why does my key lime pie taste bitter

Key lime pie combines a tart, tangy, sweet, and creamy custard all in a beautifully toasted graham cracker crust that will have your guests so impressed!

I don’t know why I had never made key lime pie before! It’s honestly one of my favorite desserts to order at a restaurant. I’m not sure if I was intimidated by the process (which I wasn’t familiar with) or had just overcomplicated it in my head (there’s just something so fancy to me about pie). In any case, I finally tried, and I’m SO glad that I did! This key lime pie recipe has easily become my favorite, go-to dessert based on the simplicity of the assembly process and the perfectly sweet and tart key lime flavor all in the creamiest custard. It also feels like quintessential spring, and I love it!

Key lime has higher acidity than regular limes, so it may taste a tad bitter. If you ended up with bitter key limes, try replacing a tablespoon of the key lime juice with a tablespoon of lemon juice to balance it out.
why does my key lime pie taste bitter

For the whipped cream:

  • Heavy Cream – to make your honey-sweetened whipped cream, you’ll need one pint (or 2 cups) of heavy whipping cream.
  • Honey – to add sweetness, you’ll use 1½ tablespoons of honey.
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract gives a subtle warmth to the whipped cream.

This pie is classic and does not leave a lot of room for modification, but here are some ways you can change things up:

  • Use a homemade pie crust – instead of the graham cracker crust, use a homemade pie crust, like this gluten free one.
  • Sub for key limes – can’t find key limes at the store? You can sub the key lime juice for equal parts lemon juice and lime juice for a similar flavor profile. You can also use the more commonly found Persian limes (they aren’t as acidic or sour, so know that the authentic flavor will be altered).
  • Top it – have fun with the toppings for your key lime pie! A personal favorite of mine is a honey whipped cream, which would also be really tasty spiked with some coconut rum if you are serving solely to adults. Meringue is also a popular choice that makes for a beautiful finish!

How easy is it to make this recipe for key lime pie?

This recipe comes together SO easily (although juicing the key limes is a slightly tedious process, it’s so worth it!). Once you juice the limes, all you have to do is mix the filling ingredients together, pour over your crust, and bake! That’s it!

Just a few fresh ingredients deliver BIG flavor in this key lime pie. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

why does my key lime pie taste bitter

  • Graham Crackers – to make the crust, you’ll start with 8 ounces of graham crackers (we use these for gluten free) and…
  • Butter – 6 tablespoons of softened butter to hold the graham cracker crumbs together.
  • Egg Yolks – you’ll start your custard with 4 egg yolks to make your custard thick, smooth, and rich.
  • Lime Zest – the zest of one lime really enhances the key lime flavor and brings it to the next level.
  • Condensed Milk – to balance the tart and tangy of the lime juice and zest, you’ll use one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk.
  • Key Lime Juice – what would key lime pie be without the lime juice? For this filling, you’ll use ¾ of a cup of fresh lime juice.

Is Key Lime Pie Better in the Keys…?


How do you fix a bitter key lime pie?

Alternatively, perhaps you can get genuine Key limes but find them too tart and bitter. That’s also fine. Simply replace a couple of tablespoons with lemon juice instead. But again, maybe don’t tell your Floridian friends.

Why does my lime taste bitter?

Troublesome compounds called limonin and nomilin can make even the freshest citrus fruit taste bitter. Some kinds of citrus trees thwart these natural chemicals by neatly attaching a sugar (glucose) molecule onto them. This simple maneuver converts limonin and nomilin to nonbitter compounds called limonoid glucosides.

Why are Key limes bitter?

Key limes are more bitter Key limes are usually smaller and rounder than Persian limes. The citrus fruit also typically turns yellow when ripe, giving it its tart and bitter flavor.

How do you make lime zest less bitter?

Since it’s nearly impossible to remove the pith completely, the best way to get the bitter out is blanching the zest three times, by dropping it into boiling water to release the bitterness, then shocking it with ice water to stop the cooking (and repeat, and repeat).

Leave a Comment