slightly sweet, and their skin ranges in color from bright red to yellowish-green with some red streaks. This hybrid was developed in Japan from Red Delicious and Ralls Janet varieties.


School snacks and candied for Halloween aren’t the only ways people consume Jonathan apples. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services states these apples, the first red variety of the fall, have firm, sweet flesh that retains flavor and structure when cooked.

Keywords: cooking apples, baking apples, cooking apple types

About this Author

Joy Brown is a newspaper reporter at "The Courier" and in Findlay, Ohio. She has been writing professionally since 1995, primarily in Findlay and previously at the "Galion (Ohio) Inquirer" and "Toledo City Paper." Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and history from Miami University.