A quick and easy Southern favorite, No Bake Key Lime Icebox Pie is the perfect dessert or hostess gift for your entertaining! This creamy lime pie has an easy graham cracker crust and can be made in a 9 x 13 pan for large groups.
Key Lime Pie is the official State Pie of Florida and in just about every restaurant, you'll find a version of this local celebrity on the menu. The variations are across the board: pastry or graham cracker crust, whipped cream or meringue? Eggs or no eggs? One thing you will find is that the tiny Key Limes are totally responsible for this tasty treat.
Back in the 90's, the Florida State legislature set out to officially determine whether the official State Pie of Florida should be Sweet Potato or Key Lime Pie. Naturally, locals were outraged by the silly notion that the Sweet Potato would be Florida's State Pie, after all, Key Lime Pie originated in Florida! Or did it?
This government debacle instigated further serious questions about the origin of the Key Lime Pie and, like the Lemon Icebox Pie, no direct reference was found as to the origin of the pie. Local lore says the pie was developed by a woman known as "Aunt Sally" who created the pie for her Floridian millionaire boss, William Curry, aka "Rich Bill" in the late 1800's.
Naysayers discount the "Aunt Sally" notion and insist the earliest Key Lime Pie recipe wasn't published until 1933 in the Miami Herald, and was most likely invented by Gail Borden, founder of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk. Whatever the source, the Key Lime Pie is a staple menu item in Florida and deservingly so.
It wasn't until 2006 that Key Lime Pie was named Florida's State Pie.
What's the difference between regular and Key lime?
The limes we buy in the grocery store are generally "Persian" or "Tahiti" limes which are thick-skinned and seedless. Key Limes, originally brought to the States via West Indies and known as "Mexican" limes, are smaller, contain seeds and offer a more tart flavor. The majority of Key Limes in our grocery stores are grown in Mexico.
Can I substitute fresh Key Limes for Persian Limes?
Absolutely! Keep in mind that Key Limes are much smaller than Persian limes, therefore, you'll need to purchase and juice more limes--almost double the amount of Persian limes.
Can I substitute bottled Key Lime Juice for the Key Limes?
You can, but make sure it's an authentic juice of the highest quality like Nellie and Joe's Key West Lime Juice. Some of the mass-produced "real lime juices" are too strong; key lime is a natural, subtle lime flavor which works best for this no bake icebox pie.
Notes for Baking in a 9 x 13 Dish
If you're making this no bake pie for a large group, double the recipe and use a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish. You can serve squares of pie and it will go a lot further than individual 8" or 9" pie slices.
Looking for More Southern Classics? Try: No Bake Lemon Icebox Pie
No Bake Lime Icebox Pie
- 8 whole graham crackers (broken; usually one pkg.)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter (melted)
- 1 cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup instant vanilla pudding mix (you'll use the dry powder in the recipe; do NOT make pudding!)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon gelatin (unflavored)
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- Preheat oven to 350º F
- Melt butter in small saucepan
- In food processor, combined broken pieces of graham crackers and sugar; drizzle in melted butter
- Pour graham cracker mixture into 9 inch pie plate; press graham cracker mixture into the bottom and sides of the pan
- Bake on middle rack for 12-15 minutes; remove from oven and allow to cool before filling
- In the food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until it reaches a smooth consistency
- Scoop filling into cooled graham cracker crust; cover with plastic and refrigerate for 2-3 hours
- Prior to serving, garnish with whipped cream and lime slices