I’m gonna be honest here: I’m not a huge pie person. Wait! Don’t go! I like pie just fine, but it’s highly unusual that it’s my first choice for dessert. But when it comes to cream pies—coconut, French silk, peanut butter, KEY LIME—I am 110% into pie.
So, when Brian and I were down in Key West last month, I knew we must do a key lime pie throwdown between the top three Yelp contenders: Kermit’s Key Lime Pie Shoppe, The Key Lime Pie Bakery, and the Key Lime Pie Co and a surprise 4th based on recommendations from locals.
1. The Key Lime Pie Bakery
The Key Lime Pie Bakery is a quick walk from Mallory Square. They carry key lime pie products as well as souvenirs for you to take home to your loved ones. They have stacks of key lime pie in their window waiting for you to devour, but they also carry other pies like coconut crème. Side note: I love coconut and badly wanted to try this, but I stuck to my key lime pie mission and got the O.G. key lime.
This slice has a good crust—it was nothing Brian and I took notice of as being particularly good or bad. It’s a solid B+ (Or C, since that was oddly considered average in high school…). The filling is custard-y and the lime had the slightest bitterness to it, like when you eat the rind of citrus. Personally, this was my least favorite just because I’m not a huge custard person.
Best for: Those who like a custard-y key lime pie
The Key Lime Pie Co.
Did you ever see the TV show The Profit? Well…The Key Lime Pie Co. was on it! About 5 years ago I watched an episode and this was the one, so it was fun to see the results in person. The coolest thing at their shop is that you can watch the pies being made right there in the store. They share the space with a candy shop (Sweet Pete’s Candy, also featured on The Profit). Sampling of the candy was encouraged in addition to the sample caramel we were handed when we walked in. They do a very good job on the overall experience here!
This slice had a thin graham crust and overall is most comparable to a no-bake cheesecake. Being a cheesecake fan, I liked it. The lime was tame in this pie and next time I’d be interested in trying the extra-tart version they make. The best thing about a slice at the Key Lime Pie Co. is that they serve the pie straight from the tin—no single slices waiting in boxes—and they put the whipped cream on right in front of your eyes, fresh with every order.
Best for: Those who like a cheesecake-y key lime pie
3. Kermit’s Key Lime Pie Shoppe
Kermit’s has a couple of locations. One has a nice little patio and the other is right on Duvall Street making it really easy to obtain that slice of pie you’re seeking. The shop also carries key lime cookies, candies, and dressings and sauces. Pretty much anything that you can put key lime into, Kermit’s has got it. They also offer samples of their various goods, which earns them some extra brownie points.
Kermit’s slice has a good amount of tartness—not too much or too little. The filling is light and airy, but still dense, though not like a cheesecake. It’s also not as custard-y as other key lime pies. The graham cracker crust was spot on for crust-to-filling ratio. Last, but not least, the whipped cream was creamy and balanced out the tartness of the pie.
Best for: Those looking for a unique to Key West key lime pie.
4. Publix (Surprise!)
When we asked several locals where they get a slice of their fav key lime pie, many said the same thing: Publix! Publix is a Florida-chain grocery and they offer a half or whole pie which also makes this one the best bang for your buck.
The tartness is really great in this slice. One a scale of cheesecake to custard, this slice hits the custard end of the scale and is almost pudding-like. The whipped cream is above average for a grocery store which was surprising. Crushed almonds are added as a garnish on the rim of this pie. I didn’t find that they added anything as you still get your crunch factor from the graham cracker crust.
Best for: Those looking for a solidly good key lime pie for a good deal
And the winner is…
The tartness of Kermit’s was spot on for Brian whose pucker tolerance is very low, but enough for me who delights in biting into lemons. We loved the light and dense texture and the crust to filling ratio. Heres’ the thing, I LOVE cheesecake and was surprised that my favorite was not the cheesecake-y Key Lime Pie Co’s version. Hands down though, Kermit’s was the best.
Do you have others that you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments if there are any others that I should try next time I’m down in the Keys—I will happily eat more key lime pie for you.
Also, here’s the video documenting the throwdown!