A Dozen Apple Varieties To Try This Fall

As the evenings wind down earlier with the falling sun and the nights become cooler, autumn is upon us. And with fall comes the wonderful flavors of the season…generally revolving around pumpkin spice or the bite of a fresh, crisp apple.

Not only are apples a delightful seasonal treat, but they are also full of fabulous vitamins and minerals. Apples are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamin C, and polyphenols, which function like antioxidants. The type of fiber in apples is insoluble fiber (which means that it does not absorb water), helping to push along food in the digestive tract and making it a healthy “bowel cleanser.”

Though most apples are just right for fresh, raw eating (off the branch, if you can!), some apple varieties lend themselves better to cookingbaking, juicing, or storing. Of course, it is possible to do any of these things with any apple you may have, but if you’re looking to get a little more specific in your apple picking, processing, and storing, this list should help.

In a snapshot, here are the “bests” for each sort of use, followed by more details about just 12 of the varieties listed below. Availability of these 12 varieties will vary depending on the region in which you are located, but a handful of them can also be found year-round at the grocery store.


Best Apples For Baking

Choose hard, dry apples:

  • Jonathan
  • Granny Smith
  • Indared, Rome
  • Empire
  • Pink Lady (Cripp’s Pink)
  • Braeburn
  • Fuji
  • Honeycrisp
  • Golden Delicious


Best For Snacking

Choose tart, crisp, and juicy apples:

  • Red Delicious
  • Gala
  • McIntosh
  • Honeycrisp
  • Golden Delicious


Best For Salads

Choose sweet, tender apples:

  • Empire
  • Fuji
  • Gala
  • Ginger Gold
  • Golden Delicious
  • Braeburn
  • Pink Lady


Best For [Apple]Sauces

Choose soft apples:

  • Fuji
  • Gala
  • Honeycrisp
  • Golden Delicious
  • Granny Smith
  • Indared
  • McIntosh
  • Rome


Best For Storing

Choose hard, thick-skinned apples:

  • Rome
  • Arkansas Black
  • Northern Spy
  • Fuji
  • Yates
  • Jersey Mac


McIntosh Apples

  • Flavor profile: tangy, tart, and juicy with a red skin and white flesh
  • Available: September through May
  • Best uses: snacking, applesauce, pies (for tartness)
  • Avoid: baking, as it does not hold shape well
  • Stores well


Gala Apples

  • Flavor profile: very sweet, crisp and juicy with a yellow and reddish striped skin and creamy-colored flesh
  • Available: Beginning mid-July as the freshest, usually available year round
  • Best uses: Applesauce, snacking, to accompany a cheese board
  • Keeps well for up to three weeks in the fridge


Honeycrisp Apples

  • Flavor profile: mild honey flavor, sweet, and very crisp
  • Available: September through May
  • Best uses: snacking, sauces, in salads, and especially for storage
  • Avoid: waiting to buy these apples when they are available in store; they go fast!
  • Stores well


Empire Apples

  • Cross between the Red Delicious and McIntosh varieties
  • Flavor profile: sharply sweet and tart, with a red mottled skin and pure white flesh
  • Available: September through July
  • Best uses: Anything and everything! If you like a tart apple, Empire is a go-to!
  • Stores well


Macoun Apples

  • Flavor profile: tart and rich, with a tough dark red skin and a tender flesh
  • Available: September to January
  • Best uses: Apple cider, applesauce
  • Doesn’t store well


Cortland Apples

  • Cross between the McIntosh and Ben Davis varieties
  • Flavor profile: tender and mild, with a yellow and greenish hue to the skin
  • Available: September through early winter
  • Best uses: pies, salads, quick consumption because it browns easily
  • Stores well


Jonagold Apples

  • Cross between the Jonathan and Golden Delicious varieties
  • Flavor profile: honey-tart, with reddish-orange skin and an unctuous yellow flesh
  • Available: October through Thanksgiving
  • Best uses: Applesauce, cooking, pies and crisps


Northern Spy Apples

  • Flavor profile: crisp and sweet with a greenish pink skin and clear white flesh
  • Available: September through early winter
  • Best uses: eating fresh, cooking, juice, or cider
  • Stores very well


Fuji Apples

  • Flavor profile: mildly sweet and tender, with a yellow and reddish skin and creamy flesh
  • Available: October to early winter
  • Best uses: Applesauce, eating fresh, storing in a cool place
  • Avoid: baking, as they are very watery
  • Best stored in a cool garage or basement; no need to refrigerate


Braeburn Apples

  • Flavor profile: Tart and very hard, with a yellowish pink skin and cream-colored flesh
  • Available: September to early winter
  • Best uses: Cooking, pies, applesauce
  • Does not store well, but holds shape in baking


Red Delicious Apples

  • Flavor profile: “just right” sweet and smooth, with a dark red skin and a soft, yellowish flesh
  • Available: Usually available at grocery stores year round
  • Best uses: eating fresh, salads, to accompany a cheese board
  • Avoid: baking, as it does not hold shape well
  • Stores well (which is why it is available year-round!)


Granny Smith Apples

  • Flavor profile: super tart and crunchy with a green skin and crispy flesh
  • Available: Usually available at grocery stores year round
  • Best uses: Baking in pies, etc. and snacking (for those who love a tart apple)
  • Stores well, and holds shape in baking



Looking for some delicious apple recipes, now? Check out this Ayurveda-inspired recipe, or some of these seasonal apple recipes!