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Key lime pie question

Can I use bottled lime juice, not bottled key lime juice for key lime pie? I normally use the bottled key lime juice but don't have any, although I do have some bottled lime juice. Thank you.

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  1. I've found that making key lime pie with anything but fresh juice results in a vastly inferior pie (in my opinion). I would use fresh regular limes and lemons to approximate the fresh key lime juice taste.

    1. Bottled lime juice is nasty, I wouldn't make a pie with it. Like the suggestion of using fresh lime and lemon juice.

      1. Yes, I figured fresh would be best. My question is if bottled lime juice would taste the same as bottled key lime juice in a key lime pie.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Boychucker

          I would think not -- key limes are way more sour than regular limes. That's why the recipe specifies them, and not regular limes. I'd go with celeste's rec to mix them with lemons -- it wont' taste the same, but at least it will be sour enough to counteract the sweetness of all the other sweet ingredients. (And acidic enough to cook it-- you're not baking it, right?)

        2. I've tried this substitution, and it is not even close. You will have a lime pie that has a distinct preservative after taste.

          1. Thank you, Covert Ops and Mattrapp. I really appreciate it!

            1. There's a product on the market I think it is Nellie's Key Lime Juice. That is supposed to be the ne plus ultra of key lime pie, ask your favorite grocer

              1. I thought key limes were sweeter then regular green limes?

                1. King Arthur baking catalog has Key lime juice that I have used with very good results when I cannot obtain fresh key limes.

                  #1098 floribbean key lime juice $7.50

                  You can use fresh limes with 25% lemon juice and get a fair approximation in a pinch.

                  1. As I tell people all the time, bottled key lime juice is highly recommended, if you're stripping paint or removing rust, but NOT in FOOD. The bottled juice is from a "chemically preserved" concentrate and shipped to the US in 55-gallon drums, where it is reconstituted, bottled and given a label with some tropical theme on it. And check the label too, some are selling a "Key West Lime Juice", which has nothing to do with the specific key lime, only the location is hails from. If anything, seek out a frozen, single-strength key lime juice (I have seen it out there) or a pasteurized single-strength (whole, not from concentrate) juice. Many Mexican grocers will carry key limes (AKA Mexican limes), and they are becoming more prevalent in specialty, gourmet and upscale whole-type food shops. If all fails, use FRESH-SQUEEZED persian limes, maybe add some zest. G'luck.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: KeylimeSteve

                      Thanks for the tip, Steve. I will remember bottled key lime juice for my next painting project! Hyperbole aside, I always let taste be the ultimate judge. I've made dozens and dozens of key lime pies using Nellies and Floribbean over the past 10 years, and I've always been very pleased with the results, and so have my family and dinner guests (most of whom are accomplished cooks themselves). Would fresh key lime juice make a better pie? I'm sure. But just to see for myself how big the difference is, I will try to make the pie from the same variety of limes that grew on the FL Keys, since they are available in DC food markets (they are a pain to juice, by the way), and see what the actual difference is, and perhaps invite a couple friends over for a blind test. Come to think of it, I think I once saw the pasteurized single-strength variety in the produce section of a Harris Teeter store in Northern Virginia.

                    2. Very interesting note about key limes here (didn't know they were originally from Asia) :


                      You can also get them fresh at Amazon:


                      1. I have never used bottled juice (either "normal" or key lime") for making lime pies. I have used fresh key limes and zest or fresh persian limes and zest. To be honest, I could not tell any difference between the two in the pie. The only difference I noticed was that it took me about 3 times as long to make the pie when I used the key limes because they are so tiny they are much more time consuming to juice.

                        1. I don't think so--I make my key lime pie with bottled key lime juice and find it very good-(I get the juice at a gourmet shop).

                          1. FYI..on the subject of KLP, if you are making homemade crust, add crushed macadamia nuts to the crust, makes it extra yummy!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: pamd

                              I really like KLP with a gingersnap crust.

                            2. I had an abundance of key limes off my backyard tree this summer so I tossed them in the freezer just as they were picked. When I need one, take it out and pop it in the microwave for a few secs and it's very juicy and easy to squeeze. I've started doing that with lemons. I think freezing them breaks down the cells and makes them juicier.