11 Best Apples for Applesauce, Plus Varieties to Avoid

Have a few extra pounds of apples from overenthusiastic little helpers on your last trip to the orchard? There’s no easier way to make something delicious and wholesome out of your bounty than a batch or two of your favorite applesauce recipe. If you don’t have excess apples around, but are craving some kid-friendly comfort food anyway — or want to sub in your own homemade applesauce as a secret ingredient in cakes, cookies, or soup — it’s a good idea to know what the best apples for applesauce are before hitting the market. While they may not all be the best apples for baking if they don’t hold their shape, chances are good that those apples are still worth considering for other sweet and savory fall dishes, too. Follow our tips below to make the best applesauce for all your snacking and cooking needs this fall.

Which apples should you use for your applesauce?

This simple childhood fave is pretty forgiving, but if you want a worthy companion to your grandma’s addictive crispy potato pancakes or a satisfying midnight snack, choose apples that have some flavor going for them. Some apples are sweet while others skew tart. To make the best applesauce recipe even better, a good rule of thumb is to choose a mix of two or three varieties. The apples below range from the supersweet Fuji to the tart and crunchy Granny Smith.

Very Sweet to Mildly Sweet

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

    Sweet and Tangy

    • McIntosh (cooks down very easily so will be slightly more watery)
    • Braeburn
    • Rome
    • Cripps Pink (aka Pink Lady)

      Tart and Tangy

        Cooking Tips:

        • One no-no for sauce-making (according to the Washington Apple Commission): Save those Red Delicious for packing in your kids’ lunchboxes as a snack, not for cooking.
        • Make sure you have a nice sharp peeler — dull tools make your work that much harder.
        • If you’d like your applesauce to have a pretty pink color, pick a red variety as one of your choices, and don’t peel ahead of time — strain out the peels once cooked.
        • If you like a smooth sauce, you can also puree it with an immersion blender.

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