SweeTango Apple Review

"The Holy Grail"

97
Nearly Perfect
SweeTango Apple

Selectively bred to snap like a sweet piece of celery, this apple, available only in September and October (if we’re lucky) in certain super markets is the best apple ever to grace the world of Gods and men. A gifted child of the spectacular Honeycrisp and elusive Zestar!, this nearly immaculate treasure, that inspires poetry, was blessed with the greatest qualities of both its parents but manages to avoid any of their unfortunate flaws. If this was the apple that tempted Eve in the garden of Eden I wouldn’t blame her; for the taste of just one SweeTango is worth living through 1000 painful childbirths.

The one downside of the SweeTango – other than needlessly lopping off the “T” from “Sweet” to form the repulsively frolicsome word “Swee” – is its paltry robustness. Get these apples before November 1 or you’ll be cursing my name as you bite into a hollowed out balloon of an apple. And, if in the Western Hemisphere, don’t be fooled into buying New Zealand SweeTangos in the winter – they can’t handle the trip. 

BONUS POINTS: +2 Taste, +1 Crispness, +1 Flesh

Taste
Crispness
Skin
Flesh
Juiciness
Density
Beauty
Branding / Consistency
Cost / Availability

- FLAVOR PROFILE -

SWEETNESS

5/5

Red Apple Icon
5/5

TARTNESS

3/5

Red Apple Icon
3/5

INTENSITY

4/5

Red Apple Icon
4/5
SWEETANGO BIO

PARENTAGE

Honeycrisp x Zestar!

ORIGIN

Minnesota, USA

YEAR

2005

AVAILABILITY

Early Fall

BEST USES

Munching, Some Baking

OTHER NAMES

Minneiska

103 thoughts on “SweeTango Apple Review”

  1. excelsior and trumpets, the sweetango is the true champion of all apples! for the longest time i thought i just didnt like apples – turns out that was hogwash aka red delicious. sweetango completely changed the game for me, and now i look forward to the next available batch every fall! wish they were around all year long!

        1. help i am choking and i have no other way to communicate this other than thought the comments on applerankings.com

          ok big orange

  2. Someone needs to clue me in here. I just purchased some of these two weeks ago, as I had never seen them before, and they were absolutely terrible. I mean just awful bad. They had very little snap, the flesh was gritty like a pear, and there was zero flavor. A red delicious tastes better, and you couldn’t pay me to eat those. The only thing this apple had going was a massive amount of juice, which was just as empty as the fruit. You put down the Hunnyz apple and champion this fruit? I’ll take about two dozen varieties over this monstrosity any day of the week.

    1. It sounds like you maybe got a bad batch of apples! If in the US, December is very late in the SweeTango Apple season and I try to review all apples when they are at their best. Try them again next year in September and see if they’re any better.

      1. Nope, I bought some 2 weeks ago and they were just bad. Full description:

        – mealy
        – large in size
        – sweet
        – flavor was shallow and strangely “acidic”.

        It had the same sticker label as the pictured one too. Only a little better than Red Delicious. It was on the bad end of mediocre.

        Lady Alice in 2022 on the other hand were some of the best apples I’ve ever had, but this year (2023) they taste like a completely different apple (still good, but tart and that’s not my taste–I prefer “robust/round” flavors with less acidity). From the same grocery store and local grower too.

        Apple cultivars are completely meaningless most of the time, only Fujis and the supermarket trio (Red Del, Golden Del, and Granny Smith) have any sort of real consistency for me over the years. Even then I’ve seen straggler Fujis that look and taste nothing like them either.

        1. This man speaking facts… The first time I had Lady Alice prior to 2020 was amazing. The tartness, the taste of pear, the juiciness, it immediately became my go-to when available. Few years later, I can only get a good batch once in awhile.

    2. Your issue could be that you bought them in December, when they are out of season. Get them before November 1, as noted in the review, and you may have a better experience!

  3. Please stop using the term “genetically engineered” to describe this apple. Selective breeding is NOT genetic engineering. The only GMO apples on the market in the US are the “Arctic” GMO versions of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious. Tha vast majority of consumers avoid GMOs when given the choice.

    1. It’s kind of a shame! We could have non-browning variants of all apples if consumers were more open to GMOs and not suffering for a few decades of fearmongering/marketing by food producers and businesses setting themselves *against* GMOs.

  4. Boy, you weren’t kidding about not eating them late. I finally gave in to the hype last month and picked up a 2 lb bag (the only way they were sold) and they were a bland mushy dumpster fire that I regretted wasting money on. I fed them to my goats. Because of this review (and only because of it!) I will give them another try next year IF I can find them as singles early in the season. I strongly recommend no one buy multiple until they’ve verified that the individual batch is good. Shame on them for continuing to sell them when they’re so far gone – that’s a great way to ruin the brand.

      1. Regardless of how good they actually are at peak, I don’t think they’ll ever displace the Honeycrisp with such inability to hold. The TJ batch I mentioned were the only Honeycrisps I’ve had that didn’t live up to expectations. Come to think of it that’s where I got the SweeTangos too…

      2. I’ve now given them three tries, both this year and last as soon as they hit the shelves (different stores and growers). They certainly weren’t the utter garbage of that first batch but they were nothing to write home about. The texture is the best attribute IF you get them at the peak; they have this sort of low-density foamy crispness that’s very enjoyable. However, flavor is always top priority for me, and these have all fallen short in that regard. Much more tart than sweet with no depth to it. I’d give the profile 2 – 4 – 1. A week after purchase the last apples have noticeably declined in quality compared to the first. I gave them a fair shake and won’t waste my money again.

        1. That’s unfortunate. Perhaps they are not consistent from farm to farm. I just finished off a peck and loved every sweet morsel. I love that they are resistant to browning, making them perfect for a cheese platter.

  5. SweeTango apples are my favorites, but I noticed that last year’s (Fall 2021) SweeTango apples weren’t as crisp as they usually are and the flavor wasn’t as good. Some were better than others and I bought them several times.

  6. Absolutely amazing apple WHEN IT’S FRESH. This apple, however, goes bad quickly… if it isn’t recently picked, don’t even think about it; it becomes a totally different apple.

      1. Found your site as I sat eating a rather mediocre Piñata apple. (The name was enticing and I wanted to know more.) Decided to find your highest ranked apple, SweeTango, and discovered it is an offspring of Zestar. I planted a Zestar a three years ago. I cluelessly bought it at the closeout season at the farm store’s garden area, and it was one of the few tree left, marked down in price. Wowzers! The Zestar is delicious! Everyone who has had one from our tree immediately exclaims, “This is the best apple I have ever eaten!” What fortune to have gotten it, and maybe because people were unfamiliar with the name and passed over it. Thanks for the website. A great go-to for information.

  7. these are some of the most hilarious (and kind of scandalous) reviews of apples I’ve ever read! you should review more heirloom varieties–Cox Pippin/Queen Cox, Hudsons Golden Gem, Ashmeads Kernal! Thanks from saving me from buying a Newton Pippin lol!

      1. I have not tried the SweeTango yet but my all time favorite is a cross of Fuji and Mutsu called Hokuto. Picked here in November after the first frost, is like eating crunchy apple sugar (your hands will be sticky from all the syrup that escapes your bite.). Somewhat large with water core that is very firm and the whole apple looks translucent when ready.

  8. I think I just got an old one. Meaning, it is one of last years and it is gross. Not as bad as some other varieties at this stage, but noticeable not fresh.

  9. SweeTango’s are my absolute favorite apples, I had them for the first time back in 2020 after I bought a big bag from SAMS on a whim. I’ve been eagerly awaiting them this year but cannot find them ANYWHERE! We’re in a new area (previously were in the southeast, now in New England), and I’ve looked at SAMS, Walmart, ShopRite, Target, and Costco. Hoping I can find some to enjoy before the end of the season!

    1. Hannaford up in Maine had them this fall; I don’t know where you are in New England, but if you have a Hannaford, that might be a good place to start!

  10. I was in a desperate search for my favorite snack, the rockit apple. Couldn’t find it so picked up these weird little Sweetango apples. Wow. Worst fruit I’ve ever had the misfortune to put into my mouth. I was afraid for a moment that I might be playing snow white and it had been poisoned by the evil queen.. but since I didn’t die I finished it as I had been taught to do. Absolute let down on the promises printed on the 2 lb bag. Sure, a little crispness in the skin, A LOT of TART in the flesh, well, let me correct that, not tartness just SOUR. I’m so depressed, I may have to give up apples altogether after this humongous mistake of an apple. Beware.

    1. Bought a box middle of November 2022 for my husband. Costco had them for $9.99 for an 8 pk. My husband really enjoyed the crispness of the apple. (Lancaster, PA)

  11. Come winter, are we not all less vibrant and more than a bit weathered? Please do not blame SweeTango for what is out of its control! Blame the human, not the apple. At its very best, I rate it a solid 100. I was fortunate to take my first bite in September when SweeTango was thriving. Now here in October, SweeTango looks a bit worse for wear, with bruised & blemished skin, but its still giving all the crunch, tang and juicy sweetness that it did when we were first introduced. I truly believe that its imperfections contribute to it being the perfect apple. I feel like its shabby appearance makes it somewhat relatable. I didn’t know I wanted to connect with an apple in that way, but I did and I hold SweeTango high above the rest.

  12. I just got these apples today( october 12) at the store. Since they were new and I have never seen seen them before. I have to tell you these sweetango are amazing! They’re really juicy and crispy and I can taste the citrus. If you read the description it says spicy I guess I can see how they’re spicy but there’s not actually like a spicy taste. Although I just bought them today so I’m not sure how long they can go before they get bad. Although they didn’t come singular and we’re super expensive for just 1 lb. But they’re so good I love them!!!!

    1. Congratulations! I’m very happy you stumbled across the SweeTango. I definitely wouldn’t describe them as spicy either. Spicy usually denotes flavors you might find in a cider like cinnamon and the SweeTango certainly does not have that type of flavor. Whoever put that in the description should be suspended from adjectives for 3-4 weeks.

      1. I dared to purchase these for the first time in memory in early February. I wish I had heeded the warning provided in the review and by all others here. Skin was crisp but the rest was almost like a mushy pear. Slightly juicy with some sweetness but super bland. This was the same even after throwing one in the fridge hoping to make it better. I will seek these out diligently next year, earlier in the season. For now, I will stick with the ever delicious Honeycrisp.

  13. Just got a soggy bag from Trader Joe’s. 🙁 Maybe next year I’ll get to try the elusive Sweetango. Until then, I’ll stick with Honeycrisp. Expensive but reliable.

  14. I was skeptical of the enthusiasm surrounding the SweeTango, but I’m pleased to report that every bit of the hype is well deserved. I found some today at my local Wegman’s, and although I was prepared for disappointment given that it’s nearing the end of their season, I was blown away by the deliciousness. I’m already sad, both that the season is so short in general and that I hadn’t gotten to them sooner this year. I’ll definitely be getting more this weekend while I still can.

  15. ur dumb website made me buy apples! when’s the last time I ever did that? if this is some kind of next level marketing trick it worked!! anyway I was looking for some kanzi apples and this is all I could find in my little podunk ass town, and they’re out of season according to the comments. not these ones!! super crisp and sweet!!! pretty similar to honeycrisp, and just as expensive-but now that all my other favorite snacks are also expensive, I guess I’m eating apples again!

  16. Minor bookkeeping note – the non-honeycrisp parent of the sweetango is Zestar! (exclamation point included). Maybe you haven’t been able to find a Zestar! because you haven’t sounded excited enough?

      1. I just got a bag of Zestar! apples at the farmers market (new variety for me) and they had wonderful flavor, a bit soft but overall very tasty!

  17. I have been preaching the virtues of these apples since the first day I tried one and have turned many people on to these amazing apples. I just stumbled upon this site and I feel so vindicated. I knew that this was the best apple. I knew I had good apple taste. Thank you for validating me

  18. Saw these at my local grocery store and picked them up. Eating one now – and this is really good despite your recommendation to eat them earlier in the fall!

  19. We picked up a cute, handled paper bag of these at ALDI last week. The Honeycrisp appearance drew me to them. SweeTango might be
    the best apple I’ve ever tasted. They had perfect texture and the right amount of tart. I’d describe the flavor as mostly Honeycrisp with a bit
    of Pink Lady, though I’m aware PL is not in the mix. The bag said “Michigan Grown”, so congrats Michigan!

  20. I’ve been buying these at Aldi and Sam’s club this year. Maybe it’s me, but I think they were better last year. Now I’ve got Envy’s and I rate them at least equal.

  21. Found these at the local grocery just recently and was surprised cause I recalled seeing this site page and the mention of these. it’s almost the end of November but they taste amazing so I guess I got lucky? Honeycrisp has always been my favorite but these are snappy in a way that I really like!

    truly a great apple, happy that I committed to get some 🙂

  22. These were TERRIBLE here last year. I was so sad because they’re usually really good. I typically devour them alongside sugarbee- which was also VERY subpar last year.

    After being so betrayed- I haven’t been brave enough to reunite with this star-sparkle wonder yet, this year, and it’s probably too late in the season, now, so I’m gobbling a great batch of piñatas , instead.

  23. Oh boy, did you lead me astray! I bought a 2lb bag cause I figured I’d eat them all since they’re “the best.” They were so disappointing! Barely any flavor. Softer than your dad. The only thing they had going for them was that they were pretty juicy. I actually bought a second bag a few weeks later, thinking I must have been wrong. NOPE. Same problems. But actually less juicy this time. I hope one day I get to try one of the elusive good ones.

  24. Just bought some in NYC today for first time and they were very good even though it’s December 6th!
    I assume flavor would be richer earlier in season, but they were perfectly crisp and had some subtle citrus flavor.

  25. The platonic ideal. I agree they aren’t as good this year as they have been in previous years, though. I hope that trend reverses itself.

  26. Got a surprisingly good bag of these at the store today in *December*!! I see why you rated these so high; even at the tail end of them being in season this batch is super good, very juicy and flavorful with a fine crunchy texture. Hopefully I can eat through the bag before they go bad!

  27. My first thought when finding this website was “what is the best apple” however after learning of it being mostly available in the west, i assumed i was just out of luck and would have to wait years before trying the legendary SweeTango. Then, on a seemingly ordinary trip to the grocery store, i found the holy grail. I was critical at first as this is Florida in mid-december, hardly SweeTango territory, but the flesh seemed firm enough so i took the risk and bought two.

    i was genuinely scared to take that first bite. but that crunch. oh my lord it was as if i had bit into a branch from the devil’s apple itself. the sweet aromatic juice filled my mouth with flavors both familiar and new. sweet like honeycrisp (who i’ve been very critical of) with a hint of spice and zesty pizzazz in its after taste. like biting into a hive of honey bees and each sting is injecting your taste buds with a shock of sugary sweetness and citrusy zest. however, she was lacking the tartness that puts pink lady at the top of my list, and for that the crown remains with the lady in pink. i do believe that if i had one closer to their actual season it’d have been even better but for a first taste, that was an amazing fucking apple

  28. rockit_apple_lover

    this is absolute blasphemy, sweetango apples are grainy, and the flavor is slightly above average, it is imperitave you try rockit apples to experience the holy experience of that great apple than this honeycrisp-apple wannabe.

  29. i first want to say that i love the site. both the urban farmer and fruit loving child in me are reeling in joy. i would like to make one suggestion though. it IS customary for growers in the US, organic and non, to treat apples, which already have an excellent shelf-life, with 1-methylcyclopropene and store them for months at a time. most consumers end up eating apples that are quite literally a year old at market (a completely safe and delicious way to enjoy apples out of season, i assure you). i do think it would be worth it to take this into consideration in your reviews. how well an apple holds its flavor, consistency, juiciness, etc over an extended time are all relevant and a part of being an apple. i would love to know which off-season apples taste as nice as their in-season counterparts.

    1. What’s your definition of “excellent shelf life”? Untreated apples go downhill within a few days to a week at room temp, depending on variety. With treatment and cold storage Envy and Cosmic Crisp are two of the best holders in my experience. Envy improves for several months, losing their hardness and with more balanced flavor, but pass their peak going into spring. Cosmic Crisp are still excellent by that point. I switch my focus to in-season fruit as summer approaches so I don’t know whether they hold out all the way through, but it’s an exceptional span for any fruit IMHO.

  30. My family and I love the sweetango apples, they are crisp very good!!! we’ve been purchasing them at Trader’s Joes to us they are delicious.

  31. Swee Tango is the worst, sourest apple I’ve ever eaten. The others in the bag will need to be cooked with a sweetener. Very disappointed as mid February is usually a good time to buy new seasons apples here in New Zealand. Never again. Absolutely cannot recommend. And no crunchier than most other fresh apples.

  32. Oh snap! Last time I saw this review, I swear the SweeTango scored lower than 97. Very impressive.
    (Separately, I would like to request a category for all the children of the Honeycrisp because I suspect the Honeycrisp may go the way of the Braeburn/Dodo in the near future)

  33. Man, you were right about not buying SweeTango apples in the winter from New Zealand. What a disappointment!!!

  34. If I see both these and Cosmic Crisp at the grocery store at the same time, I generally go for these.

  35. Android is better

    One fine day, I was minding my own business when I came across a Sweet Tango. Holding the apple, I felt a wave of luxury wash over me as I indulged in the beautiful shape of the red fruit. I was hesitant to even take a bite, not wanting to disturb the beautiful skin of this incredible food. But I couldn’t resist, and so I bit into the apple, and found myself transported to a world of bliss. Everything melted away as I experienced a feeling of pure elegance and irresistible flavor, those sweet chemicals cascading into a beautiful feeling that I had finally breached the gates of heaven. After this, I couldn’t get enough, and I had to have more. The Sweet Tango had me hooked, and I was addicted. After taking all the Sweet Tangos in sight, the cashier tried to kick me out as I hadn’t payed. Yet nothing could stop me, and I made my getaway with a crate of Sweet Tangos in my car’s trunk. I couldn’t return to my own house for fear of the police, so I left and began living in the woods. Eventually I launched an underground apple heist operation and I swiftly became the boss of the Sweet Tango underworld. But then I bit into a honeycrisp and realized it was better. 3/5 meh

  36. I found these at the store in the US this week and decided to give them a try despite the fact that the cost was nearly twice as much as most of the other apples! Overall they were ok but not as good as I expected. They are from New Zealand but they still seemed fresh. The texture was good but flavor was underwhelming.
    So far my favorites are the Snap Dragons and the Pink Ladies.

  37. Low-tier produce clerk here, I must say, I don’t agree at all. Just today we got a fresh batch of SweeTango and Rave Apples, did a side by side with co-workers, everyone preferred Rave (rated at only 80) and instantly when I tasted, sure it’s kinda like a honeycrisp but still prefer honeycrisp, the best thing I could say was this would be a phenomenal baking apple, but as for snacking for taste, something with real taste, try out Rave apples, don’t believe that 80 that’s way to low, those are great, and trust me, I try all the product that comes through because I want to recommend great stuff to customers at Safeway, that’s why I could never recommend SugarBee or lemonade apples but might point towards the cosmic crisps or just a fuji instead.

  38. We have a sweet tango tree! Wonderful apples. We share some with friends every fall. Absolutely a fantastic eating Apple. We grow ours completely organic. If you have space to grow apples, find and plant a sweet tango tree of your own and enjoy. We are coastal Oregon zone 8 and the tree does well.

  39. I bought mine direct from Hiller’s Farm in Burt NY on September 4, 2023. Fantastic flavor, crunchy and juicy. They were labeled “Sweet Tango”.

  40. I bought a bag of these last week from Publix. Maybe they were mislabeled or mishandled during shipment, because they’re not very good at all. Dry, mostly tasteless, mushy and a bit gritty. I’ve had better Red Delicious than these. I went back to buying Envy apples this week. Those have been spot on lately.

  41. Had my first SweeTango in a long time and they’re even better than I remember! It has the perfect apple taste and texture with a hint of tartness that rounds the flavor out. I went to the store today to get some and they were on sale which makes it even better 🙂 I love apples!

  42. Based on your rankings, since September 1 in a suburb of Chicago, I have been seeking, and when available, buying organic Sweetango apples at my local grocery. The first week of them, back in mid September, smallish apples, graduated red to yellow-green color, some a bit mealy, some crisp but only two of six were good apples, despite similar outward appearance. Had moved to Raves, which have popped up in the same season, and they are much more consistent in texture and flavor.

    This week, they had some organic STs of better size. I picked through, finding firm specimens with out bruising. Got one that was oddly squarish, which I’m eating right now. Now that’s a quality apple. Crisp, skin right, sweet, a bit of acid, and some kind of wonderful perfume. Not zesty, not spicy, not winey, but a bit like a pear.

    Today, I got what you’re on about. Shame that it’s with maybe two weeks to go until they go poof. Then it will be back to the Cosmic Crisps, which are consistently good all year long. Freak of nature that apple.

  43. First time visiting your site and thought I’d look up some random apple variety I picked up on a whim at my local grocery store yesterday. I’d never seen a SweeTango before, but the special packaging (and price), hinted that no one was going to that effort for a bland, mealy apple. I was pleasantly kinda shocked to see your score, and sliced one up pronto! It’s mid October now, so maybe toward the end of their season, but that is one beautiful, C R I S P, tasty apple! Unfortunate name, but it lived up to every word you said about it. Looking forward to exploring the site! Many thanks!

  44. You really weren’t kidding about the short shelf life on these apples. I got a bunch in early September that were exactly as you described: juicy, sweet and tart, and flawlessly crisp, and smaller than a lot of other apples which is my preference. I could see why it’s top-ranked.

    But every time I’ve bought them since then they’ve been mushy, almost like the rule should be “buy them before October 1st”. At least the flavor was still good.

  45. I don’t get it. I bought some SweeTangos October 16 from WHOLEFOODS where I’ve discovered some excellent new apple (and grape) varieties. These looked great but the bite is soft and the flavor thin and definitely NOT tangy. Guess I got some losers but I’ll only buy a single to sample next time!

  46. I bought one yesterday. It’s not quite as crisp as you described (we are right at the end of the season, so it makes sense), but it’s still quite crispy and absolutely delicious. You are right. They are the holy grail.

  47. Your review is spot on. Bought some bulk from HEB in late October and they were delicious. I really like the citrus notes.

  48. It is mid November ’23 here in NC. I found 3 lbs bags of some random apples for 4 bucks in Wegmans. Fast forward to the checkout and I was mad the bag rang at 6 bucks. Turned out I picked the wrong apples. Oh boy, that was a great error: I accidentally picked a bag of sweetangos. The perfect size, crisp as new dollar bill, juicy, sweet and nicely balanced with acidity. I thought that were the best apples I’ve ever had. I googled them to check if I was just insane or if other people shared this opinion. I am still not convinced I am not insane but I now know I am not the only one.

  49. what is the point of a site like this? my dad cant seem to find a good apple anymore no matter the breed because of how they all are bad or underwealming crops with very little flavor. he used to eat sweet tangos by the bucket full. is there even a way to find people who still grow the good ones?

  50. I wish I’d seen the date recommendation. I bought a couple in December and they are awful. A bland, watery apple that’s crisp but tasteless. I may try one again next year if I can get them earlier in the season.

  51. My local grocery store regularly carries dozens of varieties throughout the year (when available of course) and they had a lot of this one this season and while it was good and sweet, it is way overrated. Nothing distinguishing flavor-wise. Solid but meh. Certainly better than the King of Trash Red “Delicious”, but nowhere near the never-fail Fuji and fall from my #1 Autumn Glory.

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