McIntosh Apple Review

"A Seal-Skinned Canadian Letdown"

Horse Food
McIntosh Apple

The National Apple of Canada, this dense curling stone has the refreshing tart kick of an icy northern winter. Unfortunately, it comes dressed for the cold, with a caribou-skin Inuit parka snuggly protecting the interior of its grainy snow-white flesh. Beware – this tumour-swollen reindeer nose has perhaps the thickest most intractable skin of any apple this side of the Prime Meridian. In fact, in an emergency, the McIntosh apple could be hollowed out and used as a makeshift shelter appropriate for the harshest of arctic storms.

The McIntosh gets a massive branding boost by being the eponymous apple of Macintosh computers. For fans of Apple, this is an egregious misnomer, denigrating a quality product. For Apple haters, the McIntosh apple is a suitable analog for a sub-par computer that fails to impress.





Red Apple Icon



Red Apple Icon



Red Apple Icon




Ontario, Canada


Early 19th Century


Late Fall – Spring




McIntosh Red, Mac

45 thoughts on “McIntosh Apple Review”

    1. SO TRUE fresh ripe Macintosh apples are so good. Also hot take but the tartness, tough skin and the texture of the flesh combined is really good actually

    2. I agree. Macintosh and Cosmic Crisp are my top two favorite.
      Macintosh unfortunately does not keep well, and is notorious for going soft on you.

    3. I agree with your review. Picked and stored right McIntosh are favored by many. But as the harder crisper varieties make it into crispers by another generation McIntosh is falling behind a bit. But people like my motherinlaw you could have offered her a free bushel of Honeycrisp and she would turn them down needing those McIntosh to make her pies.

      I will say that people who love McIntosh are serious, devoted, McIntoshers and know and love their old friend.

  1. McIntosh have that wonderful aroma and sweet taste when ripe and after being stored for a while, Yes they have lost their “crunch” by then, but if I wanted “crunch” I would eat celery sticks. I have been greatly disapointed by all other apples I have eaten. I wonder why I even bother.

  2. Just imagine cancel culture for apples. This weekend, Macs are 79 cents a pound and they are very available and tasty too. I love them and so do my horses. And that’s not marketing you are ranking but history, tradition, nostalgia. There’s a big flavour. The skin is good for you.
    What about Northern Spys?

      1. I was also looking for your review of the Northern Spy and also the Spartan I think you need to take a trip up North to Canada to taste a fresh off the tree Mac and also to try some of our other varieties!

  3. The local McIntosh apples are so so so good, especially right off the trees during a cold autumn day
    The skin is very good too, I’m wondering what kind of McIntosh apples you’ve been eating….

  4. I don’t know what the fuck kind of McIntoshes you are eating. Pick one off a tree and take a bite. Sweet and delicious. If you have trouble biting through the skin you need to see a dentist.

  5. When I was a kid in Manitoba in the 90s my parents bought mostly Spartan apples, which are apparently a cross between McIntosh and an unknown parent. Did anyone else eat these? Were they as bitter and grainy as I remember? The texture was absolutely wretched.

    1. I grew up on Vancouver Island and I love Spartan apples (Appleist please review). The problem with Spartans is their complete lack of any shelf life to speak of; Nothing compares to a freshly-picked Spartan, but if you don’t grow your own or get extremely lucky while shopping, they very quickly degrade into a mealy disappointment. That being said, I’ve had as many if not more bad Spartans than I have good ones, and I totally see where you’re coming from. Also, I think I heard somewhere that apparently the other parent was a Newtown Pippin?

  6. I actually really like the graininess of macintosh apples. Any recommendations for apples with a similar mouth feel?

  7. I once had an Acey Mac. My favorite store bought apple of all time. Never seen it again.

    Macs are great fresh, as are Cortland. Neither stands up when shipped though.

  8. thank you dave! i disagree with you on this one, though! mcintosh is definitely one of the apples you can buy at the store! i know how to buy gasoline and milk!

  9. When in season the Mcintosh is THE best eating apple. Sweet, crisp, just the right tartness, super juicy, thin skin. Just gorgeous. Spartans are similar but they are crossed with something like a jazz or ambrosia apple, so good enough if you cant find a mcintosh but i find they get bruised and spoil faster.

  10. I’m honestly shocked and dismayed to read the review and see the score. You rated the vile McIntosh so much higher than it deserved to be. Truly one of the worst I’ve ever had

  11. Reading this review, I couldn’t help but lose it laughing, because this is absolutely true for me. When I was growing up, my Mother would buy specifically McIntosh apples to make apple crisp or apple pie, and that was all they were used for, until they disappeared from stores. A few years back, the elusive McIntosh reappeared so I decided to buy one and give it a try without the cover of brown sugar, butter, and oats. Most disappointing experience ever. I’m wondering if it didn’t survive the transportation process.

  12. This is like comic nuts ranking superheroes. Can Superman beat Shazaam? Yes, then why can’t Superman beat Black Adam (the black Shazaam)?
    I don’t know, but more importantly I don’t really care, because I like Macs. I buy Macs, almost exclusively. I’ve eaten, at best, a dozen of those varieties. Almost all of them fall into the category of “They’re apples but they’re not Macs,” which interestingly enough is the category into which all the varieties I haven’t eaten fall.
    The few that don’t fall into that category are Red Delicious — “won’t buy, won’t eat” category, and Granny Smith — “I’ll eat these again the next time I’m in Africa because they’re the best (almost only) apple you can get in Africa” category.
    Though I’m curious why you don’t rate Ida Red, Northern Spy, Spartan, and a couple others readily available in my grocery stores. Perhaps because few apple varieties are “global” products in the manner they are treated here.
    Since for me, the best apple discussion is settled, I’d rather talk about ranking superheroes, but only if someone insists on talking best apples.
    More than enough said.

  13. I laughed so hard at this review even as I take offense to you denigrating one of my favorite apples. There is nothing like a fresh McIntosh. I’ve tried many kinds of apples and I’ve yet to find anything that has the same balance of sweetness and tartness of a Mac. I will admit that their skins are a bit tough though. You know you found a bad/old one when you can’t even grind the skin down with your back teeth.

    (Also I’m a PC person and hate that a computer company has coopted the name of a beloved fruit.)

  14. The Macintosh is appledom’s sweet paradox. When they are fresh, there is no apple better, in my opinion. So tart it’ll turn your face inside out. Mere moments after their prime, however, they are truly the worst. I have residual childhood trauma from Macs being literally the only fruit in winter, mushy binned apples that are months old, eaten outside in the snow at recess, their texture not improved by having banged around in a metal lunchbox for hours.

  15. I guess these apples aren’t nearly as ambrosiesque as the more popular varieties, but I think the diminutive size and tart flavour have charm! It certainly has its own unique flavour.

    Or maybe i’m a Canadian who’s experiencing their very first bout of cultural indignation?

  16. My Uncle lived by the apple orchards in Rougemont Quebec. McIntosh are the best especially straight from the tree.
    Whoever this dude is who wrote this doesn’t know the different between apples and road apples.
    This site is worthless lol

  17. You must live in the southern part of the U.S. A mac will never taste good if it’s shipped. I lived in New England for a few years and went picking and they are absolutely awesome straight off the tree… Bought some in New Mexico and they were trash. They just don’t survive….. eat local I guess!

      1. my bad, i misread it; he grew up in new york, but currently lives in california. i don’t know which location he was in when he tried the mickeytush though so for all i know it might not even be relevant.

  18. Totally 100% agree! PURE HORSE FEED! As generic tasting as boil-everything-in-water Irish cooking. It is the most mediocre, generic white Joe and Susie apple of all apples whether picked off the tree or bought at the grocers. Most overrated apple. Most overrated apple in Canada. If they named it the Wambamba or didn’t originate from Canada, they’d be hating on this bland apple like roided-up hockey players. If the McIntosh name weren’t there, they wouldn’t touch it. Trust me. If the apple was named American Eagle, Quebec Red, or any other name other than some Irish surname, these apples would be horse feed right off the truck.

  19. I’ve lived in Canada my whole life, and I’ve had more than my fair share of these apples. I can honestly say, with zero exaggeration that eating this apple has never once been a pleasant experience. There is nothing this apple does well, makes me ashamed to be a Canadian

  20. loststolenorstrayed

    Try the Salish apple for a better canadian variety. Tart, crunchy & thin-skinned. They also take a while longer to brown than other apples I’ve had.

  21. Macintosh apples make great cider fresh or hard. And if they are very fresh they are wonderful in every way: tart, crisp, and flavorful. Supermarket ones tent to be not free enough, also a problem with Cortland and Macoun.

  22. Still looking for an apple that cooks up as well as a McIntosh for apple pie or apple sauce. Sure, it’s not a great snacking apple, but nothing seems better in sweets.

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