News The Mysterious Origin Of Key Lime Pie Turns out the official state pie of Florida may not be from Florida at all. By Melissa Locker Melissa Locker Melissa Locker writes about food, drinks, culture, gardening, and the joys of Waffle House Southern Living's editorial guidelines Updated on January 31, 2023 Fact checked by Jillian Dara Fact checked by Jillian Dara Jillian is a freelance writer, editor and fact-checker with 10 years of editorial experience in the lifestyle genre. In addition to fact-checking for Southern Living, Jillian works on multiple verticals across Dotdash-Meredith, including TripSavvy, The Spruce, and Travel + Leisure. brand's fact checking process Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Jennifer Davick Don't panic, Southerners, but we have some news about Key lime pie. Turns out the official state pie of Florida may not be from Florida at all, but * gasp * New York City. New York City website Gothamist reports that there is an ongoing controversy surrounding the origins of the beloved lime tart. It all started when Stella Parks published her cookbook, BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts, which included diving into the pie's history. While researching her book, Parks consulted with Key West historian Tom Hambright, who couldn't find a local recipe for Key lime pie earlier than 1949, reports the Miami Herald. Parks, though, found a nearly-identical recipe that dates back to 1931. While the recipe she found uses lemons instead of limes, it's the same idea of a sweetened condensed milk citrus pie. However, the dessert wasn't created in the Sunshine State, but by the Borden condensed milk company in New York City. Thanks to a wave of advertising by the condensed milk company, the recipe for Magic Lemon Cream Pie most likely made its way to Florida sometime in the 1930s and ‘40s. There canny pie makers modified the recipe, swapping lemons for Key West's sweet-tart limes. WATCH: Heavenly Key Lime Pie There's an old story floating around Key West that Key lime pie was invented back in the 1890s—way before the Borden company's recipe—by a woman known only as "Aunt Sally". She allegedly concocted the pie in the kitchens of Key West's Curry Mansion, where she had access to sweetened condensed milk. However, according to the Miami Herald that story has never been verified. While Parks' cookbook won a prestigious James Beard Award, it also won the ire of some Key lime enthusiasts, most notably David Sloan, the author of the 2013 book The Key West Key Lime Pie Cookbook and the man behind Key West's annual Key Lime Festival. Sloan wasn't willing to accept Parks' Key lime pie origin story. Unwilling to go down without a fight for his beloved pie, Sloan, the Key lime booster, took to Facebook seeking help to defend the honor of Florida's state pie. Sloan told the Key West Citizen that he has historical documents that show that Aunt Sally is very real and that she definitely had access to condensed milk earlier than the 1930s. He also believes that Borden may have gotten the recipe for Magic Lemon Cream Pie through a recipe contest they held in 1931 simply swapping lemons for hard-to-find Key limes. If you have a story, do your part to keep Key lime pie as a Southern treat. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Southern Living is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy. Gothamist. Key lime pie, the state pie of Florida, may have originated in NYC. Miami Herald. Is Key lime pie really a Keys invention?