Key Lime Pie: A Delicious History and Tips for Baking the Best Pie

Key lime pie is a classic dessert that has been a favorite in the United States for over a century. The sweet and tangy pie is named after the small Key limes that grow in the Florida Keys, where the pie originated. It has gained popularity over time and is really quite easy to make. Here we share a bit more of its history and a few of our tips for a perfect pie filling and crust every time.

The History of Key Lime Pie

Key lime pie has been around since the late 1800s when it was first made by settlers in the Florida Keys. The pie was originally made with condensed milk, which was a staple in the area due to its long shelf life. The recipe was simple and easy to make, which made it popular with local cooks.

Over time, the recipe for Key lime pie evolved, with different variations including meringue toppings and graham cracker crusts. In 1965, Key lime pie was designated as the official state pie of Florida, cementing its status as a beloved regional specialty.

To learn more about the history of this beloved regional specialty, be sure to check out our video that explores the origins and evolution of Key lime pie. Watch our “History of Key Lime Pie” video and deepen your appreciation for this classic dessert!

Tips for a Perfect Filling

We love all variations of this tangy, luscious dessert but here are our top tips for making the best Key lime pie filling:

  1. Use Fresh Key Lime Juice: Key lime juice is the star of the show in Key lime pie, so it’s important to use fresh juice for the best flavor. If you can’t find fresh key limes, you can use bottled juice, but the flavor won’t be as bright and tart.
  2. Use Condensed Milk: Condensed milk is a key ingredient in traditional key lime pie, and it adds a rich, creamy sweetness to the filling. Be sure to use sweetened condensed milk, which is different from evaporated milk.
  3. Don’t Overmix the Filling: When mixing the filling ingredients together, be careful not to overmix. Overmixing can cause the filling to become too dense and heavy.
  4. Let the Pie Set: After baking the pie, let it cool to room temperature, then chill it in the refrigerator for at least a few hours or overnight. This will help the filling set properly and make it easier to slice and serve.

Tips for a Crunchy Crust

Follow these tips for a perfect, crunchy crust every time:

  1. Use Graham Crackers: Graham crackers are the traditional choice for Key lime pie crust, and they add a sweet, crunchy texture to the pie. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor or place them in a zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Note: We also love adding nuts and chocolate to the crust for a fun twist on the traditional recipe. 
  2. Add Melted Butter: Mix melted butter into the crushed graham crackers until the mixture is moist and holds together when pressed. This will help the crust hold its shape when baked.
  3. Prebake the Crust: To prevent the crust from becoming soggy, prebake it in the oven for about 10 minutes before adding the filling. This will also help the crust hold its shape when the filling is added.

Want to take your Key Lime Pie crust to the next level? Check out our video tutorial on how to elevate your crust using Finely Grated Baking Chocolate, nuts, and graham crackers! It’s a fun and delicious twist on the traditional recipe that’s sure to impress your guests.

Our Favorite Recipe

A top down view of a keylime pie with chocolate crust


Experience the ultimate dessert indulgence with our irresistible recipe for “Key Lime Pie with Chocolate Nut Crust“. This delectable twist on the classic Key Lime Pie is bound to impress your taste buds with its unique combination of flavors. The crust is made with a blend of nuts and chocolate, providing an added layer of richness that perfectly complements the tart Key lime filling. Give it a try and be sure to let us know what you think!

Looking for a way to add an extra layer of flavor to your baking? Look no further than our Finely Grated Baking Chocolate! With a blend of spices including cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and star anise, this chocolate adds an incredible depth of flavor to any recipe that calls for dark baking chocolate.

A package of American Heritage Chocolate's finely grated dark chocolate behind a bowl of the product with a spoon with grated chocolate coming off of it on a wooden surface


Happy Baking!