The Sweet Ingredient Your Key Lime Pie's Bland Crust Desperately Needs

Key lime pie contains a mouthwatering combination of flavors, mixing sweet and creamy with tart and citrusy — all in one whipped cream-topped treat. Another key element of its appeal is the buttery graham cracker crust, which pairs so beautifully with the filling. However, when you can make key lime pie with just five ingredients, there's wiggle room to toss in an extra item or two to enhance the dessert. If you're looking to level up the base of your pie, turn to your spice collection and shake in a few sprinkles of cinnamon. Since you certainly don't want the cinnamon to overpower the filling, keep it reasonable by adding about ⅛ to ¼ of a teaspoon, no more. Many recipes for graham crackers contain a bit of cinnamon, so adding it to your crust just helps enhance the existing flavor and adds a hint of warmth that balances the tart coolness of the filling.

If you find you really enjoy that dash of warmth certain spices bring to a graham cracker crust, you could consider pairing the cinnamon with other warming spices like ginger, which adds its own bit of zip. To add even more depth of flavor to your crust, take a few extra minutes and brown your butter before mixing it with your graham cracker crumbs and sugar. 

Tips for the perfect cinnamon-accented crust

Making pie crust can be a bit intimidating, as there are a lot of things to keep in mind. You don't want to overmix the dough, the ingredients should remain chilled for maximum flakiness, and even if you've achieved perfection, you still need to drape it across your pie tin without ripping it. On the other hand, graham cracker crusts are a lot more forgiving. You can buy pre-made versions, but making it yourself allows you to control every part of the process and add extra flavor — like that sprinkle of cinnamon. We even have an easy graham cracker pie crust recipe if you're looking for a solid foundation to enhance.

Since it's served chilled, some key lime pies call for a baked graham cracker crust. However, others feature a no-bake crust that is simply cooled in the refrigerator to keep its shape. It's ultimately a matter of preference (and patience). Baking the crust will give it a bit more stability, which is perfect if you want your key lime pie to travel well, whereas a no-bake crust typically has a softer texture. Whatever approach you use, just make sure your graham crackers are finely ground, or you'll have a crust that crumbles the moment you slice into it. And don't get too overzealous when you're packing the graham cracker, sugar, and butter mixture into your pie tin, as that can yield a crust that's a bit too firm.