The best apple pies are usually made with a mixture of apples, because each type adds different textures and flavors.

November 15, 2014

The best apple pies are usually made with a mixture of apples, because each type adds different textures and flavors. The choices, however, ultimately come down to personal preference. The only apple not to use is Red Delicious, which will yield a mushy, flavorless pie. Here are seven apple varieties to try.

1. Braeburn
A sweeter, softer apple, compared with the popular Granny Smith, but it still holds its shape nicely when cooked.

2. Golden Delicious
This sweet supermarket apple becomes even more flavorful when baked, and softens nicely without becoming mushy. For some, this is the ideal pie apple, but it’s also delicious mixed with tarter apples, like Winesap.

3. Granny Smith
These widely available tart apples hold their shape and give the filling a lovely tang. Since they’re so firm, blend them with other apples.

4. Gravenstein
This is a great sweet-tart pie apple beloved on the West Coast.

5. Pink Lady
These fruity-tart apples add complexity to pies.

6. Jonagold
With a nice sweet-tart balance of flavors, these apples are great in the mix for pie.

7. Winesap
This heirloom variety of apple is tart, but softer than a Granny Smith. It’s a great addition if you prefer a less-sweet filling.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

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