The Floridian Sour Orange Pie

(image credit: Wit & Vinegar)

When it comes to Florida and pies, you’ll immediately think of the key lime pie. But before that took hold, there was another pie that used a different citrus fruit synonymous with the Sunshine State: the sour orange pie.

This from Make Florida Your Home [archived] on the origins of the fruit, and its journey from Seville to Florida:

A lot of modern sour orange pie recipes tend to substitute Seville oranges for the combination of lemons and sweet oranges. Nonetheless, there is no imitation that can match the flavor of Seville oranges – called calamondins in Florida. Sour orange pie offers a brighter, cleaner flavor than key lime pie. The sour orange’s powerfully bitter flavor helps it stand up better to cooking and baking than the sweet oranges. For this reason, it makes a marvelous dessert with a truly unique essence.


Today, the forgotten southern dessert is undergoing a revival. Calamondins are featuring in more recipes other than those for marmalade. So, have you tried sour orange pie? You can make sour orange pie by substituting the zest in your favorite key lime pie recipe.

But, where do you find sour oranges? They’re quite bountiful throughout Florida, even though they’re mainly for export. Still, you can find sour oranges in specialty grocery stores or your neighborhood. A lot of people tend to grow the fruit tree as a decorative tree in their backyards, unaware that they can use it in dessert recipes.

In terms of a recipe, here’s one from Authentic Florida with the following ingredients:


Pie Crust

  • 1/3 of a 1 pound box of graham crackers
  • 4 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup of sugar

Pie Filling

  • 2 Florida oranges (medium-sized)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 Florida lemons (medium-sized)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of orange zest – be sure to zest before you squeeze the juice! (put aside 1 teaspoon to sprinkle over the baked pie for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Meringue Topping

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup of sugar


  • Food processor (optional)
  • 9 or 10 inch pie pan (glass is best)
  • Mixer (hand or large one)
  • Rasp or grater (to zest the orange and lemon)
  • Electric Juicer or hand juicer
  • Saucepan

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