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 –

DSC_5549C

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).

IMG_0765

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.

IMG_8358

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. Linda

    I cut up a bunch of apples for the recipe I have for crockpot applesauce. It’s calls for 10-12 medium apples. Not sure how many I used as I just took out of bags ad started chopping and coring. So I want to do it in cups and not sure how many would make a cup now they are chopped????

    Would you have an estimate for me please???
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Well, apples vary incredibly in size. But I find that one medium apple (not small, not huge) makes about 1 cup chopped, so I think you’re safe starting there. Good luck — PJH

  2. Dale Ugel

    Thanks for all your great tips. What are the best apples for pies? I know you like to mix them, and I do not have a problem with that, but with so many choices, where to begin?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This is such a subjective question. I prefer a mixture of tart, sweet, firm and soft. Grannies, honey crisp, cortland, macs, macoun, northern spy, there are so many! Finding some that are native to your area can be especially fun. Explore your options! Elisabeth@KAF

  3. Genevieve

    Because I now cook only for two, this is so very helpful. Today is apple butter day and I was unsure how many to prep for a very small slow cooker. Now, I know! Thank you for the assistance and for always being there for us!

    Reply
  4. marcialab

    My biggest problem has been with recipes calling for a number of apples by their size, such as “3 medium apples”. Is there a standard or assumed weight for a medium Apple?

    Reply
  5. Cyndie

    Thanks for the more intelligible info. We pick our apples, so we go by bushel more than weight (which lends to the question “just how much does a worm weigh, now subtract that and the apple lost to cleansing”. I don’t m kW any tree that grows consistently sized apples, or any store that sells them by size. It is so much easier for me to just see the “use __ cups” in a recipe, and so seldom does any recipe say that.

    Reply
  6. Efrain

    Thank you so much I did not learn this in Culinary school. You are a blessing. You made my baking life easier.

    Reply
  7. Haleena Noland

    I love that there’s a page like this! This page is something I think every woman needs in her kitchen! Thank you!

    Reply
  8. Auntie Gin

    Thank You! Many years ago, I came up with similar equivalents (I’m 72), but it was the time before computers, so typed it out and saved my copies inside an apple cookbook. Should have scanned it in years ago, but didn’t and finally lost my final copy. NOW, I can stop the guessing game (mostly by over buying). Will pass this along to all my APPLE family and friends. Also, thoroughly enjoy your blogs. Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Ah, yes, those Royal manual days… I remember them well. I still have a bunch of hand-typed “cookbooks” from years ago. So glad we could replace your lost apple info., Auntie Gin – 🙂 PJH

  9. Bonnie

    Hi PJ — your post was really well timed, as my husband and I picked two half bushels of apples on Thursday, so we have plenty of apples to convert! Now let’s see how many pounds are in a half bushel…Thanks for the practical advice!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      24 pounds in a half bushel, Bonnie – or so says the government! Enjoy – I just made an apple crisp with Northern Spies that is absolutely TO DIE FOR. 🙂 PJH

  10. Gabriele

    Thank you very much – this is a very interesting piece of information which I shall be using very often. I shall give my friends the the connection too.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re so glad you found this blog useful Gabriele and how kind of you to pass the information on to others! Thanks for sharing! Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *