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What apples are green and red?

Apples come in a wide variety of colors, ranging from solid shades of red, green, and yellow to bi-colored and tri-colored varieties. Some of the most popular bi-colored apples are those that feature a mix of red and green coloring. These striking fruits offer the best of both worlds – the sweetness of a red apple combined with the tartness of a green apple.

Reasons for Red and Green Apples

There are a few key reasons why apples may develop both red and green coloring on the same fruit:

  • Partial ripening – Some apple varieties start off green and then develop red pigments as they ripen. A bi-colored red and green apple may simply be in the process of changing from green to red but isn’t fully ripe yet.
  • Genetics – The specific variety of apple determines the fruit’s final color. Some hybridized apples inherit genes that cause both red and green pigments to be produced.
  • Sun exposure – Apples need sun to develop red color. Some parts of the fruit may be more exposed to the sun than others, resulting in a mix of red and green.
  • Temperature fluctuations – Cooler temperatures can inhibit development of red color. Warm days and cool nights may cause partial reddening.

The exact balance and pattern of red and green color depends on the apple variety, climate, and growing conditions. But in most cases, the presence of both hues is natural and not detrimental to quality or flavor.

Popular Red and Green Apple Varieties

Many delicious apple varieties exhibit a distinct mix of red and green skin when ripe. Here are some of the most popular red and green apples:


Cortland is one of the most famous red and green apples. This cross between McIntosh and Ben Davis has a sweet-tart flavor and creamy white flesh. The skin starts as pale green and develops bright red striping over a yellow-green background as it matures.


Winesap has a deep red skin with yellow-green undertones and a spicy, wine-like flavor. Its complex flavor improves with storage. The greenish cast to its red color helps distinguish it from other all-red apples.


Jonagold is another green and red striped apple, but with bolder flavor. It has a sweet, honeyed taste mixed with enough acidity for a satisfying tang. Jonagold was bred from the Jonathan and the Golden Delicious.


Honeycrisp has gained extreme popularity for its exceptionally sweet, juicy flesh. It has a bright red and pale green mottled skin. The green background color helps balance the ultra-sweet flavor.


Braeburn is a firm, crunchy apple from New Zealand with a bold, sweet-tart flavor. Its two-toned red and green skin has distinctive dark red stripes over a yellow-green background.

Pink Lady

Pink Lady or Cripps Pink apples have a unique rosy pink blush over yellow-green skin. They are very crisp and sweet with a hint of tartness. The pink coloring develops from the red stripes spreading out over the green background.

How Red and Green Apples Grow

Understanding how apples develop their mature colors helps explain why many varieties combine red and green hues. Here is an overview of apple color development:

  • Spring – Apple fruits emerge pale yellowish-green in color after pollination. Chlorophyll gives them a distinct green shade.
  • Summer – As the apples grow, increasing sun exposure helps darken the green color. Grassy green chlorophyll and underlying yellow pigments are both present.
  • Fall – Cooler temperatures and less sun halt chlorophyll production. Existing chlorophyll starts to break down. Apples transition to brighter yellow-green shades.
  • Late summer to early fall – Increasing sunlight and warmth stimulates production of anthocyanin pigments, creating red color. Red pigments first appear as a blush or stripes over the green and yellow background colors.
  • Harvest – Fully ripe apples exhibit their mature color pattern ranging from green to fully red depending on variety. Bi-colored red and green apples are harvested when both hues are present.

The complex changes in chlorophyll, carotenoids, and anthocyanins all contribute to an apple’s final mix of green and red shades.

Benefits of Red and Green Apples

All apples contain a similar set ofnutrients and antioxidants, regardless of whether they are fully green, fully red, or mixed colors. However, red and green apples do offer their own unique perks:

  • Green apples – Greener apples tend to be slightly more tart or acidic. They offer lots of firmness and crunch. The green color comes from chlorophyll, which has some health benefits.
  • Red apples – Redder apples tend to be sweeter. The red anthocyanin pigments are antioxidants. Some research shows greater antioxidant activity in red versus green apples.
  • Mixed red and green apples – Bi-colored red and green apples offer both sweet and tart flavors. They provide a range of textures and a more complex eating experience. Their wider range of antioxidants offers nutritional diversity.

So while all apples offer nutrition, the exact nutritional differences between green, red, and mixed color apples are minor. Choosing apples based on your personal taste and texture preferences is most important.

Using Red and Green Apples

When it comes to cooking and snacking, red and green apples can be used almost interchangeably. However, there are some guidelines for getting the most out of their colors and flavors:

  • Green apples are very firm, so they’re great for baked recipes and will keep their shape when cooked. Tart Granny Smiths are a baker’s favorite.
  • Red apples tend to be softer and ideal for sauces, purees, and chops. Their sweetness caramelizes nicely when baked.
  • For fruit salads, sliced cheese platters, and kid’s snacks, go for contrast with bright red and green slices.
  • Highlight the colors by serving red apple slices with green peel attached. Or pair a green slice with red skin on the same platter.
  • No matter what color you choose, apples are delicious eaten fresh out of hand. The crunch and burst of flavor is part of their everyday appeal.

Both fully green and fully red apples work beautifully in all types of recipes. Mixed color varieties add visual interest to cooked dishes and fresh snacks.

Top Red and Green Apple Variety Picks

With so many amazing bi-colored apples to choose from, it can be hard to pick favorites. Here is a short list of exceptional red and green apple varieties to try:

Apple Description
Jonamac Sweet, tangy flavor with light red stripes over pale green
Mutsu Crisp and juicy with sharp flavor and yellow-green skin blushed red
Fuji Super sweet, very juicy, crisp flesh. Dull red skin streaked over yellow-green.
York Highly aromatic, tangy and balanced flavor. Bright red striping on lime green skin.
Rome Mildly tangy, firm flesh. Solid red skin with faint green undertones.

Part of the fun of red and green apples is trying new varieties every season. Farmstands let you sample different types and discover new favorites.

How to Select the Best Red and Green Apples

Choosing fresh, flavorful bi-colored apples relies on many of the same tips as selecting fully red or fully green apples:

  • Look for firm apples without bruises, wrinkles, or soft spots.
  • Some red coloring on the skin signals ripeness, but green patches are normal for bi-colored varieties.
  • Heavier apples tend to be more juicy and flavorful.
  • Apples should smell fresh, not musty. Avoid any with a fermented odor.
  • For the longest shelf life, choose apples displaying the stem and avoid any with punctures or damage around the stem.
  • To experience the best flavor and texture, eat apples within 2-3 weeks of purchase.

Enjoy red and green apples fresh out of hand, thinly slice them onto pizza or salad, or cook them into your favorite apple desserts. Their bright colors and complex flavors deserve a spot in every produce aisle and recipe.


Red and green apples offer the best of both worlds when it comes to flavor, nutrition, and eye appeal. Now that you know some of the most popular bi-colored varieties and uses for them, don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new. Apples with a mix of red and green skin provide unique health benefits, visual appeal, and taste that sets them apart from single-color varieties.