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Which is better green or red apples?

Apples are one of the most popular and beloved fruits around the world. They are sweet, crunchy, and come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and flavors. Two of the most common types of apples are green and red. Both green and red apples have their own unique tastes, textures, nutrition, and uses. But when it comes down to it, which is really the better apple? There are good arguments on both sides, so let’s take a deep dive and compare green vs red apples.


One of the biggest differences between green and red apples is their external appearance. Red apples get their vivid color from anthocyanins, which are antioxidant pigments. Some popular red apple varieties include Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Braeburn. Red apples typically have a smooth, shiny skin and can range in hue from bright crimson to almost purple. Green apples have a bright green skin that comes from chlorophyll. They also contain some yellow pigments. Popular green apple varieties include Granny Smith, Pippin, Ginger Gold, and Golden Delicious. Green apples are typically lighter in weight than red apples and have a firmer, crisper texture.


When it comes to taste, there are some notable differences between red and green apples:

  • Sweetness – In general, red apples tend to be much sweeter than green apples. Red apples have higher levels of sugar like sucrose, fructose, and glucose. They also contain more sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that gives them a sweet, pleasurable flavor.
  • Tartness – Green apples like Granny Smith have higher levels of acids that give them their tart, tangy taste. Malic acid and quinic acid are especially abundant.
  • Flavor – The different sugar and acid profiles lead to distinctive flavors. Red apples tend more towards a gentle, honey-like sweetness, while green apples have a bright, effervescent tartness.

However, there can be variations within each color category. For example, Gala apples are very sweet while Fuji apples are milder. Some green apples like Golden Delicious can be soft and sweet compared to the iconic tartness of Granny Smith.


Both red and green apples provide important nutrients and health benefits, though nutritionally they have some key differences:

Nutrient Red Apples Green Apples
Calories About 95 per cup About 110 per cup
Fiber 3.5-4.5g per cup 3.5-4.5g per cup
Vitamin C 8-12mg per cup 5-8mg per cup
Potassium 200mg per cup 170mg per cup

As you can see, red and green apples are fairly comparable in nutrients like fiber. However, red apples tend to be higher in vitamin C and potassium. The different antioxidant compounds in each type of apple also lead to additional health benefits.

Health benefits

Both red and green apples provide a range of science-backed health benefits. However, there are some unique advantages to each type:

Benefits of red apples

  • May promote heart health due to polyphenols that can help lower blood pressure and LDL “bad” cholesterol.
  • Anthocyanins in red apples act as powerful antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and help fight cancer.
  • Pectin fiber feeds gut bacteria and helps lower blood sugar levels.

Benefits of green apples

  • May support gastrointestinal health and digestion. The acids in green apples act as a prebiotic for probiotics.
  • Contains chlorogenic acid, a unique antioxidant that may promote healthy weight loss.
  • Helps cleanse the liver and gallbladder because of malic acid content.


Red and green apples both have versatile culinary uses spanning cooking, baking, salads, sauces, juices, and more. Here’s an overview of some popular uses for each type:

Culinary uses for red apples

  • Applesauce – Red apples like McIntosh make smooth, sweet applesauce.
  • Pies – Classic apple pie filling combines different red apple varieties like Cortland, Empire, and Mutsu.
  • Salads – Sliced red apples pair well with greens, nuts, cheese, and dressings in savory salads.
  • Juice – Red apples press into a refreshing, sweet cider perfect on its own or used in cocktails.

Culinary uses for green apples

  • Cooking – Granny Smith apples maintain their shape when cooked and add tartness to dishes.
  • Baking – Green apples add moisture and bright flavor to baked goods like muffins, tarts, and crumbles.
  • Salsa – Diced green apples tossed with jalapenos, cilantro, onion, and lime juice make a great salsa.
  • Garnish – Sliced green apples add crunch and acidity when used to garnish grilled pork or game meats.


In most grocery stores, red and green apples tend to cost about the same per pound. However, there can be some seasonal fluctuations in pricing:

  • Red apples typically peak in fall. This increased supply can lead to lower prices at this time of year.
  • Green apples store better than red varieties. Their availability and lower prices last longer into winter.
  • Organic and specialty apples usually cost more than conventional varieties of either color.
  • Pricing also depends on factors like harvest yields, demand, and transport costs.

On average, most types of red and green apples range from $1.50-$3 per pound year-round. But be on the lookout for sales and deals on seasonal abundance for each type.


Both red and green apples are in good supply year-round. However, there are some seasonal differences:

  • Red apples are best in fall, freshly picked at their peak ripeness and sweetness.
  • Green apples store better and maintain flavor longer into winter months.
  • Year-round availability relies on controlled atmosphere storage methods to prolong freshness.
  • Importing apples from other countries provides wider availability out of season.

So while you can find red and green apples any time of year, their flavor and texture may decline the longer they are in storage. Try to buy each color apple during their peak season for optimal freshness and quality.


There are some small differences when it comes to the pollution levels of red versus green apples:

  • Red apples tend to absorb slightly more pesticides than green apples in chemical analysis testing.
  • However, consumers should wash all apples thoroughly before eating, regardless of color.
  • Organic apples have lower levels of pesticides and contaminants than conventional apples.
  • Apple skin contains most of the nutrients, so peeling should be minimized.
  • Any residues are well below safety limits in most countries.

Overall, pollution is not a major differentiator between red and green apples for most consumers. Choosing organic is recommended for those concerned about chemical exposures from conventional farming practices.

Taste Test

The best way to compare red and green apples is to simply taste them side-by-side! Here is a simple process for an apple taste test:

  1. Select one variety of red apple, such as Red Delicious.
  2. Select one variety of green apple, such as Granny Smith.
  3. Cut both apples into thin slices for easy tasting.
  4. Take turns tasting a slice of green apple and a slice of red apple.
  5. Evaluate the flavor, sweetness, and texture of each.
  6. Rinse mouth between samples.
  7. Take notes on your opinion of each apple’s taste.
  8. Compare and reflect on your preference between the two apples.

Tasting red and green apple varieties side-by-side helps you experience firsthand the contrasts in sweetness and tartness. Both have great qualities depending on your taste preferences. Try a few different red and green varieties for a broader experience of flavors, textures, and uses.

And the winner is…

At the end of the day, is one color apple truly better than the other? The answer comes down to personal preference!

Red and green apples each have their strengths and benefits. Red apples tend to be sweeter and higher in vitamin C, while green apples are often tarter and contain more digestive-cleansing acids. Both provide fiber, antioxidants, and essential nutrients.

Taste, cooking uses, nutrition needs, and seasonal availability can all inform which type you choose. Some people even prefer certain colors for their aesthetic appeal. When possible, sampling different red and green apple varieties can help determine your favorites.

Rather than competing against each other, red and green apples can co-exist deliciously. Incorporating both into a balanced, seasonal diet gives you complementary flavors and textures as well as a range of health benefits. The beauty of apples is the multitude of varieties to enjoy! With smart storage and usage, you can reap the advantages of red and green apples year-round.