Can You Substitute Regular Limes For Key Limes In A Pie?

A tart, refreshing Key lime pie is a great summer treat. The citrus dessert is the perfect addition to any backyard barbecue or Fourth of July celebration.

Although there is some debate over who invented the Key lime pie, the general consensus is that it first appeared in Key West, Florida in the late 1800s, per Britannica. A mixture of egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and lime juice are poured into a graham cracker crust to create the dessert, which is typically topped with whipped cream or meringue.

Key limes are a little more tart than regular limes, and contain more seeds. In the United States, it is more common to find Persian Limes, after a hurricane destroyed most of Florida's Key Lime groves in 1926, reports Specialty Produce. Although "Key lime" is in the name for the pie, if you do not have access to Key limes, Persian limes can work in a pinch.

Can you taste the difference?

Despite the slight flavor difference, swapping out Persian limes for Key limes is a pretty common substitution. Taste of Home even notes that, when baked into a dessert, it can be hard to tell the difference between the two taste-wise.

If you still want that extra note of tartness, The Spruce Eats suggests substituting a mix of half Persian lime juice, half lemon juice. Although this will add a different flavor to your pie, the citrus flavors will combine for a whole new Key lime pie experience. However, they do note that if you opt to go this route, you should be using about half the amount of juice that the recipe originally calls for.

Although the taste may differ just slightly, the general consensus is that swapping out Persian limes in your pie is a perfectly acceptable substitution for Key limes. Don't worry if your grocery store doesn't stock Key limes — your Key lime pie will taste just as good with Persian limes, and you may not even be able to taste the difference!