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All about apples, pears, plums, and cherries - and orchards where they are grown

Cosmic CrispTM apple

Malus domestica

Cosmic Crisp is a new large apple variety, known during its long development period as WA38. It was introduced to growers in 2016 and first shipments to consumers are expected in 2019.

WA38 was developed at Washington State University (WSU) by Bruce Barritt, who led its apple-breeding program in the 1990s.  It was one of thousands of crosses between Enterprise and Honeycrisp - the former known for its storage and disease-resistance, the latter wildly popular in the USA for its crisp crunchy texture. The marketing objective for Cosmic Crisp is clearly to try to achieve the same success that Honeycrisp enjoyed when it first arrived.

Like many new apple varieties Cosmic Crisp is trademarked and only licensed growers can plant trees. Interestingly, when it was first released, Cosmic Crisp was only available to growers in the state of Washington - and although millions of trees have been planted in a very short time in Washington, the idea was to keep Cosmic Crisp as a premium variety.

Like most apple varieties Cosmic Crisp is not self-fertile. WSU recommend late-flowering crab-apple pollinators, and fruit set on Cosmic Crisp is lower than most varieties so thinning of the fruitlets is not usually needed.

More information about the horticultural characteristics of Cosmic Crisp from WSU.

USDA identification images for Cosmic Crisp

The identification paintings in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection span the years 1886 to 1942.

    Citation: U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705.

    Parents and other ancestors of this variety

    Visitor reviews

    • 20 Apr 2024 
      This apple variety seems to be quite delicious! The two I've had were both superb, tasting exactly how I think apples should (sweet with a little acidity) with fantastic texture all the way through. They're also very large, so there's more apple per apple to enjoy.
    • 26 Feb 2024  WA, United States
      The first Cosmic Crisp I had in 2019 was awful - an almost chemical, unnatural taste, with a waxy outside and a mealy inside. The current Cosmic Crisp is much better. I'd prefer if it was a bit more tart than overly sweet, but still a good quality eating apple.
    • 20 Nov 2023 
      Meh. I love Honeycrisp, but then discovered Empire and Macoun recently. Those being far less expensive, I was astounded at the flavors! But this Cosmic Crisp? It's sort of like a weak version of Honeycrisp. As if someone left a glass of cola with ice in it on the table for a couple hours... cola like, but heavily watered down.
    • 27 Jan 2023 
      Fantastic apple in taste (mostly sweet; some tartness), crispness, appeal and longevity in storage. The #1 apple in our household as it's the one worth fighting for. The negative reviews make no sense unless the individuals got the 'bad apple' from the crop or didn't take the time to pick them out individually in the store visually inspecting for blemishes, bruises, cuts, etc. as one can avoid a myriad of issues by being a careful shopper.
    • 23 Sep 2022 
      This is an outstanding apple. It's crisp, sweet, juicy and beautiful too
    • 16 Mar 2022 
      Crisp and juicy with a sweet-tart flavor. Amazing how it doesn't brown! Easily my favorite apple.
    • 24 Feb 2022 
      The Cosmic Crisp was easily one of the best apples I have ever eaten. The flavor was a good balance of sweet and tart. The bold claim of a year of shelf life in the fridge would be superb, however the apples tend to be higher priced at the store. That's to be expected considering the development cost and the expense of growing the apples. Overall, I think worth a purchase, and will become a regular in the rotation of apples in my home, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, and now Cosmic Crisp.
    • 28 Jul 2021  SOUTH DAKOTA/BROWN, United States
      Judging by the one Apple I’ve had … Amazing. Crisp, juicy, snaps when you bite it. Haven’t seen them here yet, this one was given to me. I’ll watch for them.
    • 09 May 2021  MD, United States
      When I first had these, they were CRISP and tangy. This year they are easier to find and < 2.50/lb, but the crunch is gone and they are somewhat bland. Not as tangy, crispy or juicy.
    • 14 Feb 2021  CALIFORNIA, United States
      I had two opportunities to taste this apple. The first was early in 2020 when this variety first became available. After that tasting, I would have rated it at 5 out of 5 stars, hands down. It was by far the best-tasting apple that I'd bought from a grocery store in many years, blowing all of the other commercial varieties out of the water. The texture was extremely crisp and juicy as promised, and the flavor was very sweet, very tart, and a tad more complex than the watery storebought apples. I would have still picked a good farmer's market apple over this, but that's not the class these apples fall under. HOWEVER.... I bought a few this year (early 2021) when I saw them available again, expecting them to be just as good as last year. I was extremely disappointed with the apples I got. They tasted completely bland with no tartness, just moderate single-note sweetness, absolutely no complexity, and a texture that was technically still crisp but not at all enchanting. The skin even felt a bit soft and when squeezed the apple seemed slightly spongy and wilted. In short, they tasted exactly like an apple that has been sitting in storage for over a year that's lost all of its flavor and appeal. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if the apples I'm seeing in stores now are from the same harvest as the apples I bought last spring. This was my biggest concern with this variety, and what I suspect may be its downfall: they're most likely a delicious, reliable apple when sold fresh off the tree, but since they were specifically bred to have an exceedingly long shelf life, most of what you can find in stores will have been stored for many, many, many months. I would still happily buy this apple fresh from a farmer's market or even grow it in my yard when they become available, but I won't be buying any more from the grocery store.
    • 30 Jan 2021  WA, United States
      I bought three and each had a section that was bitter. About a third of the apple. It is not a pleasant taste and I spit it out. I am very sensitive to food - will not buy again.
    • 25 Jan 2021  OKLAHOMA, United States
      Bitter! Bitter is not a taste I have ever experienced in an apple. It is so odd one thinks of it as a poison apple. Although the apple is juicy and crispy, the apple taste is mild and nothing special. Cosmically odd.
    • 15 Jan 2021  WA, United States
      Terrible bitter taste that lasts for minuets after eating, particularly in the skin. It was like eating an apple that was injected with soap or some other bitter chemical. Threw it away after 3 bites. Perhaps it was smoke damage from the 2020 fires.
    • 14 Jan 2021  WASHINGTON., United States
      Rather ordinary with odd aftertaste. Won't buy anymore at any price. Not sure what to do with the other two in the fridge.
    • 29 Dec 2020  ONTARIO, Canada
      strong chemical taste that i thought might be harmful. after paying 5.46 for 2 apples as a Christmas treat I threw them in the garbage.
    • 17 Feb 2020  UT, United States
      Eat them on the way home from the store before they go bad.
    • 16 Jan 2020  FL, United States
      I consider myself somewhat of a apple connoisseur, if been eating them for over 60years. Been waiting a long time to try the cosmic crisps, I have to say it was a big let down. Honestly doesn't make top 5.
    • 05 Jan 2020  OR, United States
      Wonderful apple. Will make this my usual eating apple (previous was Honeycrisp). I usually only eat 1/2 at a time and put the uneaten have in a vacuum bag in the refrigerator. After about a week I went for the saved half. The vacuum bag had failed and the apple had been exposed to air. Absolutely no discoloration, blemishes, softness or loss of texture or flavor.
    • 17 Dec 2019  CT, United States
      Mottled ruby red and golden delicious skin with attractive starry-night lenticels. Texture is shatteringly crisp with a good amount of juice. Flesh is creamy white, doesn't oxidize quickly. Flavor is a little bland and one-note, doesn't have the same fragrance as other varieties. Caveat: the apple sampled may have been under-ripe (yellow-green around the stem), so the dominant flavor was tartness.
    • 16 Dec 2019  OH, United States
      Beautiful. Very firm & crisp, not at all mealy, as expected. Flavor profile is more of a straight-ahead, Macintosh kind of sugary sweetness with a little less of the slight tart notes that I prefer in the honeycrisp. I still prefer the ancestor, but many will like this one more. An exceptional variety. A+ without a doubt.
    • 15 Dec 2019  IDAHO, United States
      Very sweet. Very sour. Very crisp. Very juicy. A bit crass and a bit boring. Like a honeycrisp but more sour. A mass market apple for sure.
    • 13 Dec 2019  IOWA, United States
      Skunky taste when cooked in oatmeal

    Tree register

    United States


    Spring blossom records for this variety

    2020 season

    • 10th May  2020  - tree owned by Tracy in Ravensdale, United States

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


    • Species: Malus domestica - Apple
    • Parentage: Enterprise x Honeycrisp
    • Originates from: United States
    • Introduced: 2016
    • Developed by: Bruce Barritt, Washington State University


    • Country of origin: United States
    • Period of origin: 1950 - 1999
    • Fruit colour: Red
    • Flesh colour: White
    • Fruit size: Large
    • Alleles: 5
    • Alleles: 24


    • Picking season: Late
    • Keeping (of fruit): 3 months or more
    • Flavour quality: Good
    • Flavour style (apples): Sweet/Sharp
    • Cropping: Good
    • Food uses: Eating fresh


    • Gardening skill: Average
    • Flowering group: 4
    • Pollinating others: Average
    • Ploidy: Diploid
    • Vigour: Slightly small
    • Precocity: Precocious
    • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile

    Where to buy fresh fruit

    No orchards have registered as growing this variety. If you grow this and want to register please go to our Orchard Registration form.

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