16 of the Best Apples to Eat Out of Hand
The title of this story might seem a bit strange. After all, aren’t the best apples to eat out of hand whatever ones you like the most? While that’s true, if you’re looking to branch out of your regular rotation of apples, here’s a list of other delicious varieties you can try.
We’ve already covered the best apples for baking and the best apples for cooking, but for straight snacking, most of us reach for crisp, juicy fruit. As for flavor? That’s really up to you. There’s a whole world out there of tart, sweet, or sweet-tart apples that can suit every mood. Go explore!
You can recognize tart, lightly sweet Braeburn apples by their streaky, red and orange exteriors, which may have undertones of yellow and green. In addition to snacking, these apples are great in baked goods like apple pie.
Crisp, juicy Cameo apples are orange- and yellow-hued, with some red streaks. If you like your fruit sweet with a tart finish, these are the apples for you. Snack on these straight or use them for cooking.
Short and stocky, medium- to large-sized Cortland apples are sweet and tart, with very crisp skin. They tend to be red or orange with green undertones, especially near their stem.
Empire apples are often easiest to identify by their bright, bold red color. These apples have a crisp, juicy texture and sweet-tart flavors.
Widely available at farm stands, supermarkets, and beyond, Fuji apples are very sweet and have round, red exteriors with yellow highlights. They’re good for cooking, too — try them your next batch of applesauce.
Taller and slimmer than many other apples, with red and orange colors, Gala apples are firm and sweet, with a pleasant crunch.
Some people find the flavors of Golden Delicious apples similar to Galas: sweet and crisp. They’re also very aromatic and sturdy, making them great for eating out of hand or baking into an elegant apple tart.
You can spot Granny Smith apples by their bright green color. They’re crisp, tart and widely available. Granny Smith are also good for baking, and an ideal candidate for a classic tarte tatin.
Tart and juicy, Gravenstein apples are delicious eaten straight but maintain their flavor when cooked, making them a good option for apple butter.
With a name like Honeycrisp, it comes as no surprise these apples are sweet and juicy with a tart, balanced bite. They’re very round, light red apples, often with yellow undertones.
Among the larger apples you’ll find at the market, Jonagold are usually green and yellow with occasional red accents. They’re very sweet and crisp, and can also be cooked. (One of our favorite preparations for Jonagolds is kale and apple soup.)
Not meant for cooking, but definitely great for eating, crisp McIntosh apples are halfway between sweet and tart. They’re smaller and softer than other apple types, with red and green skin.
Oblong-shaped, golden-hued Orin apples originally hail from Japan, and have a sweet flavor and crisp texture.
Part of the Honeycrisp family, Pazazz apples are crunchy and sweet with an especially tart finish. Their shiny skin is predominantly red with yellow and green streaks, and their interior is a pale, creamy color.
A cross between Honeycrisp and Zester apples, SweeTango apples are relatively new on the block (they were introduced in 2009). Hallmarks of this apple include its very crunchy texture and sweet flavor.
Small, round Winesap apples are an American heirloom variety. They are crisp and very firm, making them excellent candidates for cold storage or cooking applications like roasted apple and winter squash soup.