Pounds to cups: doing the apple math

Your apple pie recipe calls for “3 pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced.”

But what if you have a bagful of apples, the result of your apple-picking expedition to the orchard, and want to prepare the equivalent of “3 pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced” – without a scale?

Or the apple crisp recipe says, “6 cups chopped apples.” You’re on your way to the store – how many apples do you need to buy to end up with 6 chopped cups?

How do you translate the volume or weight of whole apples to that of prepared apples ahead of time – before you actually peel, core, chop or slice, and measure?

Here’s how –

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Spoiler alert – if you don’t find research and math interesting, and want “just the facts, ma’am” – scroll to the bottom line at the end of this post.

You lose about 30% of an apple, by weight, when you peel and core it. This will vary somewhat, of course, depending on apple variety and juiciness; this isn’t exact science. But it’s a place to start.

A cup of chopped/sliced apples (again, this will vary slightly with apple variety/freshness and size of dice/slice) weighs about 3 1/2 ounces.

Notice I say ABOUT 3 1/2 ounces; obviously, the way you slice them, as well as the season (winter-storage apples weigh less than fresh apples) will make a difference. Don’t stress if your cup of apples weighs 3 ounces, or 4 ounces, OK?

Let’s start with a pound of apples. They lose about a third of their weight once they’re prepared. (My fellow test baker and trained chef, Susan Reid, points out that if I were a chef, I’d say that the “yield %” of apples is about 65%. Thanks, Susan!) So that original pound of apples becomes a generous 10 ounces of peeled, cored, chopped/sliced apples. Since a cup of prepared apples weighs about 3 1/2 ounces, 1 pound of whole apples translates to about 3 cups of prepared apples.

OK, now let’s start with a recipe calling for 8 cups sliced apples. A pound of apples will yield 3 cups; so for 8 cups prepared apples, you’ll need about 2 2/3 pounds whole apples (make it 2 3/4 pounds, if you’re at the supermarket weighing).

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I tried this math with different sizes of apples; large apples yield slightly more prepared apples per pound than small apples.

Which makes sense – the size of the apple core or peel doesn’t change much from small apple to large apple; so large apples yield slightly more “usable parts.”

One more thing. Does a cup of sliced apples weigh the same as a cup of chopped apples?

Depends on the size of the slice/size of the dice… but yeah, basically they weigh the same.

Bottom line: if you remember nothing else, stash this in your memory bank – a pound of whole apples will yield about 3 cups prepared apples.

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Starting there, you can do the easy math to figure out just how many apples you need for that blue ribbon apple pie!

 

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. sylvia

    Thank you! I was gifted a big box of apples and the recipe called for 2 lbs sliced apples, you have given me a starting point and I appreciate it

    Reply
  2. Summer Orta

    I am just trying to figure out how many pounds of apples it takes to make 108oz (liquid measurement) of applesauce.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Summer, that’s not a ratio that we have established at this time as it can vary quite a bit based on how much you cook your applesauce. The more you look it, the more water will evaporate and the sauce will thicken. However, here’s some information that might be helpful: 1 cup of applesauce weighs 8 ounces, so if you need 108 ounces you’re looking for about 13 1/2 cups of applesauce. 10 to 12 large apples (32 to 46 ounces) yields about 3 to 4 cups of applesauce, based on how large the apples are; therefore, you’ll need about 40 to 45 large apples (about 8 to 10 pounds). We hope this helps give you an idea of where to start. Good luck! Kye@KAF

  3. Deborah Bennett

    Sheesh………allI asked was if anyone knows how many cups sliced apples would be in a gallon jar , NOT pounds ! Thanks so much !

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re sorry if this article didn’t give you the answers you were looking for, Deborah. We don’t usually measure our apples out in a gallon jar, but if it’s helpful, there are 16 cups in a gallon. We hope this gives you a place to start. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  4. Ancient

    THANKS!!!! amoung other things, I’m in charge of the Charoset for the Seder plates at our fellowships Passover. I didn’t want to buy way too many apples but be sort either. My math is terrible so I was getting a little panicked. I estimated the cup measurement for the dish that is going on the Seder plates for the Charoset and used your awesome conversion and now I know I have enough apples. Big releif.

    Reply
  5. TJ Holder

    I looked up your site to find out about cooking Granny Smith Apples for I can never cooked them before so I don’t know how much water or sugar in my 10lbs of Apple’s?Or should I cook my apples before making the pies?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi TJ, some bakers do like to pre-cook their apple pie filling to help thicken it up, prevent a gap from forming between crust and filling, and/or simply prep ahead of time. This is optional for any type of apple, and if you’re interested in giving it a try, take a read through making apple pie filling ahead for guidance. Hope it helps! Mollie@KAF

    2. LuAnne

      If you live at a high altitude certain varieties of apples will not cook through before your crust is done. Granny Smith tends to make a watery pie at high altitudes so some people cook them a little bit first on the stove. Softer apple varieties like McIntosh will not be watery at higher elevations.

  6. Bre

    Thanks for this. I’m making an apple crisp that calls for 10 cups sliced apples & I was right on the money buying a 3# bag plus my 2 honeycrisp apples I have already.
    Cheers

    Reply

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