When summer comes to an end, and the leaves start to change colors, many people jump right into fall mode. For most people, that means exploring all things pumpkin-flavored. But for others, fall is the season of apples. After all, it is the time when most apples get harvested in the United States.
Apples, apple pie, apple juice, apple cider; you name it, any apple product is crisp, juicy, and delicious.
But which apples are best for what kinds of recipes? Some prefer the sweetest apples on the branch, while others reach for those tart, sour flavors. Our list of 19 apples will start with the sweetest you can find, the Fuji apple, and continue in order from sweetest to tartest.
Why Are Apples Good for You?
We’ve all heard the saying at least a dozen times: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. As cheesy as the saying might sound to you now, there’s a little bit of truth behind it. After all, apples are very good for you!
One of the most significant benefits of eating apples is a plant chemical called flavonoids, which contain a fiber called pectin. You’ll find most of that in the apple’s skin, so be sure to keep that on when you eat one.
This fiber not only helps with conditions like constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux, but it can also make you feel fuller for longer. In that context, apples are a great snack option between meals. The same fiber may even lower cholesterol and slow cancer cell growth due to its antioxidants.
Just one apple is jam-packed with fiber, vitamin C, copper, vitamin K, potassium, vitamin E, and B vitamins. It gives you all that in a convenient package with very few calories.
Apples may not cure all illnesses, but they can provide your body with excellent vitamins and nutrients and make a great alternative to less-healthy snacks.
19 of the Sweetest Apples Ranked
If you prefer your apples on the sweet side, this list of 10 of the sweetest apples ranked will help you out. Whether you’re shopping at the grocery store or your local orchard, you can be on the lookout for your favorites from this list.
Fuji apples are the sweetest apples on our list—and likely the sweetest type of apple you’ll find anywhere. And thankfully, these apples are incredibly common, so much so you’re likely to find them at your local grocery store.
These are medium-sized apples with smooth, waxy skin. They are easily recognized by their red-pink stripy skin, which sits over a layer of yellow-green. The flesh of a Fuji is very dense, juicy, and crisp, giving you that irresistible crunch you want from a sweet apple.
Since this apple is low in acid, it offers a very mild, sweet flavor. Some compare the taste to a combination of citrus and honey, with the honey notes balancing out any tartness the citrus has to offer.
Fuji apples are usually available all year round and offer plenty of vitamin C and antioxidants. They’re perfect for eating raw but are just as ideal for baking and cooking.
Kiku is a relatively new variety of apples in the United States, being first introduced to Americans in 2010. This kind of apple stemmed from a Japanese Fuji tree and developed a natural mutation called a sport. It caused the apples on this branch to have striped, ruby-red skin.
Because the Kiku apple is so rare, it’s called a club apple. That means that its trademark allows it to only be grown by specially chosen growers, which keeps the supply in demand.
Kiku apples, like Fuji, are very sweet and juicy. However, the flavor is a little more intense and full. It’s an excellent choice to simply enjoy as a straightforward snack, but the sweet flavor also makes it a delicious pairing for a cheese platter. Moreover, you can bake with this apple or even candy it.
Gala apples are particularly popular in supermarkets for their constant availability, affordable price, and delicious flavor. The apple’s red striping is remarkably similar to the Fuji, though its skin is finer.
The Gala has its roots in New Zealand, but it has quickly become a favorite around the world, thanks to a crisp texture with plenty of juiciness. The mild flavor is sweet and pleasant—not too overpowering and hardly tart at all.
This variety is an excellent option for on-the-go snacks and fruit platters, as the flesh is slower to brown than other varieties. In addition, Galas make excellent applesauce and apple cider and have plenty of nutritious factors like potassium, calcium, and iron.
If you’re looking for a sweet apple on the larger side, the Ambrosia is a solid choice. It takes on a classic cone shape and can measure up to eight centimeters wide.
Ambrosia apples have a glossy, slightly waxy skin with a smooth outer texture. The flesh differs from that of a Gala or Fuji in that it has a slightly yellow tint to it. In fact, you can spot this variety by its yellow base covered in orange-red shades with faint stripes.
This all-purpose apple is very sweet yet mild with a honey-like flavor. Although it gives a crisp bite, it’s a little softer than others. Its dense flesh is juicy, tasty, and filled with lots of nutrients.
The Juici is another newer variety that started as a cross between Honeycrisp and Braeburn apples. After several years of work, the apple launched into commercial markets in 2017.
Juici apples balance a sweet-tart flavor, boasting more sweet than tart due to their high sugar content. The tanginess makes an appearance, but the apple leaves you with a sweet aftertaste.
They are medium to large with thin, smooth skin in hues of dark red-orange. Its white flesh is dense, crunchy, and juicy—hence the variety’s name.
These apples are known for a long shelf life, and their flavor matches well with salads, cheese boards, and snacks.
6. Golden Delicious
They don’t call these apples delicious for nothing. Golden Delicious apples are classic, known for their standout yellow skin and sweet, juicy flavor.
The thin, crispy skin boasts a color like no other variety: a golden-yellow hue with light dots. Their medium size delivers just the right amount of crispness with a hint of acidity to take the edge off the sweetness.
Golden Delicious apples are good enough to eat fresh from the tree branch, but they’re also a great choice for baked goods and dinner recipes. Try this variety for your next apple pie or some fresh applesauce.
7. Red Delicious
The popular Red Delicious variety is what most people picture when they think of an apple. Its cone shape, medium size, and dark red skin can’t be mistaken for anything else.
Although you can find them in your grocery store year-round, Red Delicious apples hit their peak season during the fall. At that stage, they become their famous dark shade of red when they’re fully ripe, showcasing thick skin and creamy white flesh.
It has a mild, crisp flavor with plenty of crunch and juice. The sweet flavor is often compared to that of a melon. Due to its thick skin, you can count on the red delicious to offer more antioxidants than other apples.
Red Delicious apples are ideal for fresh snacking, as they don’t survive well through the baking process.
If you’re looking for a sweet apple variety, you can’t pass up on one that’s literally named Sweetie. It’s a large variety with semi-smooth, leathery skin. The apple resembles a nectarine or peach due to the red and yellow blush spots all over.
Though these apples have a mild, sweet flavor, it also boasts hints of spiciness. They hold plenty of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
Use Sweetie apples as a crisp, fresh, and healthy snack. They work well in salads and make lovely apple juice, applesauce, and toppings.
The SnapDragon is one of the latest apple varieties, packing plenty of flavor and fiber while boasting zero fat. This variety comes from the Rosaceae family and is a product of Cornell University’s apple breeding program.
A Snapdragon has glossy skin and a bold, red hue with white flesh. You can expect each bite to be crispy, juicy, and flavorful, with hints of melon, vanilla, and spice. It’s a sweet apple accompanied by a slight tart taste.
The best way to enjoy a SnapDragon is fresh and raw. However, it does make delicious jams, sauces, and smoothies and works well in baking recipes like pies, bread, and muffins.
The Honeycrisp is another wildly popular apple choice, especially for those who enjoy naturally sweet flavors.
Honeycrisp apples were created at the University of Minnesota and are a cross between Macoun and Honeygold apples. The variety features an impressively balanced flavor with notes of both sweetness and acidity—something apple lovers enjoy across the board. Its texture is crisp, as its name suggests, and the white flesh is covered in shades of yellow, green, red, and orange.
This apple’s texture makes it perfect for serving fresh, whether in slices or salsas, but it also works well in baked goods, soups, and sauces.
The Smitten is a variety of sweet, medium-to-large apples with very dense, firm flesh. If you prefer a softer, juicier bite, the Smitten may be one you pass over.
But those who love a solid crunch on every bite will delight in this moderately-juicy fruit. The orange-red skin has fall-favorite coloring, and each bite possesses a bright, sweet-tart flavor filled with hints of white wine and floral.
The firm flesh of a Smitten apple makes it ideal for baking and cooking. It goes well with all kinds of meats, from beef to pork to chicken.
If you look too quickly, you might mistake an Opal apple for a Golden Delicious. Although they boast similar golden-yellow skin, Opals are best known for their extra crunchy texture.
This medium-to-large apple is so dense that a large one can weigh almost a pound. Their skin is thicker than most varieties, though it’s just as smooth and glossy. With moderate sugar levels, you can expect a nice sweetness from an Opal with a fair amount of floral notes and mild acidity.
The tangy flavors make an Opal comparable to many tropical fruits.
Opals were designed not to brown quickly, so they go well with any fresh, sliced applications. While not a first choice for baking, their crunchy flesh can add some interesting texture.
13. Autumn Glory
The evocatively-named Autumn Glory apple is a fall favorite for anyone who loves the taste of cinnamon. Although it’s sweet, like many other apples on our list, the cinnamon aftertaste is unique. Some people can even catch subtle notes of caramel.
The large variety is mostly yellow with stripes of red throughout. Its yellow flesh has a firm and crunchy texture full of juice. Due to its distinctive flavor, Autumn Glory is a great choice to pair with savory dishes and fresh herbs.
The Cortland apple, named after the county near where it was developed, is one of the most popular apples in both America and Canada. Its bold, red skin is classic for the fruit and adds interest with patches of yellow-green around the stem.
Cortland apples offer a flawlessly balanced flavor, which is why it appeals to so many. It has a very crisp, white flesh that is slow to brown, making it a pleasing choice for presentations like charcuterie boards and salads.
The historic apple is lovely all-around and beneficial in almost all food-related applications.
Later on this list, you’ll find the Pink Lady apple. That’s a different variety than the simple Lady apple here. It’s a smaller variety with an aromatic flavor wrapped in lime green and bold red skin.
Despite the bright green color, comparable to that of a Granny Smith apple, this fruit is surprisingly sweet with just a hint of tartness.
The flesh lacks the crispness that other apples have. Instead, it features a soft, tender bite perfect for snacking and juicing.
Jazz apples come from New Zealand and offer a refreshing taste in a small package. They’re sweet and crisp with tons of flavor but aren’t available to all growers due to legal reasons. That fact alone makes them a rarity in the world of fruits.
You can count on a Jazz apple to be extra crisp. Some people think they’re too crispy and difficult to bite into. But the pear-like taste is sweet, slightly tart, and tangy. They’re ideal for baking and go nicely on a cheese board with dips.
Another apple displaying bold, red skin like one out of a coloring book, the boldly-named Envy is a medium-sized fruit with tough, thick skin. Its appearance is glossy and appealing, and the inside boasts ivory flesh with a crunchy texture.
Due to its firm skin, most people prefer to slice Envy. The apple has a pleasant aroma, which adds to its sweet, tangy flavor. This variety offers plenty of fiber, among other vitamins and nutrients. And because of its crispness, it’s well-suited for baked goods, toppings, dips, and savory dishes.
Braeburn apples just made it onto our list. Although it is a sweet apple, it’s better known for its zesty flavor and tart notes. It’s a citrusy fruit with recognizable autumn spices, making it a much more complex choice than some of the apples we’ve talked about.
These apples can be reasonably large and have multi-colored skin, often showing large portions of yellow and green along with red and blush stripes. Its skin and flesh are firm and crispy, delivering charming flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and fruitiness.
Use this apple in salads, sandwiches, and platters. Try baking them, as they hold their form nicely, or add them to savory dishes.
19. Pink Lady
Last but not least in this list of the sweetest apples is the Pink Lady. While some might think that this apple gets its name for its color, it actually gets its title from its cultivator, Cripps Pink. However, the skin does boast a reddish-pink blush hue, which works out nicely and gives it a pleasing look.
The Pink Lady apple is a cross between the Lady Williams and Golden Delicious varieties. It has a firm texture that comes with a sweet yet tart flavor best enjoyed in the late fall.
Pink Lady apples are an excellent option for snacking if you don’t mind the extra tartness, but they also work well in savory cooking and sweet baking. They make an excellent topping for salads or breakfast foods like waffles or pancakes.
Though many apples, including some on this list, have trademarks today, the Pink Lady was the first to get one. That occurred in 1996 when Brandt’s Fruit Trees registered it as a trademark in the United States.