SweeTango apple

SweeTango apples are modern specialty club apples developed to deliver on flavor and texture. These gorgeous red apples are known best for their crisp, sweet flavor full of spices and satisfying texture. The SweeTango apple was developed at the University of Minnesota and introduced in 2009.

SweeTango apple basics

The SweeTango apple is a modern apple variety from Minnesota. This specialty cultivar is known for its balanced and juicy flavor combined with a satisfying crispy crunch. The blush-red peel is generally dotted with small yellow freckles and stripes. This is one apple variety that’s as delicious as it is attractive. And it also stores well!

SweeTango apples look very similar to one of their parent apples, the Honeycrisp apples. They have the same bright red appearance with a shiny gloss when held in the light. Similar to Honeycrisps, under the bright red coloring, there is a happy yellow undertone.

When SweeTango apples are grown on young apple trees, they will be large in size, but there will be fewer of them. As the tree matures and begins to produce more apples, the fruit may begin to decrease in size unless thinned quite heavily when the fruits first form. Fruits ripen in early September, a week or two before ‘Honeycrisp’.

“The flavor is too saccharine, too eager to please (I actually prefer Honeycrisp’s vapidness), but the boom-crash of it is like listening to Wagner. This is a whole new organoleptic experience, and a consuming one. Perhaps you meant to take only one bite, a sample, but before you know it you’ve taken another, all those syrupy cells detonating in your cheeks, and then another, juice dribbling down your chin, you just can’t stop crunching, and suddenly you are standing there with a skinny core in your hand, looking for a wet wipe.”

Apples of Uncommon Character: Heirlooms, Modern Classics, and Little-Known Wonders, by Rowan Jacobsen

Origins of the SweeTango apple

SweeTango apples are modern apples produced by the University of Minnesota. Here, some of the leading apple breeders worked together to create what we now know as SweeTango. This variety was created by breeding Honeycrisp apples with Zestar apples (another Minnesota cultivar). This was done in an attempt to create an apple with a bold taste and perfect texture.

SweeTango apple trees were first grown in Minneiska, Minnesota. It was discovered in 1999 from a cross between the ‘Honeycrisp’ and ‘Minnewashta’ cultivars. It stands out from its parents by ripening earlier than ‘Honeycrisp’ and showing more vigor and resistance to apple scab compared to ‘Minnewashta’. Its remarkable storage life, despite being an early ripener, distinguishes SweeTango from other early-ripening apple varieties, offering an advantage in terms of maintaining texture and flavor over time.

SweeTango trees are now grown on many different farms in and out of the United States. The fruit was released commercially to the public in 2009. Although this apple has only been around for a relatively short time, the texture and bold taste of the apple make it a very popular and household favorite fruit.

Sweetango apple

Flavor profile

SweeTango apples have a bold fruity, zesty taste. These apples are so crisp when you bite into the bright red apple there will likely be an audible crunch sound. As the fruit is bitten into, the apple’s flavor will suddenly be released. The taste is sweet, like its name, but also with a touch of acidic tang.

SweeTango apples continue to release more flavor as they are eaten. These apples are the perfect mix of sweet and sour, all wrapped in a crisp texture. Even their name is a mix of the words “sweet” and “tangy”!

Sweetango apples growing on a tree

Growing regions

SweeTango Apples are grown on multiple different farms in the United States as well as in Canada. SweeTango Apple trees can only be grown by commercial growers licensed by SweeTango Apples to do so. Home gardeners cannot currently purchase SweeTango trees for backyard orchards, as this is a “club” type of apple.

Farmers who grow SweeTango apples are licensed and approved by Next Big Thing, which is a Grower’s Cooperation to protect the fruit that is being produced. To read stories from farmers who have chosen to pair with SweeTango Apples and grow this delicious fruit, click on the links below. Each of these farmers has its own unique story and plenty of experience in apple growing.

Harvest season

SweeTango apples are fully ripe and ready to be harvested around early fall, specifically late August or early September. This makes SweeTango Apples one of the first of the larger red apple varieties to be ready during the autumn season. This is also a huge selling point for SweeTango apples, as they are some of the first apples ripe and ready as the summer ends.

How to grow SweeTango apples

While customers can purchase and enjoy ripe SweeTango apples, customers are not yet able to purchase SweeTango apple trees. This is done to protect the rights of the breeders and to ensure the quality production of the apples.

Home gardeners who love the taste of SweeTango might consider growing a Honeycrisp tree instead. SweeTango was bred from Honeycrisp, and the two apples are quite similar. Honeycrisp trees are readily available in most nurseries and garden centers.


While these apples are delicious and likely to be eaten well before this expiration date arises, it is important to know that SweeTango apples can be safely stored in a refrigerator for four to six weeks. This gives plenty of time for them to be enjoyed either on their own or in a delicious recipe. For recipe ideas, refer to the section below.

Sweetango apple pie

Using SweeTango apples in recipes

Due to their incredible flavor and crisp, strong texture, SweeTango apples are perfect for all of your favorite apple recipes. If you’re looking for a way to spice up the apple pie this Thanksgiving, choose SweeTango apples rather than your normal apple variety. Make sure to add some brown sugar and cinnamon to bring out the SweeTango pie flavor!

Are you into canning and making your homemade apple sauce? The bold flavor of SweeTango apples makes them a great choice for applesauce and apple juice, and they need little to no other spices to produce a great flavor.

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a quintessential Canadian gardener. An engineer by trade, she tends to an ever-expanding collection of plants. In her world, laughter blooms as freely as her flowers, and every plant is raised with a dash of Canadian grit.

Mary Jane is a certified Master Gardener and also holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. She's also a proud mom of three, teaching her little sprouts the crucial difference between a garden friend and foe.

When she's not playing in the dirt, Mary Jane revels in her love for Taylor Swift, Gilmore Girls, ice hockey, and the surprisingly soothing sounds of bluegrass covers of classic hip-hop songs. She invites you to join her garden party, a place where you can share in the joy of growing and where every day is a new opportunity to find the perfect spot for yet another plant.

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