If you don’t love key lime, you’re doing life wrong

I really do feel that strongly about this. I can pop a key lime into my mouth like everyone else does a strawberry (which I don’t care for). When I get a Persian (“regular-sized”) lime with my food at a restaurant, I squeeze half of it on the food and eat the other half like a surprisingly welcome free dessert. In Mexican restaurants, I ask for extras. I dig limes. I feel strongly about all citrus, actually. You know all the lemon and orange Starbust you throw away? I’ll take ’em.

It is my weird thing, and I embrace it.  Publix has a key lime pie that gives me goosebumps.

It comes in a mango variety that’s, well, okay, but there’s nothing like the original. I couldn’t even begin to make anything like this heavenly beast. I wouldn’t even disrespect the gods of dessert by attempting to recreate this pie.

But I can make key lime flavored things that taste good without dishonoring the G.O.A.T.

That’s where these little key lime ice cream cupcakes come in. In case the link doesn’t work, the recipe is below with my tips and tricks, which are included inside parentheses in italics.

Crumb crust

  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (Buy the already crushed graham crackers. Don’t try to crush your own unless you can make them uniform.)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (have not tried with wheat flour, but I imagine it would be fine.)
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (eh. not necessary)
  • 3 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces


  • 3 cups vanilla ice cream, slightly softened (I highly recommend a real vanilla bean variety; the “fake” vanilla flavor ruins the taste.)
  • 2 teaspoons key lime zest (If you are in an area where key limes are impossible to find, you can still make this with regular limes – they are called Persian limes. The key lime has more bite both in flavor and in scent, but a Persian lime has fewer seeds.)
  • 1/2 cup fresh key lime juice (Listen. I like a LOT of lime flavor in my stuff so I’ve been known to up this amount. If you do that, taste test it often and make sure it isn’t too tart.)

Make the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
  3. In a food processor, combine all ingredients listed above for the crust.
  4. Pulse until mixture is thoroughly blended. (The original recipe says to make sure nuts are ground, but I like a couple larger slivers of almond in my crust. It won’t hurt either way.)
  5. Press mixture into bottoms and partially up the sides of cupcake holders. (A couple huge tips here. 1. Do not overfill. 2. Do not overpress. Use a light touch. If you squish the mixture down into the cups, it will turn into an almond-flavored brick in the freezer.)
  6. Bake 5 minutes. Cool completely. (Both of these pieces are key. Baking too long will make them hard after you freeze them, and not letting them cool will ruin the filling phase.)

Make the filling:

  1. (Allow the ice cream to soften. Do not let it melt.) Stir together ice cream, lime zest, and lime juice in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Spoon about 1/4 cup ice cream mixture into each crust.
  3. Freeze until firm (but not too long).
  4. Garnish with whipped cream, a lime wedge, and sprinkle with almonds.

If you’re celebrating Memorial Day, these might be a good addition to your plate…if you aren’t having your get together outside…in Florida…it’s already hot here, guys.

I choose to garnish mine with an entire lime because I will eat an entire lime with impunity. With key limes, I can eat about four. I have no shame. If you can’t find key limes, though, this does work with a regular lime. You can see from this picture that was the case when I made this batch.

 What weird or perhaps offensive food do you believe makes like worth living? Share below.


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