Best Key Lime Pie In The Florida Keys
It's as iconic as the swaying palms when the Florida Keys come to mind, and some may say it's worth a visit to The Sunshine State just to try the genuine article. It's the key lime pie, of course - and it's the official pie of Florida!
A tasty balance of sweetness and tartness, the key lime pie is a signature staple in The Keys, and an item that the locals take extreme pride in. You'll be hard-pressed to uncover a unanimous answer on where to find the best version of the dish - or even what actually constitutes the perfect example of it - but you'll certainly have a fun time researching the age-old question yourself!
And that is precisely what we suggest you do! From the start of the Upper Keys in Key Largo to the Lower Keys pinnacle at Key West, we're going to help you find the most worthy samples of key lime pie to sink your teeth into.
What Makes A Key Lime Pie Great?
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For such a debatable dish, key lime pie is really quite simplistic in its composition. Much like any pie, there are three basic elements to consider: the crust, the filling, and the topping. That's about as far as it goes in terms of what we all agree on. Some Conchs (Keys natives) insist that a graham cracker crust is the way to go, while others opt for a more flaky, pastry-like pie crust. As far as toppings - well, the list of possibilities are really endless, but many folks just keep it simple and rely on a good old fashioned whipped cream or meringue topping. Even still, those choices can yield some pretty strong opinions. (Consider the way New Yorkers and Chicagoans may battle over the "proper" hot dog. It's kind of like that.) Just about anyone will agree though - fresh key limes are the one essential ingredient. Don't trust anyone who's skimping with the bottled juices, or (perish the thought) plain old, ordinary Persian limes!
The authentic key lime is yellow when ripe (not green) and quite small - about the size of a golf ball. A true key lime pie aficionado will always use real key lime juice from freshly harvested fruits. Key limes are native to Southeast Asia, introduced to the West Indies and Mexico by Spanish explorers. Horticulturist Henry Perrine is credited with bringing the fruit to Florida. Key lime juice is one of only three ingredients that make up the key lime pie filling, along with egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. Legends on the origin of the desert are mixed, with some saying that creative sailors unable to keep fresh milk came up with the recipe in a pinch, while others tell the tale of Aunt Sally, who devised the delicious key lime pie recipe while working for Key West's first millionaire at Curry Mansion.
Some of the best modern-day examples you'll find of this delectable dessert will come in the form of a basic slice of key lime pie, but some creative twists have become fast favorites. Ultimately, there is no wrong way to do key lime pie. Dipped in chocolate, topped with flavorful fruits or a scoop of ice cream, spread across a bed of crushed Oreos or ginger snaps, or just plain and simple... find your favorite!
Where To Get The Best Key Lime Pie In The Florida Keys
The Fish House
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102401 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037
The award-winning key lime pie at The Fish House in Key Largo is simple, but perfect. The no-frills dish features a graham cracker crust with no distracting additions to divert from the main ingredients. It pairs well with the fresh, locally-sourced seafood menu for an ideal Keys experience. Featured on "Man Vs. Food".
Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen
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99336 Overseas Hwy., Key Largo, FL 33037
You have three options for your key lime fix at Mrs. Mac's Kitchen. Choose from a slice, a whole pie to-go, or the famous Key Lime Freeze beverage! Featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine, Mrs. Mac's pie is a creamy soft blend of tangy and sweet on a graham cracker crust, crowned with whipped topping. Stop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Menus are extensive, featuring everything from sandwiches to seafood for a satisfying surf n turn affair.
Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory
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92220 Overseas Hwy, Tavernier, FL 33070
Voted "Best in Key West" by the Key Lime Festival, "2016 Best in Miami" by New Times, and "Best in Florida" by Florida Monthly Magazine repeatedly, the Blond Giraffe is a key lime pie institution! Their clever treats have been featured on a range of television shows as well, including The Travel Channel's "Food Wars". Here, you can enjoy key lime pie in an endless variety of forms - from chocolate-dipped and frozen and pie on a stick, to cookies, candies, cakes, and of course, there's always the good old stand-alone pie. Temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
Green Turtle Inn
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81219 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036
The Green Turtle Inn is an Islamorada icon since 1947, having been featured on The Food Network’s "Diner’s, Drive-In’s and Dives". Their unique key lime pie boasts a macadamia nut rice crispy crust, topped with coconut whipped cream, berry syrup, and fruit - and it's so popular that it's even available for mail-order to those longing for a taste of The Florida Keys on a whim. Enjoy it with a side of steak!
Lazy Days Restaurant
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79867 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036
A low-key, beachfront hangout, Lazy Days Restaurant is known for fun, adult-twists on the region's signature citrus fruit. If the creamy, tart pie isn't enough to quench your key lime craving, try a key lime martini or a key lime colada! You can even enjoy their original key lime butter alongside any meal to spread a little key lime love throughout the dining experience.
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8919 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 33050
Don't let the bakery/cupcakery angle fool you - Sweet Savannah's of Marathon is home to some of the finest key lime concoctions in the Keys! Made fresh daily, there's an assortment of cupcakes, cookies, and breads, including key lime varieties - as well as an award-winning pie (available by the slice or the pie), and key lime ice cream!
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1200 Oceanview Avenue, Marathon, FL 33050
Nestled along the dockside with a little Caribbean flair, Burdines separates the adventurous from the traditional foodies when it comes to their key lime offerings. After a fabulous burger or seafood meal, take your pick of the classic key lime pie OR try it fried!
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19991 Overseas Hwy, Summerland Key, FL 33042
While they may claim to create the best pizza in The Florida Keys, Mangrove Mama's is an indisputable favorite for key lime pie as well. The homemade crust features the addition of vanilla and cinnamon, while the filling has just a touch of honey and vanilla. The widely diverse menu includes a host of exotic options, including Caribbean-inspired seafood dishes.
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6810 Front Street, Stock Island, FL 33040
Panoramic waterfront views set the stage for an epic Keys meal off the beaten path, where the menu boasts an array of Cuban, Caribbean, and American standards, as well as fresh seafood. Their mammoth pies are provided by the Key West Key Lime Pie Company. While you can visit their Key West location directly, this is a great option for those looking to enjoy more than just dessert while avoiding the more populated areas of Key West!
Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen
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7001 Shrimp Road Suite 200, Key West, FL 33040
Tucked away from the thick of the crowds within The Perry Hotel, Matt's Stock Island Kitchen serves up a few inventive versions of the key lime pie, including a deconstructed key lime pie in a jar, the key lime flavor popsicle, and a key lime martini.
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729 Thomas Street, Key West, FL 33040
This quirky landmark eatery is known for many mouth-watering menu items, not the least of which is it's towering key lime pie. Made daily from fresh squeezed limes on a graham cracker crust, it is served with a heaping helping of creamy meringue on top. It's the perfect spot for a genuinely "Florida" meal, and the pie is the jewel on the crown.
Key West Key Lime Pie Company
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511 Greene Street, Key West, FL 33040
When it's in the name, you really better be able to master it... and Key West Key Lime Pie Company does not disappoint! Choose from traditional or extra tart key lime pie or maybe try the frozen chocolate-dipped key lime bar. Guests can even participate in an on-site pie-making class to go behind-the-scenes and make your own mini key lime pie with the pros! Their pies and treats can also be shipped anywhere within the United States.
Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe
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431 Front Street #2, Key West, FL 33040
Owned by the legendary Conch, Kermit Carpenter, Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe stands at the lively corner of Front and Duval Streets, just steps from Mallory Square. The flagship location remains on the historic Key West Bight on Elizabeth Street. After you've had your fill of pies and pie bars, be sure to grab up some of their original key lime candies, jellies, salsas, seasonings, and bath and body products to take a little of The Florida Keys back home with you.
Old Town Bakery
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930 Eaton Street, Key West, FL 33040
The bakery offers pastries and artisan breads baked on the premises in traditional, old-world style, alongside several types of freshly ground coffee served hot or cold, including espresso, latte, and cappuccino — as well as tea and cold drinks. Their dense, creamy pie with its unique gingersnap crust was voted among the Best Key Lime Pies in the Florida Keys by Miami New Times.
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806 Caroline Street, Key West, FL 33040
This rustic eatery is legendary, and so is their crave-able key lime pie! Some say that Pepe's classic recipe is worth the trip to the Keys alone. It presents the ideal balance of sweet and tart, heaped into a graham cracker crust.
Make Your Own
Fancy yourself a baker? Or maybe you're just looking for a perfect, Florida bonding moment during your family vacation. Hit the local grocery store and put that fully-equipped kitchen to use! Recruit your traveling companions to whip up a perfectly authentic, homemade key lime pie in your island vacation home. Talk about vacationing like you live here... this will practically certify you as a genuine Floridian.
You may have picked up on a tip or two, or a deviation that excited you. Perhaps you have your own creative twists to throw in for a unique spin on the traditional key lime pie. Either way, this recipe from Authentic Florida makes for a great starting point to work from. Be forewarned - it calls for a graham cracker crust, so if you're on the "pastry team", you may want to make that your first substitution.