|

What Does Key Lime Pie Taste Like?

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Rich, creamy, and full of zing, key lime pies are an American classic made popular thanks to the use of Florida key limes. If you’ve never tasted key lime pie, you should definitely give it a try!

So, what does key lime pie taste like? Tangy, sour, and sweet are three words that perfectly describe the taste of a key lime pie. The bitter taste of the key limes is perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the condensed milk, making for a sublime flavor paired with a delightfully creamy consistency.

Read on to find out more about key lime pies, what they taste like, what their texture is like, and much more!

What Is A Key Lime Pie?

A key lime pie is a popular American dessert pie made with key limes, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks as the main ingredients.

Originally developed in Florida, particularly in the Florida Keys (hence the name), key lime pie is popular all over the United States and is served in many restaurants all over the country.

It can also be made at home using a few ingredients and a simple technique! We’ll share a recipe below, don’t worry.

Typically served cold or at room temperature, it can be garnished with whipped cream, meringue, chocolate shavings, or candied fruit peels.

What Does Key Lime Pie Taste Like?

A key lime pie is traditionally made with key lime juice and zest, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks, all of which combined give it a sweet, slightly bitter flavor.

The traditional recipe for key lime pie has been altered in many ways but the primary ingredients have always remained intact to give it its signature flavor.

Since key limes are small and very acidic, you would expect the pie to be incredibly sour.

Key lime pie is, however, more bitter than it is sour. While the highlighting taste of the key limes is somewhat bitter, there is still an element of sourness that contributes to its overall flavor.

Since the recipe calls for a significant amount of sugar in the form of condensed milk, it balances out the bitterness and gives the pie a sweet, bitter, and slightly tangy taste.

The crust of the pie is made with graham crackers that are mixed with melted butter. It has a rich, molasses-like flavor that adds a new layer to the pie.

Some key lime pies have fun toppings to make them taste and look even more delicious. One of the most popular ones is meringue, which adds a refreshing and cool creaminess to the key lime-flavored custard.

Oftentimes, the meringue may even be toasted using a cooking torch, giving its creamy and almost marshmallowy taste a delightfully toasty flavor.

What Is The Texture Of Key Lime Pie?

Apart from its distinctive taste, key lime pie also has an interesting texture that is different from other pies. It is very important to get the right texture when making a key lime pie in order to fully enjoy its unique flavor!

With a creaminess that is strong enough to hold its shape and an interior that is smooth and soft, a key lime pie has a melt-in-your-mouth texture, similar to a creamy cheesecake.

The recipe for key lime pie didn’t require baking in the past as the combined ingredients alone would create a beautiful, creamy, and thick texture. However, in the present, in order to avoid consuming raw eggs, the pies are baked.

When baking, the middle of the pie must be jiggly, which is a good indicator that the pie is ready. It takes around 10–20 minutes to get to that stage. The time may vary depending on your oven.

Solid to the touch with a jiggly filling, your key lime pie must fall right between solid and liquid — the texture can be compared to that of a pudding.

The graham cracker crust and the base of the pie must be slightly crumbly yet moist to complement the creaminess and softness of the pie. 

If you use a meringue topping, it adds a nice crunch and chewiness to the dessert with its crunchy outside and soft, sticky, and pillowy inside.

Differences Between Key Lime Pie And Cheesecake

Both key lime pie and cheesecake are desserts, but the former belongs to the pie category while the latter is a type of cake.

In terms of their texture, both key lime pie and cheesecake are very similar. Yet while they share quite a few ingredients, there are a few significant differences that set the two apart.

Key lime pie uses milk and key lime juice, whereas cheesecake has cheese and sugar.

Both use eggs, but cheesecake has a more solid structure due to the presence of cheese compared to a rather jiggly key lime pie.

Can You Use Regular Limes Instead Of Key Limes?

If you can’t get your hands on some key limes, can you use regular limes instead?

Yes, you can, but it may slightly affect the flavor of the pie. It is, after all, called a key lime pie — the addition of key limes is an integral part of the recipe.

Although both look the same, they have different sizes with key limes being smaller than regular limes.

Key limes also have a higher acidity level, which contributes to their bitterness. Limes are also slightly bitter, but the notes are more pronounced in key limes.

In addition to that, key limes have thinner skin and more seeds than regular limes. They also have a stronger citrusy aroma and unique taste, both of which are reasons for them being more expensive.

Persian limes, also called Tahiti limes, are also a good substitute for key limes.

Thought to be a hybrid of Mexican limes and citrons, they are yellow-green and lumpy. Larger in size than key limes, they are usually seedless and have an acidic flavor, although not as distinctive.

How To Make Key Lime Pie

Here’s how you can make the most delicious key lime pie at home using just a handful of ingredients!

Ingredients

  • Graham crackers
  • Melted unsalted butter
  • Sugar
  • Egg yolks
  • Key lime zest
  • Freshly squeezed or store-bought key lime juice
  • Sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Start by making the crust.
  3. Pulverize the graham crackers in a food processor until you have a very fine crumb.
    • Alternative: Place the graham crackers in a sealable bag, squeeze the air out, seal it, and use a heavy-duty rolling pin to turn them into a fine dust.
  4. Add butter and pulse it until it is properly incorporated.
  5. Press the prepared crust into the base and sides of a pie pan.
  6. Toast the crust in the oven for 10 minutes for depth of flavor, then set aside to cool.
  7. In the meantime, prep the filling.
  8. Beat the egg yolks and key lime zest in a bowl.
  9. Add the condensed milk and beat until all the ingredients are well combined.
  10. Add the key lime juice and whisk one last time.
  11. Pour the filling into the pie pan over the cooled crust.
  12. Bake the pie for 10–20 minutes. Do not overbake it or you will lose the jiggly texture in the center.
  13. Once done, remove the pie from the oven and let it cool on the counter before covering it and refrigerating it to finish setting. Make sure to let it set in the fridge for at least 4 hours — leaving it overnight is best.
  14. After the key lime pie has been properly set, add your choice of delicious toppings.
    • Optional: You may mix heavy cream, honey, and vanilla extract to make whipped cream or top the pie with meringue (our favorite pairing).
    • Optional: Add any desired garnishes such as additional key lime zest or sliced key limes.
  15. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • If you do not have time to prepare the crust, you may use a premade graham cracker crust.
  • You can use fresh or bottled key lime juice to make the filling — we highly recommend using this product.
  • Although key lime zest is a great addition to the pie, it may also make it bitter. Be mindful of how much you add or you will end up with a bitter pie.
How To Make Key Lime Pie

How To Make Key Lime Pie

Here’s how you can make the most delicious key lime pie at home using just a handful of ingredients!

Ingredients

  • Graham crackers
  • Melted unsalted butter
  • Sugar
  • Egg yolks
  • Key lime zest
  • Freshly squeezed or store-bought key lime juice
  • Sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Start by making the crust.
  3. Pulverize the graham crackers in a food processor until you have a very fine crumb.
    * Alternative: Place the graham crackers in a sealable bag, squeeze the air out, seal it, and use a heavy-duty rolling pin to turn them into a fine dust.
  4. Add butter and pulse it until it is properly incorporated.
  5. Press the prepared crust into the base and sides of a pie pan.
  6. Toast the crust in the oven for 10 minutes for depth of flavor, then set aside to cool.
  7. In the meantime, prep the filling.
  8. Beat the egg yolks and key lime zest in a bowl.
  9. Add the condensed milk and beat until all the ingredients are well combined.
  10. Add the key lime juice and whisk one last time.
  11. Pour the filling into the pie pan over the cooled crust.
  12. Bake the pie for 10–20 minutes. Do not overbake it or you will lose the jiggly texture in the center.
  13. Once done, remove the pie from the oven and let it cool on the counter before covering it and refrigerating it to finish setting. Make sure to let it set in the fridge for at least 4 hours — leaving it overnight is best.
  14. After the key lime pie has been properly set, add your choice of delicious toppings.
    * Optional: You may mix heavy cream, honey, and vanilla extract to make whipped cream or top the pie with meringue (our favorite pairing).
    * Optional: Add any desired garnishes such as additional key lime zest or sliced key limes.
  15. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • If you do not have time to prepare the crust, you may use a premade graham cracker crust.
  • You can use fresh or bottled key lime juice to make the filling — we highly recommend using this product.
  • Although key lime zest is a great addition to the pie, it may also make it bitter. Be mindful of how much you add or you will end up with a bitter pie.

Related Questions

Now that you know all about key lime pies and what they taste like, here are a few additional questions we thought you might have!

How long does key lime pie last?

Key lime pie mustn’t be left out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours due to the risk of bacterial contamination.

If stored properly in the fridge, it can last for about 2–3 days. Make sure to cover it loosely with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

It is also possible to store key lime pie in the freezer where it will maintain its best quality for about 1–2 months.

How do you know if key lime pie has gone bad?

Key lime pie is a perishable dessert that doesn’t last very long, especially if it is stored improperly.

The best way to check if it has gone bad is to smell and look at it. If it gives off an unpleasant and unusual smell or has mold growing on it, discard it immediately.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

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