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Braeburn Apples

Braeburn apples are some of the best-tasting apples around. With a rich flavor reminiscent of spiced apple cider, these apples are sure to become your new favorite snack. They’re versatile and great for juicing, baking, and of course eating fresh off the tree.

Where Did Braeburn Apples Come From?

Girl Picking Braeburn Apples

Braeburn apples are one of the top 15 most popular apple varieties in the United States. They’re a favorite due to their incredible flavor and texture. They have the classic, rich apple cider flavor that makes them perfect for making apple juice.  The apples naturally taste like cinnamon and nutmeg, so the fruit tastes like apple pie right off the tree.

Where did these delicious apples come from? O. Moran was a farmer who lived in the Moutere Hills region of New Zealand. In 1952, he found a chance seedling on the side of a road. The apples looked unlike anything he’d seen before, so O. Moran picked one of the apples.

He brought the apple to the Williams Brothers nursery, where the apple was identified as a possible cross between Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith. The Williams brothers quickly recognized that the apple had incredible flavor and would do well commercially. They grafted the apple and began growing it to be sold.

Braeburn apples had all the keys to success. They are versatile and taste delicious. The trees are easy to grow and produce many apples. Some consider Braeburn the perfect supermarket apple. Next time you’re driving somewhere, keep an eye out for apple trees! Just like O. Moran, you might discover the next famous apple variety on the side of the road.

What Do Braeburn Apples Taste Like?

Braeburn apples are famous for their delightful flavor. This variety has a classic apple-y flavor similar to a McIntosh apple, but with more pronounced notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s sweet and tart, but without a sugared honey taste. In a perfectly ripe Braeburn apple, you’re likely to notice a hint of melon or pear.

You’ll love to eat Braeburn apples because they have the perfect texture for a snacking apple. They’re firm and crisp, juicy, and immediately full of flavor. The skin is fairly thin, but tough enough that the apples are resistant to bruising.  

The flavors of Braeburn apples are perfect for serving with soft and mellow cheeses. Try Braeburn apples with Camembert cheese or some white cheddar. The sweet, tart, spiced flavor of the apple really shines when paired with a creamy cheese.

How to Use Braeburn Apples

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Braeburn apples are extremely versatile. Their incredible flavor makes them a good choice for snacking and dehydrating. Furthermore, they have enough acid to hold their shape when baked. You can dehydrate or juice them, bake them into pie, or really use them for anything.

This variety just is the perfect choice for making apple juice or apple cider. That’s because they’re delicious and full of juice. You’ll find their juice to be smooth, rich, and just tangy enough with hints of spice. Braeburn apples have enough acid to keep their color in juice better than a Golden Delicious or Fuji would.

Next time you have Braeburn apples on hand, try making one of these recipes.

If you don’t have Braeburn apples around, you can substitute another multi-purpose apple in these recipes. While no other apple will quite match the complex flavor of a Braeburn, there are a few good options. Granny Smith, Fuji, Pink Lady, or McIntosh will all yield similar results.

Where to Get Braeburn Apples

Braeburn apples were discovered in New Zealand. As you may expect, they grow best in moderate to warm climates. This variety accounts for almost half of the apple crop in New Zealand. It’s also commonly grown in Australia and the United States, particularly in Washington.  

If you live in U.S. growing zones 5-8, there’s a good chance you can find Braeburn apples at an orchard near you.  If so, don’t hesitate to go pick some! They ripen in October and taste best fresh. A Braeburn apples right off the tree on a chilly autumn day is a treat.

While Braeburn apples have high potential, they’re not as strictly quality-controlled as brand name varieties such as Pink Lady. If you’re getting Braeburn apples from your local grocery store, know what to look for. The highest-quality fruit will be firm with smooth and mostly red skin. The apple will probably be best close to when they are in season, around October to March.

These apples store well at cool temperatures. Keep Braeburn apples in your refrigerator and they should stay fresh for up to two months. If you have a few apples that may be slightly past their prime, don’t throw them! Rather, make them into delicious apple juice or dried apples.

How to Grow Braeburn Apples

Fresh Picked Braeburn Apples

If you want to grow delicious and versatile apples, consider planting a Braeburn tree. These trees thrive in U.S. growing zones 5-8 and need 700 chill hours to produce We recommend planting an established Braeburn seedling for best results, but it’s possible to grow a tree from seed with enough dedication.

The trees should be planted in full sun and well-draining soil. Prune the tree when it’s dormant in winter to develop a sturdy base. Braeburn apples are not drought-resistant, so be sure to water them regularly if it’s dry. Braeburn apples are susceptible to common diseases such as apple scab, mildew, and fire blight. Prevent these diseases by using fungicides as necessary.

Braeburn apple trees are self-fertile, which is unusual. Most apples trees like Granny Smith and Red Delicious require a cross-pollinator to bear fruit.  Braeburn trees will bear fruit even without a cross-pollinator. However, they are the most productive with another tree nearby. It’s recommended to plant another variety nearby for best fruit yields.

These trees grow around 15 feet tall. They produce beautiful white flowers in the spring. The apples ripen in mid-October, the same time as the pumpkins. Braeburn trees can actually produce fruit as soon as a year after planting. Compared to McIntosh, which takes up to 5 years to bear fruit, that’s a short wait.

Fun Facts About Braeburn Apples

Do you want to taste some of the best apple cider you’ve ever had? Try making cider from Braeburn apples. Braeburn apple cider is remarkably clear with rich, sweet and tangy flavor. It’s perfect for serving warm or chilled with your favorite apple dessert.

Since the Braeburn apple variety was found by chance, it’s hard to know exactly where it came from. However, those who study apples are pretty sure it came from Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith. No wonder it’s so popular!  Granny Smith is widely regarded as the best baking apple, and Lady Hamilton is also the parent of the popular Pink Lady variety.  

Maybe you’ve heard of Braeburn browning disorder. It sounds like something that would affect the tree, but it’s actually caused by storing the fruit for too long. If Braeburn apples are stored for long periods of time, sometimes the inside of the fruit turns brown. The Jazz apple is a brand of apple developed from Braeburn that is resistant to browning.

Excited for more apple content? Visit my apple trees page to learn more about apple planting, growing, picking, cooking, and more!

Merry K Metzler

Thursday 17th of March 2022

I'm in the same boat these others are in. NO braeburns in my local stores - not for at least 3 years. Just go to the store & complain????


Saturday 19th of March 2022

Believe it or not, it's a labor shortage. The same reason your local coffee shop can't stay open!

Check this out:

Dana L Goodner

Thursday 30th of December 2021

I live in Houston, Texas and cannot find Braeburn apples anywhere! They are the only apples I like. Where can I order them from?

We would like to buy your apples. Please inform us where we can buy them.


Saturday 29th of January 2022

Hi Dana. We don't sell apples on this site. Your best bet is to speak with management at your local grocer. They have options, and they'll bring in the produce they know they have a market for.

S. Smith

Thursday 10th of June 2021

I haven't been able to find Braeburn apples for two seasons now. What happened to them? They were very popular in south Texas grocery stores, so I know these stores didn't purposefully stop carrying them unless it just got too expensive for some reason.

Can you tell me what happened to them, or if you know of any producers in the U.S. who sell them online, so I can order them.

Thanks, S. Smith