How to Keep Apples from Browning with This 5-Minute Hack

Want to learn how to keep apples from turning brown? Follow this tip to keep apple slices looking fresher for way longer.

Snacking on perfectly crisp, fresh apples (or baking them into one of these incredible apple desserts) is one of the greatest pleasures of eating, but if you’re slicing them, you know you’re on the clock to get them served up before those unappetizing brown spots appear. (Cue sad-trombone sound.)

The good news is there’s a crazy-easy way to keep those apples looking white and wonderful for a couple of hours. And the best part? All you need is five minutes, some tap water and something you definitely already have in your pantry: good old table salt! (Here are some genius ways to use salt around the house.)

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How it’s done:

After slicing each apple, place it in a bowl filled with cold, salted water (a good rule of thumb is to use ½ teaspoon salt per cup of water). Let the slices soak for five to 10 minutes, then drain. If you won’t be serving the apples right away, store them in an airtight container or plastic baggie until you’re ready to use. When it’s serving time, give the apples a quick rinse with tap water, which will wash away any slight salty flavor that may remain on the apple slices. Don’t worry—even if you rinse the apples, that short soak in the salt water will still keep them from browning right away.

Why it works:

Oxidation is the main cause of browning in fruits, and the one-two punch of submerging apple slices in cold water and salt interferes with oxygen reaching the fruit’s surface and turning it brown.

Of course, there are other tried-and-true methods for slowing browning on apples. Here are a few more tricks that can help keep your slices looking fresh for longer:

  • Mix ½ teaspoon honey with 1 cup water. Add apple slices and soak for five minutes. Rinse and store until ready to serve.
  • Soak apple slices in lemon-lime soda for five minutes. Rinse and serve.
  • Add a tablespoon of lemon juice per cup of water and soak apple slices for five minutes. Rinse and serve.

Sure, after an hour or two, you’ll notice some browning beginning, but these quick tricks are the easiest ways to keep apple slices looking crisp, fresh and tasty on fruit platters, in lunch boxes or in fresh salads for way longer than when they’re untreated.

Looking for ways to use up all those crunchy orchard-picked beauties? Check out our favorite apple crisps that’ll remind you of Grandma.

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Rachel Seis
As deputy editor for Taste of Home magazine, Rachel has her hand in everything you see from cover to cover, from writing and editing articles to taste-testing recipes to ensuring every issue is packed with fun and fabulous content. She'll roll up her sleeves to try any new recipe in the kitchen—from spicy Thai dishes (her favorite!) to classic Southern comfort food (OK...also her favorite). When she's not busy thinking of her next meal, Rachel can be found practicing yoga, going for a run, exploring National Parks and traveling to new-to-her cities across the country.