Did you know that there are thousands of different types of apples growing today? While there are countless varieties, a few cultivars stand out and are widely grown in orchards and backyards alike.
Apple varieties can be sorted into types by age, geographical origin, sweetness, peel color, availability, and/or how best to use them. There are red apples and green apples, sweet apples and tart apples, dry apples and juicy apples, apples best eaten fresh off the tree, and types of apples that are best baked into a yummy dessert.
Here are 65 of the most popular and best-loved apple varieties. Read on to learn which types of apples are most common at supermarkets, which types are brand-name “club” apples, and a host of other specialty and heirloom apple types to try.
1. Classic Supermarket Types Of Apples
Here are 10 common types of apples often sold at supermarkets and grocery stores. These are varieties are grown and enjoyed all around the world!
Gala apples are one of the most popular all-round apples in the world! These pretty apples discovered in New Zealand have a red and yellow peel with a sweet flavor and a nice crispy texture. More galas are grown in the USA than any other type of apple! Gala apples are very versatile, and can be eaten fresh, used to make fresh applesauce, or baked into apple pie.
Red Delicious Apples
Red Delicious apples are the classic deep red American apple. They have a very mild flavor that’s a little bit sweet. Some grocery store Red Delicious apples can be a bit dry, but they’re better when tree-ripened. They’re not the most tasty apple, but they sure are gorgeous in a fruit bowl or on a festive wreath.
Honeycrisp apples are outstanding large green-yellow apples with bright yellow stripes. They’re known for their incredibly tasty sweet-tart flavor and uniquely-crisp, yet juicy texture. Bred by the University of Minnesota, Honeycrisp apples are one of the best-tasting apple varieties. They’re most often eaten fresh or saved for your favorite holiday apple treats.
Fuji apples are incredibly sweet pink apples with delicate yellow stripes down the peel. Developed in Japan, this type of apple has a complex sweet flavor and juicy, crisp flesh. Fuji are great apples for eating fresh year-round, as they’re widely grown in apple-growing regions around the world.
Granny Smith Apples
Granny Smith apples are big, shiny green apples with a sour, acidic taste. While some fruits can develop some sweetness if left on the tree well into autumn (especially in their native Australia), most are picked while still bright green and wonderfully tart. Granny Smith apples are perfect for dipping in sweet caramel sauce or as one of the best apples for apple pie.
“The 2020 top five produced apple varieties are: 1) Gala 2) Red Delicious 3) Honeycrisp 4) Granny Smith and 5) Fuji. The top 3 varieties (Gala, Red Delicious and Honeycrisp) comprise 48 percent of all production. The top five varieties (adding Granny Smith and Fuji) comprise 67 percent.”Apple Production, Exports Up for 2019 Crop, USApple Association Press Release
Golden Delicious Apples
Golden Delicious apples are a supermarket-standard American apple with a lovely sweet taste and a crisp texture. A properly-ripe Golden Delicious is a golden-yellow color (not an unripe green). They do store well, and are available year-round from orchards worldwide. Like the Gala apple descended from it, the Golden Delicious apple is a perfect multi-purpose apple for eating fresh, in cooked recipes, and in baked apple desserts.
Jonagold apples are big red apples with cheery golden freckles down the peel. Developed at Cornell University, Jonagold apples have a solid well-balanced sweet-tart flavor and a nice crispy crunch when they’re freshly picked. While these apples are wonderful to eat right off the tree, they’re one of the best for using in baked apple dishes like pie or cobbler. You can also dry them into apple chips or make yummy apple butter.
Braeburn apples are flavorful sweet-tart apples with a hint of spice and crisp texture. Discovered in New Zealand, they have yellow-red striped peel that’s very pretty. The Braeburn is an excellent apple to eat fresh for those who like a more flavorful apple. They’re also wonderful in pies and cooked recipes, as they tend to hold their texture without becoming dry.
McIntosh apples are tart, soft apples with a bright green and red peel and bright white flesh. These Canadian heritage apples are great to eat fresh soon after picking, but they can become quite soft in storage. McIntosh apples are known as one of the best apples for applesauce, and are sometimes used in a mix of different types of apples for a well-rounded apple pie filling.
Crispin apples (Mutsu variety) are large green apples with a delicious sweet flavor. Bred in Japan, they have a bit of appley tartness, but are otherwise quite sweet and almost honey-like. These apples have a very crisp texture and a wonderful juicy bite. Crispin/Mutsu apples are versatile, and are excellent to eat fresh or use in cooked recipes or baking.
2. Brand-Name “Club” Apple Varieties
Here are 15 popular brand-name apples, which are also referred to as “club” variety apples. Fruit growers have to be licensed by the brand to grow these patented/trademarked types of apples.
Pink Lady Apples (Cripps Pink Variety)
Pink Lady apples are the pick of the crop of the Cripps Pink variety of apple. These apples have a red-pink peel with golden streaks that reveal their Golden Delicious parentage. Pink Lady apples were developed in Australia, but are now grown worldwide (and available year-round). They’re great for eating fresh, for serving sliced (they are slow to brown), and for baking (they keep their texture).
SweeTango apples are a bit like a brand-name Honeycrisp apple. This variety was developed by the University of Minnesota as an improved version of the Honeycrisp. SweeTango apples are very sweet with a hint of tang, but their most memorable quality is their incredibly crisp and juicy texture. SweeTango apples are most commonly eaten fresh, when their texture can be fully appreciated!
Cosmic Crisp Apples
Cosmic Crisp apples were bred to have the juicy, crisp texture of Honeycrisp apples, but with the long storage life of Enterprise apples. Developed at Washington State University, they have a richly-colored red peel and that classic Honeycrisp fresh-eating crunch. Like SweeTango, the Cosmic Crisp apple is best enjoyed fresh, where its pretty peel and wonderful texture can be fully appreciated.
Evercrisp apples were developed in Ohio as a cross between the Honeycrisp and Fuji apple varieties. With such famous parents, this type of apple is hard to overlook! It has a crisp and juicy texture, as well as a sweet and rich taste. Save these apples to eat fresh!
Rave apples are an offspring of Honeycrisp developed at the University of Minnesota. They tend to ripen a bit earlier than Honeycrisp, and may be preferred by kids as they tend to be a bit smaller. Rave apples are wonderful to eat fresh, but can also be cooked into apple butter and other recipes.
Envy apples are the brand-name version of New Zealand’s Scilate apple. Envy apples are a cross of NZ classics Royal Gala and Braeburn, and they have the pretty red peel and sweet-tart flavor to prove it! Envy apples are great all-round apples, and can be enjoyed fresh (whole, sliced, or grated in salad), in baked recipes, or cooked.
Jazz apples are the brand-name version of New Zealand’s Scifresh apple. Like the newer Envy apples, Jazz apples are also a cross between Royal Gala and Braeburn. Think of the Jazz apple as the older sibling of the Envy apple. Jazz apples are a pretty yellow & red color, with a decidedly crisp texture. They’re very versatile, and can be enjoyed fresh or cooked.
Sweetie apples are another cross between New Zealand’s Royal Gala and Braeburn. As the name suggests, Sweetie apples are a little bit sweeter than Jazz, and perhaps a bit crisper. They’re also quite versatile and can be used in all sorts of fresh or baked recipes.
Kanzi apples are the brand-name offering of Nicoter variety apples, bred in Belgium. The Kanzi apple is a cross between Gala and Braeburn, and thus is similar to Jazz, Envy, and Sweetie in many respects. Kanzi apples tend to be a bit more firm and tart (particularly when compared to Envy and Sweetie). Kanzi apples are great all-round apples and can be used fresh or cooked.
Smitten apples are a new type of apple from the New Zealand developers of Jazz and Envy club apples. These apples are crisp, crunch, sweet, a little tart, and have a pretty yellow-red striped peel. While its not a direct cross of Gala and Braeburn (like its predecessors), it does have them both as grandparents! Smitten apples are great all-round apples but are generally eaten fresh.
Piñata apples are the US brand-name version of German-bred Pinova apples (also called Sonata). Piñata apples combine the sweetness of their parent apple Golden Delicious with the noteworthy flavor of British favorite Cox’s Orange Pippin. They have a cheery orange-red striped peel and a fruity, tropical, well-balanced flavor. Piñata apples are fantastic all-round apples that are delicious as-is, but can also be used in salads, cooking, and baking.
Ambrosia apples are one of the few club apples that were discovered by chance rather than developed as part of a breeding program. These apples from Canada have gorgeous, pink peels and sweet, juicy flesh. Ambrosia apples are most delicious when fresh, and have the added benefit of being slow-to-brown, making them perfect for charcuterie boards and fresh salads.
Lady Alice Apples
Lady Alice apples were discovered growing by chance in Washington State. These apples are pretty in pink, and have a complex, well-balanced flavor. They’re great fresh (and slow to brown), but also hold up well when cooked.
Autumn Glory Apples
Autumn Glory apples are the US brand-name version of Huaguan variety apples. Originally bred in China, the Autumn Glory was selected in Washington state and is now known for its beautiful Fuji-like peel and complex dessert taste. Autumn Glory apples are generally eaten fresh, but can also be used in baking or cooked recipes.
Opal apples are a type of bright-yellow apple bred in the Czech Republic. These cheery fruits are sweet and juicy, just like their Golden Delicious parent. They’re also slow to brown and are a nice addition to appetizer trays and fresh salads.
3. American Heirloom Types of Apple (Heritage Varieties)
Here are 16 classic American heirloom types of apple.
Jonathan apples are a classic sweet-tart American heirloom type apple discovered in New York state. The peel is red with yellow patches and the flesh is crisp and tart with a complex flavor. Jonathan apples are great fresh but are also known as wonderful pie apples.
Rhode Island Greening Apples
Rhode Island Greening apples are big, green, tart American heirloom apples. Think of them as the American version of the Granny Smith. Rhode Island Greening apples are one of the best-tasting classic green apple varieties, and are widely known as excellent pie apples.
Esopus Spitzenberg Apples
Esopus Spitzenberg apples are flavorful red heirloom apples with freckles from New York State. This is a foodie’s favorite apple, with a complexity of taste and perfectly crisp texture. Esopus Spitzenberg apples wouldn’t be out of place on a rustic charcuterie board at a trendy restaurant. While they’re wonderful fresh, they can also be cooked and baked.
Newtown Pippin Apples
Newtown Pippin apples are tart, citrusy heirloom green apples from New York City. These old favorites are firm and acidic, and their flavor can actually improve with a month or two of storage. Newtown Pippin apples are enjoyed fresh by sour apple enthusiasts, but they make truly wonderful baked apples in a classic American apple pie. Newtown Pippin apples can be grown in backyards and small orchards.
Northern Spy Apples
Northern Spy apples are sweet-tart, flavorful American heirloom apples from New York State. This old type of apple is a wonderful all-round fruit, with pretty red-pink skin and a fantastic, balanced flavor. They are wonderful fresh or juiced, but are particularly known as one of the best apples for making apple pie filing.
Rome apples are richly-colored red heirloom cooking apples from Ohio. They’re among the sweeter cooking apples, with a subtle flavor that increases in complexity as its heated. The dry, firm flesh makes them not the best apple to enjoy fresh, but they are wonderfully sweet and rich in a baked or cooked recipe.
Black Oxford Apples
Black Oxford apples are deeply-coloured heirlooms with a distinctive purple-black peel. Discovered in Maine, the flesh is very hard but the flavor is wonderfully complex (and deepens in storage). Black Oxford apples can be eaten fresh throughout the winter or used to make gourmet tarts and applesauce.
Westfield Seek-No-Further Apples
Westfield Seek-No-Further apples are handsome red apples with fine yellow freckles. These beauties were discovered in Massachusetts several hundred years ago and remain a culinary treat due to their complex yet balanced flavor and crisp, snappy texture. Enjoy them fresh if you can find them!
Hudson’s Golden Gem Apples
Hudson’s Golden Gem is a tall, yellow-gold heirloom apple with russetted skin and a sweet, nutty flavor. Discovered in Oregon, it is larger than most other russet-type apples, and has an almost pear-like taste. Hudson’s Golden Gem apples are both eaten fresh and pressed into apple cider.
Blue Pearmain Apples
Blue Pearmain apples are beautiful purple-red American heirloom apples from New England. These unique fruits are known for their complex fresh flavor and uncommon deep peel color. They’re perfect to eat fresh (where their pretty peel can be appreciated).
Grimes Golden Apples
Grimes Golden apples are golden-yellow, sweet-tart American heirloom apples from West Virginia. The texture is crisp and the flavor is slightly tropical. Grimes Golden apples are great fresh, but they really shine in apple cider or applesauce.
Winesap apples are small red heirloom apples from New Jersey. These little beauties are very firm and have a complex sweet-tart flavor. Winesap apples are rarely eaten fresh, and instead dare stored for a few months and then used to make wonderful baked goods and apple cider.
Roxbury Russet Apples
Roxbury Russet apples are golden, russet-type heritage apples from Massachusetts. They have a unique, spicy acidic flavor and dense, hard flesh with thick skin. Roxbury Russet apples can store for many months and are a wonderful heirloom apple to use in baking over the winter months. Roxbury Russet apple trees are a great type of heirloom apple to grow at home!
Baldwin apples are pretty red American heirloom apples from Massachusetts. They’re known for their complex fresh flavor that becomes sweeter when allowed to ripen properly on the tree. Baldwin apples can be eaten fresh, in pies, or made into cider or applesauce.
Nodhead apples are deep red American heirloom apples from New Hampshire. They are sweet, tart, rich, and buttery. They are crunchy but still juicy. Nodhead apples are wonderful fresh or baked.
Hubbardston Nonesuch Apple
Hubbardston Nonesuch apples are large red apples from Massachusetts with pretty little freckles on their peel. These apples are crunchy and sweet – a wonderful combination. They’re generally eaten fresh (they’re gorgeous!) but can also be used for applesauce and apple juice.
4. Modern Specialty-Type Apple Varieties From U.S.A.
Here are 10 modern American varieties of apple that are not quite as common as the types widely sold at supermarkets worldwide.
Empire apples are a cross of McIntosh and Red Delicious apples developed at Cornell University in New York State. They have both a handsome red peel and a subtley-sweet lovely flavor. Like the McIntosh, Empire apples are best eaten when fresh, but also make excellent applesauce.
Macoun apples are a cross between McIntosh and Jersey Black apples bred by Cornell University in New York State. They have a rich dark red peel and crisp white flesh. The flavor of Macoun apples is both sweet and tart, while the texture is delicate and fine. These apples are best enjoyed fresh so their texture can be experienced!
Cortland apples are a cross between McIntosh and Ben Davis apples bred at Cornell University in New York State. They look like big McIntosh apples and have a wonderfully complex flavor. They’re wonderful to eat fresh but also make truly delicious applesauce (and are great in a mix of different types of apples in a gourmet apple pie filling).
Keepsake apples are a Northern Spy offspring variety bred at the University of Minnesota. As the name suggests, they store well. They are sweet, aromatic, and nutty with a crunchy, snappy texture. The famous Honeycrisp apple (also developed at the University of Minnesota) is an offspring of the Keepsake apple. Like its famous child, Keepsake is best for eating fresh, but can also be cooked or baked.
Sweet Sixteen Apples
Sweet Sixteen apples are a cross of Northern Spy and Malinda bred at the University of Minnesota. These are large apples with a red and green peel. The flavor is very sweet – almost like candy. Sweet Sixteen apples are generally enjoyed fresh or used to make naturally-sweet applesauce.
GoldRush apples are Golden Delicious offspring apples bred in Indiana by PRI (Purdue University, Rutgers University, University of Illinois). They have a hard texture and a sour taste, but still are very juicy. They’re fun to eat fresh (and slow to brown when sliced), but can also be used in baked or cooked recipes.
Enterprise apples were bred by PRI (Purdue University, Rutgers University, University of Illinois) in a complex breeding program that included McIntosh, Golden Delicious, Starking Delicious, and Rome Beauty heritage. Enterprise apples are large, red, tart, and store well for many months. Enterprise apples are most often used as cooking and baking apples in winter and spring dishes.
Idared apples are a cross between the American apple varieties Jonathan and Wagener bred at the University of Idaho. Idared apples typically have a green and red peel and a firm texture. They are nicely tart and are often used to make applesauce or in pies and other baked goods.
Melrose apples are a cross between Jonathan and Red Delicious bred at the University of Ohio. They have firm coarse flesh and a red peel with patches of green. They have a subtle Jonathan-like taste. Melrose apples make excellent cooking and baking apples for winter dishes.
Cameo is a type of apple that was discovered in Washington as a chance seedling rather than developed in a fruit breeding program. Cameo apples are red with orange stripes down the peels. They have a soft texture and a very mild taste. They’re slow to brown and are sometimes served sliced, but can also be used in cooked dishes.
5. British Heirloom Types Of Apple
Here are 7 old heirloom types of apples from Britain.
Cox’s Orange Pippin Apple
Cox’s Orange Pippin is a very popular British heirloom apple with a delicious fresh sweet taste. This is an apple that just looks old-fashioned, with an almost-antique peel. But its texture is unexpectedly juicy and the taste is fantastic. Cox’s Orange Pippin is one of the most sought-after fresh-eating apples out there!
Bramley’s Seedling Apples
Bramley’s Seedling apples are incredibly tart and crisp baking heirloom apples from England. These big green apples with a bit of red striping are Britain’s favorite apple variety for apple pies. These acidic apples create a tart, thick pulp that’s perfect for baked goods.
Blenheim Orange Apples
Blenheim Orange apples are classic multi-purpose British heirloom apples. They have a coarse texture and nutty taste, but are also sweet and perfectly tart. Eat them fresh, use them in pies, or press them into apple juice or cider.
Ashmead’s Kernel Apples
Ashmead’s Kernel apples are sweet-tart heritage apples from England. They have a bicolor yellow-orange peel and hard, dry (somewhat acidic) flesh. Ashmead’s Kernel apples are best known for their long storage shelf life, but are excellent all-round apples for eating fresh or using in baking.
St. Edmund’s Russet-Type Apple
St. Edmund’s Russet apples are large, golden-yellow russet English heirloom apples. They have an almost antique-looking peel and a rich, complex taste. They’re generally enjoyed (and best appreciated) fresh.
King Of The Pippins Apple
King Of The Pippins apples are small yellow-orange English heritage apples. They have a complex flavor with more sweetness than some other British heirloom types of apple. They’re wonderful to enjoy fresh as a sweet autumn treat!
James Grieve Apples
James Grieve apples are tart, soft, creamy heirloom apples from Scotland. They have a bi-color red and yellow peel. They’re perfect for a delicious applesauce, but are also wonderful to eat fresh.
6. European Heirloom Types Of Apples
Here are 7 old-fashioned apples from continental Europe.
Gravenstein apples are early ripening, attractive heirloom apples from Denmark. While many summer apples tend to be quite tart, the Grav has a nicely balanced sweet-tart flavor. The Gravenstein apple harvest signals the start of apple harvest season in many parts of the world. These apples are great fresh, but also make wonderful applesauce and cider.
Calville Blanc Apples
Calville Blanc apples are tart, citrusy French heirloom apples with a distinctly ribbed shape. They have a green skin with pretty yellow and red patches as they ripen on the tree. Calville Blanc apples are eaten fresh by those who truly love a good sour apple, but they really shine best in baked goods like tarts and those famous French apple galettes.
Glockenapfel apples are tall and skinny bi-colored heirloom apples from Switzerland. This type of apple is hundreds of years old, and has survived and thrived due to a complex spicy taste and almost berry-like sweetness. The flesh is very hard, but they are juicier than some other heirloom apples. Glockenapfels are most commonly used in baking, including European tarts and classic apple strudel pastries.
Belle de Boskoop Apples
Belle de Boskoop apples are tart, citrusy dry heirloom apples from the Netherlands. While tart apple lovers enjoy them fresh, they really shine in baked goods. They’re particularly well-known for their use in European strudels and other fruity pastries.
Orleans Reinette Apples
Orleans Reinette apples are crunchy, flavorful yellow-red heirloom apples from France. They have a lovely tart acidity and a complex spicy taste. The flesh is firm but not overly juicy. Orleans Reinette are wonderful all-round apples, and can be enjoyed fresh, cooked, dried, or baked.
Yellow Transparent Apples
Yellow Transparent apples are an early-ripening heirloom apple from Russia. They have a light golden (and yes, nearly transparent) peel. The flesh is soft and tender and the flavor is a little tart, but quite refreshing. Yellow Transparent apples are wonderful to eat fresh or to make into applesauce.
Zabergau Reinette Apples
Zabergau Reinette apples are golden-yellow russetted heirloom apples from Germany. They have that antique patina to their peel and a crunchy, nutty russet flavor. They are generally stored for a few months after harvest, and can then be eaten fresh or used in baked or cooked recipes.
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