The comprehensive resource for apples and orchards

Honeycrisp apple



Honeycrisp, or Honey Crisp, is a modern apple variety, developed in the 1960s and introduced to the market in the 1990s - sometimes trademarked as Honeycrunch. It is increasingly available in supermarkets. Honeycrisp comes from a long line of apples developed by the University of Minnesota from the 1930s onwards. One of the objectives of this breeding programme has been to develop varieties which can tolerate the bitter cold of winters in some parts of the USA, and most plantings have been in the northern USA, including New England, Minnesota and Washington State.

The parentage of modern apple varieties is often obscure because they are the result of lengthy breeding programs with cross after cross.  The University of Minnesota initially stated that the original parentage was Honeygold (raised in the 1930s from a cross between Golden Delicious and another University of Minnesota development, Haralson) and Macoun, a well-known American variety, developed in the 1920s.  This seemed plausible, but subsequently the University carried out a DNA test which indicated that the records were incorrect, and it now believes one of the parents is Keepsake - another University of Minnesota variety.  The other is still not identified.  Honeycrisp certainly has a close resemblance in flavor and appearance to Keepsake.

Honeycrisp is a medium-to-large sized apple, with a light green/yellow background largely covered with red-orange flush with strong hint of pink if grown in good sunlight. The skin may be flecked with occasional russet dots. The flesh is white, perhaps not quite as bright as a McIntosh style apple, but similarly crisp and not too dense.  The colour however can be quite variable.

The flavour is sweet with very little trace of acidity and little depth or complexity. There can also be a trace of pear-drop flavour. In a good example this is a juicy and instantly refreshing apple, in a less good example it will be simply sweet and bland (but still very nice).  As its name suggests this is genuinely a crisp / crunchy apple.  However since the flesh is quite light, the crunch is surprisingly soft, nothing like the hard crisp crunch of a good Golden Delicious.

Surprisingly for a modern commerical apple variety, Honeycrisp tends to bruise easily, and therefore is usually sold in packs rather than loose. Northern hemisphere fruit ripens relatively early in September. The apples keep until April in storage and retain their crispness.  Interestingly it appears that the flavour can improve for 7-10 days after being taken out of cold store, which means that stock taken from cold store and then purchased by consumers is likely to be in optimum condition.  In contrast many apple varieties held in cold store tend to ripen and then go past their best very quickly once they are taken out of storage.

Honeycrisp has proven to be a good variety for the commercial grower and also the backyard orchardist.  It has good disease resistance and although developed for cold-hardiness, appears to have a very wide climate range.

Honeycrisp has become a runaway success in the USA, with demand regularly outstripping supply.  The flavor whilst not outstanding is certainly very good, making it a very enjoyable and undemanding apple, particularly if cooled in the fridge before eating.

Last updated 20 Nov 2013.

Rate this variety for flavor

Current rating: 4.6 out of 5. Total votes cast: 99
 

Visitor comments

(Use the form at the bottom to add your own comments about this variety)

20 Sep 2014 
We have our own honey crisp apple tree here in MN and it is our favorite "fresh eating" apple. However, we have tasted honey crisp from other parts of the U.S. and, as others have said, they are NOT that spectacular. The honey crisp was developed by the U of MN for cold climates. The tree needs a cold upper midwest winter to create a good-tasting apple.


13 Sep 2014 
My wife and I blind taste tested the two dozen varieties offered by the local farmer's market and Honeycrisp came out number one two years in a row. Sweet, crunchy, and a hint of tartness, make this the best apple I've tried yet. We also dried all the apples and once again, Honeycrisp came out on top in blind taste testing. Sadly it's the most expensive at the market, but worth it.


07 Sep 2014 
I'm growing my own - now 4 years old on M9. I find this apple disappointingly flavourless, though crisp and juicy. Other trees I have and prefer include Cox's Orange Pippin. I wonder if the problem is the mild coastal climate - would Honey Crisp be better in colder areas?


03 Aug 2014 
This is my favorite apple by far. I was raised in Upstate NY, which is apple country. Many orchards with fresh apples. If you try this apple, be sure it is fresh. The normal supermarket apples can not do this apple justice. They are great for applesauce, eating, juicing, or baking. They are crisp and firm. If you got some that weren't, then you got it from a poor orchard, or chain supermarket crop. They are sweet and tart and juicy. hands down the best apple out there.


29 May 2014 
I don`t understand the negative comments.This apple makes the others seem bland and insignificant but each to his own. I have a small orchard and 6 Honeycrispt trees and they grow and produce every year just fine. The trees have more and stronger limbs than others. They may not grow as fast in height but grow outwards making them nice and bushy looking. Nothing but good to say about the fruit itself.Tastes great and stores well. It`s a 10 in my book.


15 May 2014 
good during a short season--they tend to be a bit watery. They are quite sweet but they don't seem to store well. Sometimes it's hit or miss for them depending on how watery they are. When they are good, they are GREAT.


04 Mar 2014 
I think I need to try another one of these apples because I don't get the hype. The one I had literally tasted like sweetened perfume water. It was very crisp and juicy, but it wasn't very sweet, and not tart whatsoever. It was nothing like what I expected from an apple. It was more floral than fruity. Do they all taste like this?


16 Dec 2013 
Ok. I have some issues with this apple. Texture: yes it's crisp but it does not have the nice dense structure of say an arkansas black or a pink lady. Rather the honeycrisp seems to have a looser structure that makes it kind of watery. Flavor: is just OK. It's sweet, but it doesn't have that much tart. It doesn't have the complexity of flavor of some of the better apples. The pacific rose, for example, is also lacking in sour, but has an intense perfume that more than makes up for it. I have juiced the Honeycrisp and the juice just OK compared to the juice of a pink lady.


05 Dec 2013 
I think these are one of the best fruits for anyone and I'm not even fond of apples. I do highly recommend others that haven't tried one to pick one up at a local store. This apple is in my top ten favorite fruits. Honeycrisp is DELICIOUS!!!! Try it for yourself!!


19 Sep 2013 
These are the best eating apples in the world! and they keep very well.


06 Sep 2013 
We are in southeast Ontario. My favourite apple is Honeycrisp, and we planted a tree in our backyard 5 years ago. It started bearing fruit immediately the following summer. Early crops were decimated by worms(?) - not sure what kind, but they literally ate almost the whole fruit. Not wanting to spray I started bagging the fruit at the size of a quarter with nylons. I now get about 2 dozen good fruit per year from our tree.


29 Jun 2013 
We usually pay $3.99 a pound for these apples but once you eaten them there is no other apple. I can not stand a mushy apple and I never found a mushy applecrisp mushy either. This variety surpasses every other variety of apples.


14 May 2013 
I planted my tree 2 years ago and I will be getting apples this year. I am very excited. It's the slowest grower of all my trees but seems hardy. I haven't had any issues so far and have never treated it. Hope the apples are going to be as good as the best ones I've had. I have eaten Honey Crisp apples many times and unfortunately they are usually sub-par from the grocery store. But when you get them farm fresh they are absolutely wonderful. They are a sweet (but not too sweet) crunchy apple. I like to eat mine sliced and very cold with Myer Lemon juice. Its like apple lemonade and very refreshing.


07 May 2013 
Got my first and only apple off my 6 yr old Honeycrisp on M7 rootstock. Grown in our heavy clay loam, it was a spectacular specimen, 12oz. and bright red, very dense (unlike some of the store ones from WA, etc.). Still, not my favorite apple, but very good. Other "commercially" grown ones around here seem to get bitter pit and don't color well. Kind of a blotchy weak tree, but I think that's normal.


28 Apr 2013 
Love the taste. Can I put this tree in Austin, TX? If so, can a Gala be the fertility partner?


01 Apr 2013 
I have allergy to this variety of apple.It happened twice.Started with itching in side the ears ,lips and mouth with difficulty swallowing.The allergy was relieved with Benadryl.I wonder what is causing it .I Just wanted to let you know for production improvement and research.I do not have allergy to any fruit.Iam a regular fruit eater.No allergy to any other variety of apple.


03 Mar 2013 
Washington resident currently, but grew up in northern Wisconsin & Minnesota. As a reasonably informed apple enthusiast might suspect, this means I've been exposed to _a lot_ of apple varieties. I'm a bachelor and too lazy to bake or cook myself, so eating apples have always been my thing. There are many, many great ones to choose from, Pacific Rose, Pink Lady, Gala, I could go ad nausea, but if I'm at a market and the prices are even remotely comparable, I'm going home with Honey Crisp every time. I can't recall ever having a disappointing one.


28 Jan 2013 
My new favorite apple. Great fragrance and sweet taste.


17 Oct 2012 
Quickly became a favorite in my family - no one wants any other variety. Now we're the family with the best apples. High school and college kids who drop by devour them. Pricy but well worth it. Blends well when juiced with other fruits and vegetables.


30 Sep 2012 
I am a devoted fan of the Honeycrisp apple. As an apple snob, I've since been ruined for all other varieties. While some will suffice, none bring the immense joy, exploding flavor and amazing sensory experience that the Honeycrisp delivers.


17 Feb 2012 
Honey crisp is the best apple I have ever tasted in my life; it is so good that I even eat the core and only leave the seeds and the stem. It is so crispy that it takes a long time to eat, so by the time you are done you are full, and it is so juicy. It is perfect in every way; if it was a man, I would marry it.


15 Feb 2012 
A very sweet and crisp apple. Also a very attractive gold color with a pinkish red blush.


23 Jan 2012 
This apple may have the best texture of any apple Ive come across, the flavor is not bad either. I will most certainly be planting some of these come spring.


12 Jan 2012 
This apple will convert anyone pomologically "on-the-fence"--growing up on a farm, I was never one to rave about apples--until now! One bite and I can say that I love, love, love you, HoneyCrisp!


04 Jan 2012 
I have never been a big apple fan, because they all seem too tart to me, then I tasted a HoneyCrisp and now I am a big fan of this apple Yum-O. It is sweet, juicy and crisp the way an apple should be, just sorry they aren't in the stores longer.


31 Oct 2011 
I haven't had an apple this good in a long long time. I'm struggling with being a diabetic and if I finish my meals with a Honey Crisp (and my friendly salt shaker) it takes care of my sweet tooth. Instead of snarfing down cake, candy or a cookie, I'm munching on an apple. Eating a Honey Crisp takes a while, by the time I'm done with the apple I realize I am full and don't have to eat more. I love them and they are so good for my diabetis!


23 Oct 2011 
I am a displaced native Oregonian. The apples from Oregon and Washington have always been my favorite. Growing up with Gravensteins, and later Granny Smiths as my favorites, That was until I tasted my first Honeycrisp. Without a doubt the BEST apple I have ever tasted. It is my VERY FAVORITE!!! Every person I have introduced to the Honeycrisp apple feels the same way. Thank You Minnesota for putting the fun and excitement back in eating apples again!!!


19 Oct 2011 
Hands down the best apple I've tasted. Crisp, firm, sweet with the lightest tang. I'm lucky they're not available throughout the year; I'd never eat a proper meal again.


23 Sep 2011 
Honeycrisp grown here in Wisconsin are a wonderful taste treat. If you like tart apples or balanced sweet/tart you may find them too sweet for your tastebuds. I like sweet apples and this is one of the best. Skip the grocer section and get these from a local orchard or farmer's market. They do have issues with calcium deficiency related problems - good to know if you plan to grow them in your yard. For fans of sweet apples, if you like Honeycrisp why not seek out a Sweet Sixteen apple as they are even a touch sweeter with unique aromatics.


21 Sep 2011 
Honey Crisp apples are hands down the best if you can get them fresh. Pink Ladies generally fare better in the grocery store, but here in the SE U.S. you can get them in season and they are amazing.


27 Mar 2011 
Honeycrisp flavor depends largely on soil and weather conditions. Washington grown Honeycrsip apples I've sampled have been blandly sweet and moderately crunchy while every Minnesota and Wisconsin apple I've had has been complex and distinctively crisp. The HC does tend towards calcium deficiency so foliar calcium may be needed for best results


14 Oct 2010 
Our Ramsey, NJ fruit store (Steve's) get's my applause for bringing both Pink Lady and Honeycrisp apples to this North NJ area. Like many that have given up smoking, need better digestive health or just a pick me up during a late evening drive, Honey Crisp Apples are my top vote getter for their sweet, crisp and juicy taste. There are 100+ good reasons for putting any apple into one's grocery basket. 5 co-workers and I had quit smoking more than 5 years ago and shared the common 3 o'clock yearning to sneak a smoke. Lucky for all of us, my wife Ann had brought home some Pink Lady's from Steve's Grocery Store. I took a few to work, chilled and sliced them and then asked my smoker associates to join me at 2:30-3:00 for Sliced Apples and Tea/Coffee. It was fun and became a challenge for associates to bring other varieties and score them versus our top 3. Two years ago, I sampled Honey Crisp Apples and feel they are the best for my taste buds. Four out of Six of us, have made it through 5+ years, without going back to smoking. Apples certainly provide a wonderful sensory diversion during temptations to fall off the wagon.


14 Oct 2009 
I just tried my first HoneyCrunch apple from Lidl the other day and I enjoyed them a lot. That's quite a big deal for an apple snob like me. Not my absolute favorite but definitely in my top 10.


30 Sep 2009 
Believe it or not Honeycrisp is outstanding when grown in the heat of Southern California. September was stinking hot- well over 100 degrees most of the month which fried the Queen Cox tree next to the Honeycrisp, but the Honeycrisp apples came through without a mark and are crisp, sweet, juicy, wonderful. It definately has lack of vigor in our climate and so a robust rootstock is recommended.


16 Feb 2009 
Very juicy, almost no acid, mild flavor at best, and less dense than most dessert apples, hence a yielding crispness, not a crackling crispness. Lacking tartness, it is too sweet for me.


12 Dec 2008 
I LOVE HONEYCRISP APPLES!!! I have no idea why this article says the flavor isn't outstanding because these apples are just that. They have the perfect combination of sweetness and tart and I love how crispy they are as i despise a sandy, too sweet, no tart apple.


01 Dec 2008 
Fantastic apple in season. Honeycrisp is full of fruit flavours. although it doesn't have all the 'honey' tones Golden Delicious sometimes has, it is more complex in flavour and more fully floral-fruity. Also more crisp!. Nice tart sweet balance. I must have gotten mine at the right of the year. It's now my favourite apple.


15 Nov 2008 
Since I first came upon the apple 2 years ago, I always fell back on the earlier types. Since then, NOTHING CAN COMPARE. I usually buy apples at a farm stand, but since these are not available there, I buy them at a supermarket. Something I would never think of doing. I eat apples with a knife because I think you can better judge all the aspects of it. A crispness and crunch that cannot be compared with a flavor that's delightful. Sadly, only available for a short time in this area. Does anyone have any experience with cooking this apple??


05 Nov 2008 
Another great tasting apple. I like the sweeter varieties.


10 Oct 2008 
3 yrs ago I purchased 2 Honey Crisp trees from Northern Landscaping of Hibb., Mn. I have finally gotten 10 apples on one of the trees...no blossoms yet on the other tree. The one that has finally gotten some apples has produced large-sized red apples but the exterior of the skin has some dimples and when I cut one open a day ago, it had some brown streaks in it and some thin brown tunneled streaks. In cutting a second apple I encountered the same. Is this a desease or parasite, etc. that has attacked the apple? Is there a way to prevent this from happening again? Being that these were the first apples produced by this 6 foot tree, it has been mentioned that maybe the first growth should be eliminated. Please advise. Thank you.


27 Mar 2008 
I have three favorite apples - Haralson, Honeycrisp, and Jazz. I like my apples crisp. I am originally from MN where both the Haralson (very tart) and Honeycrisp were developed. As with the Jazz, all are very good eating apples. Honeycrisp are very seasonal though and are best early in the apple season (early to mid fall). After mid-fall, their shelf life declines and subsequently their crispness. They are typically more expensive in grocery stores but can now be found early in the season at apple farms. The smaller ones are as good as the larger ones.


02 Mar 2008 
Very sweet apple when heavily blushed. Crisp all season from Sept through Dec and enough juice to warrent wearing a bib. Good grower in West Coast Canada.


06 Feb 2008 
Love this apple. This is the first year I've ever even seen it and tried it on a whim. It quickly became an obsession. They are not around in this area any longer (February) but I sure hope they come back next year!



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Sometimes marketed as Honey Crisp, this is a crisp, and predominantly sweet, modern variety from the USA. It was developed by the University of Minnesota specifically for growers in cold climates, and is one of the most cold-hardy of apple varieties.

Honeycrisp phototape

Origins

  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Parentage: Keepsake; (MN447 x Northern Spy) x unknown
  • Originates from: Minnesota, United States
  • Introduced: 1960s
  • Developed by: University of Minnesota
  • Orange Pippin Cultivar ID: 1123

Identification

  • Fruit colour: Red
  • Flesh colour: White to Cream, pale yellow
  • Fruit size: Medium
  • Bultitude apple group: 6. Red flushed, smooth, sweet

Using

  • Uses: Eat fresh
  • Flavour quality: Good
  • Flavour style: Sweeter
  • Harvest period: Mid-Late season
  • Use / keeping: 3 months or more

Growing

  • Flowering group: 4
  • Fertility: Self-sterile
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Vigour: Weak growing
  • Gardening skill: Average
  • Precocity: Precocious
  • Attractive features: Attractive fruit
  • Period of origin: 1950 - 1999

Climate

  • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
  • Climate suitability: Tolerates cold winters
  • Climate suitability: Warm climates

Disease resistance

  • Scab  - Very resistant
  • Fireblight  - Some resistance
  • Mildew  - Some susceptibility
  • Cedar apple rust  - Some susceptibility
  • Bitter pit  - Some susceptibility

Relationships to other varieties

Parents and other ancestors of this variety:

Offspring of this variety:

References and further reading about this variety

  • Cedar-Apple Rust  
    Author: Stephen Vann, University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture (FSA7538)
    Rated as susceptible - control usually needed where CAR is prevalent.

Honeycrisp identification photos from website visitors


Honeycrisp apples
Honeycrisp apples


Fruit tree register

Do you have a tree of this variety in your garden or orchard? If so please register the details here and contribute to our international register of fruit trees.

The following Honeycrisp trees have been registered - click the name to view more details of each tree.

You can also view these trees on a map.

United States

United Kingdom

Italy

  • Ken in PORLEZZA, ITALIA

Canada



Latest Spring blossom records for this variety

2014 season

  • 16th May  2014  - tree owned by Brenda in MARION, United States
  • 10th May  2014  - tree owned by Don in TWISP, United States
  • May  2014  - tree owned by Ironwood in WEST CONCORD, United States

2013 season

  • 5th June  2013  - tree owned by Kathy in CARRINGTON, United States
  • 15th May  2013  - tree owned by Mike in WESTFIELD, United States
  • 14th May  2013  - tree owned by Jeff in ELKO, United States
  • 4th May  2013  - tree owned by Mark in WEST SENEA, United States
  • 1st May  2013  - tree owned by Cody in ROCHESTER, United States
  • May  2013  - tree owned by Keith in RYE, United States
  • May  2013  - tree owned by Don in TWISP, United States
  • May  2013  - tree owned by Cheri in PLOVER, United States
  • 30th April  2013  - tree owned by Florian in Brush Prairie, United States

2012 season

  • 9th June  2012  - tree owned by Robert in OAK HARBOR, United States
  • 9th May  2012  - tree owned by James in ESTACADA, United States
  • 7th May  2012  - tree owned by Florian in Brush Prairie, United States
  • 2nd May  2012  - tree owned by Steve in FERNDALE, United States
  • May  2012  - tree owned by Cheri in PLOVER, United States
  • 27th April  2012  - tree owned by David in MESA, United States
  • 20th April  2012  - tree owned by Chuck in WORTHINGTON, United States

2010 season

  • 20th April  2010  - tree owned by Bren in NEW VIRGINIA, United States

Record your blossom dates in our Fruit Tree Register - more >>.

Latest harvest records for this variety

2014 season

  • 4th week September  2014  - tree owned by Ironwood in WEST CONCORD, United States
  • 4th week August  2014  - tree owned by Brenda in MARION, United States

2013 season

  • 2nd week October  2013  - tree owned by Don in TWISP, United States
  • 2nd week October  2013  - tree owned by Cheri in PLOVER, United States
  • 1st week October  2013  - tree owned by Kathy in CARRINGTON, United States
  • 3rd week September  2013  - tree owned by Cody in ROCHESTER, United States
  • 2nd week August  2013  - tree owned by Bill in SACRAMENTO, United States

2012 season

  • 2nd week October  2012  - tree owned by James in ESTACADA, United States
  • 1st week October  2012  - tree owned by Steve in FERNDALE, United States
  • September  2012  - tree owned by Phil in WINNECONNE, United States
  • 2nd week August  2012  - tree owned by Lloyd in BEAVERTON, United States

2010 season

  • 3rd week September  2010  - tree owned by Joey in CABINS, United States

Where to buy apple trees

The following fruit tree nurseries offer Honeycrisp apple trees for sale:

Where to buy apples

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