The Right Way to Cut an Apple—Whether You're Slicing It for Snacking or Making a Pie

We compare three popular techniques—and there's a clear winner.

Whether you're slicing up an apple for snacking, or cutting it to use in a pie, salad, or other dish, knowing how to cut an apple into neat slices, wedges, or an even dice is a basic kitchen skill worth mastering. We compare three popular techniques for cutting apples—including the easiest, most efficient method—and share whether it's best to use a knife or an apple corer.

What You'll Need

Cutting board, vegetable peeler (optional), chef's knife, paring knife, and apple corer (optional).

Basic Prep

Our prep steps are the precursor to any of the three methods for cutting an apple. It might seem basic but it's important to remove and discard the produce sticker—if there is one—and wash and dry the apple before you begin cutting. Peeling is optional, but if you are going to peel the apple, now is the time. "It's much easier to handle and control peeling when the apple is whole," says Yasmin Fahr, recipe developer and author of the cookbooks Keeping it Simple and Boards & Spreads.

  1. Wash and dry the apple.
  2. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the apple. (Optional)

Stand the apple stem side up on a cutting board, so it rests evenly on its flatter bottom side, giving you a sturdy base to slice into that won't slip or slide. Now you're ready to proceed with the technique you've chosen for cutting an apple.

Fresh red apples with green leaves on table
Mykola Sosiukin / GETTY IMAGES

3 Ways to Cut an Apple

Slicing Around the Core

Fahr's favorite method for cutting an apple is also the go-to of our test kitchen—slicing around the core. It's quick, the slices turn out beautifully, you don't need to core each individual slice, and no gadgets are needed—just a sharp chef's knife and a cutting board. There is a touch more waste around the core, but it's minimal and worth it for not having to remove the core from each piece, which slows everything down.

If you're wondering why we use a chef's knife and not a paring knife, it's because the larger knife is more efficient at slicing through the fruit cleanly in one go.

  1. With the prepped apple on the cutting board, use a chef's knife to slice downward on one side, right along the core in one smooth motion. This cuts off a "cheek" of the apple.
  2. Rotate the apple to cut off another cheek. Then rotate again, to cut off the 2 remaining sides, creating 4 apple pieces.
cutting apple core
PhotoAlto/Laurence Mouton / GETTY IMAGES

Slicing Into the Core

Slicing through the core is how most people learned to cut an apple and it's a great method. The downside is that it requires both a chef's knife to cut through the apple and then another step, using a paring knife to clean up the core, taking more time. We think it's not always worth it.

  1. With the prepped apple on the cutting board, use a chef's knife to quarter the apple straight through the core.
  2. Use a paring knife to carefully remove the seed, stem, and core in the center of each apple slice.
Using an apple slicer or corer to remove apple core
Christopher Kimmel / Aurora Photos / GETTY IMAGES

Using an Apple Corer

This is the technique for anyone who loves kitchen gadgets. If you get it right, it's easy. "I'm someone who fell for the ease and allure of the apple corer in my early 20s, but I personally found it was annoying to use as I had more control with a knife," says Fahr.

Know that using an apple corer yields a rougher cut and the slices are not as smooth as when you cut an apple with a knife. Plus if you eyeball the center of the apple wrong, you still have to bring out the paring knife to remove the core from some slices. "You might have to heave all your body weight just to push the apple through the corer, which feels a bit messy and requires effort," says Fahr.

  1. With the prepped apple on the cutting board, line the apple corer up with the center of the apple.
  2. Push downward on the apple corer until it goes through the apple. Wiggle while pressing into it if it gets stuck on the way down.
Slicing apple into thin slices
Laurence Mouton / GETTY IMAGES

Cutting Apple Slices

Once you have the "cheeks" or slices removed, you can cut the apple into wedges, large slices, really thin slices, cubes, or fine dice. However you want to cut the apple, start by "placing the apple pieces flesh-side down on a cutting board (so they don't slip), and then cut from there," says Fahr.

"If you're slicing the apples very thinly, keep them together [as you cut], then push down on one side so that they fan out—this is particularly beautiful for a charcuterie board or cheese snacking plate," says Fahr.

Bowl of apples in lemon juice to keep from browning

Keeping Apple Slices From Browning

Once you cut an apple and the flesh is exposed to air, the cut sides start to brown. "If you're eating the apple right away, then you don't need to worry about it browning," says Fahr. But, if you're serving it on a board or packing it as a snack, then you want it to look nice.

To prevent browning, Fahr's pro tip is to cut the apple right before using it rather than in advance. If that's not possible, store the pre-cut apple in an airtight bag or squeeze lemon or lime juice over the apple slices. This will slow down the browning, but the citrus will add a citrusy note to the apple.

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