Difference Between Lime and Key Lime

Lime vs Key Lime

Lime is a citrus fruit used commonly for its acidic juice and flavor all over the world. It has many varieties with lime being the generic name and Persian lime and Key lime being the names of its popular varieties. Key lime got its name from Keys region in Florida where it was cultivated till the beginning of the 20th century. Let us take a closer look at both lime and key lime in this article.


Lime is the name of a fruit that is green when unripe and becomes yellow when it ripens. It is round in shape and has 3-6 cm in diameter. When pressed, Lime releases a juice that is sour and acidic in nature. Lime is very popular across the world because of this citrus juice that is used in drinks and cuisines. The juice of lime contains lots of vitamin C though there are varieties that are sourer than others. Lime is a fruit that is believed to have originated in Persia and Iraq; it is also called Persian lime.

Key Lime

Key Lime is a type of citrus fruit that is also known as West Indian Lime or the Mexican Lime. It has been grown in the Indo Malayan region for thousands of years. The fruit was brought to the Americas by the Spanish settlers. It got the name Key lime because of the Keys region in Florida where it was grown in abundance. The lime groves got destroyed in a hurricane in 1926, and most of the Key lime today available in America comes from its neighbor Mexico.

Lime vs Key Lime

• Key lime has a thinner skin than Lime that is also called Persian lime

• Key lime has more juice than Persian lime

• Key lime has more citrus juice than Persian lime

• Bartenders use Key lime and not the Persian lime

• Key lime juice has a particular aroma and flavor that is loved by chefs, to season their dishes

• Key lime is smaller and rounder than Persian lime

• Key lime has more seeds than Persian lime

• Key lime juice is also used to preserve pickles and sauces

• Key lime pie has made Key lime so very popular in US

• When substituting lime with key lime in cooking, one has to use much lesser quantity as the juice of key lime is much more citrus