Which gadgets help most when you’re prepping apples for snacking or baking? We bought two types, crank style and push style; picked bushels of fruit; and got to work.
Published Dec. 7, 2021. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 23: Pork Chops and Maple Cake
We tested two kinds of apple prep tools, crank style and push style, and found favorites in each category. We think both styles have a place in your kitchen, whether you’re snacking or baking. Our favorite crank-style apple peeler, corer, and slicer is the VKP Brands Johnny Apple Peeler, Suction Base, Stainless Steel Blades, Red. Cast iron and sturdy, it processed fruit in seconds. If you’re making a lot of apple pies or crisps, using this device is the fastest way to create piles of peeled, cored, and uniformly sliced apples that are ready to bake (and the slices are also great to snack on). We also have two recommended push-style apple corers/slicers, which don’t peel apples but do core and cut them into wedges that are ideal for snacking: the Norpro Grip EZ Fruit Wedger, 16 Slices with Base, which cores and slices apples into 16 narrow slices, and the OXO Good Grips Apple Divider, which cores and slices apples into eight chunky wedges. Both are sturdy and sharp and make it easy to core and cut apples into convenient pieces.
Tools that help cooks prepare apples, whether for snacking or baking, are wonderful time-savers, especially during the bounty of apple-picking season. We found two styles: crank style, which peels, cores, and/or slices fruit with the turn of a crank, and push style (shaped like a wagon wheel), which simply cores and slices fruit, leaving the peel on. Push-style devices can be used year-round on both firm and soft fruit (even on ripe pears and less-than-crisp supermarket apples), but the crank style requires crisp, firm apples that will stay anchored on prongs, or the machine won’t work.
Push-style models are best for prepping apple snacks, but our favorite model’s 16 slices are slim enough for pies and tarts, too. If you have room for only one small device that fits in a drawer, this is the most versatile model we tried. The crank models take up a bit more space but are ideal for bakers because you can peel, core, and slice an apple in about 15 seconds. A single cut through the finished apple from top to bottom gives you two stacks of uniform half-circles just right for pies.
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.
Lisa is an executive editor for ATK Reviews, cohost of Gear Heads on YouTube, and gadget expert on TV's America's Test Kitchen.