The Best Apple Peeler for You, According to Our Test Kitchen

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Sick of peeling apples by hand? So are we! That's why our Test Kitchen tried four common apple peelers to find out which is best for pies, applesauce and more.

As apple season nears, we’re all dreaming of delicious apple pies, apple cakes and other delicious treats. However, if you’re anything like me, you’re dreading all the work that comes with peeling, coring and slicing apples. Of course, all the effort is worth it, but it had me wondering what apple peeler really works best. Should I try just a regular produce peeler? A fancy peeler-corer-slicer?

To get to the bottom of this question—one I ask myself every fall—I enlisted the help of the Taste of Home Test Kitchen. Our pros tested four popular apple peelers. Here’s what they thought.

What’s the Best Apple Peeler?

To determine what apple peelers were most effective, our Test Kitchen tried peeling two types of apples: a firm Gala apple and a slightly softer McIntosh. (McIntosh are one of the best apples for apple pie, so you know we had to give those a test!) Here’s what our team was looking for:

  • Ease of use: How easy was the tool to use?
  • Time: How much time did it take to peel an apple?
  • Waste: Was there a lot of waste with this tool?
  • Performance: How well did the tool work? Did it do a good job of peeling?

Swivel Peeler

OXO Swivel Apple PeelerVia

Chances are you already have a produce peeler just like this OXO swivel peeler in your kitchen drawer. As our Test Kitchen will tell you, it works just fine to peel apples.

This classic swivel peeler did take the longest to peel a single apple—firm or soft—but it did the job. If you’re peeling pounds and pounds of apples, this might not be the tool to choose, but if you’re just peeling an apple or two for a snack, a regular peeler like this does the trick.

  • Time to peel one apple: 25 seconds
  • Price: $9

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Y-Peeler apple peelervia

This affordable Y-peeler from Ruhn Rikon is one of our Test Kitchen’s favorite tools. The horizontal blade of this type of peeler allows you to take quick strokes of the peel. The wide blade allowed our testers to peel the apple in fewer strokes, too.

Like the swivel peeler, this tool is affordable and easy to stash in your drawers without taking up much room. If you’re going to be peeling lots and lots of fruit, you might get a little tired.

  • Time to peel one apple: 15 seconds
  • Price: $5

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Crank Apple Peeler

Apple peeler, corer, slicervia

We’ve all seen these crank-style peelers before. But if you’ve never used one, you might want to reconsider.

This heavy-duty apple peeler/corer from Williams Sonoma is made of metal and not only peels apples but cores and slices them too. Just suction the peeler to your countertop (some models affix to a work surface with a vice), fit the apple on the skewer and crank away. Our Test Kitchen found that this gadget could peel, core and thinly slice an apple all in about five seconds. Talk about efficiency!

Cleanup for this apple peeler was simple: Wipe away any apple bits from the prongs and blade with a damp cloth. You could even give it a full wash in the sink if needed.

The drawbacks to this machine were that the suction base occasionally came loose from the countertop. Also, the blade can occasionally trip up on apples that are bruised or have a very irregular shape. The blade also digs into the apples, so you do get a bit more waste than with other methods (you can toss those peels into the compost bin, though!).

Overall, though, this apple peeler made quick work of firm Gala apples and slightly softer McIntoshes. Having the apples already cored and sliced is also a big bonus for many fresh apple recipes.

  • Time to peel one apple: 5 seconds
  • Additional features: This tool peels, cores and slices
  • Price: $35

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KitchenAid Apple Peeler Attachment

KitchenAid KSM1APC 5-Blade Spiralizer with Peel, Core & Slice for apple peelingVia

In the words of Sarah Farmer, our executive culinary director, “this is the Cadillac of KitchenAid accessories.”

The KitchenAid apple peeler worked beautifully peeling all kinds of apples. It operates very similarly to the hand-crank version, but it relies upon the mixer’s motor instead of elbow grease. With the apples fitted in place, the KitchenAid attachment peeled, sliced and cored the apples in under 20 seconds on the mixer’s lowest setting. The peel was exceptionally thin, leaving as much fruit as possible behind. That’s all the more apple to add to your apple cakes.

Outside of its performance as an apple peeler, this attachment does so much more. It has four different blades and can cut fruits and veggies nine different ways. Most notably, it works as a spiralizer so you can use this to make zoodles for dinner and then an apple tart for dessert.

This peeler did work well, but you do need a KitchenAid stand mixer to use it. Also, disassembling this attachment does take some time. Once you get a hang of it, though, assembly and cleaning go much more quickly according to our testing team.

  • Time to peel one apple: 19 seconds on low speed (you can cut down on time by cranking it up)
  • Additional features: This tool peels, cores and slices; it also comes with four blades to spiralize and make other cuts
  • Price: $100

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So What’s Really the Best Apple Peeler Option?

In the end, all of these tools did what they were designed to do: peel apples. So the question isn’t really which of these gadgets works best, but which suits your needs in the kitchen.

If you’re only peeling a few apples, like for this delicious apfelkuchen, a hand peeler will do the job just fine. No need to go out and buy any fancy gadgets.

However, if you cook and bake with apples frequently and in large quantities—looking at you folks that make homemade applesauce and apple butter—one of the specially designed apple peelers would be a wise investment. A crank apple peeler is an affordable option for apple fanatics looking to prep bushels apples from the orchard. The KitchenAid attachment is pricier but takes up less space and does a lot more than just peel apples.

The bottom line: All these methods work, but invest in a special apple peeler gadget if you’re serious about cooking and baking with apples.

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.