Apple crisp is one of those heartwarming, nostalgic desserts nearly everyone loves. But what are the best apples for apple crisp?
Granny Smiths are great, of course, but are they the only ones that work? As it turns out, not at all!
There are plenty of other apple varieties that work well, too.
In this post, I’ve compiled my picks for the ten best apples for apple crisp.
You can pick one or combine two for even more flavor.
Either way, these apples will retain their texture nicely while baking.
You won’t have to worry about mushy apples with them. Oh, and they taste great, too.
1. Granny Smith
I’ve always heard that Granny Smith apples were the only choice for baking.
That’s not necessarily true, but they are an excellent one.
They have this phenomenal tart flavor that pairs well with the sweetness of most baked goods.
They’re also surprisingly firm, meaning they hold up well while baking.
I often use them by themselves. However, they’re also good for pairing with sweeter apples like Honeycrisps.
When it comes to snacking, you cannot beat Fuji apples.
I’m actually embarrassed to admit how long it took me to jump on the Fuji bandwagon. But now that I’m here, I’m here to stay.
Fujis have become my go-to apples for eating by themselves.
But believe it or not, they’re also terrific baking apples.
They have a super crunchy bite, especially if you buy them fresh from an orchard.
And nothing can match their sweet, extremely juicy taste.
Their flavor is so sweet and indulgent when used in an apple crisp. It’ll make you weak in the knees.
I like to pair Fuji apples with Granny Smiths. Together, they’re an unbeatable combo.
Looking for a good, all-around apple that you can use for anything?
It’s hard to beat Honeycrisp apples. Like Fujis, they’re sweet and juicy, and they have a bold apple flavor.
They hold up well in baked goods and pair perfectly with an apple crisp’s sweet topping.
They work well alone, without a tarter apple to help balance their flavor.
4. Golden Delicious
I was hesitant to try Golden Delicious apples in my apple crisps.
Their flavor is so mild and unassuming. I wrongly thought they’d be too mellow to stand out.
Fortunately, I was wrong. The apples are so sweet and lend themselves well to apple crisps.
And like all apples on this list, they hold their texture nicely.
There’s nothing quite like a Golden Delicious apple crisp with vanilla ice cream on top.
Want that delightful balance between sweet and tart but don’t want to mix and match your apples? Try Jonagolds.
They’re simultaneously perfectly sweet and perfectly tart.
Like one of their parents, Golden Delicious, they’re pretty mellow.
However, that doesn’t stop them from shining in any apple crisp recipe you make.
Jonagolds will ensure your apple crisp is rich enough that one piece will suit you.
They also remain firm and won’t get too mushy.
Just be sure you buy them close to when you want to use them.
Unfortunately, they don’t keep as well as other apples on the list. They’re definitely a “use ‘em or lose ‘em” apple.
Crispin apples are another good choice for apple crisps.
They aren’t as juicy as others, but their taste and texture are incredible.
They look similar to Granny Smith apples. Their taste, though, is closer to that of a Golden Delicious.
They’re mostly sweet with just a hint of tartness underneath.
They hold their shape well and don’t have to be paired with other apples in baked goods.
Braeburn apples are as ideal for apple crisps as Granny Smiths. So why aren’t more people talking about them?
Because they’re somewhat hard to find.
Depending on where you live, you could go all year without seeing a Braeburn apple.
If you can find them, though, they’re terrific baking apples.
They’re ridiculously juicy but hold up under heat. They also have that perfect balance of sweetness and tartness.
As other chefs have remarked, their flavor complements cinnamon and nutmeg very well.
That makes them the best choice for fall-flavored apple crisps.
Need another option for fall-flavored apple crisps? Try Winesap apples.
They, too, feature a wonderful combination of sweet and tart flavors.
However, they also have a hint of spiciness.
Most people say their flavor reminds them of apple cider or mulled wine, hence the name.
As you might imagine, most people use these apples in cider. (Big surprise, I know.)
But try one the next time you’re whipping up a heavily spiced apple crisp. You won’t be disappointed.
Gravensteins are another hard apple to find.
But they work wonderfully in apple crisps and other baked goods if you can locate them.
They’re firm, juicy, and sweetly tart. You can use them in apple crisps without mixing them with something else.
They’re well-balanced all by themselves.
10. Pink Lady
Are you making your apple crisp late in the year? Try Pink Lady apples, which traditionally come out in the fall.
They’re delightfully sweet and insanely crisp. I love the crunch when biting into one.
Their texture holds up incredibly well during the baking process. There’s nothing mushy about these apples.
Plus, their bright, sweet taste is perfect for extra-sweet baked goods.
You may want to pair these with Granny Smith apples for a more balanced dessert.
Tips for the Best Apple Crisp
Before you go, let me share a few of my favorite tips and tricks for making apple crisps.
- Don’t be afraid to mix and match. I touched on this above, but let me repeat it. Mixing apple varieties is perfectly acceptable in apple crisps and other baked goods! Especially keep this in mind if you’re working with super sweet apples. You may need a tarter option to help balance out the flavor.
- Any apple will do in a pinch. If you have the time, plan ahead. Pick out the perfect apples to suit your tastes. However, if you wake up craving apple crisp one morning and only have a bag of Gala apples on hand, that’s okay! Use what you have. It’ll be pretty tasty even without an apple from this list.
- Cut the apples evenly. The crisp will bake more evenly if all of your apple pieces are the same size.
- Don’t be afraid to dive into your spice rack. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and apple pie spice taste great in apple crisps. But don’t stop there. If you love ginger, allspice, cardamom, etc., try those spices, too! It’s your dessert, after all!
- Use foil if necessary. Sometimes, your crust will cook more quickly than your apples. If this happens, cover the apple crisp in tin foil and let it bake until the apples are tender.
Good luck, and happy baking!
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