What Are Icebox Pies and Why Are Southerners So Crazy About Them?

This dessert is a Southern classic for a reason.

Southerners love to bake but don't always want to heat up their kitchens, especially in the warmer spring and summer months. And that's where icebox pies come in. These cold desserts (hence the name) only require a few minutes of bake time, if at all.

Not to be confused with icebox cakes—a baking dish filled with cookies or thin slices of cake layered with whipped cream or ice cream—icebox pies are a type of chilled dessert that is made in a pie plate. Think of a tangy Key lime or lemon pie, or a rich and creamy chocolate pudding pie.

Piña Colada Icebox Pie

Jennifer Davick

Most icebox pies have a simple press-in cookie crust, but some may have a pastry crust. The filling is usually smooth and creamy, thanks to the addition of whipped cream, condensed milk, or pudding. The prepared filling is poured into the baked crust, then the pie is chilled in the refrigerator until it has set. Most are topped with a billowy pile of whipped cream, which makes the whole thing even more dreamy.

Not only are they easy to make, icebox pies are delicious in just about any flavor—you can even mix and match crust and filling combinations to create your own signature recipe. Experiment with different types of thin, crisp cookies beyond the usual graham crackers or vanilla wafers. Gingersnaps, Biscoff cookies, shortbread, almond thins, and orange thins are all great choices.

A clean knife is key when you're slicing and serving an icebox pie, or any creamy dessert. Dip the blade of your knife in a glass of warm water, then wipe it clean before each slice. This extra step helps the blade slice cleanly through the pie for perfect looking portions every time.

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