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For many bakers, autumn doesn’t just mean crisp weather, sweaters, and changing leaves; it also means apple season. This fruit can become many things in the kitchen: pies, crisps, ciders, butters, and sauces. And whether you’re a home cook or running a bakery, if you’re working with apples, an apple peeler is an essential kitchen tool.
Apple peelers simplify working with any volume of apples by removing their peel, making coring, slicing, and baking easier and more effective. Many recipes call for no peel because it can be challenging to eat and hinders fruit from cooking evenly.
There are many variations of apple peelers, ranging from handheld and electric to models that clamp to your countertop to those that slice as they peel. Most of these gadgets can be used to peel other items, like carrots and potatoes, too.
With the wide range of options available, we picked the top-rated apple peelers and sent them to Samantha Lande, a home cook and one of our writers, to put to the test. She measured each peeler's performance (including other functions like slicing and coring if they were designed as multifunction tools), how long each took to finish peeling an apple, how comfortable each handle was, whether each stayed sharp after heavy use, and how easy each was to clean. In the end, Cucina's Pro Apple Peeler and Corer was the clear winner.
Without further ado, here are our picks for the best apple peelers, along with our home tester's findings—for times when you’re peeling one apple or 1,000 (or any number in between).
Best Overall: Cucina Pro Apple Peeler and Corer
What We Love: Durable, easy to use and clean, reasonably priced, operates in about a minute
What We Don’t Love: Suction only sticks to smoother surfaces, does best with just apples
There is always something fun about using a classic hand-crank apple peeler when you are making an apple pie or crisp. This one has a retro feel with its bright red enamel cast iron. It works well, too. It easily attaches to the countertop via suction with a simple twist of the lever, and it takes less than a minute to peel, core, and slice an apple.
It didn’t, however, work quite as well with a regular-sized Idaho or sweet potato given its length. (Samantha cut an Idaho potato in half for testing and found it didn’t peel as smoothly as an apple). The machine does have the ability to peel without slicing and coring, too, but it requires a few tools to alter the machine. If you are making a dish with a ton of apples, this type of apple peeler is the ideal choice. It’s slightly more difficult to use for lefties.
The machine is easy to wipe down, although not dishwasher-safe. It does take up a bit more room in the cabinet than some of the handheld peelers, but it can be stored away in a box for later.
"It took a few minutes to set up and understand the mechanics of it all—probably around five minutes. Once it was set up, it peeled, cut, and core everything in 1 minute. I think it would be difficult to go into peel-only mode—you need to unscrew the wingnut." — Samantha Lande, Product Tester
Body Materials: Enamel-coated cast iron, stainless steel, rubber suction cup | Blade Material: Stainless steel | Weight: 1 pound | Dimensions: 10.2 x 5.1 x 4 inches
Best Budget: Microplane 2-In-1 Core and Peel
What We Love: Made from stainless steel, easy to clean and store, inexpensive, rust-resistant
What We Don’t Love: Serrated blade and peeler blade aren’t child-friendly, peeler isn’t as good as others on the list
If you are tight on space, this peeler and corer combo is narrow enough to keep in any drawer. The corer is on one side while the peeler can be capped on the opposite side. It’s a little bigger than your average cigar.
The handle is easy and comfortable to hold for both right- and left-handed folks, and the corer is easy to use and works really well, according to Samantha—it took about 30 seconds to do its job. The peeler, on the other hand, took 2 minutes to use, and it has less surface area than many of the others she tested. We wouldn’t recommend it for a large batch of apples; it gets caught easily on apples that aren’t quite as crisp.
Our home tester also notes to be careful when pushing the corer through so as not to pierce your hand. The tool is rust-resistant, so you can wash it in the dishwasher. Both sides are very sharp, so keep it away from children.
Body Materials: Plastic | Blade Material: Stainless steel | Weight: 0.5 pounds | Dimensions: 9.5 x 1.25 x 1.25 inches
Best Clamp: VKP Johnny Apple Peeler (Clamp Base)
What We Love: Sturdy, has a five-year warranty, coring and slicing take less than a minute
What We Don’t Love: Can be challenging to store, initial setup is tricky
This peeler falls in line with other old-school peelers with its red cast iron finish. This version is adjustable to clamp onto any counter, but if you'd like, VKP also makes one that can suction to the table. The setup on this model is a little more difficult than other peelers: You need to screw on the handle, put on the fork, and work on aligning the peeler. But once you do all of that (which took Samantha about 10 minutes), the rest becomes super simple, although you may need to realign over time.
The five-year warranty is a great assurance that this peeler is built to last. It works great with apples (make sure they are small or medium-sized) but is more difficult to use with potatoes unless you cut them in half before peeling. "I would not recommend this as a true multitasking tool—sweet potatoes and carrots are too long to put in this machine. This is purely for apples," Samantha says.
If you make a lot of apple desserts—think pies, crumbles, or applesauce—this is a good tool to have around, especially because coring and slicing only takes the machine 30 seconds. However, for the once-a-year apple-picking journey, you may want something smaller and less cumbersome to store.
"I definitely had trouble aligning the peeler at first and went through a few apples to get it right. Once it is set up, it should be smoother sailing." — Samantha Lande, Product Tester
Body Material: Enamel-coated cast iron | Blade Material: Stainless steel | Weight: 2.5 pounds | Dimensions: 12 x 2.5 x 7.5 inches
Related: The Best Mandolines
Best Multifunction: KitchenAid Spiralizer Plus with Peel, Core, and Slice
What We Love: Sturdy, accessories are top-rack dishwasher-safe
What We Don’t Love: Must have a KitchenAid mixer, may be awkward to store
If you already have a KitchenAid mixer, you know how great its attachments are, but if you don’t own one, purchasing plus adding on additional attachments can become cost-prohibitive. This attachment set comes with multiple items to help you slice, core, peel, and spiralize a variety of fruits and vegetables.
It worked great on an apple, slicing, coring, and peeling in a snap, but it took a few more tries to get it in the right place for a carrot and sweet potato. Make sure to square off the ends (and remove any stems) of your fruits and vegetables before putting the machine to work. This electric peeler is hands-off, so you don’t have to put in the physical work like others. The attachments are well made, and some of them can go in the dishwasher, but it is a big investment at over $100, even if you own a KitchenAid mixer, unless you are planning to use it to peel, slice, and core items quite often.
"The initial setup was probably a little less than five minutes, and the quick-start directions were very helpful. To peel, core, and slice took less than 3 minutes." — Samantha Lande, Product Tester
Body Material: Stainless steel | Blade Material: Stainless steel | Weight: 2.2 pounds | Dimensions: 12.4 x 5.8 x 2.9 inches
Related: The Best Kitchenaid Mixers
Best Handheld: Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler, 3-Piece Set
What We Love: Super lightweight, easy to grip
What We Don’t Love: Not dishwasher-safe (carbon blade can rust)
These peelers are a favorite of home cooks and professional chefs alike for many reasons. They are super lightweight, peel with ease and require little pressure on the grip.
These are true multi-tasking peelers, peeling apples, sweet potatoes and carrots with minimal effort. You can easily make it through a dozen apples in less than 10 minutes, making it great for large batch dishes. The blades are made of super sharp carbon steel, but make sure to fully dry after handwashing because they can rust.
They are thin and small which makes them easy to stash in drawers, and with a three-pack you will always have one on hand. These are peelers only so if you are looking for something to core and slice, you do need an additional tool. Regardless, these are a great addition to any kitchen drawer.
Body Materials: Plastic and rubber | Blade Material: Carbon steel | Weight: 1.7 ounces | Dimensions: 4 x 2.5 x 1 inches
The Cucina Pro Peeler and Corer is our best overall because it's simple to use, durable, and efficient, making it a popular gadget among online reviewers (view at Amazon). If you prefer something no frills, go with the tried-and-tested Kuhn Rikon Y peeler, which can be used either right- or left-handed (view at Amazon).
What To Look for in an Apple Peeler
Electric vs. Manual
Whether a person chooses a manual or an electric peeler is really up to how much work they’re willing to do and how large a project they’re tackling. Countertop hand-crank peelers can be a fun way for a family to do an activity together (kids love to turn the crank), but if space is a consideration, a handheld peeler that’s easily stashed in a drawer may be your best bet. Larger-scale projects that require lots of peeling may warrant an electric peeler.
Countertop vs. Handheld
A handheld peeler is a kitchen staple used for potatoes, carrots, and just about anything else that needs peeling. It’s great for small-scale projects that call for fewer than a dozen apples (like baking a couple of pies) because you have to swipe each section of peel away. However, if the project is larger, like making several batches of applesauce, a countertop hand-crank apple peeler will save time and effort in peeling. It will also core and slice the apple, saving steps in seconds flat.
There are plastic hand crank countertop peelers, but I find the cast iron or metal version to be more eco-friendly, longer-lasting, and generally more appealing (maybe it’s the classic, old-fashioned vibe they have). For blades, stainless steel is excellent because it won’t rust, but carbon will stay sharp forever.
Ease of Use
An electric peeler takes almost no effort other than attaching the apple to the prongs. A hand crank is also low effort and combines tasks like coring and slicing, while a handheld requires the most effort since the peel is removed one stroke at a time.
What is the difference between an apple peeler and a spiralizer ?
It seems that the apple peeler can be used to create spiralized vegetables very well, like zucchini, however, you wouldn’t necessarily put an apple through your zoodle maker. If the spiralizer has a flat setting for wide flat slices, the apples can go through that but then you’d still have to core and slice them.
Can I use an apple peeler if I’m left-handed?
People who are left-handed will have no problem using most peelers. Peelers that have a Y shape also have a swivel blade. Countertop peelers can simply be turned around to face the opposite direction. Electric peelers also work regardless of dexterity.
Do apple peelers work on potatoes?
Yes! Apple peelers are versatile and can work on potatoes and other produce. Many peeler manufacturers, from handheld to electric, will outline the various fruits and vegetables their peeler can be used for.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Rebecca Treon is a freelance writer specializing in food, travel, and lifestyles. Her work has appeared in BBC Travel, Huffington Post, Hemispheres, Thrillist, and many others. She is the Denver & The West Correspondent for Time Out and is writing a book called “Colorado Food Trails.”
Samantha Lande home-tested our top picks and updated this piece. Samantha specializes in food, health and wellness, and parenting. She's the friend that people turn to for new kitchen tools or recipes.
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